FIRST PERSON | PHOENIX -- As an independent Arizona voter, I feel like I am living in a political desert of sorts, riding the back of a camel into the mirage called the "evangelical left," especially when it comes to health care reform.
When then-candidate Barack Obama came along, we spiritual types who tend to be more left-leaning, got the word: It's OK to be a believer, and a liberal-minded one, at that. As they say, WWJD?
As an American who worked for more than 30 years and has been unemployed since, well, forever, the issue of health care reform affected me deeply. I believed in universal health care before it had personal impact on me, but in recent years, my efforts as a digital advocate for health care reform has ramped up considerably.
It was the "issue of the decade," and as the Affordable Care Act took a lurching leap into the scrutiny and onslaught of politics in America, I sat on the rollercoaster ride, closed my eyes, and held on for dear life. If there was a place for President Obama to hold my heart close to his forever, this issue was the one. After that, in my eyes, he could do no wrong, though a few of his decisions since have made me cringe. However, it is the good decisions, from my stately position as Armchair President, that also make me proud. And with health care reform, the good outweighs the bad, and the sweet overcomes the bitter.
Health care reform had a 120-year-old history dating back to a Republican by the name of Teddy Roosevelt, called a "Bullmoose" Republican because he was always at odds with his own party. He was the one who started the very idea of nationalized health care in America. When Teddy's distant cousin, Franklin Delano, came along later and introduced it again, he pretty much got the same treatment as President Obama. The Republican party took hold of his bill, tore it to smithereens, and the nation ended up with a trickled down health care reform package that we now call "Medicare," which is part of the total Social Security package.
Here we are again, with yet another ripped-up health care reform bill called the Affordable Care Act (ACA), on which Republicans spew 24/7 vitriol and call "Obamacare." However, Obamacare is a 24/7 on-call doctor and a hotline to the surgeon general of the United States if any of the Obama's so much as sneeze and fart at the same time. The ACA is not that, nor can it ever be. The ACA is about the American people, not President Obama.
As an Arizona voter and one who has been threatened with removal from Arizona's state medical care services, called AHCCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System), I have to say that Arizona was already ahead of it and on the right path, then got off this year.
As an independent, this issue affects my vote because it should. There's simply no other way to see it.