I traveled nearly 1,000 miles, away from the nice weather of Florida to this never-ending winter in Washington, D.C., for one reason: to make my voice heard on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices decide whether or not to gut the Affordable Care Act--an issue that is dear to my heart.
As a registered nurse and SEIU member at the St. Lucie Medical Center in Port St. Lucie for the past 18 years, I have seen firsthand the effect the Affordable Care Act has had on the residents of my community. Because of tax credits provided under the Affordable Care Act, more people are coming into our hospital to get the care they desperately need. I used to imagine all the folks out there who resisted coming in because they feared the thousands of dollars in medical debt that could eventually cost them their home. Furthermore, I know that because of the tax credits that have made insurance more affordable for thousands of Floridians, fewer people have to make the horrible decision of whether to see their doctors or buy groceries. And fewer people are suffering silently at home with terrible untreated medical problems, until the pain gets so bad that they have to call for an ambulance.
Those things should not be happening in this country.
That's why I joined my fellow SEIU members and hundreds of other activists and demanded the court not take away tax subsidies that have made health insurance a reality for millions.
It was an awesome sight to see all these different groups here together; letting those who oppose the Affordable Care Act know that we won't just lie down and let them take us back to a time when insurance companies called all the shots. I have had employer-sponsored insurance during my career, but I thought it was important to stand up for those who haven't. In addition to the Supreme Court building, we were surrounded by the buildings that house the U.S. Congress. We sent a message to them as well. They need to think not about the legislators and corporate lobbyists who roam those halls, but about the millions of working Americans on the outside who depend on them to do what's right for the health of the country.