On the Anniversary of the ACA: Reality and Gratitude

Last Friday was the 8th birthday of the Affordable Care Act. Because it just saved my life, this birthday was especially meaningful to me. Through all the trials and tribulations of the past year, we’re both still here. And we’re both hoping for many more birthdays to come.

I traveled up to Reno to be a part of a celebration event hosted by Battle Born Progress, OFA Nevada, and Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood. While there, I finally had a chance to meet Emily Fay Reese in person!

Photo by Emily Fay Reese

The week before the ACA’s birthday, I received the wonderful news from my doctors that I am in remission — but while in Reno, I also received an unfortunate reality check. My new friend Emily is going through some health issues of her own, and I don’t know what the future holds for me either. I hope to stay in remission for the rest of my life, and I hope for that life to be long. But I have no guarantee of that. I will need to see a doctor every few months to get scans, and we’ll deal with the results as we get them.

This is why health insurance is critical, for Emily, for me, for everyone. I hope for sunshine and fair skies for us all, but bad things can and do happen to anybody at any time.

Millions of dollars has been spent collectively on keeping many of my new friends alive — and his is money that none of us had waiting in a bank account. Health care costs for a serious injury or illness can be astronomical — far higher than anybody except for the extreme wealthy could ever pay.

That’s what the point of insurance is: we can all pay in a little bit, collectively, over time, to help out our neighbor when they have a car accident, or a catastrophic fire. We do this because it’s the right thing to do, because we are compassionate people, and because we know it could be our turn next.

I am so grateful to the decades of scientific research that led to the treatment that saved my life. I am equally grateful to all the medical personnel that have helped me along the way. But without the Affordable Care Act, I would not have made it to 2018 and I would not be looking forward to my own birthday in a couple months.

That’s why I’m a #HealthCareVoter, and I hope you will be also. The politicians that do not support us can enjoy their birthdays even more in retirement.