My name is Kialina Stewart and I am a homecare worker from Philadelphia.
Like so many other home healthcare workers in our country, I am afraid. I am afraid of what could happen if Obamacare was overturned and what that could mean for millions of healthcare workers – like me – who rely on its benefits.
My mother was a CNA all of my life. In fact, my mom, her sister, her sister in law and my niece all work in healthcare. It’s in our blood.
When I was growing up, I would go with my mom to work and watch how deeply she cared for the seniors in her nursing home. When she retired, they honored her by hanging up a gold plaque with her name.
In 2006, my mom got sick. I had to quit my job in the ER to take care of her. Since I am the youngest of 5 siblings and have no kids, I felt it was my duty.
It was hard seeing my mother vulnerable like that. I was used to seeing her cooking, walking around and taking care of me when I was sick. Then the tables turned. It was like she was now the baby and I was the mother.
My mom recently passed away at age 87. But because of my decision, she was able to live a longer, more comfortable life.
When I started as a home care worker, I wasn’t eligible for healthcare coverage. So I turned to Obamacare and was able to get a united healthcare silver plan.
Having healthcare coverage was essential for me because I have a history of fibroids and I needed to get surgery.
But having healthcare coverage also meant I could be a better caregiver for my mom. If I had to leave her to get treatment, I had the peace of mind knowing that I would be covered.
Now politicians like Senator Toomey want to take this lifeline away from me.
If Obamacare is overturned, it would have a huge impact on me and millions of other home care workers. Without the ACA, there will be a lot more untreated diseases and deaths. People are scared to go to the hospital as it is because they are afraid of the costs – many are literally choosing between a life threatening situation and a hospital bill.
I would like to ask Senator Toomey: what if your loved one had to choose between their life or the fear of not being able to afford care? Wouldn’t you want the same type of care for them as you’d want for yourself? Why should it be any different for my family?
Politicians like Senator Toomey need to listen to our stories and take a walk in our shoes to understand the challenges we cope with every day.
I want the ACA to continue doing what it was designed to do – provide care for people like me who need it. We work hard, we are taxpayers and caregivers and we deserve dignity, respect and the right to a healthy life.