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Why the ACA Matters to This Chronically Ill College Student

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My blog may be the only place where I refrain from talking about politics, which my friends and family can vouch for since most of them are very close to unfriending me on Facebook due to my seemingly never-ending posts about the current political happenings.

So the reason I’m writing about politics on my blog now is because it’s all about my health, and my health right now is being effected by politics — both in the most immediate sense of how stressed I am and the toll it has taken on my body (physical therapy the day after the election was rough to put it mildly) and the more theoretical looming idea of the possibility of the Affordable Care Act being repealed.

There are so many ways I have benefited from the ACA. Quite honestly, it’s the reason I currently have health insurance and, as an extension of that, healthcare.

First off, my parents are self-employed, so we purchased our health insurance off the exchange. And this year, I’ll have my own exchange plan, so I’ll have one in Pennsylvania.

Next, due to a combination of health reasons and the fact I was ahead credit-wise this semester, I chose to go to school part-time. Prior to the ACA, I would’ve been kicked off my parents’ insurance due to being a part-time student, leaving me in a Catch-22 situation. I was too sick to work or go to school, so I couldn’t get insurance. And not having insurance would mean I couldn’t get the healthcare I needed to get healthy enough to go to school or work to qualify for insurance.

Another big issue for me is pre-existing conditions. If I lost my health insurance before the ACA and didn’t get new coverage within 90 days, I would basically never be able to get my insurance company to pay for anything related to an already established diagnosis again. Basically, I could pay for insurance, but they would only cover preventive care for me.

Many people have told me to wait to see what Donald Trump actually does as president before worrying or getting upset. Here’s the thing, though: To be able to say and do that is a privilege. And to not be worried is a privilege I believe that minorities, the LGBT community and chronically ill people in this country currently don’t have.

I can’t just wait and see if the ACA is repealed or not because by then it will be too late. I don’t have the ability to wait four years while not having health insurance.

Follow this journey on Life With a Flare.

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Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

Originally published: January 13, 2017
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