A Few Personal Words About The #AHCA

2017-04-23 17.10.22

The bill known as #AHCA Trumpdeath, gives tax cuts to wealthy. Why do they even attach anything to a healthcare bill that is not about healthcare?

I had three strokes, my last one at age 47. I have been trying to get back to “normal” for over six years now. I still can not use my left arm or hand much. I have been trying too hard. I am now in so much pain in my left shoulder, I cry out several times per day. Enough about me…I hope to live many more years, now that my high blood pressure was finally brought under control.

Here is someone elses story, copied from facebook, one of millions of stories. In 2015, I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at 26. I am a Baltimore native and I moved home, abandoning the dream job I had been offered in Los Angeles, so that I could receive medical care at Johns Hopkins and be close to my family, on whom I had to lean emotionally and financially.

As a recent law school graduate, I understood the role the SCOTUS decision on the ACA played in my care, as I was still covered under my parents’ insurance for the surgery that saved my life by removing the tumor that was obstructing my colon. I also understood that without that coverage and guaranteed issue, I would not be able to get a new policy when that one expired the following year when I was halfway through my chemotherapy. So the ACA actually saved my life and livelihood TWICE in one year.

After the election, I felt a personal obligation to defend the ACA, or at least its essential provisions. I realized that the same coverage might not be there for the next recent graduate to be diagnosed (70,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer every year) and that didn’t seem right to me, so I started sharing my story with whoever would listen.

In December, after 6 months of being cancer-free, my cancer returned, this time in my lungs and lymph nodes. Because everything was still small, we didn’t have to treat right away, so I knew I had to use that time to fight harder, both for my family and the families of my fellow survivors and patients, to make sure no one had to suffer financially, as well as emotionally and physically, through cancer. Since then, my family and I have been out protesting, rallying, and sharing our story over and over and over. We joined organizations like the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network to voice our opposition to the AHCA in solidarity with the cancer community. I told my story, face to face, to nearly every representative Maryland has on Capitol Hill. And yesterday, shortly after the vote, Congressman Cummings told my story on the House floor, expressing the sorrow he felt for me and those in my position watching Republicans celebrate their victory.

I am telling you all this not to ask for your pity or your praise, but to tell you that despite the disappointment I felt yesterday, I am more inspired than ever to fight. Fighting is what cancer patients do best and we know that it comes in rounds. We won the first round, but the AHCA came back more aggressive, so it’s time to gather up our strength and do the work. I don’t know exactly when I will have to scale back on my efforts focus on my treatment, but imagine this fight will be far from over when that happens, so I am calling on you to fight on my behalf.

I’m asking you to join with organizations like the AMA, AARP, American Cancer Society, and the American Hospital Association to oppose this reprehensible bill. Demand town halls and meetings from your reps who voted for it. Organize demonstrations in front of their local offices during the recess. Start calling your Senators today. Speak at town halls and protests. If you know someone who relies on community rating or Medicaid for their care, urge them to tell their story or tell it for them if they can’t. Tell my story if you want.

3 thoughts on “A Few Personal Words About The #AHCA

  1. Here we go: my pre-existing conditions: stroke, stroke-induced epilepsy, high blood pressure, and knee surgery. I’m retired, with no income, too young for Medicare. We are living off our “nest egg” right now, and already pay a lot more for health insurance than anything else. Just gonna get worse for a few years, then we’ll qualify for Medicare, which won’t actually be there.

  2. From a friend:
    FYI, This is a list of the organizations that are opposed to the House “healthcare” bill. Apparently the House GOP felt more qualified than these groups to make decisions about Americans’ health and ignored their expertise (and the fact that only 17% of Americans approved of their original less-cruel version):
    AIDS United
    America’s Essential Hospitals
    American Academy of Pediatrics
    American Cancer Society
    American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
    American College of Emergency Physicians
    American College of Nurse-Midwives
    American College of Physicians
    American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
    American Diabetes Association
    American Heart Association
    American Hospital Association
    American Lung Association
    American Medical Association
    American Nurses Association
    American Psychological Association
    American Society of Clinical Oncology
    American Thoracic Society
    Arc of the United States
    Association of American Medical Colleges
    U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
    Catholic Health Association
    Children’s Leadership Council
    Children’s Hospital Association
    Chronic Illness and Disability Partnership
    Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities
    Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
    Democratic Governors Association
    Families USA
    Federal AIDS Policy Partnership
    Lutheran Services in America
    March of Dimes
    National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health National Education Association
    National Multiple Sclerosis Society
    National Nurse United
    National Organization for Rare Disorders
    National Partnership for Women & Families
    Planned Parenthood Federation of America
    Women Heart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease
    Prepared by the Office of Rep. Sander Levin

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