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A millennial looks forward to Obamacare, and wishes legislators would, too

About eight months ago, I called my heath insurance provider to gather information about adding maternity coverage I might need at some point (At some point, Mom. You hear me? At some point. Control yourself.), rather than relying on my usual strategy of waiting for crises to occur and sorting out the details on the back end. I'm such an adult now, I can hardly stand it.

Newly married and 31, I felt proud of myself for this responsible, adult thinking. I'd been self-employed and managing an individual health care plan for years at that point, so I was feeling rather empowered in general. In fact, I'd even recently added dental coverage to my plan, because sensible grownups  prioritize things like keeping all of our teeth intact.

What did I learn during my maternity coverage research? First, I found that the cost of adding it to my existing plan was insane. It would more than double my monthly premium. And while I was only paying $140 a month for a pretty decent plan, an extra $200 was no small deal – especially when I had a $674 student loan payment each month to think about on top of all of the frivolous spending I do on food and housing.

So much for getting coverage in advance just to be on the safe side, and for feeling secure that my plan would cover me when I needed it. But here's where things really went bananas: After learning maternity coverage would drastically change my financial life, I found I wasn't eligible for it. Because I'd added that super-responsible dental coverage two months earlier, I wasn't allowed to pay them more money for more services for another 10 months. Oh, and if I happened to get pregnant before being allowed to add coverage, they would add a 180-day waiting period after that point, because being pregnant would be considered, say it with me, a preexisting condition. So thank you, health-insurance provider, for dictating when I am allowed to start a family and whether or not I can afford to.

The point is, health insurance is currently ridiculous, even when you're financially stable and trying to do everything correctly. And anyone who is resisting the reforms to the current way of doing things is equally ridiculous in my book. I am aware it has long been the standard thinking that doing life correctly means you have a good job that offers you health insurance, and if you fall outside of this bubble and can't afford it, you must be lazy/poor/entitled. It's time to shake loose from that old way of thinking, because my generation simply doesn’t work that way.

I represent a new work force in Michigan. Millennials are entrepreneurial, and many of us are self-employed. And I'm not just looking at charts and faceless data here. I'm a part of a six-woman group that socializes together once a month. Five years ago, we all had “regular jobs” that included traditional health-insurance benefits. Today, only one has such a position. The rest of us, all in our early thirties, are self-employed. Three of us elected to leave our jobs; two were laid off. We are now all self-sustaining, and each of us has a lot to be proud of regarding our success as entrepreneurs. But every single one of us struggles with the cost and hassle of health insurance.

Under the Affordable Care Act, we will all have maternity coverage, as well as access to free birth control, annual exams and, eventually, mammograms, which virtually fixes all of our problems. The ACA is important for us, as it is for so many Americans, especially those who haven't ever had the luxury of working for an employer that offers insurance or of earning a paycheck large enough to pay for private coverage.

But because the argument that low-income Americans deserve equal access to affordable health care doesn't seem to register with certain lawmakers, I thought I'd try this approach: I am your successful adult child. I have a good job, a master's degree and student loan payments, and a house, dog and husband. I work far more than 40 hours a week. I volunteer. I want to have my own kids with (almost) the same urgency of my mother, aka Grandma-in-Waiting. And I need the ACA.

So stop using it as a bargaining chip. Stop resisting it. Stop pretending like repealing or un-funding it is some sort of morally pristine battle worth fighting in the name of America's future. If you're really concerned with America's future, stop threatening to make it so much harder for us to build it.

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