I’ve been telling Obamacare success stories since 2013, in an effort to elevate the voices of some of the millions of Americans whose lives are being improved — and even saved — because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
What began as an effort to counteract the malicious misinformation that was being spread by opponents of the ACA has evolved into an initiative to help protect the ACA, which is facing its greatest menace: a President-elect who has promised to turn Congress’ continual threats to repeal the law into a reality.
Not only would repealing or dismantling the ACA pull the rug out from under millions of Americans who gained insurance under the law — many for the first time — it would throw the insurance industry, healthcare industry and economy into chaos. Worse yet, people would literally die from a lack of access to essential healthcare services.
Obamacare isn’t perfect, but that’s no reason to scrap it. Instead, Congress and President-elect Trump should be looking for ways to improve the law, so it can help more people and drive even more improvements in our healthcare system.
Like many Americans, I want to do something tangible to protect the progress we’ve made in the last eight years. Continuing to tell these stories is one thing I can do. I’ve put out open calls for ACA success stories in the past, but I’ve never had the volume of responses that I’ve received since the 2016 election. It’s clear that many Americans feel as strongly about protecting the ACA as I do.
President Obama has asked Americans to tell their legislators not to abandon the ACA. I hope you’ll do that — and, if you’re interested in being interviewed about what the ACA means to you, send me a note via Eclectablog. I’m going to keep telling Obamacare success stories as long as people are willing to share them with me.
You can read my ongoing ACA stories series at Eclectablog.
[Image credit: Will O’Neill | Flickr]
I’m fortunate that I get to be creative for a living. Whether I’m writing, strategizing or executing an idea, my work demands creativity.
But even the most creative among us needs fresh inspiration from time to time, and I found it by pursuing an avocation I’d set aside for six years: theatre. I just finished nearly three months of rehearsal and three weekends of performances as Sara Jane Moore in Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins. I’ve already written about what the show means to me, but now I find myself reflecting on the experience of the production itself and how it’s seeped into the rest of my creative life.
As anyone who knows the music of Stephen Sondheim will understand, preparing and performing the show was a challenge — one that I welcomed. One reason I’m such a devotee of Sondheim’s music is the puzzles he constructs. I revel in sorting them out and finding the solutions that reveal the magic of what he’s created. Making sense of the character and the show’s structure were equally stimulating exercises, and ultimately rewarding ones. Sondheim consistently reminds me how important it is to be intentional about what we create. Everything for a reason.
But what I gained from this experience is about more than simply flexing creative muscles I haven’t used in a while. For me, being onstage requires a leap of faith and a willingness to bare my soul. It means taking risks and being brave about them, putting myself out there in a way that daily life doesn’t necessarily require — but perhaps it should.
Some of my favorite directors have taught me that a good performance is about being in the moment, one moment at a time, and being present with your fellow actors with every breath and every line of music or dialogue. While the mechanics of stage business matter, the ideal is to let all of that become second nature so you can maintain your focus on the moment you’re in, with the people you’re in it with. The sensation of “waking up” onstage to realize you’ve been fully immersed in the moment is indescribable and enormously satisfying.
The same thing is true about everyday life, and the interactions we have with people. If we’re not being present with others — if we’re not being open to the leaps of faith life requires or the courage that’s needed to face challenges head-on — there’s a good chance we could miss out on something. When it comes to creativity, we almost certainly won’t be open to taking the kinds of risks that can spark compelling new ideas.
I almost didn’t audition for Assassins. I thought I was too busy, that I needed to focus on my work, that I had been away from theatre too long to jump back in. But that would have been a terrible mistake. Because as I reflect on the experience of being part of the production, I feel more inspired than ever about my work and my life. I feel motivated to be more daring, more open, more collaborative. I’m inspired to continue stretching my creativity in new directions, even when I’m sitting at my computer.
Perhaps it’s the insight that comes from stepping outside yourself for a few hours a day to become someone else, or maybe it’s simply the jolt of energy that comes from a new experience. Whatever it is, I’ll take it and run with it. My creativity — and the work I produce as a result — will be all the better for it.
[Photo credit: Bryan Clifford, courtesy of Avon Players. I’m at left in the image, in the brunette wig.]