I serve as the Executive Director/CEO of a mental health nonprofit. I grew up relatively poor, but worked hard and had the opportunity to go to college with the help of some scholarships. Later, I made it to graduate school, and then I worked my way up from a lowly intern all the way to "the top" of the nonprofit career ladder. I’m a good picture of the “bootstrapping” young American that the GOP still believes in and holds up as a shining example of how the American Dream lives on. (They won’t mention it, but certainly some of my privilege as a white, cis, mostly hetero woman helped along the way.)
Now I’m a CEO. A CEO living with anxiety, depression, and a chronic, lifelong thyroid condition. Without the Affordable Care Act, I would have no insurance coverage because my employer is unable to provide it. Even with insurance coverage, without the protections of the ACA I would likely go without the care I need more often than not – because these are all “pre-existing conditions”. Before the ACA, I went months (sometimes a whole year) without the labs I needed to test my thyroid levels. There were times where I physically couldn’t get out of bed because the extreme fatigue crushed me like a lead vest. My hair thinned. My hands shook with tremor to the point where I could barely read my own handwriting. Mental health is crucial, too - without my antidepressant, I live in a fog of malaise and irritability. I can’t concentrate. I feel empty. And my anxiety threatens to rise up and choke me.
I dread the prospect of going backwards. The things that help me be well and able to manage my health so that I can remain employed and be a “productive” and “contributing” member of this American society are the very things that the GOP is working so doggedly to take away. Healthcare matters and as a hardworking American, I deserve to keep mine - both my care, and my health.