Like a lot of people, I’m frustrated, terrified, and absolutely appalled by the passage in the House of Representatives of the AHCA. With provisions that allow state governments and employers to strip away patient protections (things like pre-existing conditions and lifetime limits) and punish people for being old or poor, it’s a nasty piece of work from top to bottom. And the joyfulness, the smug glee the Republicans took in crafting and passing this piece of legislation, is sickening (which is a problem, given what we know about the way they’re treating health care).
Now, I currently have pretty decent health insurance through my employer, a public school system in Northern Virginia. Assuming everything goes well, they’ll keep providing that quality coverage for the rest of my career, ensuring I get to keep taking all the medications I need to take to remain alive and stable.
Oh, what’s that? You didn’t know that I needed medication just to live? Well, it’s true. I’ve diabetes, depression, and an anxiety disorder, all three of which are on the list of things from AHCA that could get me dropped from my coverage. And if pre-existing conditions make a comeback, there is no way I’d ever be able to get on insurance again. The medication that helps keep my diabetes in check would go away. The medication that keeps my anxiety and depression manageable would be so far beyond my ability to pay for (it’s not available as a generic, and all the generic ones I tried didn’t work for me) that it might as well not even exist. If I were to lose my health insurance tomorrow, I’d be dead before the next presidential election, I can almost guarantee it.
And I don’t even have it as bad as other people I know. I have friends who suffer from Type 1 diabetes and have to be on an insulin pump. Insulin is a tremendously expensive medicine to have to take on a daily basis, as it turns out. Too expensive for most folks to handle paying for without the benefits of insurance. So those friends are dead. I have other friends who suffer from bipolar disorder. Medication helps keep them functioning, though for some it feels like it only barely manages that. If they have stop taking their medication because they can no longer afford it (because they’re no longer covered)…well,suicidal ideation is one of the common components of bipolar. Some folks aren’t able to sleep because of bipolar. If you aren’t sleeping, you will die. That’s just how the human body works.
I could go on, but it makes me too angry to. We are at a crossroads as a society. If Republicans are going to insist they’re Christians, they should probably start acting more Christ-like. Jesus went around giving away free health care, folks. And he wasn’t too keen on the super-rich. Maybe something for members of the House of Representatives to keep in mind.