Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Do not repeal the ACA

An open letter to my representatives:

My daughter has not been hospitalized for over 6 years now (knock wood). What's kept her out of the hospital is the daily regime of medication that keeps her chronic asthma under control. And, we keep our medicine cabinet filled with those medications because we can. Half the time I pick up her prescriptions and have to pay no more at the counter than my signature. Because, both my husband and I work. What's more, he works in high tech, for a company that makes quality insurance available to their employees. And if he didn't, we could go on my municipality's insurance program, constantly defended by my teacher's union so that teachers and their families can stay healthy. Most days, I don't think twice about health insurance. Our plan lets us choose almost any doctor, my daughter's maintenance drugs are covered, my husband's employer even matches a certain percentage of our deposits into our Health Savings Account. 

A few months ago, my daughter turned 18. And a few days ago, the Republican Administration announced their plan to overhaul healthcare coverage. 

I can still hide in my middle class bubble. As long as we, her parents, have the means we will always make sure our daughter has the medications she needs. And we live in Massachusetts which has a much better track record of taking care of its citizens than some others. I'm lucky. We are lucky.

But, my sisters and brothers in Wyoming, Arizona, and Puerto Rico are not so lucky.

I think the administration is counting on my silent complicity. And it makes sense, I have been silent for a long time, focused inward on my own family, my own daughter's breath. And honestly, there were some nights where my daughter's breath was the only thing I could be asked to focus on. 
But she hasn't been hospitalized for 6 years (should I knock wood again?). Her prescriptions are ready at the pharmacy. I have room in my day to focus elsewhere. And, I see that I can not be silently complicit anymore. 

As a Massachusetts voter, as a concerned citizen of the United States, I urge you to do everything in your power to ensure access to quality health care for every person in this country. The current plan backed by the Republican Administration is insufficient. It will bankrupt young women like my daughter who need to take medication every day to breathe. It will encourage risky balancing acts as people decide which medical advice they can afford to follow. It will profit a few at the expense of many. 

Our government of the people, by the people, FOR the people has an opportunity to fix those aspects of the Affordable Care Act that need tending. But, don't let them throw the baby out with the bathwater. Please defend the Affordable Health Care Act and the people who rely on it for coverage. Please defend the millions of Americans who do not have my middle class privilege, who do not have working parents to fall back on, who do not have generous employers or vocal unions, who do not have savings. Let's take care of ensuring access to health care so the next scared parent can just focus on her daughter's breath.

I am sending this letter to all of my federal representatives, to the President, and to the Speaker of the House. Because I will not be silent.

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