I know you have fought, again and again, for the ACA. Thank you. Please continue to fight.
Allow me to tell you about my personal situation. I am fifty-five, female, and employed. When I was a child, I was diagnosed with asthma. These days, I’m mostly fine. I have a rescue inhaler, but rarely need it. But that diagnosis is a pre-existing condition. That means that, if the Graham-Cassidy bill goes through, I could be denied coverage. When I was in my thirties, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. I was treated, and am currently just fine; I no longer even need drugs to manage this condition. It is even possible that the diagnosis was not entirely correct. However, that diagnosis is in my medical chart, and therefore a pre-existing condition. Therefore, I could be denied coverage. When I was thirty-five, I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. I have a CPAP machine which I use nightly. It won’t last forever. I need to replace the mask at least once every six months. This is a pre-existing condition, and I could be denied coverage. Any one of these conditions could kill me. Any one of these conditions could mean that I can be denied coverage. And not just denied coverage for this condition, but denied coverage at all. This has happened to me before. When I lost my job, no insurance company would offer me any coverage at all, because of the bi-polar diagnosis. I was fortunate enough to live in Minnesota, which offered Minnesota Care. Not every state has such programs.
The holy grail, according to the Republicans, for health coverage is “choice.” As if I, or most people, have ever had any real choice. I get my insurance through my employer, who negotiates with an insurance company, and those negotiations don’t include me or my interests. I may be offered a “choice” of tiers. When my employer and the company they have contracted with parts ways, no amount of pleading will allow me to keep my doctor. I will be subjected to transitioning care to whoever it is that my employer has contracted with this year. This has happened to me over and over and over again throughout my working life. The claim that the ACA has reduced choice is laughable. Most of us have had no choice, anyway. What it provided, what it guaranteed, was access. I might prefer to see the doctor I have been seeing, sure, but I _need_ to be able to see a doctor. I have preferences, yes, but access is much more important.
Health insurance isn’t like car insurance. I can choose to pay a minimum amount to cover my old beater, because quite honestly, if it’s in an accident, there’s not much point in fixing it. This is not true of my body. I can’t just write off my aging body as not worth fixing. I can’t decide to buy a new, better body. Still, we are required to buy car insurance, if not for ourselves, for the people we might hurt if we run into them. And in this sense, there is a similarity between health insurance and car insurance. Health insurance means that I can afford to get vaccinated, and treated for serious, contagious diseases such as tuberculosis. And that protects everyone I come in contact with, including those who are too young, or in too fragile health to get vaccinations. This is important, and necessary, for all of us. I really don’t want to die of bacterial pneumonia, and neither do you. I don’t want to watch a generation of children be crippled by polio, or die of scarlet fever. And yet, when you strip away the ability to get health care from the poor, this becomes a very real danger.
Please continue to fight. Please feel free to share any of the details of this letter with your colleagues or anyone else in this fight for my life.
Sigh. My senators are Franken and Klobuchar. Maybe they can wave their numbers in someone else's face.
I really don't want to die. Why do the Republicans want to kill me?