I confess that I get rather emotional when people tell me that “Obamacare” [The Affordable Care Act] is a government takeover of the insurance industry. I figure they believe in a fantasy world where health insurance operates in America as a free market. I might have bought into that fantasy, if I hadn’t gotten cancer in 2007.
After being cured of my cancer, I tried to purchase a policy in the "free" market of health insurance. What I found was that there is no price at which companies would sell health insurance to me. My rejection letter bluntly says, "Our underwriting guidelines do not allow us to offer coverage to anyone with this medical history." People may disagree about whether it is right for insurance companies to refuse to serve an entire segment of the population or not, but there can be no rational debate about whether health insurance is functioning as a free market: it is not. It is a market that systematically excludes people who are most likely to need medical care. I do not have the freedom to buy health insurance from the private insurance market at any price.
I consider this a matter of life or death. A 2009 Harvard study estimated that 45,000 deaths each year are linked to persons not having health insurance. I did not want to become one of those casualties.
Thankfully I didn’t have to, because today I have been able to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.For years, those who could boost their profits by excluding people like me from their insurance pool fought against healthcare reform. Thanks to President Obama and a Democratic Congress, corporate profits were finally trumped by the interests of the American people.
In August of 2011, John had the opportunity to meet Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Obama. He proudly showed her his new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan card and asked her to pass his thanks on to President Obama for healthcare reform.
I am ashamed of the politicians who demonize this reform for the sake of justifying their opposition to President Obama. I am horrified by the propaganda against "Obamacare" that has been spread by those who put their own economic and political interests above the health and welfare of U.S. citizens. I cannot with a clear conscience support politicians who would betray their constituents in that way.
I feel passionately about this issue because I have lived it. My goal in speaking out is to direct my emotions into something positive: making sure that President Obama can finish the job he started. In order to do that, we need to re-elect the President this November and send him senators and representatives who will support him. But I can’t do it alone. So pledge to get involved with Obama’s grassroots campaign here in South Carolina, and together we can ensure that every single American – regardless of their circumstances – has access to affordable, quality health insurance.
To find out how healthcare reform is working for you, visit our new site: http://OFA.BO/9NnSFu. Throughout March, we’ll be highlighting your Affordable Care Act stories in honor of the anniversary of the law’s signing on March 23. If you have a story to share, let us know at http://OFA.BO/aVai2o.