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The Affordable Care Act as Viewed by a Sister of Mercy

Joan Serda is being honored as an Affordable Care Act Champion of Change.

Joan Serda

Joan Serda is being honored as an Affordable Care Act Champion of Change.

As an educator, I know the importance of health care. I’ve always had the privilege of having health insurance, so I’ve never had to worry about paying a medical bill or paying for a prescription. I haven’t had to be concerned about how to pay for the care of a sick child, spouse, or parent.

In Georgia, there is a lot of poverty, and many people don’t have health insurance. In Bibb County, where I live, there are tens of thousands of young people without health insurance.

Emergency rooms are not the answer to good health care. They are intended for emergencies. Emergency room visits are time-consuming and should be a last resort. They result in very expensive care and no follow-up. Often, patients don’t improve, and visits simply reoccur.

The Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction, enabling many to obtain health insurance that they can afford. If children are healthy, they will learn more, and our schools will improve. If adults are healthy, they will be able to work more effectively and help their children grow, be healthy, and contribute to society.

I know a woman who had a possible cancer but refused to go to the doctor because she couldn’t afford it. But now, through the Affordable Care Act, she was able to get insurance and see a doctor. Another woman I know had insurance through her employer, but coverage through the ACA drastically reduced her premium without sacrificing health insurance coverage.

As a Sister of Mercy, I vowed to serve the poor, sick, and uneducated. Working with Get Covered America gave me the opportunity to help people become better educated about health coverage. I volunteered for ten hours a week to help people understand the Affordable Care Act. Many people were unaware of the opportunities available, and many had seen and heard false information. Some were fearful of something new and did not understand how health insurance works. Much education is needed, so I will continue as a volunteer for Get Covered America during the upcoming enrollment period.

Joan Serda is the Assistant Justice Coordinator for the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas South Central Community.