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Day 299 – You Are Bad For My Health, Mr. President.

Day 299 – You Are Bad For My Health, Mr. President.

Photograph from the LA Times

Mr. President,

In the next couple of weeks, I need to determine what health insurance options are available to me.

This whole business of acquiring health insurance is a bit of a conundrum for me. I’m too young to qualify for Medicare, but earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. I’m at that earnings cusp that if I select a “Silver” plan it puts me in precarious financial position. Putting me in a position to skip a month paying one bill or paying both and risk overdrawing my checking account.

Before you get your henchmen to lecture me on living frugally, I can vow I live within a very tight budget. What I earn goes out to rent, taxes, food, insurance, gas and that’s about it.

Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I had freelancers’ health insurance, which I could afford pre-Great Recession. After the economic downturn, I didn’t have enough money to afford the premium, and my only recourse was not getting ill.

That changed for me in 2014 when I learned I had three pre-cancerous lesions on my cervix. Luckily, thanks to the ACA, I had an affordable plan that helped pay for the procedure I needed and for the two times I went to the hospital via ambulance.

I also have a pre-existing condition—hypertension. I need to take medication to keep my blood pressure in check. With my current insurance, the beta-blockers I take cost me $32 for ninety days worth of pills. Without insurance it costs almost $150. I can’t afford that. There are certain lifestyle changes I am making to help lower my blood pressure, like losing weight, watching my sodium intake, and keeping calm, but that last one is tricky because I don’t know what to expect from your presidency.

To keep my composure and my blood pressure at a healthy range, I have elected to no longer read any news about you. The schadenfreude obtained from reading or listening to reports that ridicule you and your henchmen no longer gratify me because the damage you have caused since the moment you stepped into the White House has affected every individual in this country.

I believe remaining ignorant is dangerous—as witnessed by your many actions—but in my case, it might save me from having a stroke.

Sincerely,

Letter2Trump

Thanks for TrumpDontCare. Way to Destroy Healthcare Without Having a Replacement.

Thanks for TrumpDontCare. Way to Destroy Healthcare Without Having a Replacement.

Photograph by Joe Brusky

Mr. President,

“Great healthcare for many, many people.” When will this nightmare end? How can you be so ignorant in virtually every scenario that is placed in front of you? And how can your supporters continue to defend you in the unraveling of America?

This month has been a tough one for many Americans. Hurricanes in both the mainland and Puerto Rico that have caused devastation and death. Fires burning out of control, taking lives and property. And your Trumpcare Executive Order changes that will bring about more of the same. But the difference is that you are responsible for the devastation and death brought on by your Trumpcare changes. This is now your healthcare plan. You had the opportunity to make healthcare in America better, but instead, you chose to wipe out any chance for hard working Americans to afford decent healthcare.

What does this executive order mean to you? That you can look your rich friends in the eye and say “I have your back and I will still make you money while I am in this office.” You could not get any healthcare agenda passed through the House and the Senate, which should have been an indication that things were not good enough (even from your supporters). I just hope that any changes of regulations are made after thoughtful consideration from experts who listen to facts.

What does this healthcare mean to us? It potentially means that employers can have meager plans for their employees. These plans will be for healthy, young people. People who do not seek medical treatment often and are in good health. These plans will effectively cull older workers with preexisting conditions or families or women from employment because they will not be able to survive with limited healthcare plans. Way to look out for you friends in business.

Throwing these plans into the healthcare options will continue to destabilize healthcare markets and most likely will allow for fewer options and higher premiums for the people who need the care the most.

If your plan is to destabilize the market, allow more loopholes for employers (and healthcare companies), you are right on track. If your plan is to make healthcare achievable and affordable for every American who needs it, you have missed the mark. Again.

Go back to the office and invite experts from both sides of the aisle to work together in a way befitting America. Listen to the people who need healthcare, not the ones who profit from it. Let’s have great healthcare for all.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 247 – Behind Every Pre-Existing Condition Is Someone Who Is Loved and Desperately Needs Health Insurance, Mr. President. Please.

Day 247 – Behind Every Pre-Existing Condition Is Someone Who Is Loved and Desperately Needs Health Insurance, Mr. President. Please.

Painting by Edvard Munch “The Sick Child”

Dear Mr. President,

My letter today will be brief because, frankly, I am sick and I am tired.

Next week, the Senate seems poised to adopt a repeal/replace health care bill – on strict party lines and without a CBO score or any hearings or debate – that will result in violently slashed funding of Medicare and which could potentially throw 30 million people off their current health insurance plans.

I am fortunate enough to work somewhere that provides health insurance as a benefit, and though it is expensive it is worth the cost.  But I have a daughter who was born with what some people call a “birth defect” (I do not use the term myself, as there is nothing at all defective about my kid) which could, depending upon where she lives in the future, result in her not being able to afford medical care once she ages-out and leaves my health coverage.  Her “pre-existing condition” was not her fault.  She did not engage in risky behavior, live a morally suspect life, or ignore warnings designed to promote a healthy lifestyle.  Her “sin” was simply being born with spina bifida.  Yet within five years, if you sign the Graham-Cassidy bill into law, there exists the chance that she will face a world in which she will not be able to obtain or afford health insurance for herself.

Your comments suggest that perhaps you have not bothered to read the bill.  You tweeted that pre-existing conditions would be covered under G-C – but the entire medical community says otherwise, and have come out strongly against this legislation.

So please, read the bill.  Listen to the experts.  Set aside your deep need for some political victory in favor of doing right by people like my daughter.  I am sick at heart over the idea that this horrible bill may become law of our land.  You have the power to stop it.  Exercise that power.  Please.  I’m begging.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Day 240: A Golden Opportunity Awaits, Mr. President! Health Care For All! Put Your Super Excited Eyes In and Read On (or Have Someone Read It To You).

Day 240: A Golden Opportunity Awaits, Mr. President! Health Care For All! Put Your Super Excited Eyes In and Read On (or Have Someone Read It To You).

Photograph by NYMag.com

Dear Mr. President,

I am so excited for you! An amazing opportunity has fallen into your lap. Finally, you have the chance to put your name in your favorite all-caps font, gilded and glorious, on nearly 20% of the GDP in our country. No, I’m not talking about putting your name on a wall. That’s thinking small and I’m thinking Huge! I’m aiming so much higher for you. I’m talking about your chance to put your name on our health care system. This week, Bernie Sanders unveiled his plan for Medicare for All. A single-payer health care plan, Berniecare would systematically lower the age of enrollment in Medicare over the next few years until every single citizen in our country has free health care. Obviously, Berniecare, as a system, is unpalatable. It reeks of mildewy sweaters and socialism. But Trumpcare? TRUMPcare? That is a glorious word, full of majestic intonation and caps-lock bravado. And you could do this! You could make this happen! Just like Obama took Romneycare and made it his very own, you could take Berniecare to the masses, paint it gold, and live in notorious infamy, going down in history not as the worst president of all time, but as the one who single-handedly saved millions of lives.

It’s really not so difficult of a sell. After all, if your name is on it, your loyalists will fall in line. And you could pay for this thing much easier than you can pay for a wall. You wouldn’t even have to bully Mexico. Yes, you’d have to raise taxes. But a tax increase on businesses would actually save them money, once they are out from under the weight of employee health care. Yes, you’d have to raise taxes on everyone…but everyone would actually save thousands of dollars every single year without the copays and premiums they currently kick out to private health insurance companies. You’d be saving every company and every citizen quite a lot of money. Think of the economy! Think of all the rounds of golf Americans could now afford at your golf courses!

A wise man once advocated for…and then backed away from…and then advocated for…and then said no to…and then praised universal health care. “We must have universal health care. Just imagine the improved quality of life for our society as a whole,” this wise man once wrote. You could follow his advice. You have the chance to do something great. The time is now, Mr. President. Listen to Donald Trump, sir, and replace Obamacare with something even greater. It’s time for TRUMPcare, Mr. President. It’s time to listen to yourself for once. Give in to your own peer pressure and do the right thing. If you do, I promise you that our nation will remember you, gold-plated and brazen, as the one who not only saved us money, but as the one who actually saved our lives.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 196 – Some Advice, Mr. President. Seems Like You Could Use Some.

Day 196 – Some Advice, Mr. President. Seems Like You Could Use Some.

Photograph by cornflakegirl

Dear Mr. President,

Since I am not privy to your tax returns for the last five years and since you have a penchant for revisionism, I really do not know whether you were a successful businessman. My father lent me $3,500 dollars as a down payment on a house; I did not lose the house but later sold it for almost double its value and bought a house that I sold for nineteen times the cost of the first house. I read that you lost the first two million your dad gave you.

From the knowledge I do have of your business dealings, you seem to be a loser; whereas, my business acumen has been untarnished: I have a perfect credit rating, I have paid all my creditors 100% of what I owe them, I have never had to fire an employee in whom I placed trust, I have never been sued or sued anyone over a business contract, and strangers keep calling offering credit cards and free trips to purvey their properties in which they would like me to invest. Further, no one has ever connected me to Russian operatives nor have I ever had to lie about such connections.

I mention this as a prequel to discussing your attempts to pass a health care initiative to replace The Affordable Care Act.  You have failed in this, too, sir. Not coincidentally you have also failed in your attempt to pass a budget. (Possibly your naming your budget-restructuring bill as the “health care” bill confused the Republicans.) I’d like to offer some sound business suggestions to you, sir, coming as they do from me, one who has an untarnished record in the financial world.

You told people your health care solution would be “bigger and better to cover more people at lower cost.”  “Big” is a word that you seem to have some problems with –“bigly” not actually having been recognized as a word until…when you kept repeating it. The point here is that none of your recent suggestions for health care have covered more people at a lower cost, so bigger does not adhere to its meaning of increased as you use it in this phrase. I suggest dumping the whole repeal/replace/ Obama- care- light/ fiasco and simply going back to an old idea of yours: single payer health care.

If you were to remove the cap from social security, you could solve most of your budget problems, keep the citizenry eating on a regular basis, and ensure that a sufficient number of consumers survive (some of whom might become buyers for Ivanka’s trinkets and tawdry trash).

Tell people the truth. Lincoln said it best, “You cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” The odds on your pulling off another mass deceit are not in your favor.  (I know people refer to you as a septuagenarian, but that is a term referring to your age–as in old coot– and not to the size of your hands.)

Your branding of the election really was far superior to Hillary’s  I’m not with Him.” However, that branding is coming back to haunt you now since “Make America Great Again” implies that you, sir, are on America’s side, not, as it appears to many (including the FBI), Russia’s.  You need to change this perception pronto.

Try releasing your tax returns for the last five years. That would be a marketing coup.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 182 – If You Don’t Want to “Own” Health Care, Share Nicely, Mr. President.

Day 182 – If You Don’t Want to “Own” Health Care, Share Nicely, Mr. President.

Photograph by Daniel Lobo

Dear Mr. President,

It must be frustrating, how long this business messing with Obamacare is taking. You thought it was going to be easy. It was going to be taken care of the first week, no, the first day. Here we are six months later and the legislative gears are still seizing up. Ironically, the latest effort was derailed by a health problem. I hope Senator McCain makes a full recovery. Thankfully, he has good health insurance, and Congress is making sure that he’ll keep that health insurance, unlike the rest of us.

Having arrived at this juncture, however, perhaps this is a good opportunity to rethink things. You called the House healthcare bill “mean,” and, let’s be honest, the Senate bill really wasn’t any better. Now you’re back to calling for a straight up repeal, but we can’t just turn the clock back seven years and arrive at a clean slate. The old status quo wasn’t that good either. No, a repeal without replacement would be the meanest move of all.

We’re not going to own it,” you said, but let’s face it, this sort of thing clings. You’re the face of the party who can’t get its act together and is ready to sit back and watch the country burn. There’s only one way that gives you a chance of shaking this, and that’s actually working with Democrats. Instead of making empty threats to work with Democrats in the hopes of bullying conservative senators into line, echo Senator Moran’s advice and start legislating fresh with an open process that invites Democrats in.

Call up all those senators you know and tell them to actually work with the Democrats. You’ll have a shot at actually getting something done and appearing presidential, and you get to make the hardline Republicans who have been giving you trouble squirm. The rest of us will call our senators up as well and tell them we want them to engage in an open, bipartisan process. Maybe if it comes from you they’ll be more likely to listen than when it’s coming from their constituents, and in any event, the more voices the better, right?

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

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