I am a beneficiary of The Affordable Care Act — specifically, Medicaid expansion. I work part-time for a church, averaging 25 hours a week. I’m also a live-in care provider for a 98-year-old gentleman. Finally, with financial backing from friends and members of my church, I’m rehabbing a two-flat to provide transitional housing for returning citizens. 

I am your neighbor, your friend, a member of your church and local community. I make a contribution to society. That elderly man has a much better quality of life remaining in his home than he would in a nursing home, and this saves taxpayers $80,000 a year! 

And what about the returning citizens our transitional housing program will assist? While you may lack sympathy for people returning from prison, consider this: It costs $25,000 a year to house someone in prison. That figure jumps to $80,000 a year for prisoners over age 50. We hold people in prison simply because they have no place to live! This project saves tax dollars and reduces recidivism! 

What’s my point? Simply this: I’m not sitting around watching television. I put in at least 50 hours each week, working in these various capacities. I cannot afford health insurance. There are millions like me. We make an effort. We do our best. We’re not lazy. We add value to society. 

If you’re pro-life, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or simply someone with compassion for others, how can you be against affordable health care for everyone? 

And by the way, I’m a 60-year-old white male who did not vote for Trump. How’s that for irony?

Paul N. Eichwedel 

Oak Park 

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