Jackson's younger sister, Kennedy, developed a hemangioma, a bundle of small veins that have become bunched together and dilated, shortly after she was born. According to Boston Children's Hospital
, between 4-10 percent of children are born with hemangiomas. Most require no or minor medical treatment and typically are not life threatening. On rare occasions, hemangiomas can be life threatening, which was the case with Kennedy. In the first nine months of her life, Kennedy's tumor grew so large she diagnosed with congestive heart failure.
Kennedy's mother, Lindsay Ripley, told the Huffingon Post
"She was very ill and in and out of the hospital for the first two years of her life. During which she had several procedures, surgeries, MRI's, CT's and hospitalized many, many times, making her our million dollar baby when she was around a year old."
Kennedy's father, John Ripley, lost his job in 2009 which left the family without health insurance. Although John found a new job just three months later, the small company did not offer health insurance, forcing the Ripley's to shop for private insurance. None of the insurance companies would accept Kennedy because of her pre-existing condition.
"Next to my daughter's name in big black bold letters was the word DENIED. The reason: Dollar amount previously spent, number of hospitalizations within five years and the pre-existing condition, congestive heart failure. I knew they were going to deny Kennedy, but I wasn’t prepared for how angry and sick it would make me feel. Like the insurance companies were saying my daughter was trash, she didn’t matter, wasn’t worth the same the health care and coverage the rest of us enjoy. Our only option was to purchase Kennedy an expensive policy through an insurance company exclusively for people with pre-existing conditions. Although they accepted Kennedy and took our money each month, they refused to cover her pre-existing condition, or anything caused by it, which was almost everything."
Jackson saw what was happening to his family and when he saw what the benefits of Obamacare would do within his own family, he watched closely when Romney pledged to repeal it.
After seeing the subject on the news he decided it was time for him to write a letter to Romeny. The Daily Kos
printed the letter in it's entirety.
Dear Governor Romney,
I’d like to say congratulations on winning the republican nomination. But, I wish you stayed in Massachusetts. You’re plan for America isn’t what we need, and would hurt us more than it would help.
First, repealing Obama care and other health plans he’s put in place have helped families across America, including mine. I live in a middle class family, and two years ago my little sister; Kennedy was denied insurance because of her pre-existing condition. This was a huge emotional stress and financial burden on my entire family. Under Obama Care, insurance companies can no longer deny Kennedy and kids like her, the coverage they need and deserve. Because of Obama care my little sister was able to have the several surgeries she needed that helped save her life. Once the President was elected he put Obama Care into action, just like he promised and made it so that you could get insurance with pre-existing conditions. This has made a direct impact on my family. My family is with out a doubt better off now, than we were four years ago!
It is to my understanding that you stated that you were going to repeal Obama Care, including the part I have mentioned, which will take away the insurance we have and need for my sister Kennedy. Why do you think she doesn’t deserve health care? Also, when you were interviewed on “Meet the Press”, you stated that you would NOT repeal this part of Obama Care, but then your campaign backpedalled and on the “Tonight show with Jay Leno”, you said that you WOULD repeal this.
Also, you’re domestic plans (birth control, gay rights etc.) are horrible! Women should get to manage their own health, and if you wonder why you’re not appealing to many women voters, rethink your birth control and women’s’ rights plans. And people should be able to marry whom they want. We built this country so people could have freedom, and not have religious beliefs control them to that length. This country was in no way built on any religion, so we should not create laws that repress the American people in a religious way and hurt our most vulnerable.
Jackson Ripley, age 12
In 2010, the same year the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, Kennedy was added back onto the family policy. Kennedy has since been diagnosed with a vascular malformation and will very likely require treatment for the rest of her life.
Jackson told the Huffington Post
My inspiration for the letter was basically my frustration. It was painful (and sometimes a little funny) to see all the people that blindly (sic) supporting Mitt Romney, and I felt like I should bring that to people's attention. I already knew that his plans for America would tear us apart, and would bring more harm than good to families like mine, so I had to make a stand. What he would do was unfair, and I wanted to say something about that.
As reported in a Digital Journal
article, Romney recently said he wants to
"make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage."