When you find your house on fire, you don’t have to wait for your co-pay to be approved before the fire department decides to take action and save your life or work to stop the fire from spreading to the next building. Everyone pays in a little to have a system in place to help all of us should the worst come to happen.

This is a basic concept we all have agreed to in various ways; either we pay taxes into a government that protects us with police and fire departments, or we purchase health insurance to cover us should we fall ill and need care at a hospital.

The first is technically Democratic Socialism, while the second is more capitalist in nature.

Before President Obama reformed our healthcare with the Affordable Care Act, fetuses were being turned down for having pre-existing conditions. Because healthcare companies needed to protect their profits, people would be declined for coverage for cancer because they had acne when they hit puberty.

Even now, patients have to go to court to demand coverage for healthcare when facing immunodeficiency diseases.

In 2015, Gillen Washington actually had to file a breach of contract lawsuit against Aetna for improperly denying him life-saving medication. His trial finally began this month, two years later … all because health insurance companies don’t want to have to pay for medication that costs tens of thousands of dollars each year.

Health insurance companies aren’t short on funds, and with their 80/20 rule in the ACA, they are required to keep overhead costs capped at 20 percent of what we pay into it. The only motivating factor for these billion-dollar industries is maximizing profit for their shareholders as well as quarterly bonuses for those at the top.

When the ACA went into effect, Health insurance companies weren’t “forced” to drop policies that covered people; they were simply supposed to raise their standards. Rather than do that, profiteering middle-men decided to instead just drop coverage, blame the ACA and then offer more expensive policies that would meet those requirements.

It was a win-win for them.

This is why we need to acknowledge that the problem isn’t ObamaCare/the ACA. It’s trying to make healthcare insurance work as a for-profit entity. We literally put a price on people’s lives, and we are at the mercy of “survival of the richest.”

If that isn’t a death panel, then I don’t know what is.

I’m running for Pete Session’s seat in Congress so I can improve the ACA by including a single payer, Medicare-for-all option that will help drive down the costs across the board.

Pete Sessions has been a rubber stamp for TrumpCare, which will gut Medicaid and abandon people with pre-existing conditions.

You can read more about my platform and support my campaign at DaniForCongress.com.

Danielle Pellett, Richardson
Candidate for Congress

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 9, 2017.