Lest we forget: Real human beings are being helped by the ACA.

This site is so much about number-crunching that the human factor often gets lost in these parts. Every once in awhile I try to remind myself (and my readers) of that, and with #OE2 coming up in just 3 days, this seems like as good a time as any:

The Affordable Care Act may have saved Nehemiah Ankoor’s life, and the health care law helped Carol Jackson get her life back.

The second enrollment period for private health insurance subsidized through the federal law will take place Saturday through Feb. 15. Ankoor and Jackson, Springfield-area residents who previously were uninsured, signed up for coverage during the first enrollment period, which ended March 31.

They said they hope rhetoric from critics of the law doesn’t discourage uninsured people from applying for what, to them, turned out to be a godsend.

“Obamacare’s a great thing,” Ankoor, 22, said of President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement. “It’s helping a lot of people who you wouldn’t think it would help.”

Ankoor, a Springfield resident, was able to get a private health insurance policy earlier this year for an affordable monthly premium of $130 — the price he paid because he qualified for a $95 federal subsidy. The coverage gave Ankoor access to a psychiatrist and medicine for bipolar disorder to fend off suicidal thoughts.

“It really made a difference for me,” he said.

Over at Eclectablog, my friend Amy Lynn Smith tells her story:

To recap: I kept all my doctors, I’m paying less overall — about $9,000 less per year total — I get better customer service and my insurance was there when I needed it most. My costs have been predictable and any surprises I’ve had have been good ones.

Part of the reason I’ve fared so well is that I did my homework before picking a plan. There’s no reason everyone can’t do the same and find coverage that suits their needs and budget. It’s worth taking a couple hours to consider all the pros and consof the plans that may be right for you. I know there are people who think they’re stuck paying more under the ACA, but I honestly think many of them simply didn’t do their research.

In fact, there's an entire website and companion Facebook page devoted to people telling their stories about how the ACA has helped them.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: The ACA is a big, ugly, messy Frankensteinian behemoth with a lot of weird stuff in it...but overall, it's still a hell of an improvement over what came before. It's nice to see real world examples of this.