Monday, January 30, 2012

President Obama, a Genuine Thanks

Dear Mr. President,

All too often we forget to give thanks where thanks is due. But today, I'd like to give you a heartfelt thanks for the fact that preventative services are now covered under the Affordable Care Act. In the contentious political climate, the voices complaining about "Obamacare" are getting a lot of attention and I'd like to bring a little perspective to the situation.

I went to the doctor today for my annual exam. Because of the coverage of preventative care, I didn't have to pay a bill when I left.

That doesn't sound too remarkable on it's own but it was a pretty big deal to me. You see, I'm a member of the working poor, so every cent really makes a difference to me.

My husband and I are both college graduates. However, we entered the workforce at a time when the economy had been ravaged by 8 years of reckless Bush policies--pumping far too much of our tax dollars into unnecessary wars. Jobs have been hard to come by and while both of us work, we're both underemployed. In my case specifically, I have dedicated my life to service. As such, I work extremely hard in the nonprofit sector for a relatively low wage. I could go off on a long tangent about how social services and feminist work have been so devalued by our society that my field is woefully underpaid for doing tasks traditionally associated with women...but I'll spare you. (And we're the lucky ones. We have jobs.)

It's mind boggling to think that just 3 years ago, when I was a full time student with a much lower income, I actually had to pay more for the same services. It was a struggle to come up with the $75 for my annual exam, and that was at a Planned Parenthood with subsidies that partially covered the cost. And I do have some privilege in the situation, coming from a middle class white background. So really, I was lucky in that I could access the reproductive care I needed at all.

I hope we never return to a time where people are scrambling to find the money they need to keep their bodies and futures safe. Things are certainly not perfect now, but I truly hope we take steps forward, not back.

I can't express my appreciation enough. As I have a family history with a number of medical issues, it's important that I am able to access regular check-ups. These have been cost prohibitive to me in the past, but no more. What a relief it is to know that despite my bank account balance, I am able to access the exam that I needed, when I needed it. Healthcare really is a basic human right that should not be reserved for the richest among us. I'm so glad you recognize that.


A. Lynn

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