Autostraddle’s Staff Shares Their Stories About Why We Need to #SaveTheACA

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Almost since the day it was passed into law, Republicans have been doing their best to weaken, hinder, block, and debilitate the Affordable Care Act in place of being able to outright repeal it. Now, with a majority vote in both the House and Senate and a president who will sign off on anything, whether he’s able to understand what it is he’s passing into law or not, we’re at risk of losing the Affordable Care Act entirely; the first steps, a budget resolution that doesn’t change any laws but lays the groundwork too, has already passed. What’s more, they’re hoping to defund Planned Parenthood in the process, meaning that low-income people who rely on the services of Planned Parenthood for routine and preventative care like mammograms and testing will be left out in the cold. We could be returned not only to the days before the ACA, but to something even worse with even fewer options.The Republicans have yet to come up with a replacement for the ACA but want to repeal it anyway,

This won’t happen immediately — even with a Republican majority, our government is still pretty convoluted, and bills for both the repeal and replacement still need to be drafted and voted on. If you are covered under the ACA, you’re still good for at least a year, regardless of what happens.

Autostraddle’s staff are just a few examples of how, imperfect as it is, the Affordable Care Act has and still is saving lives and helping people stay healthy who would otherwise be left without options. Even just this small sampling — not even everyone on our small staff has shared here how the ACA has impacted them! — it’s clear that losing this legislation would completely derail the course of many people’s lives, as well as the future of small businesses and the work of artists and activists. It’s crucial that we use the time we have before a repeal is voted on to organize, locally and nationally, and force our elected representatives to #SaveTheACA.


Mey, Trans Editor and Music Editor

I am a trans woman who has epilepsy and clinical depression. I need to take ten prescription pills a day. I also go to weekly therapy to help with my depression and suicidal ideation. Because of my many medications, I need to regularly get lab work done. That is a lot of medical bills. I would not be able to afford any of that without the ACA. It’s literally been keeping me alive these past few years. And I say that with no hyperbole or misuse of the word literally. The Affordable Care Act (along with family and friends who love and support me) is the reason I’m not dead and the reason I can write and honestly, the reason I can be myself.


Karly, Intern

I was very supportive of ACA when it passed, even though I didn’t need it personally. First, my mom is a breast cancer survivor. She had a year-long treatment and then several checkups, as well as other diagnoses due to the harsh side effects of chemotherapy. She is a frequent user of our health care system, and has pre-existing conditions. I was relieved that if she wanted to change coverage, she wouldn’t be rejected because of that. Even though at the time I was under my parents’ insurance and I’m on a plan through my university now – I was able to stay on my parents’ until age 26. I was working as a shift supervisor for a bookstore and the thought of paying monthly premiums struck me with fear, but I could purchase “bronze” level coverage because I’m young and healthy and don’t need much healthcare. I know now that the ACA is structured to give the sick and older (like my mom) more help than the healthy, young people who don’t need medical care often (like me). The Republicans’ plans suggested are opposite in nature: they emphasize insuring young, healthy people who won’t use the healthcare system in order to save money, rather than prioritize older, sicker people. It’s important to remember that, because it’s contrary to the entire premise of the ACA and horrible. That’s why we should save the ACA.


Carrie, Staff Writer

Before the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies could have taken one look at me and said “thanks but no thanks.” Because the rumors are true: having cerebral palsy (AKA a preexisting condition) is damn expensive. Orthotics, physical therapy, and surgeries have a way of running up your bill, and for me they are also facts of life. I shouldn’t walk further than my own backyard without my braces on — so forget about getting to work on time, running errands, or leading any sort of independent social life if they’re not available. The surgeries are the real kicker, though. I really learned the value of health insurance when my spinal surgery in college — done on an emergency schedule and without which I wouldn’t be writing to you now — cost my family a few hundred bucks rather than the tens of thousands it could have. Forgoing insurance isn’t an option for me, period. There’s too much going on in my medical record to ever risk it.

Though I’m now on employer-based healthcare (which, by the way, is still affected by Obamacare’s preexisting condition provision — if that part vanishes, I could be in for a world of hurt regardless of who my insurer is), I spent two years getting coverage through the ACA. Buying my own health insurance is what made me feel like an adult for the first time. And because of that insurance, I could build the career I have now. There is absolutely no way I would be doing my current work, or possibly even involved in the disability community at all, if not for the time I spent on Obamacare. And I’m a relatively uncomplicated and cheap case; it cannot be overstated how vital the ACA is to disabled folks around the country, and how much danger we will immediately be in without it. My mom has admitted that she lost sleep worrying about my insurance coverage before the ACA, and that anxiety is all too real for so many disabled people and our families. Obamacare turned me from a liability into a full citizen worth protecting, and to see it roll backward instead of march forward would be a stain on our national history and an immediate threat to countless people who deserve the same rights and opportunities as our nondisabled peers.


Erin, Staff Writer

My plan on the ACA relied heavily on the monthly credit I received due to being a poor freelancer! I used it primarily for prescriptions, and because those are regulating what will now be considered pre-existing conditions, I’m out. I love this crazy/beautiful life!


Cecelia, Staff Writer

I haven’t taken advantage of the healthcare marketplace yet because I’m lucky enough to be covered by my parents insurance until I’m 26, which is also a provision of the ACA. But if the ACA goes away, I’m totally fucked. The ACA gave me the ability to plan my future around centering activism, art and community. Without the ACA, I have to start planning for a future in which I’ll have to center my life around a career that provides benefits, which will require me to shift my focus to meaningfully contributing to institutions and capitalism. Making that career choice would give me less time to fix this world we’ve inherited and take care of the people who live in it. The reality is that I’m going to continue to live my radical life anyway. This means that eventually I won’t be able to take care of myself when I need medical help. And if I can’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of my community. The consequences of this sort of thing happening on a generational level are deeply urgent. We need to be able to take care of ourselves to continue doing the work we do, so we need the ACA.


Heather, Senior Editor

I spent most of my professional life working in accounting and office management, and with the exception of the very first (giant) corporation I worked for in college, I have never been offered health insurance through an employer. I worked for small businesses, family-run companies that were built by hard-working rural Georgians. And when I wasn’t doing the accounting or office managing part of my job, I would often go back to the warehouses to help assemble things or drive the forklift (OSHA certified, thank you very much!) or package stuff for shipment.

If I wanted health insurance I had to pay for it myself. If I wanted maternity coverage I had to pay extra. So it wasn’t a huge leap for me, health insurance-wise, when I left the world of accounting to become a writer and editor. (One of the lies the GOP has perpetuated about the ACA is it’s for people who don’t work or for starving artist-types who don’t want to get a “real” job.) The only health insurance I could ever afford were catastrophic plans that basically ensured that I wouldn’t go bankrupt if I got into some kind an accident. But if I actually wanted to go see a doctor, the deductible was so high I was just paying out of my pocket. I had a series of heart issues (that were actually anxiety issues) in my late 20s and the mandated stress test from my family physician cost me $6,000. In addition to that, I changed insurance every year because I always needed to go with the cheapest plan available to me, and every time I changed plans I dragged my pre-existing conditions with me.

Now I’m able to buy insurance through the New York Health Exchange. Based on my income, I get around $200 a month as a pre-tax subsidy, which is applied directly to my insurance bill, which is around $500 per month. An ACA subsidy is based on your income and the average cost of a silver level plan. So while I’m paying about $300 a month out of my pocket for insurance, it’s good insurance! The deductible is manageable and so are my out of pocket expenses. I can have regular check-ups and screenings (which is important because my mother had breast cancer, my sister had thyroid cancer, and congestive heart failure runs in my family). And this year, after a lot of dismissal and misdiagnosis, I’m finally going to be able to get treated for some health issues that have been plaguing me for almost 14 years.

Anyway you shake it down, if the ACA goes away and with it the pre-existing conditions clause, I’m going to be back to having barely catastrophic insurance coverage.


Laneia, Executive Editor

I signed up my family of three — me and two kids — for the ACA as soon as it was available. I’d gone without health insurance for years and they’d recently lost insurance after their dad quit his full-time job. No health insurance meant that when I broke my foot in Palm Springs, I couldn’t do anything about it. It also meant paying full price (around $80 a month) for generic anti-depressants after paying full price ($125) for an office visit to obtain that prescription, which literally saved my life. It meant taking the kids to the CVS Minute Clinic when they had sever sinus infections because that was a flat-rate service and the people working there didn’t make me feel like shit for not having insurance. Not having health insurance also meant that it actually made the most sense for Megan, who I’d just started dating a couple of weeks prior, to voluntarily contract the pinkeye all three of us had so she could use her insurance to get a prescription for antibiotic eye drops and convince the doctor to prescribe her two of them, which we all shared.

That is beyond ridiculous.

Megan and I are married now (thanks Obama!), so all four of us are on an insurance plan offered through her employer. My prescriptions cost a measly $15 a month and I feel like I’m robbing the place every time I pick them up. When a kid is sick, we load ’em up and drive to our general practitioner, knowing the care we receive be affordable, compassionate and competent. I feel more in control of our health, and therefore our lives, than I ever have.

Last summer, Megan decided she was serious about starting a career in healthcare. She was hoping to go back to school full-time, which would mean quitting her current job and obviously losing that health insurance. This felt doable at the time — money would be beyond tight, but we’d fall back on the ACA and make it work. Now we’re reevaluating everything. Without the ACA, she most likely won’t be able to quit her job to go to school and pursue her dreams. That is a crushing reality, one that affects the entirety of all of our lives — even the lives of future generations of our family. Without the ACA, she’s stuck. We’re stuck.


Riese, CEO and Editor-in-Chief

Autostraddle’s six full-time employees live in five different states, making it impossible for us to offer health insurance, as bulk-priced employer plans require employers to have more than one employee in a given state in order to qualify. The Affordable Care Act is crucial to our survival, as it enables our employees to easily obtain health insurance independently of their employer. (And I do offer to reimburse our full-time employees for their monthly ACA premiums if they need it.) Almost all our full-timers are insured through their partners’ employers, but some of us do use Obamacare. Freelancers in general — which means “most of our writers” — also often rely on the ACA to survive. A repeal would be yet ANOTHER huge blow to independent publications like ours that can’t offer the same rates big corporate websites can. I was on Medicaid when I lived in New York, which was free but required some creative accounting (namely, not depositing my mostly-cash income to the bank). When I moved to Oakland, I was able to get on a similar program there for low-income residents, but I could only see doctors or fill prescriptions at one specific hospital. Finally, in 2012, I was able to get on my then-girlfriend’s health insurance, through her employer, by filling out a domestic partnership affidavit. I somehow managed to remain on her health insurance for two years after our breakup, up until October, when she was laid off. This meant the ACA became my only option for insurance. So far, my experience with it has been, honestly, really awful and ridiculously expensive, but I still feel its existence is imperative to the ongoing existence of our business because of its impact on the actual health and financial health of our employees, contractors, freelancers and customers. 33% of our American readership makes under $35k a year, which means if they are insured via the ACA, they receive premium subsidies, and it’s possible those subsidies could be the difference between them being able to attend A-Camp and/or join A+, or not.

So, like I said, my own experience with the healthcare marketplace has been pretty lousy, but I know without the ACA, it would’ve been even harder to find a healthcare plan to begin with. I have pre-existing conditions and I’ve been uninsured a lot throughout my life because I’ve never had a full-time salary job or employer health care, and Medicaid was my only option for coverage that cost less than $800/month.

I feel it’s important to explain why my experience with the marketplace has been lousy, so here goes: I had to sign up in October, when my ex-ex-girlfriend was laid off, thus meaning I was paying a hefty premium ($311/month) BUT no benefits had kicked in yet because I’d yet to pay off my $2k deductible. But the deductible resets at the end of the year, meaning I was paying out-of-pocket for all medical services AND paying my premium for the last three months of the year. Then, because healthcare.gov is a shitshow that never works, I somehow managed to get dropped from my insurance for 2017 due to essentially a technical glitch on the website. So, now I won’t be covered until February, meaning I had to cancel therapy for the month, which I can’t afford out of pocket if it’s not going towards my deductible (which has gone up to $2.5k from $2k since 2016), my monthly medications cost nearly $250, and the out-of-pocket cost of the psychiatrist appointment I attended prior to knowing I’d been dropped won’t go towards my deductible! AND YET I STILL KNOW THAT THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS OUR BEST POSSIBLE OPTION!

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41 Comments

  1. The ACA isn’t perfect, if you make just above the minimum it can still be really expensive for poor coverage (my partner’s experience), and medicaid is a humiliating pain in the ass to navigate (my experience).

    However. I appreciate that because of the ACA and that Colorado opted IN, I actually can access care that I couldn’t before (especially therapy). My partner was actually able to get coverage, and then her employer was able to cover her which was not possible before.

    If ACA is repealed, I’m not sure what happens to her coverage, but I’ll be screwed.

  2. y’all live in a truly barbaric society…damn…

    and here in England the NHS is being slowly decimated until we end up like you???

    honestly why is any of this happening, it’s not like republicans are magically immune from being poor or sick???????????????????????????

    the sheer lack of logic and compassion in politics (slash within yt men) is just so eternally depressingly painful…

    we all deserve so much better. it’s so frustrating when these problems DON’T NEED to happen and yet day by day they keep proliferating.

  3. Holy crap.

    HOLY CRAP.

    You pay 300$/month for health insurance?!

    I knew the situation in the US was even worse than the healthcare situation in the Netherlands, but man, I am never going to complain about my monthly payments or deductibles again.

    Can someone explain to me why there are people that are not into everyone being insured? I mean, I just don’t get it.

    • Well I am one of those people. I don’t believe that big criminal organizations like Insurance companies should be making money of me being not healthy. I believe that doctors are overpaid people who all they care about is their bottom line than the well-being of their patients. I have 3 dentists in my family and all of them hated ACA because it made them less money. Needless to say we still are on bad terms. Until health insurance companies admit wrongdoing, neglect, and only caring about their share holders, I don’t promote health insurance. Thankfully, I found a general practitioner in my area who is queer, and doesn’t accept insurance either.

      • I agree that the whole system is very broken and that many healthcare corporations are criminal in their markups and exploitation. But what happens if or when you or someone in your family needs surgery, or an expensive prescription?

      • My mom is also a dentist who both agrees with the ACA and bemoans the fact that it is making it hard for her to literally turn a profit at all. But it’s the same issue that she’s dealt with insurance companies, as none of them have raised what they will allow her to charge for fillings or crowns in 5? maybe 10??? years, despite the fact that wages have gone up, and material costs have gone up astronomically, and because it’s her own practice she’s also paying 100% of the overhead costs, which have also gone up.

        I also don’t think doctors are overpaid or don’t care about their patients, but all of my medical care professionals spend more time with me than they are allowed to bill to insurance (like…twice the allowable billable time generally) and aren’t LOSING money but…are definitely not raking it in. Doctors aren’t allowed to spend more than 15-20 minutes with patients–at least the time that they can bill to insurances and therefore charge people with insurance! That’s absurd! And I am generally not mad at the medial professionals for that because hey yeah, I wouldn’t want to work overtime and not get paid for it either (and if they’re part of a larger practice, spending more time with patients could literally mean their job because they aren’t making the practice money).

        110% of the blame is on insurance companies trying to make a profit on others’ health, and we see that reflected in that the US has some of the highest healthcare costs. Insurance companies manage to gauge both the doctors and the patients, and yet neither side can afford to cut ties with the leeches.

      • The ACA is the reason that I have insurance right now, the reason that I have the possibility of having a fully-functional ankle again with enough PT, and likely the reason I’m actually alive–extending the age to 26 enabled me to stay on my parents’ plan when I was 6 months out of college, just into interviews for jobs, when I got appendicitis. I was sent from the ER once and had I not had insurance I would have refused to go back until I was not physically able to refuse to go.

        And then now since I have developed/been diagnosed with several chronic illnesses, if the ACA is repealed I have no idea how I’ll be able to afford medical care. I do know that without medical care I will not be able to work due to the amount of pain I’ll be in and at least one of the conditions will likely require surgery that will be, oh, tens of thousands of dollars. So I’m fucking terrified, y’all.

  4. Holy shit “$300 per month” on healthcare???!!!

    I’m currently unemployed so I get all my healthcare via Public Health (yes, that communist/Canadian thing that so many americans don’t like) and I thank Jebus for that because I’ve been a type 1 diabetic since I was 19 years old and I get all my medication (insulin, several pills and all those pesky things for checking my blood-sugar) for free.

  5. I can’t believe a stress test costs 6000 bucks OUT OF POCKET this is outrageous.

    I’m so fucking greatfull to live in Europe. I’m in the process of diagnosis for a reall shitty genetic disease and the doctors are 90% sure now, so next step is a genetic test. I bet those are fucking expensive. I won’t pay a single penny of it. I can’t imagine going through this process having to worry about how much it will cost, or either not even being able to find out because the tests would be too expansive :o.

    Like what’s the fucking point of the American Dream? What’s so great about a country in which people die because they’ve got a tooth ache and can’t afford a dentist, and then they get scepticemia and are just gone?!!!

    I’m so so sorry for all of you guys. It just feels so barbaric. I don’t get how people can argue against universal health care.

  6. I have autism, and my mom has multiple sclerosis. Both of us have a family history of cancer.
    I’ve tried calling my(Republican)senator every day for the last week to demand he protect the ACA, but every time I’m unable to leave a message because the mailbox is full. Hopefully that means I’m not the only one calling in defense of the human right to healthcare.

    • A tip about calling your senator: if you’re calling his Washington office (the number starting with a 202 area code), you can also look on their website to find local offices; they’ll usually have one or two offices in the state they represent as well as in Washington, and those mailboxes often aren’t full. It’s worth looking them up and trying a call! Thank you for your efforts!

  7. I am happy that you were all able to find coverage; but, stuff like the ACA doesn’t fix the root of the problem, which is insurance is a profit driven system. Shouldn’t the real answer be we demand from our politicians that insurance and pharmaceutical companies do all they can for their customers and not for their shareholders? Sure it will cause to have less profits, but at least if they care about the customer they will have a cleaner conscious. But, that’s just me someone who’d rather solve the heart of the problem than patch it up with an expensive solution.

    • Why can’t we do both? The ACA is emergency first aid on a very broken system. Our work to fix it doesn’t have to stop with the ACA, but we need something RIGHT NOW that will help people receive lifesaving care until the whole system can be fixed more comprehensively.

      • But, having the ACA then doesn’t fix the underlying problem. It’s like trying to patch a leak in a bucket while standing under a waterfall. It’s going to be hard. If it was possible, I’d be totally promoting the whole nation go without healthcare for a month just bleed these companies dry. But, that’s just never going to happen, because people need to see Drs.(some like my friend see their general practitioner almost monthly, she says it makes her feel good to get a check up). You else ever notice that most Doctors aren’t protesting for ACA, or even vocal about their support for it. Makes you wonder why.

        • No, it doesn’t fix the underlying problem – but it does provide lifesaving health care for some people who would not otherwise be able to afford it. What would you suggest those people do when ACA ends? Most of them aren’t just ‘seeing their GP monthly for checkups’ because it ‘makes them feel good.’ Some need health care to stay alive.

        • I’m not sure what your experiences with doctors are, but they don’t sound positive so I’m sorry for that. But its a lie that most of us don’t care about or support the ACA. In fact, perhaps more than any other group who doesn’t rely on it for health care, we see daily the importance of enabling our patients to have good affordable health care. We have also all seen the tragedies of treatable conditions that have killed people because they couldn’t get treated.
          Are there scumbag doctors? Definitely. Are there ines who are only in it for the $$ and would fight against lifesaving measures if it hurt them? Probably, although that sickens me. But there are also those of us who work in safety net hospitals, community health centers, public schools and more. We also spend hours and days on the phone convincing your insurance to cover a drug, procedure or treatment that they want to reject.

          I firmly believe the majority of us want what’s best for our patients first and foremost

          Wholesale Insurance reform is a fascinating idea that I’m not really well enough versed in to have strong opinions. I am fully on board that it feels slimy and wrong to have a company that cares most about its profits and secondarily about getting you coverage

  8. Dunno if the shock/horror reactions from all the europeans is making y’all feel better or worse?But keep fighting guys… 58 countries in the world have universal health care so it is possible!

    To be totally honest though, its shit like this I think about every time some American calls the USA the “greatest country on earth” (cue retching noise).
    In every other “first world” country we consider universal health cover, compulsory paid sick leave, compulsory paid holidays, liveable minimum wage and affordable higher education to be the bare minimum a country needs to provide for its citizens in order to be considered a decent place to live.
    Lucky USA has it’s hollywood marketing machine propping it up or people would realise how overrated it is…

  9. Another outraged/incredulous non-American here. I’ve never really understood the ACA very well, I’ve mostly just believed the media organizations and pundits that I trust when they’ve told me what it does and how much better it is than what existed previously, but HOLY CRAP. Hearing your real life stories really drives that point home.

  10. This is crazy. I wish I could make everyone in the UK read this so that none of us ever forget how wonderful and important the NHS is. Worrying about health stuff is bad enough as it is, I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have to deal with health worries and also have the huge stress of worrying about how you’re going to pay for your doctor visit/medication/treatment.

    I really hope for all of your sakes that the repeal doesn’t happen and that the system is improved.

    • I remember when my wife needed to go to the emergency room, and when we got there she kept stressing about how much it was going to cost, as we didn’t have health insurance. It was odd right after, worrying about her health and trying to call all of the different places to pay the different pieces- ER doctor, ER, labs for testing, etc. And there were some cash pay discounts available, and thankfully we had savings, but yeah, it was expensive. Whenever my wife doesn’t feel well she is now very reluctant to get care.

  11. I’ve had mixed experiences with the ACA – but it is also the reason my partner and I are insured right now and that’s good. I’m kind of terrified for the future since we are both self-employed right now. Most of my bad experiences come from things that could be fixed or improved.

    The ACA went into effect about the same time partner was laid-off and it was much cheaper for him to buy insurance through the exchange than through my employer sponsored insurance. Then I was laid off and thank goodness for the ACA.

    NGL – getting signed up was really hard for me – one of my PTSD triggers is bad customer service and complicated bureaucracy (for real – emotionally it feels exactly like my childhood trauma) and I honestly cried my way through the website and trying to talk to a human being. But once I was enrolled, it was lovely – and it even covered couples therapy and saved our marriage.

    Each year our coverage has gotten worse. Our deductibles have gone up to the point that I’m basically paying for office visits out of my pocket. And almost all of the local hospital networks have stopped accepting our plan, including that of my doctor (or our insurance carrier has stopped working with the local hospitals – I don’t actually understand any of it).

    I really don’t want to change doctors because I’ve been with mine for years and she’d good with my PTSD. I had a complete meltdown in my doctor’s office the first time I went in for my annual after her practice stopped accepting my plan. I ended up paying out of pocket for my pap smear (and it wasn’t as expensive as I feared) and my lovely doctor talked me into trying an anti-anxiety medication (I’d resisted for years) and that made a huge difference.

    This is the first year that we’ve made enough money to not qualify for the subsidies – so yay, now we’re paying twice what we paid before.

    And even with all of my complaining, I still think that the ACA should be fixed and not repealed. I still think it does a lot of good. And I also know that I’ve been incredibly lucky – we’re both pretty healthy and have enough family help that we’re doing ok.

  12. Recently, my dad’s employer dropped spouses from their insurance. My mom signed up for ACA immediately, but there was some gap time before everything was processed and she got her insurance card in the mail. She needed a refill on insulin and figured she would suck it up and pay full price because well, she needed it and couldn’t wait for the insurance paperwork to process. Price without insurance? $1500 for one month. She had to wait and go a few days without insulin-she didn’t have $1500 extra dollars and who does?

    Repealing ACA is literally going to kill people. There’s no reason why my sweet, preschool teacher mother should be expected to pay 18,000 a year for ONE prescription.

    Is it perfect? No. But my whole family has depended on it and it drastically changed our lives for the better (including one family member who was finally able to afford a preventative test where he learned he had a tumor…had that test not been free, he would not have had it done because of the cost). I’m very worried about what will happen next.

    • Hells bells! I never cease to be amazed at the price of healthcare in the US. As I type 1 Diabetic I’m always grateful to be in a country with universal healthcare, free at the point of use (thanks NHS!).

      For T1D’s out there; never, never, never go without your insulin, it’s way too dangerous, even for a day.

      Here’s an article I read (that horrified me) about how to swap out expensive insulin like Novolog/Levemir for cheap, generic NPH. I worry that it might become essential reading for T1D’s who are currently under the ACA :(

      http://www.bootcampforbetics.org/blog/when-you-cant-afford-the-insulin-you-need-in-order-to-survive

      I’m so sorry that diabetics in the US have to fall back to using 1960’s and 70’s era insulin because of the shameless greed exhibited throughout the healthcare system.

  13. Also, I was a public school teacher and my position (and many of my coworkers) were not offered health insurance. I was “part time” which meant I had the same amount of classes as full time, but was not assigned a “duty” period. There were very few new full time positions posted because it was apparently cheaper for the district to pay multiple part time employees than the benefits of full time employees. I quit teaching a year ago because I couldn’t get by financially and I couldn’t wait for another teaching job to come around (obviously there’s not a lot of teaching jobs in January). That’s how fucked up buying health insurance is-I left my students mid year because I could not afford both food and medical bills.

  14. The ACA is the reason that I have insurance right now, the reason that I have the possibility of having a fully-functional ankle again with enough PT, and likely the reason I’m actually alive–extending the age to 26 enabled me to stay on my parents’ plan when I was 6 months out of college, just into interviews for jobs, when I got appendicitis. I was sent from the ER once and had I not had insurance I would have refused to go back until I was not physically able to refuse to go.

    And then now since I have developed/been diagnosed with several chronic illnesses, if the ACA is repealed I have no idea how I’ll be able to afford medical care. I do know that without medical care I will not be able to work due to the amount of pain I’ll be in and at least one of the conditions will likely require surgery that will be, oh, tens of thousands of dollars. So I’m fucking terrified, y’all.

  15. I’ll admit I am a bit naive when it comes to anything like this. I get my paycheck every 2 weeks and it goes directly into my bank account, I see some co-workers review the stub but I just see numbers on a piece of paper and half the time I have no clue what they mean. Come March I’ll go see my accountant for my taxes and he’ll tell me how much my refund is and that’s that. I know I have to get better at this but for now it is what it is.
    After graduating from college, I had no employment prospects and the jobs that I did get didn’t offer me health insurance. I finally got a job that had health insurance and thankfully I had it when I got sick and needed surgery. I lost that job and was out of work when “Obamacare” was passed…
    …side note, why did it ever need to be dubbed Obamacare, I think that’s people’s main gripe with it especially Republicans, they don’t want Obama’s name to be stamped on something forever and ever. If it was just known as the ACA, obviously the dumb ass people that don’t know the logistics wouldn’t want it repealed for them…
    anyway continuing on, I signed up when Obamacare became available and I was on it for about 2 years, I didn’t really use it but it was there if I needed it. It wasn’t perfect, I had to switch my primary care doctor for a that’s a small price to pay. I will say the good positive thing about the ACA which may sound silly is that is was always looking out for me. A notice in the mail or and email to tell me to renew or the doctors to tell me it was time for my annual physical, it made sure I was the healthiest I could be, if that makes any sense.
    I comes from a very conservative republican extended family, my immediate family is pretty liberal with the exception of my brother who is Alex P. Keaton on speed. In one of our many heated discussions before the election I dropped the bomb on him that I was on Obamacare and that his unemployed deadbeat ass would need it too if he wasn’t sitting pretty on his wife’s insurance. Unfortunately he is one of those if it doesn’t effect me, I’ll just listen to what the Republicans tell me without learning the facts.
    The same can be said for my young cousin. We went out for lunch one day and talk of the election came up, I said knowingly, “you’re voting for Hillary right?” since he seems to be outside of the family’s conservative bubble too but to my shock he said he would vote Trump because I honestly think it was the joke of it all, WHAT?! You can’t waste your vote like that. I saw him again before the election and hoped he had changed his mind after the pussy grabbing tape came out and all the other negative stuff that came out about Trump but I still think he voted Trump. I tell you all this because he’s turning 26 this year and being on his mommy’s insurance is going bye bye and he doesn’t have a job that gives him insurance and if they repeal Obamacare without a replacement (which it looks like) then he will be uninsured too so sorry buddy but the “joke” is on you.

  16. My heart aches for all of you affected by this.

    To me,  this demonstrates the inherent inhumanity of profit as the driving force in healthcare provision.

    My wife works (here in unceded Coast Salish Territory, BC, Canada) for self-directed First Nations healthcare.  One of the central tenets is that individual health is related to community health (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual).  Individual well-being and healthcare is thus the responsibility of everyone in the larger community.

    It seems to me that what is most missing in the US is this notion of collective responsibility.  The idea that we do not exist in a vacuum, but impact and are impacted by everything around us. 

    I know there are frightening times ahead for many here – let us support each other as much as we can, whilst working for true change and a society that recognises the value of all.

    • “It seems to me that what is most missing in the US is this notion of collective responsibility. The idea that we do not exist in a vacuum, but impact and are impacted by everything around us.”

      In two sentences you absolutely nailed most of the issues in the US and summed them up better than probably anyone else that I’ve read in a long time.

  17. Maybe I over simplify things but a ton of countries have had thriving universal Healthcare systems in place that have helped their nation thrive so much so those countries are known for having such great Healthcare for their citizens. What I am trying to say and again it might be the naive answer but why doesn’tour government just copycat one of these successful other countries?! They have already proven they systems work why can’t we implement those principle here.

  18. It makes zero sense that key issues like healthcare remain major problems in the U.S. when other countries have figured out preferable approaches. When I lived in England for 13 years, the NHS was much maligned, but moving to the U.S. was a huge wake-up call for me. The NHS isn’t perfect, but damn.

    In terms of education (off-topic but works to support my point), it’s my understanding that Germany offers free higher education for not only German citizens but also international students, using a mix of corporate funding and taxes. Meanwhile, a year of higher education in the U.S. can cost American citizens $40k, $50k, and even $60k at some institutions.

    In many instances, other countries are doing it better, whether “it” is healthcare or education or something else. There is a slew of both hard data and anecdotal evidence that SHOWS this, but our legislators either refuse to take cues from these approaches or face an uphill battle if they do. As someone mentioned above, the ACA would be more affordable, comprehensive, and effective if the Republican majority hadn’t fought tooth and nail throughout the process of getting it passed. What eventually passed into law was a watered-down version of the plan. Fortunately, a lot of people still benefit from it, but many are paying more than they should or face restrictions they shouldn’t have to deal with.

    I get that it’s not possible to directly “cut and paste” one country’s approach onto another country, but pre-ACA, my hairstylist/writer friend had to set and heal his broken leg himself because he didn’t qualify for insurance and couldn’t pay for healthcare out of pocket. That’s not OK. That should never have happened. It should never happen again.

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