It is unacceptable that so many hardworking families do not have access to quality healthcare. However, lack of access is only part of the problem. Most people have access to health insurance but not everyone can afford it. Many Americans, particularly working-class families, just don’t have the room in their budgets to pay increasingly high premiums. This reality is not good enough for Tennessee and Melody Shekari will change the status quo. Our current congressman has supported every effort to repeal The Affordable Care Act, despite the program’s success at bringing health coverage to more Americans.

Obamacare was a good first step even if it is imperfect. By accepting federal funding and expanding Medicaid in Tennessee an additional 500,000 Tennesseans could be covered at no cost to our local taxpayers.  The federal government should work harder to keep premiums affordable – insurance is only good if you can afford it, after all. We should also look to creative solutions to negotiate for prescription drugs which are a big part of the overall problem.

Without health insurance, families are vulnerable. A simple fall or unforeseen illness can quickly rack up high medical bills, putting the family in dire straits and even at risk for bankruptcy. A family should never have to choose between paying a hospital bill and paying rent or buying groceries. In a matter of weeks, an uninsured patient could easily accumulate tens of thousands of dollars of debt. Melody understands how serious this problem is, and she will fight for change in Washington: no one should go bankrupt just because they get sick.

Tennessee’s working families deserve a healthcare system that works for them. Melody believes that to make this goal a reality, we have to start right at home in District 3. Local communities know their needs better than Washington special interest groups and lobbyists do. Only by coming together at home can we build a healthcare system that benefits Tennesseans without creating more problems for them in the process.