“I Was Healthy” On Twitter Tells The Stories Of Americans Who Never Knew How Much They’d Need Health Insurance


One of the GOP’s primary arguments for the Graham-Cassidy bill is that people shouldn’t have to pay for more coverage than they personally need. However, most Americans know that this isn’t how insurance actually works — indeed, it’s antithetical to the entire concept of insurance — and many people are letting legislators know that they want a health insurance system that supports all Americans. Thousands shared heartbreaking stories on Twitter about why America should protect health care using the hashtag #IWasHealthy, and they put a very necessary personal perspective on the issue.

Although the GOP’s insistence on getting Americans the lowest possible health insurance premiums is theoretically commendable, the reality is more nuanced than that. Insurance only works if the amount that the insurance company collects from its customers is greater than what it has to spend providing health care. Moreover, if sick and elderly people were collectively banned from buying health insurance, for instance, premiums would decrease, because insurance companies wouldn’t actually end up paying for very much medical care. But of course, the end result of this would be fewer people having access to health care, not more.

Despite its flaws, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) built in safeguards to prevent insurers from charging sick people more for insurance, or denying coverage to those with “pre-existing conditions.” With the Graham-Cassidy bill poised to come up for a vote before the end of the month, Americans are trying to let Congress know that they don’t want to get rid of Obamacare’s patient protections.

#IWasHealthy & active until a tick bite & delayed diagnosis of Lyme Disease forever changed my life. I need HC to live. #noGrahamCassidy

From a practical standpoint, a “lower premiums for healthy people” policy is impossible: Any and everybody can go from healthy to unhealthy at the drop of a hat.

#Iwashealthy but my son was born with Treacher-Collins. He’s 13 with 13 surgeries, and with #Trumpcare he will not be insured. #ACA pic.twitter.com/nk6pw556xW

For those born with pre-existing conditions, Graham-Cassidy bill is nothing short of discriminatory. There’s nothing they can do to change their health status, and shouldn’t be punished by the government for the way they were born.

9am PST #IWasHealthy then I fell off my bike
Head injury, broken bones.
Life changes in an instant.#SaveACA pre-existing is Life https://t.co/VM62geGpkd

Accidents can strike anybody at any time (that’s why they’re called accidents), and no one wants or deserves to be facing financial ruin while they try to heal.

#IWasHealthy until I spent 6 days in the hospital
for my heart! We’re all one devastating accident or illness away from being able bodied! https://t.co/GEhp2mb0yn

Serious and sudden health needs are unforeseeable, and can strike at any time. That’s why we have insurance to begin with.

#IWasHealthy but my daughter, still on my insurance thx to ACA, had life-threatening allergic reaction, ambulance, hosp. stay. All covered.

The Affordable Care Act allows children to stay on their parents’ health care plans until the age of 26, a godsend to young people who suddenly find themselves needing urgent medical care.

#IWasHealthy and then the world ended the day I found out I was sick. This is what it feels like. pic.twitter.com/d6M4NJkQrS

If insurance companies charged each customer based on their individual health needs, those who ended up requiring expensive health care wouldn’t be able to afford their premiums, forcing them to drop out of the market entirely — and, in effect, eliminating the point of insurance to begin with.

#IWasHealthy until I went to Iraq & breathed toxic fumes from a burn pit for a year#CassidyGraham will leave vets like me without coverage pic.twitter.com/AiOYgzjiTu

President Trump often notes how much he loves America’s “wounded warriors,” and yet the bill he’s poised to sign would do untold damage to U.S. veterans around the country.

#IWasHealthy but then I got a cyst on my ovary. My gynecologist put me on BC pills. #ProtectOurCare don’t leave it up to governors! pic.twitter.com/NkhCV8rc7Q

The Affordable Care Act contains provisions to ensure that American women can access birth control (which has plenty of legitimate non-contraceptive uses). The Graham-Cassidy bill would eliminate these protections.

#IWasHealthy until I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Peripheral Neuropathy, and Raynaud’s Syndrome. #ProtectOurCare #SaveACA pic.twitter.com/gDZ37u5Kr5

Nobody gets sick by choice.

#IWasHealthy, but then at a late age, I developed allergies and needed healthcare, thanks to climate change.

The Centers for Disease Control has warned that climate change will affect the transmission of infectious diseases in unpredictable ways, making it all the more important that as many Americans as possible have affordable, comprehensive health insurance.

#IWasHealthy until a back injury left me with chronic pain. If Mr. Pix didn’t have a good job w/great insurance? #GrahamCassidyNO #SaveACA pic.twitter.com/xUhDJk9CT5

At the end of the day, collectivized health care, otherwise referred to as “health insurance,” is about caring for others, and that means pooling resources to guarantee that sick people will have access to health care.

#IWasHealthy but my father in law isn’t. He had prostate cancer with mets. He’s now battling Glioblastoma too @SenJohnMcCain.

Sen. John McCain, who’s currently undecided on the bill, is battling cancer. Thankfully for him, he’s a U.S. Senator, and thus enjoys taxpayer-funded, government-provided health care. He should understand as much as anybody that you’re sick, you need the financial freedom to be with your family.

#IWasHealthy until I was 12, when I developed one of those preexisting conditions on that list going around. Already reached the cap.

It’s depressing enough to have a chronic illness. Sick people shouldn’t have to spend their lives fighting with the government and insurance companies.

I was a healthy person
subsidizing sick people until I broke my neck and got a brain tumor.#VoteNOGrahamCassidy #Call2022243121
????? pic.twitter.com/lTiiOKhMzG

Many Americans with health insurance will find themselves paying for other people’s health care in some instances and having their health care paid for by other people in others.

#IWasHealthy until my infant caught a virus in the store and the ensuing medical debt drove us into poverty.

Although it’s coming at a semi-desperate moment, this Twitter trend is inspiring. Americans are sharing their stories so that everyone can understand and appreciate the power of collective care, and these Twitter testimonials are proof of the power of looking out for each other.

Seth Millstein contributed to this report.


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