Today is a very difficult day for me. It is a difficult day for so many people. We are entering an unknown period of time with a new US president and a GOP controlled congress. Their goals are not necessarily the goals of the majority of the American people and it is scary. No one knows what will happen, what the president and congress can or will accomplish, and no one can say that everything will be okay.
And it scares me.
I rely on healthcare and the mandates of the Affordable Care Act. There are so many people in America who do. It was a lifesaver covering me because of my mental health pre-existing conditions, erasing lifetime limits, and covering me on my parents health plans until I was 26. I rely on the mandate that people are required to purchase healthcare to keep costs down for everyone because the more healthy people that purchase healthcare, the cheaper it is for all of us. These healthy people who use their insurance less, keep costs through paying into the system and not using their health insurance as frequently as others. When so many healthy people did not buy into this system and instead choose to pay the fine, my premiums and so many other’s rose.
The law is not perfect. Definitely not. For instance, with the ACA I qualify for subsidies and plans that would not meet my needs as a person who needs to utilize my plan often. Therefore, I need to purchase a plan outside of the exchange and usually it means only being able to choose between two companies in the state of Washington. Neither plan necessarily meets my full needs because I use in-network and out of network care and the deductible for out of network are always ridiculous even on the best plans available.
I am lucky. I can purchase outside of the exchange. I have the financial ability to do so when so many do not. They may have healthcare but these deductibles in the ACA that are too outrageous to make it worthwhile.
The logical thing would be to make the law better or replace it with universal healthcare, which would be a single-payer system. But the current people in power do not see healthcare as a human right, only a right of the privileged few who can pay. They will do what they can to destroy what is good about the law, not replace it with something better, and those like me who rely on healthcare will be left wondering what to do next, which is paying for basic needs like housing and gas and our doctors and medication.
And this is what terrifies me. It is not only that my healthcare is at jeopardy–it is the healthcare of millions. People’s lives and livelihoods are at stake all in the name of partisan politics and money. Disproportionately it is the lives and livelihoods of poor and minority households that will be affected by a repeal and already struggle to afford healthcare under the ACA because of huge deductibles and rising premiums. It is because rich white men in government do not care about people who are not other rich white men and blatantly lie about their true motives to continue to get elected by an electorate that is (sometimes) well-intentioned yet uninformed.