My name is Sarah and I am twenty years old.
I am a graduate student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at UNLV, I work close to full time here on campus, and I volunteer for President Obama’s re-election campaign in Henderson whenever I can.
I’m just an ordinary person. I enjoy reading, playing with my dogs, and obsessing over amazing TV shows and books such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Harry Potter—and one day I hope to achieve my dream of having a career as a therapist and living a happy life.
However, unlike most young adults, my chances of reaching this dream can be thrown off track at any moment for one reason: an inability to obtain health insurance.
You see, what I’ve yet to share with you is that I was born with severe asthma and, at the age of six, was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease known as Guillain-Barre.
Guillain-Barre syndrome is a serious disorder that occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. It is the most common cause of acute non-trauma-related paralysis in the world.
Thankfully I was lucky, and today, other than recurring asthma, I am healthy.
However, because of my preexisting condition, being able to afford my own healthcare coverage has been very difficult. Last May, my mother and only parent passed away. This suddenly left me without insurance and I was forced to figure out how to find a plan that would cover me—not to mention a way to afford insurance once I found it.
With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, I’m able to retain the hope that one day I will be able to lead a life without constantly needing to worry about one asthma attack being able to ruin me. Today, I know that I will never be denied coverage because of my pre-existing condition. I have a security and peace of mind that simply wasn’t possible before health care reform.
Without the Affordable Care Act, all of my hard work could be for not; and for what reason? Not because I was lazy or reckless, but because I got sick when I was six? I could be ruined purely due to illnesses that I never asked to contract—and I know I’m not alone.
The anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being passed is a big deal to a lot of people in this country. I am one of them and it is a big part of why I’m working so hard to re-elect President Obama in 2012.
To work with amazing volunteers like Sarah and help protect the progress that's been made on health care reform, just come into any one of our offices in the state.