The Drive for Our Lives bus kicked off the last leg of their tour on Monday in Cleveland, Ohio. At the event, we were joined by organizers, health care advocates, doctors, and patients from across the state.
In Cleveland, Paula shared her story about how the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion saved her life.
“When I was 47 years old, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, I was working two jobs, neither one provided health insurance and I was not able to buy it on the individual market, so I was uninsured.
In 2016, I had a seizure. That’s when I learned that the cancer had metastasized to the brain, and then four months later doctors found it in my liver. Thankfully, Medicaid expansion had taken effect and I was able to get health coverage. Without that, I probably wouldn’t be here today.
We were able to keep the disease stable because I do chemotherapy every three weeks. I take a daily anti-seizure medication and doctors treat brain tumors as they appear. There’s a lot of monitoring with CT scans and MRIs. In addition, there are a host of side effects. But because of Medicaid expansion, I’ve been able to receive the quality care that this disease needs—and so it kept stable and I’m here and alive. I’m even able to be back at work.
Right now, lawmakers are telling us that Medicaid expansion and the health care system overall are not sustainable. We can’t just throw it away. We don’t just throw away the 700,000 people on Medicaid expansion. We don’t just throw away the 5.2 million Ohioans who would lose their care over the next ten years. We fix the system.
Health care is neither a right nor a privilege—it’s a basic essential of life. We just can’t live without it. The question is not who gets health care and who doesn’t, the question is how do we provide quality affordable health care for everyone.
We as a nation have a moral obligation to care for each other. It does me no good if my neighbor is ill and can’t get well. It does the economy no good if people are ill and can’t get well. Healthy people work and a strong healthy economy relies on strong healthy people, and strong healthy people rely on health care.”
Watch the entire livestream of our event in Cleveland here.