Michael Row: The ACA was a godsend for me and my family

When I first set out on an entrepreneurial path I was ill-prepared for the evaporation of financial and health security that would come upon entering the individual insurance market. I wanted to sell books, but instead found myself sunk into the dystopian world of the individual insurance market before the Affordable Care Act, where consumers were forced to commit to a plan without any guarantee that our rates would hold or the coverage would meet our needs.

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Mike Simmons: I was declared uninsurable because of my preexisting condition

After going through prostate cancer in the mid-2000s, I was declared uninsurable because of my preexisting condition. Since I wasn’t able to find coverage in the individual or small group markets, after operating my business for nearly 20 years, I was forced to close.  I had to accept a low-level management position, just to obtain group health insurance through my employer.

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Kaci Aslamov: My business didn’t collapse under the weight of medical expenses

I’m living cancer-free in large part because of the care I received through the Affordable Care Act. My business, an independent bookstore in central Oregon, didn’t collapse under the weight of medical expenses thanks to the comprehensive coverage my husband and I have been able to secure on the exchange.

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Amber Halbert Childress: The ACA has given many small business owners and women entrepreneurs a safety net

Amber Halbert ChildressFulfillment in my career was an intangible dream I never thought I would achieve. For years, I was clocking in and out of a job I didn’t enjoy for the sole purpose of providing health benefits for myself and my children, and it was beginning to wear me down and take away the joy in my life. After the Affordable Care Act was signed into law I able to take a chance and become a small business owner without fear of financial ruin due to a medical catastrophe. The security of having medical benefits for my family and me gave me the opportunity to become the business woman I had always dreamed of.

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Matt McColm: If insurers were free to deny me coverage because of my diabetes, I'd have to close my business

Matt McColmAs a small business owner, an insurance broker, and a health insurance consumer with a pre-existing disease, I’m extremely concerned with the concerted effort to undermine many common-sense protections in the Affordable Care Act, especially the latest attempt from state attorneys general that takes aim at people with pre-existing conditions.

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Kelly Conklin: We are headed back to where we were pre-ACA

Kelly Conklin

My wife, Kit, and I first started Foley-Waite, an architectural woodworking company, 40 years ago, in 1978. She was on one end of a sheet of plywood and I was on the other. And it’s grown since then to a 16-person company.

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Joel Vikre: This is the way health care is supposed to work

In October 2017, our lives changed forever when our boy Vidar was born at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. He was born with several heart defects. In spite of successful surgical repair, Vidar developed heart failure and had to be placed on life support. This began a three month stay in the hospital, three months away from our home and our business, and a deeper dive into the American health care system than we could ever have imagined.

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Elizabeth Spehar: Without high-quality health care, my condition would have been devastating to me and my business

Elizabeth Sephar

When someone starts a small business, especially a restaurant business, they don’t expect to make a profit—or even pay themselves—for a while, years in many cases.  For me, having a pre-existing condition adds to the risk of financial security.  Luckily for me, I had access to high quality affordable health care through MNSURE.

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Dave “Stretch” Tuemmler: Because of the ACA, there’s a chance my legacy will not be bankruptcy

I have been seriously ill for over three years. All the appointments, hospital stays, long drives to visit specialists and excruciating procedures come with idle time – in waiting rooms, on exam tables, hooked up to machines. It’s given me time to really consider what it means to leave our world and community better for our kids. I think a lot about my son, Kasch, who suffers from a stomach disease called gastroparesis.

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John Costin: We are now a family with a pre-existing condition—good insurance is key

John CostinI started Veneer Services Unlimited over 25 years ago and we are now located in Sanford, Maine. We employ three workers in a mill in Sanford and manufacture high-quality custom veneer work for the custom woodworking industry. My wife Rachel and I also own New Pioneer, an old mill in Sanford that we have revitalized into a hub for craftsmen in southern Maine.

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