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Day 364 – Letter to Republican Lawmakers: Health Insurance is Not a Carrot.

Day 364 – Letter to Republican Lawmakers: Health Insurance is Not a Carrot.

Photograph from NPR

Dear Republican Lawmakers,

You don’t seem to think much of health insurance for your fellow Americans. I draw this conclusion from the way you treat it in legislation: as a bargaining chip or an opportunity for moral education, as opposed to a way to save lives.

I’m not going to concern myself with trying to divine your motives, varied as they doubtlessly are. By your actions, it is more than clear that you are willing to deny Americans healthcare if it allows you to make a point or avoid another thorny issue (such as immigration). I find that contemptible regardless of what your motivations for doing it are.

The faulty logic that says people are on Medicaid because they are lazy (as opposed to disabled or unable to find work that actually provides benefits) is at least familiar enough as to be unsurprising. But holding children’s healthcare hostage is a new low. After all, there is no possible way for children to afford their own healthcare, and childcare in general is becoming increasingly expensive. If you think families are a positive thing, that they provide stability and continuity for communities and the nation as a whole, then I would think that making sure that families are a thing people can afford to have would be high on your list.

You might make the argument that reducing government spending will reduce taxes and make things more affordable in that fashion, but you were just working on a huge tax bill; tell me, how much in that bill was of direct benefit to low-income families, or even middle-class families? The lion’s share went to large corporations, who are already sitting on considerable cash reserves. This isn’t going to stimulate the economy enough that healthcare will suddenly become affordable for people below the poverty line.

Putting work restrictions on Medicaid will kill people. Using children’s health insurance as a bargaining chip is gambling with children’s lives. Neither of those strike me as a responsible way to run the country.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 323 – Letter to the Right: Why Not Healthcare?

Day 323 – Letter to the Right: Why Not Healthcare?

Image from MyPostcard

Hello friend,

You have healthcare right? Me too. It’s pretty nice. Actually more than that – it saved my life from cancer and is keeping me alive. So it’s not just a nice to have, it’s a gotta have. An imperative. If I didn’t have healthcare for myself and my family, I would consider that to be a very serious problem. I’d be willing to bet you would too, no matter your politics. Can we just be honest? The only people who don’t value healthcare are young idiots who think they’re going to live forever. We adults know better.

This is why I think a national system that offers affordable healthcare to all Americans is a really good idea. Is the current Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare (they’re the same thing, but I know you knew that) the solution we need? I don’t know. I just know that quality healthcare for all Americans is a great idea. We’re not talking about free beer (another great idea), or free Carnival cruises (meh). We’re talking about something every responsible, sensible adult in the Unites States of the 21st century thinks is essential. Kind of like roads and emergency services and law enforcement. It’s just a really crucial underpinning to a long life full of liberty and the pursuit of happiness as each of us chooses to define it. How can this be bad?

Yes, I know it takes money to do this.  I also know that it takes money to run for Congress, and there are many heavy hitting political donors out there happily making a ton of money off the way things are. Don’t worry about them. They’ll be alright. They’re gettin’ their three-squares and then some. They’re probably getting excellent healthcare too.

By the way, I offer this opinion as a member of the one percent – the top part. I am comfortably wealthy. I am a capitalist. I like making money. No, really.

What about all the people who don’t deserve help? What about all the bums? What about all the illegals? What about all the people we don’t like, your no-good brother-in-law, for instance?

[sigh] Well, what about them? For every law, we have that benefits society at large – as most are intended to do – there will always be those who try to skirt them, try to work the angles, try to cheat. Ever break the speed limit? Me too, but hey, I had important stuff to do, I’m sure. We’ll fix the problems and stop the cheaters as the opportunities arise. What about the good people who need a leg up, a helping hand? What about your kids and your grandkids, who one day may fall on hard times and won’t have employer sponsored health insurance? If we can help them, shouldn’t we?

Some say Obamacare is a failure and maybe they are right. They’ll say that’s proof that it can’t be done, or that a national system won’t work for this reason or that. Really? May I remind you this is America? I have a smartphone with thousands of times more computing power than all of NASA during the Apollo space program. You know, the program that put men on the moon? See this video (so cool). I just don’t buy that it can’t be done. I do buy that we just won’t do it.

Societies tend to be most unified and most generous during times of crisis: earthquakes, hurricanes, depressions, world wars. We tend to look out for each other when the chips are down and resources are scarce. Why not buck the trend and help each other out in times of plenty? Times like right now.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

 

 

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

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