It was late at night, and we were rushing to the emergency room. We didn't have time to think about things, so we took our baby to the closest children's hospital. We entered the emergency room, quickly checked in and were seen by a nurse right away. After being checked over by a doctor, she determined that we had nothing to worry about, that it was a false alarm. As we left the hospital, the nurses gave us smiles. We checked out quickly and drove home, tired but relieved. What we did not have to worry about was “how are we going to pay for this?”, or “does our insurance cover those tests?,” or ”was that hospital in our network?” because I'm an American living in Australia, where healthcare doesn't bankrupt people or force them into making major life decisions between health and finances.

Study after study shows that an emergency room visit in the United States can cost an uninsured person thousands of dollars. Thousands of Americans living homeless on the streets are there because of having to declare bankruptcy after paying skyrocketing medical bills. This means if your family is uninsured and something happens, you have to make the heart-breaking decision to take someone to the emergency room knowing it will ruin you financially. Choosing between health and money is a decision no one should have to make. Luckily the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) has shrunk the level of uninsured in America to historic lows. 

But the 60+ efforts of the Republicans to repeal the ACA will shrink back the level of insured in America by at least 30 million people according to the several independent reports. Millions of more Americans will have to go to the emergency room knowing it cost them dearly. As independent experts have confirmed over and over, Republican plans to repeal the ACA would leave tens of millions of Americans without essential health coverage, regardless if they call it the Better Healthcare Reconciliation Act, the “skinny repeal,” Graham-Cassidy, or any other disguise.

Having lived in the United States and Australia, I've experienced and experienced both healthcare systems. In Australia, health care is purely a decision about health, what is best for you or your family, how we can treat and prevent illness, and how we can all live better lives. In America, where health care is a for-profit industry, the decision is about health and money. The two have to be made together and often compromises the hard choices that must be made such as:

We need to see our General Practitioner; can we afford the deductible right now?

Our insurance premiums have gone up; can we risk being uninsured for a few months?

This procedure isn't covered by my insurance; can I go without it?

No one should compromise necessary health care due to the amount of money they make. No one should be forced into these decisions any longer.

Democrats Abroad want to hear about your overseas healthcare experience. Please go to http://www.democratsabroad.org/healthcare_stories to share your story. Our stories will be shared directly with members of Congress to show the importance of Universal Health Care

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