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For me, the holiday season isn’t just a reminder of joyful tidings, but a reminder of how important healthcare really is to my family, and more specifically, my son Brandon.

One holiday season when my children were young, what was supposed to be a time of cherished memories literally became a nightmare!  During this time, our youngest son Brandon fell direly ill.  While on the train returning to Maryland, Brandon was tired and pale. At first I thought Brandon just had the flu or a bug of some kind, but as his condition continued to worsen, I became terrified.

At that moment, I knew it was paramount for me to get Brandon to the hospital. Once we arrived to the Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, the doctor said in ER they could barely find a pulse. They said if I had waited until the morning to bring him in, he would probably not have made it through the night. I was beside myself! That's when I learned that Brandon was being diagnosed with Type I Juvenile Diabetes. Gratefully, Brandon’s father’s insurance at that moment covered his needs, but later our jobs changed and we signed up for an insurance plan offered to retired military.

Then, when Brandon turned 23, after graduating college, he was no longer allowed to remain on his military dad’s health insurance because it was exempt from the health law ruling that would have allowed him to stay on. This was such a surprise as I was under the impression all insurance companies had to cover children on their parents plan up until age 26. Nevertheless, I would not have done anything less to see Affordable Care Act pass for others who needed changes just as much as we did. If our experience taught us anything it’s just how important this 26 rule really is!

Chicago Brandon Grad 023

Devastated and left without any medical coverage for Brandon’s diabetes (of which there is no cure) as a Mom I just felt completely helpless! How on earth will we be able to pay for Brandon’s insulin and other supplies to manage his health needs? For a period of time following graduation from college, Brandon was able to find employment with benefits. However, after four years with the company, like so many other youth in tough economic times, he is currently job searching again.

However, this time Brandon has more options thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid Expansion is vitally important, and for youth like my son, because it's not a matter of luxury, but a life and death situation.  We were lucky to live in Maryland, where state legislators made the wise decision to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid for people like Brandon.

Praise God for Obamacare!

As part of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, Brandon is eligible to receive comprehensive health coverage. There are truly NO WORDS to express our appreciation for President Obama, Americans and all of the other members of Congress who have fought to see this come to fruition.

Just the other day, we received a voice message indicating, as of January 1, 2014, Brandon will receive prescription drug benefits through Medicaid and Dental benefits to boot!

Now that is really something to sing about this holiday season!

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