We Don't Need to Decide Between Paying for Groceries or a Doctor Visit

Heather Flanders
Northfield, MN
United States

When I was 16, my father died from pneumonia. This was in 2005. He got sick on a Monday and couldn't pick us up for his scheduled days. On Saturday, I went to the hospital at 9 a.m. because my dad was sick; and at 3 p.m. that same day, a doctor came in and told us that he had died.

My father worked as a steel worker his whole life. He was a union president for most of my life. He fought to get education for his coworkers when the plant closed. He died because he couldn't afford to go to the doctor and pay the exam fees and subsequent medication regimen. He chose between paying his rent or the doctor and unfortunately he chose wrong.

My husband is a pastor. Churches usually don't offer insurance as a part of their compensation package. The ACA has made it so we can get our cavities filled, our 2-year-old son can get his check ups, and there are no worries about taking him to the doctor if he gets sick. I can afford my anxiety medication that helps me be a better mom. We don't need to decide between paying for groceries or a doctor visit. My husband's Tourette's syndrome is no longer a pre-existing condition, which would bars us from healthcare.

Our health is no longer for profit and we are thriving because of it.

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