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Why I'm So Grateful to the Senators Who Voted Against the ACA Repeal

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Editor’s note: This story reflects an individual’s experience and is not an endorsement from The Mighty. We believe in sharing a variety of perspectives from our community.

Yesterday night, three GOP senators stood alone on the Republican side in the health care fight. As almost every Republican voted “yes” for the ACA (Affordable Care Act or Obamacare) repeal, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) as well as all 48 Democratic senators voted “no” for the repeal. While Collins and Murkowski were openly against the repeal from day one, McCain’s vote “no” was a shock. These three votes may seem insignificant to many, but to disabled Americans, this means so much more than a vote – this means our lives.

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I still remember the day that the health care repeal started. In the middle of the night, the House voted to open the floor to the health care debate, and many disabled Americans would not feel safe again for months. I remember looking at my phone that day, scrolling through my Facebook feed in tears because a repeal would not only mean my quality of life being put at risk, but it would mean watching all of my friends struggle with me.

Over the next few months, I watched something incredible happen. I watched people with disabilities flood every street and capitol building. I watched myself and numerous others launch social media campaigns like #redlipswepreexist. I watched myself, my friends and many other spoonies fight back against the repeal.

As scary as it was, I feel incredibly fortunate to have been aware enough to fight the repeal. So many Americans are too old, too young or too busy to follow the news as closely as I did, and while my mom found my news obsession annoying at times, I was lucky to be able to watch the process of the attempted repeal.

Today I opened my Twitter feed, and happy tears fell from my eyes as I read through fellow disabled Americans’ tweets. Everyone was thanking each other, responding to one another and interacting like never before. I have never felt more proud to be a disabled American.

The fight against the repeal taught me so much. It taught me that being disabled is not a death sentence; it is a new way of life. I was able to experience the incredible strength and pull of the disabled community these past few months, and my life has truly been changed forever. I met so many people, I launched a social media campaign, I wrote articles and ultimately we all put an end to the repeal.

Health care will continue to be a struggle. I have no doubt in my mind that Trump and his administration are not done. Every day will be an uphill battle to keep our quality of life, but now I am positive that our community can handle it. No matter what is thrown our way, we will band together and take this administration by storm.

Thank you to The Mighty’s community and the disabled community for fighting the fight together. Rather than tearing us apart, this proposed bill only made us stronger, and I will forever cherish the connections I have made during this time.

I also want to thank every senator that voted against the repeal. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, you saved millions of lives last night. Thank you for supporting those of us with pre-existing conditions. Thank you for giving me the ability to sleep a little better tonight. Thank you for voting to save my life.

Thinkstock photo via tupungato.

Originally published: July 28, 2017
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