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Please begin with an informative title:

I've been fortunate to have relatively good health throughout my life. My worst injury so far happened in 2004 when I severely dislocated my shoulder during a kayaking lesson at Chelsea Pier in New York. My orthopedic surgeon, with over 30 years experience of shoulder surgery, was taken aback when he looked at my MRIs and saw the damage. My labrum, a circular piece of cartilage that holds the shoulder together, had literally been torn in half, along with some other damage to my rotator cuff and bone structure.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

I scheduled the surgery, but when I asked my boss for time off to have the operation, he fired me on the spot and I promptly lost my employer-based health insurance. I left New York and eventually found a new job in Chicago with insurance, but now my shoulder injury was considered a preexisting condition and I couldn't get coverage for the surgery. Just a new MRI alone at Northwestern Hospital cost me over $2000. I spent the next three years walking around with a painful and unstable shoulder that would often spontaneously dislocate, sometimes several times per day. Each time it happened, the pain was excruciating. It wasn't until I returned to New York in 2007 that I was finally able to get the surgery and physical therapy I needed, and only then because the State of New York already had a law in the books prohibiting insurers from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions. Otherwise I would've personally been on the hook for over $30,000 for the surgery alone, plus the cost of six months of physical therapy.

The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, isn't perfect. I personally favor a single-payer system, which Obamacare grants states the authority to establish. (Look for progressive states like Vermont, California, and Oregon to begin establishing single-payer systems in the coming years. Hopefully I'll be living in one of those states when it happens.) But even so, it curbs some of the worst abuses that me and my friends have had to deal with over the years.

So, when you say you oppose Obamacare without advocating for a viable alternative, you're saying that you're fine with the idea that I can get fired from my job and lose my health insurance just for having injured my shoulder. You're saying it's fine that I spent three years in severe pain and with a barely-functioning right arm before I could get the surgery I needed, and you're saying that it's fine that I would've bankrupted myself by having to pay out-of-pocket for the surgery and rehab. And you're saying it's fine that some of my closest friends, several of whom have much more severe health-related issues than I do, should bankrupt themselves paying for healthcare, or simply die in the street without any coverage at all.

If that's how you feel, then I'm going to take it very personally, and I'm going to cut you out of my life so fast your head will spin.

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