Is the Affordable Care Act hurting those who need it most? - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Is the Affordable Care Act hurting those who need it most?

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BAY CITY (WJRT) -

(02/20/14) - It's sparked years of political battling in Washington, and the Affordable Care Act has created controversy - and headaches - on the local level, too.

The law's supporters, from the president on down, said it would make healthcare available for all - but some families are actually suffering since it took effect.

The Daverts are on a mission to get lawmakers' attention. They hope others who are having issues will also speak up.

There probably aren't many families who depend on health insurance more than the Daverts.

"All four of us have a disability," said Melissa Davert.

Melissa, and her twins Michaela and Austin suffer from a brittle bone disorder. Her husband Ken has cerebral palsy.

"So health insurance is essential," she said.

The couple is covered under Medicare. Their kids have their own plan.

"Through Medicare, you cannot add children to your policy," Melissa said.

This summer, the family received a letter informing them their teenagers' plan was no longer available.

"Our children's health insurance was going to be canceled due to the requirements under the Affordable Health Care Act," Melissa said.

So, the Daverts went shopping. They turned first to the healthcare marketplace, and that's where the problems began.

"That was a very difficult and challenging thing to do," Melissa said.

Not to mention time consuming.

"Many many many hours to purchase a plan that we didn't want. We wanted to keep the plan that we had," Melissa said.

After several attempts, "They lost our application," Melissa said. "I don't know what happened to it, so we had to reapply."

Then there were technical difficulties.

"There was a glitch in the website software," Melissa said.

Melissa finally purchased a private plan from the family's insurer.

"The very same plan that we would have bought on the marketplace," Melissa said.

The plan costs the family about $8,000 more than what they were paying before the ACA kicked in.

"Our policy had an out of pocket maximum of $2,500 for both children combined per year. The new policy, which is the best policy we could purchase that their doctors would accept, has an out of pocket maximum for both children combined of $10,200," Melissa said.

Not surprisingly, the Daverts take issue with the phrase "affordable care".

"We were told this new law was suppose to be such a good thing for everyone," Melissa said.

So, they turned to lawmakers.

"We met with representative Kildee, and we've also spoken with aids of Carl Levin's office and Debbie Stabenow's office," Melissa said.

Melissa says the congressional leaders could do little for their situation.

"At this time, it's really the law that's blocking things for us," she said.

While the Daverts are not looking for a handout, they are asking for help and support.

"We are not coming forward for donations. We don't want anything like that," Melissa said.

So what would Melissa tell President Obama, if she had the chance?

"I would say thank you for trying to make an attempt to help Americans who need help in regard to the insurance, but I would ask him to recognize the population that are out there that are not being helped and are being hurt by this law, and at least continue to work forward to revise the laws so that nobody is left out or hurt financially by the changes," she said.

The Daverts say they won't stop their fight. They want to be heard - and they hope others who are suffering will speak up, too.

"We plan to continue to speak out, in hopes that politicians won't walk away from this, that they continue to work on it to make it right for everyone," Melissa said.

The Davert's story has gotten national attention. Melissa says the family has been criticized for speaking out, but that won't silence her.

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