October 20, 2018 News & Press Releases

DPVA Chair Susan Swecker: Affordable Care Act gives cancer patients a chance (Roanoke Times)

by Susan Swecker

Swecker: Affordable Care Act gives cancer patients a chance

DPVA Chair Susan Swecker in The Roanoke Times

There are all kinds of survivors in the world. Those men and women who have survived sexual harassment…men and women who have survived the crippling injuries of war…and then all around us, at our workplaces and in our neighborhoods, there are cancer survivors. That’s me, a cancer survivor.

You wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at me; I’m lucky to have no visible scars you might notice. But I’m a survivor nevertheless, one who is able to fully live and fully love, thanks to the medical care from the great doctors who diagnosed and treated me.

My life would have been over if my employer at the time had not given me access to the healthcare I needed. And that is why, after my dance with death, I have volunteered my time as chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, to fight for the Affordable Care Act so that folks have access to the same life-saving care I did.

Getting people the help they deserve was no easy task. It took the election of Barack Obama, a brutal fight to pass the Affordable Care Act through Congress, a 5-4 Supreme Court decision to save the ACA, a grass-roots effort to defeat Donald Trump’s healthcare repeal...and that is not even counting all the work we did to accept the benefits of the ACA in Virginia. That took the election of Democratic Governors Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam, and historic Democratic gains in the House of Delegates to expand Medicaid coverage to over 400,000 Virginians earlier this year.

The Affordable Care Act, and now the expansion of Medicaid in Virginia, has given so many folks the same chance I got – the chance to live. 20 years after my diagnosis, I’m still standing, still fighting for what I believe in, thanks to the health care I received…which is why I want to pay it forward, and why I remain passionately committed to electing candidates to office who understand that we cannot as a society and as human beings leave any of our brothers and sisters behind.

While millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Virginians now have access to life saving care thanks to the ACA, Donald Trump – with the help of Republicans in Congress, wants to put these men and women and yes, children’s lives in jeopardy. President Trump has been sabotaging the American health care system since his first day in office. Trump has done all he can to kill the ACA...and really kill Americans who are not as fortunate as I was.

Simply put, cancer, and all diseases, are not partisan. They strike all of us. They don’t care who we voted for or what our party affiliation is when they strike. So why not join together, all of us, to ensure that every American has the same opportunity to become a survivor as I did?