Webb Smith Jr.'s ACA Story
We are deeply saddened to have to update MyACA.com, which was inspired entirely by Webb Smith Jr., with news that Webb has passed. He died on September 19th, 2017 surrounded by his loving family at home in East Lansing, Michigan.
Webb was, and will continue to be, an inspiration. Not just for everyone at MyACA, and HealthNetwork, but for many others within the healthcare industry and outside of it. His courage, honesty, humility, and transparency, is nothing short of incredible. We wish his family, friends and loved ones our most sincere condolences, and we are honored to have had the chance to spend time with Webb and share his story with others.
We think it is important to note that while Webb did end up losing his battle with cancer, as so many do each year, he beat the horrible odds and prognosis he was originally given. If not for the numerous treatments he received by the doctors at Sloan Kettering and other facilities, Webb was not expected to not survive much of 2014.
We encourage all individuals to actively participate in their health and wellness, and to be proactive about preventative care and screenings.
Links To Webb Smith Jr. Obituary:
We are so incredibly happy to report that Webb has been given the official status of being 100% cancer free. He’s no longer having to travel from Florida to New York to visit Sloan Kettering every two weeks. He’s on a minimal schedule that requires him to check in every three months. MyACA.com can’t express how happy we are for Webb and his family.
We are happy to report that as a result of MyACA.com, two companies who are involved within the health insurance industry heard about Webb Smith Jr. and his story. They were both inspired by his courageous act to share his own personal story and wanted to do whatever they could to help Webb and his family with their significant medical debt. Both organizations donated $5,000 each to Webb and his family. So far $10,000 has been raised and MyACA.com will continue to spread the word about Webb’s story. The following link has more information on the two organizations who donated the funds to Webb and his family.
In November of 2013, at the age of 45, Webb Smith Jr. was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer, which is extremely rare for someone his age. At the time of his diagnosis Webb Smith Jr. was uninsured because like millions of other Americans, he felt it wasn’t necessary because he felt very healthy overall. After realizing that something was wrong with his health and due to the fact that he did not have health insurance, Webb had to rely on emergency room doctors in order to start the diagnosis process. After a number of ER visits and expensive tests, doctors were not only able to diagnose Webb with colorectal cancer, but were also able to definitively determine that it was Stage 4 colorectal cancer that in fact had spread to his liver. Webb Smith Jr. learned that his liver had more than 22 separate cancerous legions and because of this doctors said his outlook and hope for a successful outcome from treatment was very grim.
If that were not enough to deal with, simply getting to the diagnosis point, which was life shattering information, cost Webb Smith Jr. and his family $25,000 in out-of-pocket expenses simply because he was uninsured. A liver surgeon explained to Webb that he was not a good candidate for surgery because of how much the cancer had spread to all parts of his liver. He was given a 10% to 20% chance to live up to two years.
At the time of his diagnosis, the Affordable Care Act had just begun the first open-enrollment period. Up until that time Webb, like most Americans, had very little knowledge about the ACA (Obamacare) and because of this, Webb was also not in favor of the Affordable Care Act. This was and still is extremely common because the misinformation and the politically driven confusion surrounding the ACA is significant.
Who Is Webb Smith Jr.?
Webb is a small business owner, a life-long registered Republican and someone who still struggles with the idea of supporting the polarizing law because there are aspects of it that he does not support. The one part of the law that Webb does support is widely considered one of the most important parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is the part of the law that prevents health insurance companies from refusing health insurance to an individual or family because of a pre-existing condition, such as cancer.
To Hear All Of Webb’s Story In Detail Watch The Video Below
Due to the Affordable Care Act, On January 1st, 2014 Webb was able to enroll in a healthcare plan despite having colorectal cancer, a life threatening pre-existing condition. Like millions of other Americans seeking healthcare, Webb Smith Jr. and his wife made more than a dozen attempts to enroll in a plan through Healthcare.gov, but were unable to due to the technical glitches with the website during the beginning of the 2014 open-enrollment period. They were however able to get Webb coverage by getting assistance from a local health insurance agent recommended by someone in their church. Webb ended up enrolling in a great plan that was suited for his specific needs.
MyACA.com Disclosure: The health insurance plan Webb obtained through a private company, is in fact the same plan that was available through Healthcare.gov. The plan and coverage options were identical. MyACA.com feels it should note that the technical problems that the government site Healthcare.gov received last year are expected to have been resolved.
Once Webb Smith Jr. had health insurance coverage, from that point on he was able to get access to the best healthcare available, including treatment at the top cancer center Sloan Kettering in New York. One of the first procedures he underwent as the result of having health insurance coverage, was surgery to remove the cancerous tumor in his colon.
Because Webb was no longer without health coverage, and relying on treatment from the ER, he started to receive advanced chemotherapy treatments and after some positive progression, was told that the cancerous legions on his liver began to shrink and ultimately enough of them were destroyed by the chemotherapy that Webb became a viable candidate for surgery on his liver. This was the same surgery that Webb was told just months prior, that he was not a viable candidate for. Subsequently Webb had surgery to bisect a portion of his liver that was most impacted with cancer.
Although Webb is still currently receiving treatment, as of October 25th, 2014, the most recent biopsies from Webb’s liver revealed that 95% of the cancer cells were dead. This is great progress, and Webb’s doctors are very optimistic for this man who before having obtained health insurance, and access to better healthcare options, had a 10% to 20% chance to live another two years.
Webb does not find himself supporting the President on many issues, he’s still a conservative Christian Republican, that hasn’t changed and it will not. Webb however has stated that he would not support a repeal of the Affordable Care Act but feels that it could be, like almost anything in life, improved upon. Repealing the ACA would not only mean that not just his life, but the lives of millions of other Americans who are facing similar circumstances would again be put at risk.
A little more than a year ago, it was very easy for Webb to not be in support of the ACA, in large part because of the amount of misinformation spread by political figures on the left and right, as well as confusion caused by the sheer complexity of the law. Webb still doesn’t know everything he’d like to about the ACA, but quite simply, he hasn’t had time to research it as much as he would like to. Battling a very aggressive form of cancer, while trying to balance his responsibilities as a father, husband and business owner, it leaves little time for him to search out unbiased sources of information on the Affordable Care Act.
Webb still continues to work an almost identical schedule running his business Shades And More in Delray Beach, Florida while simultaneously battling stage four cancer.
Webb is just like any other American, who are simply trying to get through life one day at a time. MyACA.com thanks Webb and his family for having the courage and humility to make their story public.
Webb Smith Jr. has set aside the fact that he is still currently battling with cancer as of today, and made it very clear that he feels it is very important that Americans hear his story immediately. If learning about how the ACA and being able to obtain healthcare has given him a second chance at life helps one person, to him any attention he receives, positive or negative is well worth it.
Life is complicated, healthcare is complicated, and it is very easy to be opposed to something when you don’t have all of the facts about it. While Webb might not agree with all aspects of the Affordable Care Act, ultimately he does believe that he would not have received the same level of care, or have even been provided with access to cancer specialists such as Sloan Kettering if it were not for the ACA. Had Webb continued to seek treatment without health insurance, it would have continued to be inadequate for his medical needs, and would have most certainly created hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical debt for his family to be left to deal with.
For more information about Webb Smith Jr., or to find out how you might be able to help him and his family help others become more aware of the dangers of colorectal cancer, please visit his website WebbSmithJr.com