Living in small town Vermont is not always as idyllic as people think. We’d moved across country, purchasing a big house on the outskirts of a town that had a grocery, school and library, and clinic, but not much else. For over a decade, I raised two kids and poultry and vegetables while commuting to teach at local colleges on course-by-course contracts, increasingly terrified of my spouse and isolated in a small town of mostly traditional families. I was trapped, convinced that I was dependent on the marriage for my medical care as well as the roof over my head.
The passage of the ACA shed light into what had become a very lonely and dark space (because in small town America, domestic abuse is embarrassing and kept hidden). But here it was: I could get health insurance, for myself and, if needed, for my children. And somehow that life line enabled me to start taking the steps that eventually lead to physical escape, followed first by legal freedom and then by an entirely new career.
Now I worry that without the ACA, my glorious new career will disappear, and I will be forced to take any job that will consider a woman of my age and background, just so that I will have health insurance. Not the path I’d set for myself, and not the example I want to set for my children. And I worry deeply about the people who will be forced to remain in abusive if not openly dangerous marriages because they lack any other means of obtaining adequate health care.