It is easy to blow off health care reform if you are healthy. However, for people with chronic conditions, it is an uphill and ongoing battle. More than 40% of Americans suffer from chronic illness and the system is failing them. Although you may be healthy, odds are one of your loved ones will one day suffer from a chronic illness.

I am 62 years old and living with congenital myasthenia gravis syndrome for which there is no cure. Sure, I am living, but I do not feel alive. Every day I grow a little bit weaker, and I tire so easily that no amount of sleep can keep me active through an entire day. Although my mind remains sharp, my body is deteriorating daily.

I have applied for long-term health insurance five times and have been rejected five times. I have been turned down five times because I have a pre-existing condition, including two rejections from AARP.

The goal of long-term health insurance is to help cover the costs of care when you have a long-lasting chronic disease and help people live as independently and safely as possible. That sound great, doesn’t it?

It would be if that system hadn’t failed me. Our health care system is broken and needs reformed. I am responsible for the cost of anything medical-related: doctor’s visits, medications, scans, etc. They are expensive, but necessary for me to be able to live my life, and as I said, I am barely living. I have depleted all my assets to cover these expenses.

Is that the life you’d want for someone you love? Sacrificing everything to cover medical expenses and life a half-full life. I am trapped in a body too feeble and incapable to provide me the beautiful life I once lived.

Reform is needed. To create a system that can’t turn me and others like me away, leaving us without insurance, to not only suffer with our illness, but financially ruined because of seeking help.

Please, people of Pennsylvania, think about how the system is failing me and how one day someone you love could be standing in my shoes. Do not blow off health care reform because you are not directly affected. One day you could be, and you would wish that there were people in your corner to advocate for you. Please, every day that goes by without change is sight is a day I lose a little more hope.