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More Proof Affordable Health Care Act Works, Is Essential

August 14, 2016

Forget all those conservatives who are too selfish to understand why everyone needs affordable health care coverage. Look instead to the facts that support why the current health care law works and makes a most dramatic impact on the lives of those around us.

Folks in Dane County know it!

Jimmy Anderson was recovering in a hospital from a wreck that left him paralyzed when he got two letters that planted seeds for a future in public service.

That future edged closer to the present Tuesday when Anderson, 29, won a Democratic primary election and became the overwhelming favorite to be the next representative from Assembly District 47. The district covers Monona, McFarland and most of Fitchburg.

Both of the letters to Anderson, a Fitchburg Democrat, came from his health insurance company shortly after he was in a car wreck in 2010. A drunken driver hit a vehicle carrying Anderson and his family, killing his father, mother and brother, and leaving Anderson paralyzed from the chest down. 

The first letter warned Anderson that he was nearing his lifetime limit for health coverage and needed to prepare to pay future costs out of pocket.

Anderson’s health expenses after the wreck included spinal fusion surgery and a private jet and personal paramedic crew to transport him from California, where the wreck occurred and he initially was hospitalized, back to the Madison area, where he then was a student at UW-Madison Law School.

For Anderson and his wife, Ashley, the letter triggered panic.

“We were staring down financial ruin,” Anderson said. “We didn’t know what to do.”

The second letter, which came three days later, told them not to worry after all. The lifetime limit no longer applied because the newly enacted Affordable Care Act barred insurance companies from imposing it.

“It left a mark on me,” Anderson said. “It was that moment that kind of made me realize: good public policy doesn’t happen by accident.”

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