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ACA Is Of, By, and For People. Spread the word.

This is Erin, my friend Queen of Spain. For the last two years, she has fought lupus. Her problems started right around the same time Sticks’ problems began, but hers are so much more profound than his, so much more complicated, and so much more expensive.

You could have put me in that video instead of Erin and I would have reacted the exact same way. Regular readers know my story. Those who don’t can read the whole story here.

When you have a chronic illness, when someone you love has a chronic illness, when your child has a chronic illness, you will give up everything to help them get better, even when it means losing everything.

Mitt Romney knows this, because his wife Ann has Multiple Sclerosis. He also has enough money to make sure she gets the finest care available. He is atypical, and so it’s quite easy for him to play the “we’ll repeal this” game. I would expect nothing less than that from him.

The debate over health care access is over. On January 1, 2014, no one will be turned away because they have a health condition insurers deem to be “uninsurable.” No more debating.

The last three years have brought a lot of lies about what the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is really about. It is now time to start talking to people about what it is, what it isn’t, and why it’s important. Here are the key questions:

  1. Do you have a chronic condition? Does anyone in your family have one? The ACA means they will have the same access to health care as anyone else, without regard to their illness.
  2. Do you know that the government pays for copayments and premium costs if you earn less than about $15,000 per year (single) or $31,000 (family of 4)? If you earn more, the government helps offset the costs of premiums and copayments until you earn more than $33,000/$69,000. (Table)

    This is important: There is no plot to force people to pay for something they can’t afford. This worked with the sCHIP program quite nicely and will work in this case, too.

  3. Have you ever known someone who had a terrible disease like cancer and ran through their policy limits? Or known someone who had an accident that left them partly disabled and couldn’t pay all of their medical costs? Now insurance companies cannot impose lifetime or annual limits on the care you need.
  4. Do you see that this law is about people? Not corporations, not politics. It is about people like Erin, and me, and my neighbor and your neighbor.
  5. What concerns you about the idea of everyone having access to health care? Do you support discrimination against people who are sick or hurt?

Wonkery and politics aside, it’s time for everyone including the news media to communicate the truth: There is nothing evil about giving everyone access to health care. Nothing. It is a people issue. Not political. Not taxes. Not fiscal. It’s about people. Period.

Because of this law, my son will be able to choose to work as a self-employed person, rather than having to seek work inside a corporation that offers health insurance.

Because of this law, people can know that their children will have access to health care even if they have a chronic condition like asthma or ADHD or even acne, much less ulcerative colitis or some other condition.

Because of this law, liberty is guaranteed not only to those with the means to pay for all health care they might need, but those without the means.

Liberty for all. Freedom. Choice.

Erin and I are only two people with stories. Ask your neighbors. You’ll hear many more. Just remember, our government is of the people, by the people, for the people. And there is no better illustration than this than giving we, the people, equal access to health care regardless of our health and financial status.