Rage-inducing stories from people with pre-existing conditions Congress needs to hear.

Of the many no good, very bad things in the American Health Care Act (aka Trumpcare) that have a lot of people feeling uneasy, the way pre-existing conditions will be treated takes the cake.

If the AHCA bill that the House passed does become law, it would change how pre-existing conditions are covered, replacing a system where insurance companies need to charge every one the same amount to one where costs can vary based on medical history.

People are not happy about that.


If you're young, wealthy, super healthy, and don't plan on ever getting sick or dying, the new bill might be cause for celebration. But the rest of us mere mortals aren't so lucky.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that more than a quarter of all adults 18-65 have a pre-existing condition that would have left them uninsurable on the private market before the Affordable Care Act. Trumpcare is a functional return to that sort of Wild West landscape.

People on Twitter are using the hashtag #IAmAPreExistingCondition to show just how wide-ranging the damaging effects of AHCA will be.

Before the vote, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) seemed to suggest that people with pre-existing conditions were essentially bringing this on themselves, saying that it's only fair to charge them more than people who "lead good lives" and do things "the right way." As though getting pregnant, or surviving rape, or being born with a hole in your heart means you're leading a bad life and doing things the wrong way.

Another lawmaker, Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-North Carolina), said that people should simply move to a different state if theirs decides to pull the rug out from underneath them in terms of pre-existing conditions. For many, that's not an option. More importantly, statements like these are craven in their lack of empathy.

You might have a pre-existing condition. I do. If you don't, at the absolute least, you probably know someone who does.

The bill still has a ways to go before it becomes law.

If it is blocked by the Senate, it'll likely be due to people sharing their stories with their representatives, by calling them and writing them and letting them know just how much the AHCA will hurt them. If it is blocked by the Senate, it'll be the result of our lawmakers demonstrating a groundswell of empathy and compassion for their fellow human beings and constituents.

These stories, as absolutely heartbreaking as they are, can help change the world. And these are just a handful of the many devastating, frightened responses to be found on the #IAmAPreExistingCondition hashtag. We need to save health care for them and for us. We'll be a better country for it.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

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