Mere hours after the Senate began moving to repeal the Affordable Care Act earlier this week, Xeni Jardin, who's had breast cancer since 2011, shared a personal story about what the health care law means to her.
"May each one of these men experience the anxiety that I as a cancer patient feel right now, knowing I'll die if care becomes unavailable," Jardin wrote in a Twitter thread on Thursday that soon went viral.
Jardin shared her story of getting diagnosed just a short time after leaving an abusive relationship and buying her own insurance:
One day, before a round of chemo, Jardin said a nurse pulled her aside. Jardin said she was told her insurance company had opened up a fraud investigation against her, because they thought her cancer was a preexisting condition.
"To have somebody say something like that, it's basically saying the entity that stands between you and not getting the lifesaving treatment you need thinks you’re a criminal," she said.
Jardin said the clinic did not actually believe she'd committed fraud, and with their help the insurance company eventually decided not to pursue the case.
But medical bills and the debts attached to them have become an intense source of stress in her and her family's lives, she said.
Through her battles with "insurance company greed," Jardin said she's felt enormously grateful for Obamacare.
Her story is one she's heard time and time again from other cancer patients, Jardin said, adding she's "really, really worried" about what the repeal of Obamacare would mean for them.
Jardin's story was widely shared on Twitter, with many people sharing their similar experiences.
And countless others are sharing stories of how the Affordable Care Act has saved their lives.
President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican Congress have committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act, saying premiums have risen under the law.
Trump has said he wants to maintain popular features of the law, such as protective measures for people with preexisting conditions, but neither he nor the Republican Party have outlined how an alternative law might do that while eliminating elements they dislike, such as mandates and subsidies.
Jardin said she fears repealing the law altogether will lead to deaths.
"The complete lack of even the most basic safety net that the Affordable Care Act provides, it will lead to deaths, because some people will get delayed treatment, and some people won’t get any treatment at all," Jardin said.
Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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