Chattanooga Physician Says Affordable Care Act 'Saved My Life,' Opposes Repeal

Jul 7, 2017

A Chattanooga physician says the Affordable Care Act saved her life, and she’s challenging claims that the Senate can replace Obamacare with something better.

She’s the founder of the Chattanooga Sports Institute Center for Health, and an athlete who has finished seven Ironman competitions. But a sudden diagnosis slowed her down.

"Two and a half years ago," she says, "I was diagnosed with a very devastating, incurable, chronic vascular disease. I lost, almost lost my entire right leg to that. And now I’ve won the lottery of pre-existing conditions."

As a small business owner, Dr. Mitchell gets her insurance through an ACA exchange. She says her ACA insurance saved her life. If the Senate’s repeal-and-replace plan became law, her pre-existing condition could mean much higher out-of-pocket expenses.

"For me, if I need to go and have surgery, I might not have hospitalization coverage."

She recently spoke to a crowd at a rally in Miller Park. Some held signs saying COVER EVERYONE, NO EXCEPTIONS, or IT’S TIME FOR SINGLE PAYER.  

The Senate’s plan is called the Better Care Reconciliation Act, but some protesters at Miller Park called it ”wealthcare,” because of the billions of dollars’ worth of tax breaks it could give wealthy people and corporations, and cuts to Medicaid.

"Healthcare, not wealthcare!" they chanted.

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker has expressed concerns about those tax breaks.

He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he thinks it’s not sustainable to look at lowering taxes on the wealthy, while also placing a greater burden on low-income citizens.

In a statement emailed to WUTC, Senator Corker said legislators will keep working to improve the plan, and resolve a number of legitimate issues. He said the plan is important and will affect people in very real ways. And the fact that the Senate has delayed voting on it shows that senators understand its importance and want to get it right.

Speaking to the crowd at Miller Park, Dr. Mitchell presented her solution to improving healthcare legislation. "I think it’s time we elect government officials who are trained to care for you." She plans to put her name on the ballot. In 2018, she will run for the Democratic party’s nomination as a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.