By Aaron Smith
With all the discussion about the Affordable Care Act, the politics, and confusion, it’s easy to forget why this is all matters. It should be simple: our families depend on the security of having health coverage. Our old broken health care system could not promise that security, certainly not for middle class Americans or for the 46 million Americans that live and work in poverty. The Affordable Care Act is not a magical solution to our problems, but it is a huge step forward in covering our families and making sure their economic security is under constant threat.
My family is one of the reasons why I support the Affordable Care Act. It is one of the reasons I run an organization called Young Invincibles that is committed to expanding opportunity, including health care access for young adults. Health care coverage protects me, my brother, my sister, my parents individually, but it also protects us collectively.
My brother, Arthur, for example, grew up with terrible asthma. The asthma attacks would keep him up at nights, make even routine colds causes for worry, or send him to the doctor or hospital. For my mom, the fear and anxiety for my brother’s health would keep her up at night too, just from the anxiety and fear. Fortunately, we had good coverage and my brother got the medicine he needed to treat the condition, and avoid attacks.
He has overcome that illness, and now lives in Baltimore after recently graduating from college. My brother can still get the inhalers and other medicine he needs because he is covered under my parent’s plan up to age 26. That is just one of the benefits of the ACA and has already helped over 3 million young people gain coverage.
But what happens when my brother turns 26? Or if my parent’s lose their coverage?
Even though the asthma has improved, my brother still has a pre-existing condition. So in the old days an insurance company could deny him outright for coverage or charge him an exorbitant premium. After this past Tuesday, those days are over. Under the ACA, my brother can never be denied the coverage he needs to stay healthy and financially secure. For my family, that means a little less worry and a little less anxiety.
My family is in this life together and the ACA is making ours better. Go to www.HealthCare.gov to find out how your family can get covered. That is information worth sharing.
Aaron Smith is Co-Founder & Executive Director at Young Invincibles, an organization committed to mobilizing and expanding opportunities for young adults between 18 and 34 years of age on issues like higher education, health care, and jobs.