As far as I am concerned, today is a day to really celebrate across America. The Obamacare/Affordable Care Act Health Exchanges go live, and Oct. 1 also marks the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I believe that through the course of history Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, will go down as one of the major achievements of President Obama's administration. I am flying my wig in celebration because I am four weeks into chemotherapy treatment for stage 3, triple positive, invasive ductal breast cancer that was diagnosed exactly seven weeks ago. So yes, in a short seven weeks I have lost my hair, but most importantly I have received amazing, urgent care and diagnostics that have allowed me to already be well on the road to recovery. I have had such a positive experience that I question why that same positive experience cannot be the case for every American experiencing a medical diagnosis that will turn their world upside down. Today we get closer to that being the case.
The only way that my positive cancer experience has been possible is thanks to two things: health insurance and advances in breast cancer research. I have a health insurance plan through my husband's job that offers comprehensive cover for cancer treatment. A year ago that was not the case. A year ago we had just arrived back in the U.S. after living abroad for 18 years, and we were only able to purchase an expensive tourist insurance plan that covered emergency medical care only. Once we were fully settled, and my husband's U.S. employment contract started, we received the company provided insurance plan, and we have now been covered for exactly eight months. Had my cancer presented itself last year, I would have had to think twice about going to see the doctor because the risk of needing expensive treatment would have put us into serious debt. I know that this is a decision many, many American families have had to make everyday without the funds available to pay for medical care or to purchase affordable medical insurance.
Having lived in the United Kingdom for 16 years, I thoroughly enjoyed their National Health System (The NHS). As an American who had been uninsured at times in the U.S., I never took my access to the NHS for granted as many in the U.K. do. Lose your job in the U.K., and your family's health care coverage isn't even a concern. Waiting tables to make a living in the U.K. -- you have the same access to health care as everyone else. Have a premature baby in the U.K. -- you will not even receive one bill for months of intensive, emergency care that allows you to eventually take your baby home with you. The list goes on and on.
From near and far I have watched with interest the debate over Obamacare. For years I wished that Americans' working jobs that didn't provide health care could experience the peace of mind that knowing your health and finances won't have to be put in jeopardy if you or a family member has an accident or gets sick. Today that is possible. I am excited to see that the marketplace is working and the costs for plans are lower than initially expected. I hope that Ted Cruz, with his expensive Goldman Sachs-provided health care "safety net," is spinning in his seat along with others who have tried so selfishly to deny America the benefit that access to affordable health care for everyone will have on our country.
The Affordable Healthcare Act will have a transformative effect not only on the health of Americans but also on job creation in America. Stifling health care benefit costs are only one of the reasons that Corporate America shipped so many jobs abroad. Now that the groundwork is in place balance can begin to be restored to a system that has been so fundamentally broken. Yes, it will take time, but you always have to start somewhere.
So today I fly my wig and celebrate the fact that I am blessed to have the opportunity to heal and live the rest of my life thanks to having health insurance and the benefit of breast cancer research on my side. I am overjoyed to know that is now also a possibility for so many others who purchase healthcare from today onwards.
Truly a day to celebrate.
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