My Two Cents on the Republican Majority and ObamaCare

Dear Republicans – please don’t limit the ability for me to keep my family protected.

I woke up to the disconcerting news that the mid-term election resulted in a Republican landslide. I’m not a dyed in the wool liberal, in some areas I lean left and in others I go to the right. But I am a big fan of the Affordable Care Act. I understand it’s far from a perfect law, but on a personal level the passage of that bill has been a Godsend.

Trish was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer back in 2007. The subsequent treatment was a grueling string of surgeries and reconstruction, and to this day, while she is cancer free, she suffers from severe side-effects resulting from the various procedures. There was nothing good about it, but I was fortunate enough to have had health insurance acquired through my employer. I don’t know what would have happened if we hadn’t had this insurance. While our co-pays were still upwards of five grand annually, the actual bills would have been upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars. We would have had to sell our house and borrow from family. It would have been financially disastrous for us.

The company I worked for went out of business last October. As a result of Trish’s now “pre-existing condition,” we could not buy insurance on the open market, at any price. We were barred from entry. At that point, were it not for the impending Affordable Care Act, I would have had to go to work for a company that had a health plan, period. The ACA makes it so that now we can buy coverage on the open market, and I can be self-employed. It allows me to take a risk, to build a business, and to make sure my family is protected. For me, it has been a beautiful and freeing experience.

If I were the praying type I would be praying that the newly elected Republican majority not take away our access to healthcare. I’m not talking about free healthcare here, I’m talking about simply being allowed to buy our own insurance plan and not be turned away because my wife, like one in eight women, had to deal with breast cancer.

I’d pray that the Republican majority understand that the ability to insure your family against medical calamity allows people the freedom to pursue their dreams—to start businesses, to be entrepreneurs. I mean, isn’t that what the Republicans are always clamoring on about: job creation, innovation, a fluid workforce?

I don’t know, the whole thing seems to have floundered into a giant pissing match, but real people are caught in the middle. Real people will suffer if the ACA is gutted, or overturned. By all means work out the kinks, but please don’t restrict the ability for people to buy their own insurance. I don’t want to have to go get a part time job at Starbucks or UPS just so we can have access to health care. That would be a huge setback for me personally at this point in my life.

Anyway, that’s my biggest fear as we move forward.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.