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Woman claims life on the line in election

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Regardless of how you feel about the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's most controversial accomplishment is certain to impact lives, some a great deal more than others.

For much of her adult life, Jessica Stewart has delivered a great deal of caring and received precious little in return.  Because of a chronic heart condition, the therapist for special-needs children has traveled to the brink of death and back.

"I'm not looking for sympathy.  I just want people to be aware that this is real, that this happens," said Stewart.

Eight years ago, at the age of 21, Jessica suffered a heart attack, the first menacing sign that absent effective treatment, her life would slip away far earlier than most.

She quickly learned it was the kind of care she couldn't get without health insurance.

"I have pre-existing conditions," explained Jessica.

Jessica continued serving deeply challenged kids, even after spiking blood pressure and chest pain returned.  Emergency trips to the hospital always resulted in minimal treatment and rapid discharge.

"When you don't have insurance, they don't tell you much.  They say it is what it is and go home pretty much," said Jessica.

Not yet 30, Jessica has already survived four full-blown heart attacks and a mild stroke, the latest just three months ago.

"There was times I was afraid to go to sleep at night.  That is when a lot of heart attacks happen," said Jessica, her voice cracking with emotion.

On Sept. 1, rescue arrived.

"Through the Obama administration, I received health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions," said Jessica with a smile.  "I was so happy.  I couldn't put words to it.  It's something a lot of Americans have, but for somebody like me who didn't have it for so long and needed it, it was like, wow!  I definitely don't take it for granted."
 
For her, the outcome of Tuesday's election became a matter of life and potential death.

"Romney made it perfectly clear that if he won he was on day one going to take that away and people don't understand, that affects me," said Jessica.

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