TJC Story Blog

Nov 2020

Sage Snider

I wrote this in July, 2017: “A letter to my family, friends, and fellow Tennesseans: As some of you know, I spent much of this year battling my lungs. Less than a month after turning 26 (and losing my parent’s health insurance), I took a huge risk and moved halfway across the country to Nashville, TN where I felt I could best develop personally and professionally. Before leaving, my mother worried about what I’d do in a health emergency. Of course, I shrugged her off. I was 26, totally healthy, and wasn’t going to let fear stop me from growing. Nine months later, I breathed in a fungus and developed large, painful growths in my lungs. Merely walking outside, I inhaled spores that put my entire life on hold. My lung disease demanded regular appointments and debilitating medications, made full-time work impossible, and got me fired from my regular gig. I wasn’t expecting to need good insurance, but even 26-year-olds can get sick. Not everyone can work jobs with benefits (even those with two Ivy League degrees). I was young and unemployed in Tennessee and needed extensive healthcare immediately. A month later, I managed to get an appropriate plan through the Affordable Care Act (though I barely qualified since Tennessee refused Medicaid expansion). Without it, I probably would have moved back with my parents in Maryland (which accepted ACA’s Medicaid expansion). Without these options, I might have died. I am here because of “Obamacare.” Obviously, I know our healthcare system isn’t perfect. Having spent so much of this year at hospitals, I’ve experienced its flaws firsthand. Ask me how many times I’ve cried while waiting to hear from my doctor. Ask me about being misdiagnosed with sarcoidosis or lung cancer. Ask me about picking up prescriptions, waiting on hold, tracking down paperwork… But these are details. What ultimately matters is that I’m healthy and won’t be in debt the rest of my life—thanks to my health insurance. … Fellow Tennesseans: Please don’t let us go backwards. I am only still here because of this law. Tennessee is becoming my home, my workplace, my community. I would like to stay here. Please tell our representatives NOT to repeal the Affordable Care Act—for our country’s health and for me. … We all want and all need good healthcare, so let’s make it better together.”

Check out this musical homage to the ACA by Sage Snider.