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Institute Staff

Why We ♥ The ACA: Reason #2

February 23, 2017


Rangi McNeil (pictured) can now treat his illness with the security of health insurance, thanks to New York state’s Medicaid expansion made possible by the ACA.

Reason #2: Increased Medicaid funding to states enabled more people to qualify for coverage
Rangi McNeil, a patient at the Institute’s Sidney Hillman Family Health Center, was diagnosed at the age of 25 with sarcoidosis, an uncommon immune condition that can cause lung damage, skin rashes, and eye disease and can affect other organs of the body. After his diagnosis, explains Rangi, “My insurance company chose not to extend my policy because I was basically becoming too expensive. And now that I had a ‘pre-existing’ condition, I could not get insurance anywhere. I couldn’t get the care I needed and I visited the ER to treat my symptoms.”

That all changed years later when, following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, New York State changed its guidelines so that more people could qualify for Medicaid.  Rangi was one of them.

“The expansion of Medicaid allowed for someone like me – a poet, who doesn’t have a lot of money and a pre-existing condition  –  access to the health care I needed. I was able to release a great deal of anxiety I had been carrying for over 10 years.  I now have a sense of security that if my health makes a turn for the worse, I will be covered. My life has changed for the better. My entire family is better because I have insurance – because they don’t have to worry about me.  It’s easier to commit yourself to life and get out the  door every day.”

Help – and hope – for people like Rangi is exactly why We ❤ the ACA.


Rangi is a published author and poet, whose work can be found on the Academy of American Poets’ website. Check our blog each week through March for more reasons why We the ACA. In case you missed reason #1, check it out here: institute.org/why-we-❤-the-aca-reason-1

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