Have you ever been so sick that you cannot imagine what life was like when you were not? Have you ever had such recurrent and painfully debilitating migraines that you feel completely hopeless in ever having just one "normal" day? Have you experienced unknown pains and ailments that cause significant discomfort to your daily routine that you think a visit to a doctor is absolutely necessary? Have your spent nearly a month fighting off a common cold that has turned to a sinus infection from which only antibiotics can give relief?
These various health related situations are common enough for many people. You may have shared similar experiences in your own life. I can tell you that all of these situations are experiences from my life. The great thing is there are cures, helps, medications, medical attention, etc. that can help in any of those situations. The sad truth is that I have no access to that help, to that relief, to that attention from a medical professional. I do not qualify for subsidized healthcare, nor can I afford it privately. I live in constant fear for my health and for my family because I know that if injury of sickness come into our life, it will mean the choice between getting medical attention and suffering significant financial stress or not getting medical attention and hoping symptoms and conditions do not get worse. My name is Todd Christensen and this is my story.
I am 31 years old, married and have a 6 month old baby girl. I live in Orem, UT, attend the University of Utah as a full-time graduate student in social work, and work two part-time jobs just to make ends meet. We currently budget our expenses to come out just about even month-to-month. Neither myself nor my wife have can afford healthcare coverage. Fortunately our daughter is covered by Medicaid for a little while longer. At some point, however, it will become absolutely necessary for me to acquire healthcare coverage for my family, and especially for my daughter. What do I do then? How do I protect myself so I can continue to live healthy, work, study and provide for my family? How do I protect my wife so she can continue to work hard every day in raising our child? How do I protect my child once Medicaid expires for her?
I have shopped various plans from various companies and all are beyond my ability to attain with my current financial situation. I was therefore very enthused when I knew healthcare was going to be made more available to the population through a subsidized government plan, also commonly known as ObamaCare. Then I found out that Utah chose not to expand their coverage to solve the enormous problem of the "coverage gap." I fall in that gap. My family falls in that gap. I am between the 50% and 100% poverty level. This has been a frustrating and difficult situation for me for many years. I work hard, stay employed, go to school, etc. I likely would be considered middle/working class. Yet, as thousands of others like me in Utah, I cannot afford health care privately nor do I qualify for help from subsidized coverage. The best way to express what this feels like is the concept of drowning. More than anything I just want to know my family is safe and cared for so when my daughter gets sick, we can go to the doctor and get her help; when I continue to experience chronic migraines that I can go see a doctor or a specialist for help; when my wife gets a sinus infection she can see a doctor and get some antibiotics.
I know that there are many like me who deserve to have healthcare coverage. I know that there is a proposed plan for how Utah can make up that coverage gap. I know it is being voted on very soon. I urge you to consider the thousands of Utah families like mine who are good, hardworking, honest and tax-paying people who continue to suffer financial stress and debt as a result of simply trying to "make it" and ensure the welfare of their family. I urge you to consider that your vote could change their lives, my life, my family's life. The middle class is the one suffering the most and any economy's strength hinders on the strength of the working/middle class.
My name is Todd Christensen, I am a graduate student, I work two jobs, I have a family, I cannot afford health insurance, and I do not qualify for government subsidized insurance. I am exhausted. I am tired. I am frightened. I cannot help my family to be ensured medical care whenever it's needed. Can you even imagine as a parent how that feels? I simply cannot afford it and I cannot get government assistance. Please, help. Vote for the Utah expansion.