--Nico Serra, HCAO Board member
Less than a month after the Affordable Healthcare Act passed and about six weeks after I moved from Utah to Oregon, I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle. I lost my ability to hike, rock climb, white water raft, mountain bike and play softball. After working first as a public school teacher and later as a wilderness therapy field instructor in Utah, it was difficult knowing that I wouldn't be able to enjoy Mount Hood or the Pacific Ocean like I had hoped. But the health care expansion allowed me to have regular checkups with my doctor for the first time, and I was able to get treatment for a congenital disease that, combined with my traumatic injuries, had left me unable to walk much or perform many functions of daily living.
To further complicate matters, a few years before the bicycle accident, my extremely supportive father was tragically killed due to a mechanical error in a plane he was flying. His death put significant strain on my family which was only made worse when I came out as transgender. While my sister continued to be as helpful as she could, I lost most of the support systems that had protected me. However, thanks to my chosen family and access to health care, I successfully applied for Social Security Disability Insurance. My life, mind and mobility were saved by this care, and I don't know where I would be without it.
Everyone should have health care, no matter their race, age, sexuality, ability, gender identity, religious belief or income. The United States must guarantee health care as a human right. We lag behind the major industrialized countries of the world in failing to grant this right to our population, and with the majority of Americans supporting universal coverage, there has never been more momentum to bring about such a needed change.