17 July 2017

Letter to #GOP: #HealthCareIsARight

Will you hear me? Do I matter? Does my child matter?

How can you countenance gutting Medicaid and slashing protections and permitting coverage for millions to evaporate? 


I have preexisting conditions that went untreated for all of my adulthood until the ACA.

I have a 13-year old child who would not have insurance without the Medicaid expansions; my child also has ADHD and receives highly successful in-school guidance and counseling partially funded by the Medicaid expansion.

My husband works full time in the service sector. When he worked for a different service sector employer and had employer provided healthcare (at only 60% coverage with a $3000 individual deductible, $6000 for the family), it did NOT cover my son and I – we had to pay full price out of pocket to buy into his employer’s group plan. 


The ACA changed that.

How can you countenance allowing that coverage to fail? At my current age – mid 50s – I cannot maintain a reasonable quality of life without care for my preexisting conditions. For something approaching 25 years of adulthood, I did not see a pulmonologist for my asthma – a carcinoid tumor went undetected for what the doctors have said may have been decades. For twenty years I did not see an endocrinologist for my pancreatic seizures and hypoglycemia; when, after my pregnancy, I developed diabetes, I still could not see an endocrinologist until the ACA. Nor did I see a heart doctor for the arrhythmia I developed while pregnant. I did not see an orthopedic doctor for the hip dysplasia with which I was born – not even when I was pregnant;
 and, we had what was considered great insurance at the time. I suffered with Plantars Fascia without treatment until the ACA. I nearly died - full near-death experience and all – for lack of treatment for high blood pressure during a two year period when we had no insurance at all. 

Your suggestions of tax credits will not help us. We already receive the maximum deductions on our tax returns. I don’t receive disability because my husband makes just slightly too much for me to draw off his and I’m denied access to my own SS disability because I took time to be a stay-at-home mom before I became disabled. I became disabled due largely to lack of treatment for all my preexisting conditions (that’s what Catch-22 looks like). Your health savings plans are meaningless for us – if we had money to save for such a thing, we would be saving for our brilliant, tech-phenom son’s future education. Frankly, if we had money for a health savings plan, we would have all along been able to afford the “privilege” of premium insurance such as you in Congress enjoy.

Healthcare is NOT a privilege. It is as necessary as basic utilities… as necessary as food, water, air. Healthcare should never be a for-profit business. Healthcare should not be some stripped down version that just collects money while providing no substantive coverage. You cannot justify continuing to help the insurance and pharmaceutical industries to scam the nation for their ever increasing, annual multi-billion dollar profit margins. You cannot sustain tax cuts to help the wealthiest gain more wealth at the expense of the working-poor whose labors generate that wealth.

Walk through a nursing home, where sick, elderly Americans will be forced out by the Medicaid cuts, and say to those people that their healthcare is a “privilege” they did not earn after a lifetime of struggle. Walk through the emergency rooms where people who lose Medicaid coverage for their children will be found and tell those mothers that healthcare is a “privilege” their children do not deserve. Tell all the people who will end up in the emergency room when their untreated preexisting conditions leave them clinging to life, send them home with no quality of life in sight. Tell me it is a privilege to be able to breathe or to keep my heart beating. That is what permitting the ACA to fail says to hardworking, poor Americans: “Healthcare is a privilege you have no right to attain.”

The GOP’s attitude to healthcare is symptomatic of its attitude to America’s hardworking poor. That attitude is continuing a corporatist trend creating a new era of robber barons. You are helping the robber barons destroy the middle class in America, making corporate feudal wages-slaves of us all. 
It is nothing less than the social and economic brutalization of the very people who do the work of generating the wealth of this nation. Politicians, the legislation you make tells all of America for whom you work: Either you work for us and vote against this social and economic brutalization… or you work for the robber barons.