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Every hard-working American deserves affordable care

The last three years of my life have been hard, and I know so many can relate. A cancer diagnosis followed by a divorce meant losing my health care for the first time. To say my world turned upside down would be an understatement.

In October of 2011, my cousin noticed a spot on my back that I hadn't noticed—nothing to get too scared about, but when I had it checked out I learned it was malignant melanoma. Nothing can quite describe the feeling you get when you finally realize that you, like so many hundreds of thousands of others, have cancer.

It wasn't my first time encountering cancer, either: I lost my beautiful mother to breast cancer 18 years before, and I knew all too well the trials ahead of me. Not just concerns for my own physical well-being, but the sleepless nights lost to worrying about the bills to come. When my mother died, she was so close to her lifetime limit on health coverage—every worst-case scenario played out in my head.

Holly and her mother

My diagnosis was followed by surgery in November of 2011, and then a lifetime of checkups to make sure my cancer never comes back. Not only was I a first-time cancer survivor, but I also suddenly had a"pre-existing condition."

They say when it rains, it pours, and well, I can attest to that. The following August my marriage of 22 years ended. My health care coverage was tied to my husband, so when our marriage ended, so did my insurance. I tried to find my own coverage, but it was impossible to find anything affordable with the pre-existing condition of cancer.

As any cancer survivor can tell you, your life depends on annual wellness checkups. Suddenly, I couldn't see the way forward. Since then I've lived in fear every day that I would no longer be there for my two children—that the cancer would suddenly creep back, undetected and undeterred.

Holly and her two children

That's why I am so, so thankful for theAffordable Care Act. I recently finished my application here in Indiana, and willeven be receiving financial assistance. The relief of knowing I'm covered, regardless of my pre-existing condition, is priceless. I've made all my appointments and am so excited for my coverage to start onFebruary 1st. My copay is only $10—I feel so happy I could shout.The overwhelming relief I feel can't be put into words. I'll be able to keep my wonderful oncology doctors, and I know I'll be there for my 13- and 17-year-old children.

I'm a grateful mother, a loving daughter, a hard-working American, and a cancer survivor—and I'm on Team Obamacare. You should be, too.

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