To Senator Orrin Hatch:
Meet my nephew Carter, a beneficiary of the Affordable Care Act. Carter turns nine years old in two weeks, but our family used to wonder if this day would ever come. Carter spent the first two years of his life fighting to live as he was in and out of the hospital with multiple surgeries.
Carter was born with Down Syndrome and had serious health complications when he was an infant. These complications resulted in many surgeries, including two heart bypass surgeries, 60 percent of his colon being removed and a colostomy bag, a feeding tube, and oxygen to help with his breathing. These surgeries and his time in the hospital ended up costing roughly $500,000.
My sister, Lisa, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, did her best to make sure her child was as comfortable as possible during these hard times. Lisa, who was in her early 20s during her child’s surgeries, benefited from the ACA as she was able to stay on our parent’s insurance until she was 26 years old. The ability to have affordable insurance not only gave Carter the surgeries he needed, but it also helped pay for his physical therapy for years to come. With insurance available, our family was able to focus on making sure that Carter had the best care possible.
Today, Carter is a healthy and happy kid. He loves school, baseball, and watching his favorite T.V. show, Nickelodeon’s Henry Danger. It’s because of his incredible doctors and the ACA that our family is still making so many fun memories today.
Senator Hatch, your workaround CHIP, and other programs in the ’90s ensured that millions of children in poverty had access to healthcare. That should have been your legacy. This year is your last in the Senate, and your legacy will be that of a decent man who turned his back on his principles, embraced cynicism and in his twilight years, openly mock the people he fought for. No snarky tweet or jests about your age erases your insults. We hope you have time to reflect on that.