As Democrats, we believe every American should have access to quality, affordable health care. And we believe you should make your coverage and medical decisions, not big insurance companies.

Before the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans lacked access to quality, affordable health insurance, and even those who did have coverage had little protection against insurance company abuses.

Health care reform changed the course of history in this country, and today, no American can be discriminated against because of a preexisting condition. The days of lifetime caps on coverage are gone and more Americans than ever before have the peace of mind that comes along with being covered.

The ACA has not only covered roughly 20 million Americans, but has also provided security to all citizens who have insurance, no matter the source. Those under 26 can now stay on their parents’ insurance plan, preexisting conditions no longer disqualifies those who need it most from having quality and affordable coverage and women can no longer be charged more than men simply because of their gender.

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One of the major accomplishments of the ACA was medicaid expansion. This expansion gave federal funding to states in order to close what is referred to as the “medicaid gap,” allowing those who previously could not afford insurance but did not previously qualify for medicaid to be covered.

Unfortunately, in Wisconsin that didn’t happen even though we paid for it. Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans in Madison played politics with people’s health care by turning down federal Medicaid funds. This decision will cost the taxpayers of Wisconsin more than $678.6 million by 2017.

President Barack Obama’s time in office and the work of many other Democrats around the country has also made a huge impact on the state of women’s health in America.

The Obama Administration has ensured that Planned Parenthood will be federally funded until 2018, this will provide millions of women much needed access to breast cancer screenings, STI testing, birth control and so many other essential services.

Republicans have already threatened to shut down the government because of Planned Parenthood and President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to cower to the far right wing of his party and sign any bill that eliminates so many essential health services for women in America.

Even though the ACA has decreased the number of uninsured Americans by more than 35 percent, Republicans continue their efforts to repeal this crucial piece of legislation, which would take away health insurance from millions, just to score cheap political points. The Democratic Party sees health care as a fundamental human right for all people, not just for those who can afford the ever higher costs of coverage.

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Health care should be affordable, accessible and meet the individual needs of those who are receiving care. Obama and Democrats around the country have made so much progress toward making this idea a reality nation-wide. There is no doubt that our country should continue to build on their success in the coming years.

Eliana Locke ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in political science.