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.

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