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en Español

peace of mind, not risk roulette

Since leaving my corporate job in 1999, I have been without health insurance, and I've been solely responsible for the risk since I became unexpectedly single a year later.

Though generally healthy, in my solo uninsured period, I've had three costly health emergencies arise (an asthma attack & diagnosis, a crushed wrist, and heart palpitations) that I have had to manage on my very limited income. It's been a stressful struggle, and I can only imagine the challenges for those without my financial and management expertise. The burden of uninsured healthcare costs is onerous; to have to choose between food, rent, and medicine must be imponderable.

I've been fortunate these last 13 years that my spin on the BabyBoomers' roulette wheel has left me solvent. Having witnessed my dad's multiple cardiovascular episodes while in his 40s and 50s and having juggled countless concerns during my mom's decline into dementia, I know only too well that my precarious financial situation could become untenable all too quickly should a significant health crisis arise for me.

I am relieved that under the new healthcare program, it looks like I'll have 94% coverage for my premiums. As a California resident, I'll go from fully at risk to paying $1 per month for great coverage under Obamacare. I'll be able to afford peace of mind for the first time in more than a decade.

Planning for my future isn't shaping up like the golden years painted during my youth any more than my hectic single-working-mother years resembled my parents' idyllic life. I'm still a year away from Medicare and two from Social Security. While my woefully depleted IRA might still see me through these two last limbo years, without Affordable Care coverage, a critical health crisis in the next 24 months would easily wipe out all of my remaining retirement savings without any chance to contemplate even modest leisure plans.

I can't say affordable healthcare coverage is enabling the life I dreamed of or even the one my years of frugal preparation deserve but I can guarantee that the alternative being touted by Congressional extremists is its antithesis. I can only hope that the President not only stands up to the bullies but that success in this venue will help everyone realize that it isn't too late to resurrect the American Dream for my granddaughter's generation.

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