How Obamacare Saved My Daughter

Losing the Affordable Care Act would be devastating for my family. Without it, my daughter would most likely be dead.

At a mere two weeks of age, Namine needed heart surgery. At six months, she needed heart surgery again. She required much early in life — in terms of medical procedures, as well as equipment — and she was not the independent, thriving child she is today. She had a tracheostomy, a stomach feeding tube (known as a g-tube), and more equipment than any uninitiated parent would know what to do with. (I mean that literally; my wife and I went through actual medical training before we were allowed to bring our daughter home after several months in the hospital.)

I have private insurance through my job. It had a cap of $2 million, and Namine — with her as of yet indefinite stay in the hospital, plus surgeries, scans, and doctor consults — was fast approaching that cap. And then when I received a phone call from my insurance that informed me the cap was being lowered to $1.5 million, I didn’t know what we would do. Namine would obviously be dropped, and then what?

It was fortuitous that the Affordable Care Act went into effect when it did because suddenly, miraculously, Namine had coverage again. There were two results, from which we as a family benefited. First was the fact that my private insurance could no longer put a cap on any of us, meaning Namine was back on my plan. The second result was that Namine had state insurance — Medicaid — which covered everything my private insurance did not. As long as she was considered disabled, she would always be covered*.

The end result of Namine being covered by the ACA was that no matter what procedures she needed — and she has needed a lot over the past seven years — of all our worries, that she would not be able to have any of them was never one. That, to me, was always the point of the ACA: You’ve got enough to worry about. Let us take care of the bill, while you take care of your loved one.

*Being “considered disabled” is really more complex than you’d think, even for Namine, who needs a wheelchair on a daily basis. There are also other qualifiers (and ways to get denied) and other fights to be fought regarding insurance. But that’s a different discussion for another blog post.

This article was originally published on

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Disability

Boy in a wheelchair talking to two girls outdoors

Talking About Disability With Able-Bodied Children

A huge part of creating an inclusive, supporting environment for children with disabilities is making sure their peers are in the know about how disability works. My grandson, Elijah, lives with cerebral palsy, and it’s important he grows up around adults and peers who cherish him as a person, not as a pet or a project. [...]
US dollar bill crumbling into pieces.

To Donald Trump: Please Don't Value Money More Than People With Disabilities

Dear President Trump, Congratulations on your recent presidential election. You are now the leader of the United States and you have the made the promise to unite the country. I am writing to you today to help you do this. I believe our policies will deeply affect individuals with disabilities in an unfortunate way — [...]
Hands holding a lit candle in the darkness.

The Light I See in These Dark Times for People With Disabilities

We are living in a scary time. This seems to be the conclusion of so many conversations I’ve had lately with various people from diverse political viewpoints. While obviously not everyone shares this perspective, those of us who live and/or work with more vulnerable populations, such as children and adults with disabilities can’t seem to [...]
Drawing of a woman deep in thought.

When I Stopped Blaming Myself as an Abuse Survivor With a Disability

Editor’s Note: If you’ve experienced domestic violence, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline online by clicking “chat now” or calling  1-800-799-7233. In life, there’s no real way of telling what we have in store for us. I don’t think anyone anticipates that one day they, or [...]