Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Final Countdown

My mom migrated to this country when she was 18 years old. To help support her family, she worked full-time at nursing home for minimum wage ($3.25 an hour) while enrolling full-time at a community college. At that point, she needed student loans.

When I was born, my mom had a job that paid a meager $20,000 a year, and my father had just started his own business in an outdoor flea market.  At that point, we needed tax breaks aimed at working families (earned income tax credit and child tax credit).

When my sister was born, my dad’s business was still struggling, while my mom’s company had just laid her off due to downsizing. At that point, we needed unemployment benefits to survive.

But my parents would never consider themselves “dependent on government”. We were always hardworking and responsible, but still found ourselves in difficult situations that were out of our control. So when the government stepped in to help, we saw it as an investment, not a hand-out.

And because of the significant role government had in our lives, my parents are finally very successful small business owners.

And that is exactly why I support this President – because he is doing everything he can to help others attain those same investments that helped my family.

This includes healthcare reform – ie. Obamacare.

I have always taken very good care of myself – I always watch what I eat, always exercise, never drink, never smoke. Still, by the tender age of 24, I have battled cancer and 2 heart surgeries. I am an insurance company’s worst nightmare. So without Obamacare, what am I supposed to do if something happens to me again?

Thanks to this law, I won’t have to worry.
Thanks to this law, 129 million can’t be denied coverage due to a preexisting condition.
Thanks to this law, 3 million young adults can stay on their parents’ plans until 26.
Thanks to this law, 6 million people are covered for the first time in their lives.
Thanks to this law, insurers must spent 80% of your premiums on actual care.

This President has done everything he can possibly do to make this law work. He has compromised with Republicans on the individual mandate and on creating state-based exchanges. He has even made significant political sacrifices to ensure the law works for everyone.

And it will work for everyone. But only if we all work together to continue improving the law, instead of trying to derail it before it’s fully effective.

Tomorrow is the deadline for open enrollment. There’s no reason not to sign up, or at least take the time to view all the options.

Healthcare reform is still a topic of much political debate. But I have yet to hear any promising alternatives, or any logical opposition.  If you’re anything like me or my family, I can ensure you that it’s the right thing to do, and the best time to support it. Laws like this do not come around that often. But when they do, we all need to stand together. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Healthcare - The Saga Continues

Today marks four years since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. And yet the law still remains one of the most controversial.

Some critics have continued to question the effectiveness of law, especially when we've seen certain individuals take advantage of similar large government programs in the past.

First, it is important to understand that some level of abuse is inherently present in any large program, both in the public and private sectors alike. In fact, I would even argue that, especially looking back at an unregulated Wall-Street during the previous administration, there has been far more, and far worse, abuse and corruption within the private sector.

Second, although no one denies that the Affordable Care Act is far from perfect, is seems premature to discredit and disqualify the significant benefits the law has. In fact, without the law, millions of Americans would have continued to be denied access to affordable and quality health insurance.

Without the law, cancer survivors like myself, children with preexisting conditions, young adults under the age of 26, hardworking taxpayers, and seemingly healthy individuals, would be forced into bankruptcy if additional illness strikes.  

Going a step further, it seems dishonest for certain groups to downplay the impact other large government programs have had, over the simple fact that each has witnessed certain levels of abuse.

For example, I've heard many on the right criticize the government for providing unemployment benefits to those searching for work, arguing that it creates a greater sense of dependence, and dissuades people from working.

There is no justifying the fact that there have been certain people who game the system (in the same way that certain CEOs have abused the financial system for their own personal gains). But without such government programs, millions more would unjustly suffer.

My mother came to America when she was 18. She worked a full-time job at a nursing home for minimum wage ($3.25 an hour) while enrolled full-time at a community college. To help pay for her education, she also took student loans. After graduating, she got married to my dad and found work for a meager salary of $20,000 a year. While I was born and my father continued struggling to start his own business, my mother became the head breadwinner of our family. She also needed to take advantage of certain tax breaks aimed at working families, such as the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit. After seven years of working hard, however, her company laid her off because of downsizing. She then had to survive off unemployment benefits for 6 months as she had her second child, my younger sister. 

Without help from the government, my parents would not have been able to grow their small business into a successful enterprise, and we would not have been able to move out of poverty.   

The point is that hardworking, honest people should not have to suffer because they are put in situations they have no control over.

And that is exactly the purpose of the Affordable Care Act. That is also the purpose of many of the President’s initiatives, and why I am such an incredibly strong supporter of his Administration.

Yes there are kinks to be fixed. But when GOP leaders are offering absolutely ZERO help; when they have simply offered over 40 times to repeal the law instead of trying to improve it; when they are now rejecting the same ideas they originally advocated for and requested the President to compromise on (ie. the individual mandate, or state-based exchanges); when they have publicly supported obstructionism over compromise; I consider that a far worse abuse of the system than Obamacare or any other law and initiative the President puts forward.

If you still disagree, I urge you to checkout and see for yourself.