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By Justin Decker
September 20, 2012
Caption : A user on Reddit.com, a dynamic and popular website featuring user-submitted content, asked the community how the Affordable Care Acts or "Obamacare" has helped shape their lives. The response? Enormous and telling.      

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It was a rather normal Sunday night when a single user on the popular website Reddit.com posed a rather straightforward question to the more than 2 million users who subscribe to the r/politics subreddit: How has Obamacare helped you?

Sure enough, it didn't take long for the Reddit community to respond in full force. True to form, and with a familiar mix of emotionally moving and ostensibly lighthearted testimony, the reaction was enormous. In just a matter of hours, more than 1600 comments flooded in with stories of how everyday users had personally benefited from the provisions underlying the Affordable Care Act—many of which had been implemented early enough to be in place just before disaster struck—since the legislation was first enacted.

Take the example shared by user tomjhoad, for instance:

I'm a diagnosed schizophrenic who is finishing up college this month. Without it I wouldn't be able to volunteer for a couple years in the workforce, get health insurance because of preexisting conditions, or afford health insurance. One out of four of my medications not including doctor visits is $700 a bottle a month. My insurance has tried to thrown me off plenty of times and change my medication to cheaper ones that don't work.

Or by rjw5, the user who registered the top-rated comment by the end of the evening:

My sister was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, among other things. By the age of three, she had three open-heart surgeries, an ovary removed, her appendix out, and her tonsils removed. The medicines that she will need to take for the rest of her life, in addition to the other heart surgeries that she will eventually need are very, very costly. Our health care providers told my parents that they would be dropping her at age 18, and after some shopping around we learned that no other insurer would pick her up. This meant that there was a high likelihood of death during her early adult years. But, thanks to Obamacare, she can now be covered for life with these preexisting conditions and without any benefit cap. Now age 12, she is a very active young lady. She is involved with many community volunteer activities and is very inspirational to me. I am very thankful that we no longer have those serious worries of constant debt and looming death. I love her so much!

Indeed, the important—and in many cases, life-saving—benefits offered by the ACA, especially preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and the elimination of lifetime insurance limits, were put on display in a remarkably accessible and relatable way.

A number of young Redditors offered examples of how their personal health and finances are benefitting from sustained coverage under their parents’ plans thanks to the provision that allows young people to be placed on or remain on their parents' insurance until they turn 26. 

“Obamacare has allowed me to stay on my parents’ insurance,” wrote ValenOfGrey, a user fresh from having his gallbladder removed. “Because of this, it has allowed me to remain independent, living on my own as a productive member of the middle class, holding no debt, paying my taxes and looking forward to buying a house – all before the age of 25…”

Reddit.com is one of the fastest growing websites on the Internet, relying on user-submitted content and a democratic system of “upvotes” and “downvotes” to decide which links float to the top. Users also have the opportunity pose questions to the wider community directly, as in this case, which can often yield extraordinarily insightful and compelling responses.

In just one example taken from the discussion at hand, mr_dude_guy would not be one to see this potentially serious conversation devoid of playful humor.  The Redditor decided to shoot his own two-cents out to the community: “it paid for my asthma medication.  Breathing is fun.”

Indeed it is, mr_dude_guy, young people can all breathe easier when they're covered for longer.

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