ACA, AHCCCS, and the Humanity Behind the Acronyms

In 2013, only a few short years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Arizona’s rough and tumble governor, Jan Brewer (the one that yelled at Obama on the tarmac – you remember her) surprised us all and expanded Medicaid. The expansion of Medicaid was one of the results of ACA. States could decide to expand the benefits of Medicaid to even more people. Few thought that the Republican governor of Arizona would make that decision, but she ultimately did. And Democrats across the state were incredibly pleased with this decision. And, none happier than my husband (then boyfriend) Mike.


In the summer of 2011, shortly after graduating summa cum laude at Arizona State University, Mike had started to experience some crazy symptoms. There was something in his head and the doctors couldn’t quite figure it out. After multiple doctors appointments, many diagnoses, and minimal answers, he had to quit his amazing “Grown-Up” job. His ability to function in the real world was becoming harder and harder. And without his job, he could no longer afford health insurance.

The thing about not having health insurance is that you do have options — that cost money. It’s kind of hard to pay health insurance premiums of hundreds of dollars a month without a job. So, he gave up on trying to figure out what was wrong. Until the expansion of Arizona’s Medicaid program.

Mike, being unemployed, was able to jump onto AHCCCS and start receiving medical treatment again. By February 2015, Mike was preparing for his first surgery. A surgery that never would have happened without Jan Brewer’s intervention due to ACA.

Only a month after Mike’s surgery, he started to go out on job interviews. He finally felt ready to start working again. He finally felt ready to start up his life again. And he did. Mike got a job. He proposed to me. We ended up buying a home together. We got married. And, this all resulted from a Republican governor expanding Medicaid thanks to ACA.

With Republicans actively trying to take away healthcare from millions of people, I think of my husband and people like him. People that are unable to work, but want to work so desperately. People that require expensive medical treatments. People who just want to have normal lives, but are forced by circumstances outside their control to drop everything for medical treatment.

Republicans, and anyone who supports repealing ACA to nothing, need to know more stories like Mike’s. He wouldn’t be the man he is today without ACA. A man that wouldn’t have a house and a wife and a job without ACA.

So please, reach out to your Senators and ask them to vote no on this ridiculous healthcare bill and keep health insurance for 23 million people.

PS – Here is a great resource for calling your Senator 


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