(Originally posted on Facebook)
While I was in grad school, the health insurance plan offered by UChicago was exorbitantly expensive, so I turned to the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) for help. Knowing very little about health insurance, I solicited help from a friend who worked with healthcare navigators to make sure I was getting a good plan for me. It was a super confusing process that made me feel pretty unintelligent, but I got a plan that cut my healthcare costs by over 50% in comparison to the UChicago plan.
Then, nearly immediately, I got some scary news from my gynecologist. During my regular Pap smear, they found some abnormal cells on my cervix. If left alone they would almost certainly turn into cancer. I needed surgery to remove them.
I spent hours on the phone with the hospital insurance people trying to understand how much the surgery would cost, crying in public more than once when the people on the other line had no answers for me. Eventually, I decided to have the surgery and figure the money out later because being broke and healthy seemed like a better option than only sort of broke but suffering from cervical cancer. The surgery went well.
In a couple months, I steeled myself at my mailbox when I received my first bill from the hospital, not knowing what to expect. Amazingly, the entire procedure (which cost over $10,000) was covered and I only owed ~$300. #ThanksObama
This experience wasn’t perfect. Along the way it was hard to get answers, hard not to stress about money over health. The Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect, and our healthcare system still needs improvements. But thanks to this big step forward, I could afford the care I needed as an underemployed graduate student and not add healthcare debt to my student loan debt.
If your elected officials are voting to repeal this lifesaving law, please call them ASAP! Let them know that getting rid of something because it’s not perfect is unacceptable, especially in the face of not having a firm plan in place for a solidly better replacement. Americans should never go broke in order to get healthy ever again.