I still #FeelTheBern, but now #ImWithHer!
My name is Nathan Auldridge, and I still Feel the Bern! I even served on the Rules Committee for the Sanders Campaign this past Saturday. But now, I’m with Hillary — and I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure she wins Virginia and becomes our next president.
I earn between $9 and $11 per hour working as an In Home Support Provider and as a Personal Attendant for individuals with disabilities. I understand the importance of raising the minimum wage. Paying workers fair wages is equivalent to providing consumers with the resources they need to become reliable shoppers in their communities.
As a result of my work, I also know how difficult it is for disabled individuals who are trying to live in the community independently. The challenges many of them face to find safe, affordable housing that are appropriate for their age and ability level amounts to a crisis. As a civilized country, we need to realize that through no fault of their own, many people truly do require assistance from the government just to survive.
Yet healthcare reform has impacted my life more than any other issue. In 2006 at the age of 22, I had a cancerous tumor removed from the middle of my brain down at Duke University. I was extremely fortunate that my Dad’s insurance paid most of my $450,000 in medical bills for surgery, radiation and a shunt placement at that time.
After my treatment, I was categorized as someone with preexisting conditions that meant that I could be potentially very expensive to insure. Specifically, the risk that my Cancer could return or the mild version of narcolepsy I developed.
Before the Patient Protections that prevent discrimination in the Affordable Care Act went into effect, I was spending 55% of my small income on healthcare annually. That included a $5,000 deductible, which required me to pay $1,203 out of pocket for my narcolepsy medication each month until I met that deductible.
But now, my annual healthcare needs only cost me about 7.5% of my income. My premiums fell by nearly $400 each month and my deductible was reduced to just 10% of what it had been. And because of the way the Healthcare.gov website is set up, I could compare different policies side by side to see what I would be expected to pay out of pocket for prescription refills and doctors visits.
Since the ACA passed, the GOP controlled Congress has voted at least 62 times to repeal this important legislation. I simply cannot afford to hand the White House and the veto power that comes with it, over to a man who heartlessly mocks the kinds of disabled individuals I care for, Donald Trump.
So even though I still “Feel the Bern” for the Revolution, and will continue to work to expand access to healthcare further, I have every intention of campaigning hard for Hillary Clinton in the general election!
We simply cannot trust all the progress we’ve made on healthcare and international diplomacy in the hands of a thin skinned, plutocrat with contempt for the common people. We need to move FORWARD!