On any given weekend my friends and I call, text and tweet each other to figure out our plans for the evening. And while they're trying to decide between movies and a house party, I'm weighing a completely different option in my head. Should I even risk going out?
I can't help but think of drunk drivers carelessly cruising on freeways and stray bullets escaping guns heading towards people they weren't intended for. Because I don't have health insurance and those risks are out there most Fridays, I decide to stay home.
I'm considered a Young Invincible. It's assumed that people my age view ourselves as invulnerable. And I can see how people could make that assumption. At a concert last year, I watched a young guy jump from a second floor balcony into the crowd below him. And I have friends who ride skateboards at high speeds towards oncoming traffic.
The White House says they need 2.7 million healthy Americans to sign up for health care to offset costs for those who are older and sicker. And let's be honest, they're talking about young people.
But I'm sorry, Mr. President, I may not be the best offset. This young person will use her health care until the wheels fall off. In May of this year, I had to go to the hospital. I spent 11 hours in a bed being examined, poked and prodded. It was topped off with a $550 bill. I'm a 19-year-old woman with no insurance working two part time jobs. Six months later that bill still hasn't been paid. I just don't have the money.
However, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I might get some coverage. I recently applied for Medi-Cal, which I wouldn't have qualified for without Obamacare. Before reforms, I would have had to have a child or a disability to qualify. But now, income alone is playing a bigger role.
For all the talk about Health Care.gov, all I know is I'm signed up. Now, when Friday rolls around and my friends call about going out, I'll be saying yes.
With a Perspective, I'm Rayana Godfrey.
Rayana Godfrey is 19 years old and lives in Vallejo. Her commentary was produced by Youth Radio.