Of all my high school friends who went out of state for college, I often say I am one of the only ones who purchased a round-trip ticket. I always knew I wanted to come back to Maine to be closer to my family and give back to the communities that had given me so much. Moving back to Maine and following my passions into the nonprofit sector meant a different lifestyle than my friends in Boston or Washington, D.C., who are working corporate jobs and paying their student loans back at a much faster pace than me. But being in Maine was worth it.

I also knew that, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I had the privilege of not having to worry about my health care coverage. Like 2.3 million young adults across the country, the Affordable Care Act has allowed me to stay on my parents’ health insurance plan until I turn 26. Having health insurance through my parents’ employers afforded me the opportunity to take my first job out of college working at a youth-empowerment organization that offered a living stipend. I’m fortunate to now work at an organization that offers health insurance, but because the Affordable Care Act allows me to stay on my parents’ insurance, I’m able to decline that coverage and put more of my paycheck toward student loans and investing in my financial future. Furthermore, the law’s guarantee of free preventive care also helps young women like me save hundreds of dollars every year on birth control, annual well-woman visits and more.

But this lifeline is under threat. Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate, including Sen. Susan Collins, voted to take the first step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act. I wholeheartedly disagree with this vote. Nearly 8 million young adults in this country, including 11,000 in Maine, have gained coverage since passage of the Affordable Care Act. And we’ve seen the uninsured rate among young adults be cut nearly in half, declining from 29 percent before the law to 16 percent in 2015, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Collins has encouraged Congress to be responsible and come up with a replacement plan before moving forward with repealing the law, but the plan she released this week does not provide affordable coverage for young people broadly. Sure, her plan would allow young people to stay on their parent’s plan until they turn 26, but unfortunately we don’t live in our post-college glory days forever. Under her plan, after turning 26, young people will confront a health system that provides less financial help, allows states to push residents into high-deductible plans with fewer benefits, or a system that provides no coverage options at all, if their state so decides.

Even worse, Collins’ bill would allow states to eliminate many essential benefits and cost control protections under the Affordable Care Act, including a requirement that insurance companies spend most premium dollars on medical care rather than fancy advertising and lining their pocketbooks.

Congress should do more to improve health care, but Collins’ bill could lead to cuts in coverage access and benefits, not make our current system stronger. I hope Collins and her colleagues will work on a bipartisan basis to build on the gains young people have made under the Affordable Care Act. Ensuring my generation has access to coverage — and live healthier and more productive lives — enables us to make the most of our potential. That is a virtue all Mainers share.

Kate Elmes works at a community-development nonprofit along the Maine coast. She is from Bath.