Everyday, I read the ACA-related headlines with fear of repeal. For many young people like me trying to stay in Maine, it’s the only option for health care. Without it, we face losing much more than health care coverage.

As a self-employed contractor, I’m the sole person responsible for sourcing and paying for my insurance. After years of without, the ACA provides a safety net in the event of a catastrophic accident or health issue. As a homeowner, medical bills could literally go through the roof sans insurance, putting me at risk of losing my home. I earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, and my business is at risk if major ACA changes are made.

Though not incredibly economic, the ACA is 100 percent necessary for my survival. After purchasing, I was diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disease and have multiple provider appointments per month. I pay a lot out of pocket, but ultimately, I will save money and have access to providers who suit my needs. I successfully maintain self-employed status and have flexibility to simultaneously continue client work and treat my disease. Without the ACA, I sacrifice my health to obtain insurance. To me, that’s contradictory.

If we want to grow Maine’s health, we must provide Mainers with tools to grow and be healthy. Medicaid expansion, which numerous states presently benefit from, is a safe move making health care truly affordable. Growth starts with women and the children they bare. Reforms must prioritize their needs. Young professionals like myself want to be a part of a healthy community and stay in Maine. I’d be willing to pay into an efficient system where I’m provided with the same great resources as peers and neighbors.

Ari Wile