Don’t Repeal the ACA Which We Have Fought So Hard To Get
My family is one of many examples of how the ACA revolutionized the healthcare game for many families who previously could not afford health insurance.
I remember my first volunteer assignment with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment back in 2015. I worked with an immigrant family from Afghanistan and an official ACA registrar who also volunteered his time enrolling Virginia communities in healthcare. The son spoke a little Arabic, so I was able to translate the registrar’s English instructions to Arabic. The son then translated the instructions from Arabic to Dari. It took us a hot minute to proceed with the enrollment, but it was worth every back and forth conversation.
Today, I am a health policy advocate for the same organization I volunteered for on that memorable day, the American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP). AMHP has a great reputation for working across political and religious lines to promote affordable access to healthcare. We also pride ourselves in overcoming cultural barriers through our mental health first aid program to raise awareness, educate, and reduce the cultural and societal stigma surrounding mental health. A significant aspect of AMHP’s work, however, is advocating on behalf of the underserved and underrepresented segments of our population.
Healthcare is a family matter. Loss of affordable coverage can impact the health and wellbeing of the family as a whole; I have experienced this personally. When my mom lost her job back in 2016 and we lost my her employer health insurance, we did not think our stress levels could have increased any further. Luckily, we found an affordable healthcare coverage plan under the ACA. My family is one of many examples of how the ACA revolutionized the healthcare game for many families who previously could not afford health insurance. You no longer had to be rich to afford health insurance because everyone was now entitled to health coverage.
We as a nation cannot afford to repeal the ACA. At some point, we all have to come to the consensus that healthcare should not be a political issue. It should be a human rights issue.
Over the years, AMHP fought hard to prevent the repeal of the ACA. We joined intrafaith and interfaith organizations in a 23-hour vigil in front of the U.S. Capitol to protest the repeal of the ACA back in 2017. We urged our members to contact their senators to prevent the Senate healthcare repeal bill. We have accomplished many great feats and attended many events that have garnered nationwide support, including an opportunity for our founder, Arshia Wajid, to discuss her 14+ year work at a roundtable with former President Barack Obama and 13 other Muslim leaders from diverse fields across the country.
But the fight still continues...The U.S. Court Of Appeals’ 5th Circuit has scheduled oral arguments for the appeal of Texas v. US for July 9, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. If Texas v. US is not successfully appealed, the ACA will be in jeopardy, impacting millions of Americans’ access to affordable healthcare.
If the Texas-led coalition and the Trump Administration win this case, the District Court’s decision would affect nearly 133 million Americans, including 17 million kids with pre-existing health conditions.
If healthcare affects you or your loved ones, please take this opportunity to join the fight against the repeal of the ACA. Inform your friends and family about this upcoming court case, contact your congresspeople and ask them to support Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s fight in the case, and most of all, continue educating yourself about the health policies of our nation.
Lujain Al-Khawi is the Health Policy & Advocacy Intern at the American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP). She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org