Three Californians. Three Stories of How the Affordable Care Act Affected Their Lives.
On Monday night, legislation to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was introduced in Congress.
More than 5 million Californians are now covered under provisions of the ACA. Here are just three. While their stories are different, each shares one thing in common — before the ACA, they all would have likely fallen into the ranks of the uninsured.
‘The ACA is the great leveler . . . We are all potentially one illness away from devastation.’ — Angela
Angela never thought she’d have to worry about her health, or her health care. She was a successful chief marketing officer at a technology start-up in Southern California. And she was healthy. “I’m a marathon runner and a tennis player,” she says. “I take good care of myself. It’s easy to get smug and think you’ll never need help. But sometimes the universe has other plans for you.” In 2012, Angela was laid off, and two weeks later she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Angela used COBRA benefits to extend the health insurance plan offered by her previous employer. For the next year she went through an arduous treatment program of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
Angela is a single mother, and at that time her daughter was in high school. With the cancer treatment going on, she had to figure out how to keep earning an income without going through a job search. She found consulting work as a temporary solution, but over time she realized a consulting business might be the answer — if she could get the health care coverage she couldn’t live without. She knew that her COBRA coverage would end 18 months after the layoff.
Anne Sunderland is the senior communications officer for CHCF’s Improving Access team, which works to improve access to coverage and care for low-income Californians.
Prior to joining CHCF, Anne was communications manager at the Public Health Institute (PHI). Working closely with PHI’s senior management, researchers, and project directors, Anne developed and implemented strategic communications initiatives to lift the visibility of PHI’s work to key policymakers, funders, and industry leaders. Anne brings experience in health care financing and delivery, with previous positions as an analyst at Blue Shield of California and a health planner at La Clínica de La Raza, a Bay Area federally qualified health center. She also served as senior editor at the Institute for Global Health at UCSF. Her writing on health issues has been published by the Institute of Medicine and the San Francisco Chronicle, among other outlets. Anne holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in public health from UC Berkeley.