I was going to write about adjusting my exercise schedule due to summertime temperatures and increasing work hours, but then I read an editorial written by my Representative to the US House about the Affordable Care Act. He’s a Republican so of course it was all about repealing and taxes and jobs, but I was surprised that he didn’t at least say something about helping people access health care. It just seemed so heartless to me and I had to sit down and respond.
I am not a Republican and I doubt I will ever be one, but I try to give a fair hearing to politicians and what they have to say.
So here’s my letter, because it was the thing I wrote instead of writing about exercise, and it does have to do with something Americans with fibromyalgia have to worry about: health insurance and health care.
Dear Representative Pearce,
I read with great interest your editorial on the Affordable Care Act that appeared in the July 17th edition of the (local paper), justifying spending taxpayer money to vote to repeal it yet again, despite the fact that it was ruled Constitutional by the Supreme Court and the fact that every Republican knows a repeal vote won’t pass the Senate or be signed by the President so it would be solely a symbolic vote. I had no doubt that you would support any vote to repeal because your voting record is strictly on party lines. I was curious to know what your reasons for wanting to repeal it were, and they were the usual Republican concerns of jobs and taxes and jobs and taxes. You point out that you hear from business owners who are worried about their businesses and their jobs, which are worthy concerns. I have to ask, though– have you heard from anyone who was worried about their health? Or their lives?
Because all I can think about when it comes to the Affordable Care Act is health and human lives. I think about the 20 million Americans who will have access to health insurance once the law is fully in place, and I think of the many tens of millions more whose health care has improved and will improve by the insurance reforms caused by the ACA. I think about my own health care future as someone with a chronic condition who takes medication every day. I think about my mother who has limped around for years waiting to get on Medicare to take care of her arthritic hip because she and my father can’t afford private insurance. I think about all of the suffering she had to endure because of lack of access to health care. And I think that this is wrong and this is immoral. Sure, I care about jobs, but if I don’t have my health I don’t have anything. If I didn’t have access to my medication, I couldn’t work.
And the millions of Americans who will benefit or are already benefitting from the ACA are not doing so because they were too lazy or unambitious to find insurance or take proper care of themselves or any of the other mean-spirited things some conservatives like to say. They’re hurting because of choices made by the insurance companies to value profit over peoples’ lives, to make insurance as complicated as possible so people have to fight to get an x-ray or a procedure covered, to make insurance impossible for some people to get.
And so I ask, what about the health of tens of millions of Americans? What about their lives? And please don’t answer with the usual Republican line of jobs and taxes. I read your editorial; I know you have those reasons. But what was missing from your editorial was any mention of human health and human lives. Don’t answer back with “we just disagree.” Tell me truthfully, what do you say to the tens of millions who will have better access to health care whose health and well-being you want to repeal? Do Republicans have any plan to help Americans find affordable health insurance?
I’m not hearing anything about a plan. All I’m hearing is repeal. And so, until the day you have a plan that helps Americans access the health care they need to stay well and alive, you will just seem heartless. What you’re telling people is “we want to repeal this law that helps you stay healthy and alive and we want to replace it with nothing.” I know my words may be harsh here, but we’re talking about human lives. I’m talking about my life and my health. I can see how the Affordable Care Act does something good for my health, but I don’t see what good repealing will do for me or the tens of millions whose health will be impacted for the better because of the Affordable Care Act.
So, please, I want to hear from you—do you honestly believe that the health and lives of Americans (you who call yourself pro-life) don’t matter? And if you want to repeal, what will the Republicans do to fix the broken health care system?
I look forward to hearing from you.