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Harshada Rajani Headshot

As a Patient, I Need Obama to Win

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Every single day that something awful doesn't happen to us, is a gift. Every single night that we can go to sleep smiling, is in itself, a dream. Every single second that this pile of muscles and bones we call a body functions perfectly, is a miracle. We believe we are strong. We assume we are powerful. We presume we are invincible. We take our presumed invincibility for granted, and we live wildly and freely. Who can blame us? I was in the prime of my life. I had annoyingly perfect health. I even knew more about health than the average person because I was in medical school. Clearly, none of that mattered.

Illness does not discriminate. It doesn't care who you know or how much money you have. It isn't afraid of your vibrant youth, or your flawless health. It has no concern for how great your past was, and how amazing your future will be. Mother Nature can be beautiful, but stealthily and swiftly, she is ruthless, and we are all susceptible to her wrath. What happened to me could happen to absolutely anyone. But no one truly prepares for something like this. No one can truly prepare for this. But there is something that always has your back, something that is always prepared for the fickleness of our health, and something that reminds us we aren't alone, in even the darkest of times: the government. Medicaid. OBAMA. Yea, I said it. I don't pretend to know all about politics, and won't deny my liberal college roots, but I can share with you my experiences as a permanent patient the past four years.

I've entered a whole world of people, young and old, who have had their lives irrevocably torn apart by illness or injury. None of us could have ever fathomed or predicted how much damage and heartbreak could come from one, little tragedy to our lives, futures, and pocketbooks. Instead of buying cute, trendy clothes, we have to buy rooms full of exorbitantly expensive medical equipment. Instead of investing money in schooling, or an advanced degree, we have to spend every last penny on hours, weeks, months, years, or lifetimes of critical therapy sessions. But, I'm one of the lucky ones. I was young enough to still be on my parents' insurance plan, and I had parents who, thankfully and wisely, saved money for a rainy day (or probably for my wedding, oops). But even with all this preparation, it's not enough, not at all.

As I said before, you can't truly prepare for a random, life-destroying tragedy. That's where Medicaid comes in and despite its flaws, it saves the day. I have such a delicate balance going on and I'm just barely getting by in this crazy health care world. I can't risk anyone upsetting that balance. I'm fighting for my life here. Many folks only have Medicaid to turn to in tragedy, when they don't have anything else. But it's enough to give them hope, and help, and the opportunity to fight back.

It's so easy to sit in a pretty, little office, knowing your pretty, little family is in perfect health and say, "Yes, let's easily lower spending by cutting Medicaid by a gazillion dollars." But do they see beyond the numbers even for a second, and consider the lives it could affect, no, ruin?  Each time there are cuts in Medicaid, essential services are cut off for a lot of people.These people need help, and care, but they might need less help than the next person, so they are left alone, forgotten by the system. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have made it clear they will not be showing the Affordable Care Act, or Medicaid ANY love, if they get elected. I know my new friends and I cannot put our healthcare -- and our lives -- in jeopardy with their election.

Instead of criticizing Medicaid all the time, we should be making it a priority. Nobody ever wants to actually need help like this from the government. But if something should ever happen to you or your loved ones, help is there. That is the best security you can have for living in this unpredictable world. Bottom line: No one should have to drive their families bankrupt, fighting for a life that never should have been taken away in the first place. I don't know how you can hear my story and support my fight, and not believe that health care is an inherent right. What's the use of the right to free speech when you don't even have the right to relearn how to speak? So please, get out and vote! But more than that, vote for Obama, if not for you, for me.