As our country slipped into a partial government shutdown during the wee hours this morning, comedian, author and Daily Show contributor John Hodgman tweeted out a message to his nearly one million followers: “Young people: sign up for healthcare. Take it from me–YOU ARE NOT IMMORTAL.” Those few words set off a flurry of tweets directed toward Hodgman, in which his younger fans explain how healthcare saved them in the past.
If you haven’t been following the reasons thousands of federal government workers have been furloughed, here it is in a nutshell: The country doesn’t have enough money to pay its debts, but President Barack Obama had a stopgap plan that would allow the country to operate for a few more weeks. The republicans in the House of Representatives didn’t like that plan and instead offered their own, in which the president’s Affordable Health Care Act would be gutted. Obama said no. Keep in mind the ACA was passed more than a year ago and the Republicans have tried to repeal it more than 40 times.
Anyhoo, enrollment for Obama’s new healthcare plan began this week. And its success relies heavily on those without healthcare — many of which are young people who perhaps aren’t employed or who think they’re resistant to disease and other atrocities — to sign up. In short, the more people who take advantage of the new bill, the better it’ll work and the lower premiums will be. So Hodgman is spreading the word by constantly re-tweeting the testimonials, some of which are seen below.
@hodgman at 27 I got asthma. Even that would have put me in insane debt without insurance. I am without now, excited to breath again.
— Kelly McCumber (@redrodentia) October 1, 2013
@hodgman Crohn's disease – emergency small bowel resection at 19. 11 days in the hospital. Parents' insurance saved my life.
— kat (@bureaukat) October 1, 2013
@hodgman – Thyroid cancer at 25, working 29.5 hrs a week at 1st TV job, no insurance. Gov't subsidized health insurance saved me.
— nhbaker (@nhbaker) October 1, 2013
@hodgman Got a kidney stone at 33. 25k for one night in the hospital. Insurance covered most, still paid 3k out of pocket. Matters.
— Mariah Huehner (@TiredFairy) October 1, 2013
@hodgman I was hospitalized at 29 w/ a blood clot. Then I lost insurance and couldn't re-up due to a preexisting condition. Thank you, ACA.
— epalicki (@epalicki) October 1, 2013
@hodgman On my 23rd birthday I ruptured my spleen in a ultimate frisbee game, was in hospital for 6 days-$88k bill, luckily I had insurance
— Eliot (@etmckinley) October 1, 2013
@hodgman My sister survived cancer at 19 & moved to MA after college because she knew she could get insurance there. Every person needs it!
— Ahab (@ahab99) October 1, 2013
Check out Hodgman’s feed for many, many more– though he justed tweeted, “I’ll stop jamming your feed. Sorry. Was overwhelmed by response,” and quickly added these wise words: “The point is, youths: educate yourself; get some coverage. You can’t bit-torrent insurance later if you don’t feel like paying for it now.”