It's hard to be totally prepared to have your first child, but I was determined to do my best. My partner and I were responsible -- we saved, we planned, we made checklists, we called our insurance company to make sure our daughter would be insured from the moment she entered the world.
What we didn't plan for was for Maria to be born at 27 weeks and have to spend 7 weeks in the NICU.
But when that happened, I made the dreaded call to my insurance company to make sure that we weren't bankrupt when it was time to take our little girl home. And I was told that she wouldn't be covered because being born premature was considered a pre-existing condition.
A child, who had done nothing but come into the world early, was considered by insurance companies as nothing more than a liability. The Affordable Care Act was still fairly new when she was born, but I knew they could not deny my daughter coverage for pre-existing conditions -- so I called back at least eight or nine times until they finally agreed to provide coverage for her. It was a weight lifted off of our shoulders while we waited for her brain scans to come back to see if she had any brain damage from having been born prematurely.
Thanks to the ACA, Maria is now thriving in kindergarten. She is smart, funny, witty -- and truly the light of our lives. I cannot thank President Obama enough for giving our daughter a fighting chance. I can't even imagine how differently things could have gone had she not have had health insurance.
We are a middle-class family that works hard and expects no handouts from the government. Yet this situation could have deeply affected our daughter's life and destroyed our family's finances if not for the Affordable Care Act. Republicans talk a lot about the sanctity of life. But those same people are willing to let helpless babies potentially be denied lifesaving health care because being born early can somehow be considered a pre-existing condition -- and it just doesn't make any sense. It can happen to anyone, and it's only when it happens close to home when you realize how important access to lifesaving health care is.
Will you stand with me in the fight to save the Affordable Care Act for the millions of Americans who depend on it for access to health care?
Los Angeles, CA
* At Adam's request, we've used pseudonyms for him and his daughter.