“I repeat: Coverage matters.”

By Pam H., Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA-49

No, I don’t have cancer or any other imminent, life-threatening disease — but I am a senior citizen, and I can tell you this: You don’t get to be my age without gaining at least a few pre-existing conditions.

Sometimes, it’s just a part of life — it’s part of living. And right now, I live with asthma, arthritis, and atrial fibrillation.

And while my medical problems may not be as heart-wrenching as others, they are chronic. They infect every part of my day, every day of my life. And all three require prescription medications and multiple doctor’s visits each year. And let me tell you, it adds up.

The only asthma inhaler that works for me is $961 for 90 days, and that comes out of pocket. That’s just the inhaler. I can’t come up with that kind of money on my own — even for something I need so I can breathe. I don’t know many who can. But with my health coverage, I only pay $62. I’m barely keeping my house together as it is. I’m right on the edge. I have enough money to handle my life, but if anything unexpected happens, it’s probably going the other way fast.

Coverage matters.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that coverage is “just a card” — it’s not.

And I’ll repeat it as many times as I have to: Coverage matters.

But even with the great coverage that I’m lucky to have, I still feel like I’m just sitting here, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Everybody feels a certain level of distress — whether they’ve got a swing-set in their backyard or a yacht in the marina. But no one in this country should have to worry about whether or not they’ll be able to afford the peace of mind of health coverage.

The thing is, I know I’m in a better place than a lot of other people. And that’s what scares me most. There are so many people out there — millions of Americans — who depend on the protections and financial support of Obamacare. I can only imagine the anxiety and fear they must be going through as elected officials in Congress play politics with their lives.

I’m going to be 75 next month. I don’t know what my future is going to look like. I’m looking into the abyss, and it’s a scary place to be — I have no idea how the political infighting in Washington is going to affect my insurance or that of my family. And apparently, neither did my congressman, Representative Darrel Issa, when he voted for that terrible bill to repeal Obamacare, pretty much sight-unseen.

Did he know that our premiums would go up? No.

Did he know that less people would be able to find affordable, quality coverage? No.

Did he even wait for expert analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office before voting in favor of it? No, he did not.

And he wasn’t alone.

They’re just rubber stamps for this administration.

If they want to try and run the government like a profit-focused business, fine. But then they better listen to their board — that’s us — when we speak out.

Originally published at www.ofa.us.