DC Exclusives - Original Reporting

One Family Shares Its Obamacare Nightmare: ‘These Are Facts’

U.S. President Donald Trump calls on Republican Senators to move forward and vote on a healthcare bill to replace the Affordable Care Act in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua RobertsU.S. President Donald Trump calls on Republican Senators to move forward and vote on a healthcare bill to replace the Affordable Care Act in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

President Trump demanded Senate Republicans pass a repeal of Obamacare in a speech Monday while he was surrounded by families who have been adversely impacted by Obamacare.

The president highlighted the complications Melissa Ackison and her family have faced under Obamacare during his speech. Last month, Melissa met with Vice President Mike Pence, Medicaid chief Seema Verma and White House counselor  Kellyanne Conway and explained what has happened to her family since the Affordable Care Act’s imposition on their lives.

The Daily Caller has obtained a copy of Melissa’s 17 page letter. “My goal in attending the meeting was to educate the public as well as our elected officials of the failures associated to not only Obamacare, but also to the buckling of Medicaid when able bodied families are enrolled into the system via the ACA/Marketplace design despite their refusal to be involved in these programs,” her opening statement reads.

Her letter emphasizes that “these are facts, these aren’t media soundbites, edited clips or emotional reactions to what you ‘think’ about the matter at hand that happens to be crippling my family … My story and millions in my situation is taken from real life, tax-paying American who sadly has been left behind while politicians posture and continue to take no action with regard to working though legislature.”

The Ackisons’ first experience with Obamacare started with the co-op In-Health. Despite the Ackisons paying high premiums and deductibles for the co-op, their insurance was cancelled multiple times and they were unable to use their insurance card for reasons unknown to them.

Their family provider ultimately dropped them and every member of their family. The company sent them a letter explaining that based on In-Health cancelling on them on a consistent basis, nearly every claim of theirs being denied and their failure to continue paying out of pocket for all of their visits (which amounted to $40,000), they now had no provider after years of going to their family practice.

The Ackisons even had to utilize their 401k savings account to pay healthcare bills. Nonetheless, they were penalized by the government for dipping into their retirement funds.

After the Obamacare co-op failure in 2015, the Ackisons enrolled in the health insurance marketplace to purchase insurance in 2016. The marketplace representative understood clearly through her explanation that during their time with the Co-Op, her son was receiving care already at the NationWide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, for a pre-existing condition called strabismus.

Melissa also has a pre-existing condition called fibrous dysplasia. This disease is a mutation that begins in utero and caused weakening of her left facial structure as well as her skull, cheekbone, eye socket and the cribriform plate. She’s had over 20 reconstructive surgeries to remove large portions of affected bone as well as aggressive growing skull based tumors.

She was diagnosed with this disease when she was 14 and has been seeing the same specialists since then. She is 40 years old today. Not only did Melissa like her doctor, she needed her doctor, her letter reads.

“My son’s preexisting conditions meant absolutely nothing when our specialists and providers refused to work with our Obamacare programs,” her letter reads.

Within the first month of having UnitedHealthcare insurance, things started “spiraling downward quickly.” At a routine appointment for her son, Melissa was notified by the receptionist at Nationwide that the UnitedHealthcare representatives were telling the hospital that Children’s Hospitals were not included under the Obamacare plans. She was also notified that she’d be stuck with the bills from her son’s weekly visits.

Thinking the receptionist was wrong, Melissa contacted the marketplace. She was instructed by representatives to file an appeal to the marketplace in order to find a new healthcare provider who allowed children’s occupational therapy but that her request could take up to 60 days to get a response . She received a letter several days later with a list of three “providers” that actually turned out to be a list of three pediatricians.

These pediatricians informed the UnitedHealthcare representatives that they were nothing more than pediatrician offices. They also told the representatives that the services she was seeking for her son were always handled by Nationwide Children’s Hospitals.

“Hours upon hours upon hours of my life used for this game all at the expense of my child’s healthcare,” Melissa wrote in her letter.

Upon the conception of her other son this past year, the tests she underwent to ensure her baby was developing normally were all rejected by her Obamacare insurance.

She recalls standing in line at Riverside Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, screaming in the lobby, “I can’t even enjoy my pregnancy or have solace in knowing my baby doesn’t have any issues because I’m turned down from either the insurance not being accepted from anyone, my card not working because they’ve cancelled my coverage or my providers are sick and tired of excuses that are no fault of my own from not paying my bills that I filed appeal for and they dump me as a patient.”

Not only did she have issues being seen by an OBGYN for vital prenatal check ups, she had a stroke less than 24 hours after she had her child via C-section. After she was discharged from the hospital, she received yet another letter from the marketplace insurance letting her know that the ICU stay wasn’t considered an emergency service. “I guess near death of a new mother was somehow avoidable for me according to my Obamacare Insurance,” her letter states.

This year when they went to purchase their insurance, the marketplace representative asked them questions regarding their income. When they called in this year, their income they reported was much different than past years. “That’s life as a business owner,” her letter says.

Shortly after telling the representative their income, the representative immediately went into the Medicaid eligibility script. Melissa stopped her immediately to let her know that she was not disabled or poor and that she wanted to purchase insurance. The representative told her that based on her family’s income, she was unable to sell insurance to her.

“I was dumbfounded … I knew fully what Medicaid was intended for as I am also the POA from my grandparents who are both approaching their 90’s, in wheelchairs, diagnosed with dementia among other geriatric issues,” she said

“Nevertheless, we had no options,” her letter reads.

In an effort to try and console Mrs. Ackison, the marketplace representative said, “at least with Medicaid, it’s free.”

“I try to justify our enrollment into Medicaid by reminding myself that I’ve paid into these systems for years but I know from common sense these are the very reasons our systems are so overburdened … It’s a sad day when you have the ACA set up in a way that even if you want to do the ‘right’ thing and contribute to healthcare, you can’t,” Melissa said.

Her letter goes on, “I didn’t get anywhere or anything but heartache from going above and beyond to do the right thing. I’m smart enough to know that Obamacare was NEVER designed to work and function properly. When Medicaid is a better option than your high-priced government mandated insurance [that cost $5000 a month], the direction of single payer and government control of our healthcare is what was intended and it’s blatantly obvious.”

This is just a brief preview of the Ackisons’ experience with Obamacare.

As the contentious vote to hold debate for the health care bill is scheduled for Tuesday in the Senate, Melissa is praying that all of the Republicans put “political posturing to the side” and “do the right thing. WE have nothing more to give the government other than my story. It may be worth nothing to you but I know at this point I’ve done all I can and now it’s up to you.”

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