Yahoo! News asked Americans to write about how the Supreme Court's ruling on Thursday affects them. Below is one personal story and perspective.
FIRST PERSON | The Supreme Court has spoken, and I'm thrilled. Obamacare is alive and well. It will pave the way for a healthier future for Americans young and old, and it's given me hope. I know I sound like an Affordable Care Act pom-pom girl, but somebody has to cheer on the good guys.
I never understood why the idea of health care for all sent some conservatives over the edge, but even they can smile a little now. The Supreme Court upheld the personal mandate as a "tax" with no recourse for failure to pay. That gives the naysayers the flexibility to ignore it while working another tax-and-spend put-down into the Republican presidential campaign.
I'm one of those people
I'm 59 years old and one of the uninsured Americans President Barack Obama talks about. For a third of my life, I worked for insurance companies who paid me well enough to afford the health insurance premiums they charged. I never had to consider bizarre financial decisions like food vs. insurance. Since becoming a member of the self-employed ranks, health insurance has been an unaffordable luxury, like new cars and shopping sprees.
I always imagined I'd get private insurance some day, but the money never stretched that far. Being uninsured has been a major incentive to stay healthy though. I take vitamins. I walk. I exercise. I eat healthy most of the time; and I've done a pretty good job of staying out of the health care system for 20 years.
Being uninsured is fine if you never get sick
Of course I've had a medical issue or two. I've relied on subsidized emergency care to treat a broken ankle, chemical pneumonia from cleaning products and a popped knee ligament from running for a bus. Some medical facilities charged me based on income, although they kept services to a minimum.
As I age, I'm at risk for Alzheimer's, colon cancer, high cholesterol, heart disease and all of the illnesses that run in my family. If I get seriously ill, I'll generate a backlog of bills I'd never be able to pay. Forget preventive screening. The last quote I got for an uninsured colonoscopy was $1,000. Thanks to Obamacare, I'll eventually have access to an insurance exchange, premium/cost sharing credits and affordable coverage until Medicare eligibility kicks in.
I applaud the Supreme Court's momentous decision. Thanks judges. I didn't know you had it in you.