The following is a message I sent to my Congressional representatives this evening. I have little hope that anyone of importance will read it, let alone listen to it:
All I have is my story. And because I know my situation is not unique, I tell you my story in the hopes that you understand that there are probably hundreds more exactly like it, thousands more worse off, and millions who will be negatively affected if you ignore our needs.
I am a 39 year old single female who, two years ago, returned to the state of my birth, Kansas, to be closer to family, to start a new chapter in my life, and yes, for health reasons as well. I have a Bachelors degree from Kansas University and have worked since I was 15 years old. Now, I am attempting to pursue my passion and begin a second career in the culinary arts, but it is proving difficult as of late. I have multiple chronic conditions, conditions that before the ACA, prevented me from getting my own health insurance. Of course, the other reason I could not get much needed healthcare, was affordability. That all changed with the ACA. Yes, the rollout was messy and complicated and fraught with problems. But it worked. It worked for me, and it worked for millions of others. Not hundreds, millions. Yes, some people have had their insurance go up, so let’s address that issue. Let’s get single-payer healthcare for ALL. Let’s make healthcare a priority for our citizens so they don’t have to go broke with one emergency room visit. Let’s rein in the insurance companies and make this more fair for all of us, not strip away the lifeline that so many of us have come to tears of gratefulness over.
I get six usable hours a day right now, and I spend them working. I am trying. Millions of us are trying, just to get by. If you take the ACA away without a quantifiably more fair and just plan to back it up, you are sending a clear message to your fellow Americans that you do not care what happens to them, that profits matter more than people. And after last night’s vote, it’s pretty clear that’s where things stand currently. You are telling us that you are so out of touch, that you cannot fathom how one ER visit could bankrupt someone, send them down a financial spiral. You are telling us that you don’t understand how someone would have to choose between paying their rent, buying groceries, or getting their necessary medications. And if that wasn’t enough, you went ahead and took away the protections that most Americans are in favor of. Who thought it was a bad idea to eliminate refusal based on pre-existing conditions? Who thought it was a bad idea to let people stay on their parent’s insurance until they are 26? At this point, it just seems petty and personal and vindictive. Are you so wrapped up in political theater that you cannot remember it is the people you are supposed to be serving? This isn’t a game.
And because one of my conditions is endometriosis and ovarian cysts, let’s talk about Planned Parenthood while were at it. If you DO repeal the ACA, that’s where I would need to go, for at least some form of care. Did you know that the treatment for endometriosis is usually birth control? That’s right! It’s not just for controlling birth! Shocking, isn’t it. I hate taking it, it’s a terrible drug, but it’s that or the pain. Do you know how much it would cost to get my birth control without insurance and without Planned Parenthood? It would be around $200. In the grand scheme of drug pricing, that’s actually not that bad, but I couldn’t afford it. I’d have to stop taking it and then we’re back to the pain, in addition to the pain I already cope with. You cannot take away the only lifelines that people are relying on. You can’t rush headlong to vindictively remove the ACA, without offering a BETTER solution for all, and then take away Planned Parenthood funding at the same time. Unless you really don’t care. Unless winning some political game means more to you than the well-being and day-to-day struggles of actual people.
Do you even remotely understand how important Planned Parenthood is, or the myriad of services they provide? If you’re going to screw millions of people over, the least you can do is leave some small lifeline. It might be the only thing that could keep me, and thousands of others, from that ER visit, from a debt spiral.