My husband, Mark, was 43 years old when he was diagnosed with stage four carcinoma of the left tonsil.
After a nine hour surgery followed by seven weeks of radiation therapy, Mark tried to return to his job at a local jewelry store -- but he was told that his position had been eliminated. He searched for six months for a job, but finally decided to open up his own small jewelry shop.
Six months later, his cancer was back. This time, the cancer had spread to his bones and several lymph nodes throughout his body -- basically a death sentence. The doctor suggested closing the jewelry store.
But then came the Affordable Care Act -- and we had hope once more.
When the ACA passed, we were able to purchase our own health insurance from the marketplace. I was able to finally quit my job and focus on caring for Mark and helping out in the store. Our prayers were answered.
After operating his jewelry store through 17 years of surgeries and treatments for cancer and esophageal failure, which required the placement of a feeding tube, Mark made the decision to shut the doors in July of 2018 to take care of his ongoing health needs. Thanks to the ACA, we never lost coverage.
Just a few months later -- November 2018 -- Mark had a pain in his chest that wouldn’t go away, and we found out that he had another large tumor.
Mark’s local oncologist recommended an advanced radiation therapy called proton therapy at the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, for 20 straight days of treatments. We were lucky, though. Some insurance companies deny coverage for proton therapy, but our ACA plan approved it immediately.
Fast forward to today: Mark is doing remarkably well! Mark’s tumor has drastically shrunk. But with politicians threatening to scrap the ACA, we worry every day that we won’t be able to afford the care that keeps my husband alive.
My husband and I didn’t sleep the night of the 2016 election. We knew that Trump’s win meant that our health care was under attack, and that we could lose the health insurance that keeps my husband alive.
That’s why we’re standing with Joe. We know that Joe will fight to protect our family, and make sure that no one can deny Mark coverage due to his pre-existing conditions. We need someone who will protect and build on the success of the Affordable Care Act.
That person is Joe Biden, and we’re proud to stand with him and support his vision for improving health care for all Americans.
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