Every day that I spend with my son Eliott is a reminder how important healthcare is to me and my family. Like many North Carolinians, access to healthcare often goes unnoticed until I need to see a doctor, my wife just can’t shake the flu or in one of my life’s most challenging moments, the life of my son hung in the balance when he was born with a heart defect.

I have been fortunate to have healthcare, and while I join the many independent contractors struggling to make sense of our healthcare system, I know the privilege access to care provides. It is why I believe every family in the nation must have affordable access to quality care. And it is why I am running to represent the working people and families of North Carolina’s 13 district in the Washington.

On November 1, the first day of this year’s open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, I kicked off my campaign’s Here2Hear Listening Sessions with members of our community sharing stories and insights about navigating the healthcare landscape. We all came together at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro for a discussion of how healthcare affects us as well as what is needed to move healthcare forward in our state and our nation.

Many people shared their personal, powerful stories, such as:

  • A former emergency room nurse shared how her and her husband’s retirement had been exhausted after she was diagnosed with an illness and he retired early to care for her. Insurance companies fought her each step of the way, and now, had it not been for the ACA, she would be without any health coverage. Still, even with coverage, this long-working family has had their financial health decimated like many Americans.
  • Several medical professionals shared the risk of how privatizing systems like Medicare will slowly disintegrate care for individuals in rural areas where significant portions of their patients depend on the subsidy for care. She shared how private insurance companies add additional loopholes, drag out repayment timelines for profit motives, and challenge each patient in ways that add trauma to an already difficult experience.
  • One mother spoke about how her son, attempting to raise a family as an independent professional, now faces a staggering health insurance premium in the thousands for a family of four.
  • A wife came to share, listen to stories, and in tears, held a pile of papers documenting that because of her husband’s illness, the revised legislation and Republican-led diminishing of the ACA forced her premiums to jump 200%.
  • One independent contractor shared how in spite of paying nearly $500 a month for a bronze healthcare plan, he would avoids the high deductible costs of seeing his own physician by going to the Department of Public Health for assistance.

…and there was so much more.

It is time our nation comes together to have genuine conversations about healthcare. It is time for new leadership to take office that will speak both to those who need healthcare as well as healthcare providers. In order to move us forward on healthcare, I understand the need for many more discussions like this.

Over the coming weeks and months, I look forward to hearing from more people about how healthcare reform affects them, learn from their experiences with our healthcare system, and start a conversation of how we can move our state and nation forward to provide affordable, accessible, quality healthcare for everyone.

Join me in the effort to expand access to affordable and life-saving healthcare so that it’s not a privilege to be able to go to the doctor, so that working families don’t have to choose between paying off their mortgages and their rent or being able to go to the doctor, so that the every child born is given the most precious opportunity to live and thrive in our great state.

With your support, either through volunteering or through contribution, let’s come together and bring new leadership to move our nation and our state forward for all.

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