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Fighting for access to better health care

For Mohammad, access to health insurance is personal.

His story begins when he moved to Ann Arbor from Texas to attend the University of Michigan. The cost to attend as an out-of-stater was high, but he was thankful to receive support through grants and loans.

My father covered what remained during my freshman and sophomore years. Even though times were tough on him, he promised to do ‘whatever it takes’ to get me through school. To bring more money home, he declined his company’s health insurance as a trucker. For the next three months he dealt with flu-like symptoms, but refused to go to the doctor out-of-pocket. When he couldn’t take it anymore, he finally went to a hospital and was given a third stage lung cancer diagnosis. Despite subsequent treatment, it was only a few months later that he passed away. In his final days, he told me to never feel any guilt about what had happened and that he was content with his decision. ‘I’d rather face God knowing I gave my son an education.’ In return, I promised him I’d fight so that families wouldn’t have to face such a cruel choice.

Mohammad finished undergrad with his mother’s support – and started medical school at the University of Michigan soon after. Free clinic volunteering only exposed him more to the deep problems of the American health care system. With a fire in his belly to do something more, he applied for an internship at the White House Office for Health Reform – and was accepted.

Taking the job meant taking a leave of absence from school, but with everything that had happened to my family, I didn't hesitate. We spent a lot of time making the public argument for the Affordable Care Act as it related to Americans personally. There is still very little understanding of the Affordable Care Act’s impact in medical school, so I hope that I can take the knowledge that I have gained from my experiences to push for and create a more efficient medical system that builds on President Obama’s reforms. No one should ever feel they have to sacrifice their health and well-being, and that’s why I’ll be sure to supplement my education with some volunteer time in 2012.

Join the conversation with Mohammad, and find out more about how the Affordable Care Act is impacting Americans.

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