4 moms rejoiced when the Obamacare repeal bill failed. Now it's back, and they're furious.

Angela Eilers wanted to believe the push to upend the Affordable Care Act was finally over.

While "skinny repeal," the GOP's last attempt to gut the law, failed in July, she sent a handwritten thank-you note to every senator that voted against it. She saved the most elaborate and effusive for John McCain, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski, the senators who broke with their own caucus to vote the bill down. Eilers was relieved for her daughter Myka, who was born with pulmonary stenosis, a congenital heart defect that required open-heart surgery to treat, and for her family, which she says can afford private market insurance thanks to the law.  

Still, she couldn't relax.


"I never let myself think that they weren’t going to stop," Eilers says. "I knew that they wouldn't stop until they got this done."

Her fears have come true with the most recent GOP push to replace the ACA. Eilers finds herself feeling disheartened and, perhaps most ominously, "defeated."

"Yesterday was the first day that it hit me really really hard," she admits.

With Senate Republicans taking another shot at Obamacare, many parents of children with chronic medical conditions are at their wits' end, trying to cope with having to fight, once again, to preserve their access to treatment.

What began as resolve has, for many, evolved into a growing sense of powerlessness — and anger.

"If these people lived on a pediatric cancer floor for weeks, months, or longer, they would reconsider their positions on health care because it is gut-wrenching," says Karen Lee Orosco, whose daughter was diagnosed with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, when she was 15 months old. Even with an intact ACA, Orosco had to crowdfund her daughter's surgery and is incensed that the new bill penalizes her home state of California with deep funding cuts.

Kate Greene, whose son Eddie suffers from severe hemophilia A, worries about returning to a time when those with the disease had to change jobs and move across state lines to afford, or even receive, coverage. Despite having visited her member of Congress with her family, she now makes 10 calls to them a day.

"I want Eddie to know I did everything I could to protect him," she says.

The most recent proposal, dubbed "Graham-Cassidy," includes drastic cuts to both Medicaid and the ACA's subsidies.

An NPR analysis found that the bill would allow states to permit insurers to omit the Affordable Care Act's essential health benefits from plans and deny or significantly upcharge consumers with pre-existing conditions.

The potential new law could also permit plans to bring back lifetime caps on coverage, a major fear for parents whose children have already exceeded them.

Frustration at the proposed cuts extends beyond the parents of young children.

Pat Nelson, whose 33-year-old son suffers from an aggressive form of brain cancer, says that calling her senator, Marco Rubio, which she does daily, feels like "hitting my head against a brick." She and her retired husband help her son cover his already sky-high medical bills, which she worries will explode if the bill becomes law.

"We would have to come up with more to pay for his healthcare," she says.  I'm not sure how we will be able to do that.

The fate of the bill continues to hang by a thread, as the key swing votes from July have yet to commit one way or another.

While Collins is seen to be leaning against the measure, neither McCain nor Murkowski have given more than a few clues about their vote.

On Sep. 20, a spokesperson for Mitch McConnell's office announced the majority leader's intent to hold a vote soon, leading some observers to believe the holdouts could be convinced to support the new proposal.

Until then, many say they have no choice but to keep fighting for their kids, exhausted as they may be.

Despite her despair over the bill's return, Eilers was buoyed when Jimmy Kimmel, a fellow "heart dad," used his opening monologue to rail against the bill Tuesday and accused bill co-author Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy of lying "right to his face."

"He was angry, like us, like the rest of us," she says. "He was angry that this could impact his child. And I appreciated that."

Next week could bring relief or more fury.

In the meantime, Eilers plans to keep sending her representative a picture of Myka every day until the bill is either dead or law.

After all, she wonders, what else is there to do?

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."