When I turned 22, I was finishing my first year of grad school and was summarily kicked off my mom’s insurance. Obama had just started his first year as president, so the ACA hadn’t yet passed. I decided not to get individual insurance because it was too expensive and, hey, I was young so I’d be good. And then I slipped on the stairs in front of my apartment and hit my head on brick.
I was already stressed and hitting my head just made that worse. I freaked out and called my mom, worried that my brain was swelling and I was dying. It wasn’t my most rational moment, but I tend to over-worry about everything, so it’s not exactly surprising. Obviously, other than a bump on my head, I turned out fine, but the incident was enough to scare me into applying for health insurance. The insurance company saw my depression as a pre-existing condition, so I was pretty much interrogated for about a month before I was approved. Unfortunately, I had to pay almost $300 a month for the pleasure of having health insurance and peace of mind.
When Obamacare passed, I was able to get back on my mom’s insurance until I turned 26 and by then, I was already working full-time and able to get insurance through my employer. When the most popular parts of the ACA kicked in, like free yearly physicals, free yearly gynecological visits, insurance companies forbidden from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions, etc., I was so grateful.
The GOP has put into motion the complete repeal of the ACA, without offering a replacement. Even though I have insurance through my employer, it will affect me. I am scared about my medication costs increasing, especially the anti-depressants that have been instrumental in helping me live a normal life. I am scared for my mom, who will be retiring later this year and going onto Medicare. I have a decent income, but if I wasn’t living with my mom, I don’t know where I would be and I know I wouldn’t be able to financially support my mom’s medical needs once she retires.
In six days, the 45th president will be officially sworn in and I am more frightened than ever about the future of this country. I am trying to stay positive, but recent events makes that incredibly difficult and I’m not sure if I will be able to maintain that optimism.