By the time I was 5 years old I had 9 surgeries for a kidney condition called bilateral ureteral reflux (also called hydronephrosis). In November of 2008, I went in for what I believed was going to be a check-up with a new primary care doctor. The appointment was far from routine. I was told that I had end stage kidney failure, and would need a kidney transplant. That was scary enough. The fact that I had no health insurance made it flat out terrifying. My kidney transplant was made possible by a friend who donated his kidney, and by coverage from Medicare and Medicaid. It has been protected for 11 years by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Thanks to these programs I'm alive today, and I'm the father of two sons, 4 year old Timmy and 1 year old Peter.
Because of my own experience I've become dedicated to healthcare activism, protecting my own and others' access to healthcare, and fighting to expand access to others so they can have the same access to lifesaving care that I had. I believe we all have an inherent right to stay alive.
My activism has involved fighting for Medicaid expansion in my home state of Utah (which we finally achieved through a ballot initiative) , making multiple documentary and narrative short films on healthcare subjects, and testifying to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform in July of 2019. The late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings chaired the committee at the time, and he gave me a mantra that perfectly fit my experience: PAIN. PASSION. PURPOSE. I identify with the character of Batman, who uses the pain and fear of his past to fight to protect others from experiencing the pain he did. My hope is to help people understand that people who need programs like Medicaid, Medicare and the ACA are not lazy, "takers", "entitled: or any of the other cruel stereotypes that are frequently applied. We're regular decent people like everyone else, and the only thing we think we're entitled to is life.
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