#GeeksGetCovered: A Maker’s Story
Oregon-based engineer David Perry playing an open-source 3D printable electronic violin.
Why do you consider yourself a geek?
I work as a mechanical engineer, where the majority of my work involves fancy, expensive computer programs, and I love it! Growing up I also spent a great deal of time playing with computers – both at the command line level and flying around the world in Microsoft Flight Simulator. I also wear large glasses and read almost exclusively science fiction and fantasy.
What does having affordable health care mean to you?
Affordable means that I'm not stressed out by my monthly payments. Health care is when I can get the routine care that I need and also feel confident that if something bad were to happen, I'd survive without a bunch of bills that I can't pay. With these powers combined, I don't worry about health care. That means I can focus on other things in my life, like 3D printers.
How has the Affordable Care Act enabled you to pursue new opportunities?
I've been waiting for 2014 to come around so that I could easily compare and shop for comprehensive and reliable health insurance plans. That's one less barrier to focusing full-time on my own business.
What are some challenges you have had to overcome in your line of work?
I run into a lot of misconceptions about 3D printing and what you can do with inexpensive 3D printers. That's okay, because it's my job is to teach others that knowledge. I've had to learn how to clearly and quickly explain the technology and its capabilities. Sometimes, though, it's those same misconceptions that lead to brilliant ideas.
Also, anyone who is self-employed or starting a business faces a ton of uncertainty. Will my customers find my services valuable? Will I be able to pay my bills? Coming to terms with the uncertainty without feeling discouraged – that's also a challenge.
What motivated you to share your story?
I'm a millennial—engaging on social media is what we do! More specifically, I'm disappointed by the lack of awareness of why the Affordable Care Act is awesome, so I'm excited to help spread the word. Obamacare is a step in the right direction for health care in the U.S.
What advice do you have for other geeks?
Don't ever stop learning and asking questions. Also, when you have the opportunity, take the time to answer questions as well. We are constantly facing difficult challenges, exciting opportunities, and new technologies. Get out there and contribute -- share your work, help others, and make something! And, get health insurance, too, so that you don't get distracted from doing what you love to do by things like injuries and bills.
Are you an entrepreneur, scientist, engineer, technologist, or other type of "geek" who received coverage through the Affordable Care Act? Share your story with @WhiteHouseOSTP using #geeksgetcovered.
Bess Evans is a Senior Public Engagement Advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
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