The Senate Healthcare Bill and Me

20170329_141629In less than a week, I will be home.

Less than 12 hours after I land, I will be undergoing another procedure.

For the last several years, I’ve been lucky enough to be on a good health insurance plan. Still, I have to pay anywhere from $5000-$7000 each year on my health care, not counting the copays for my prescriptions. That is after insurance. I hit the maximum out-of-pocket this year months ago. My procedure, which will allow me to sing again without bracing my ribs, to roll over in bed without screaming, will be covered.

For now.

I have multiple preexisting conditions. I have had expensive heart surgeries before. I will again. But the plan proposed by the Senate could mean that health care, which is already devastatingly expensive for me as a graduate student, might be financially out of reach. Loopholes might mean more expensive, less comprehensive care for people like me. Annual or lifetime caps will mean a price has been coldly set on the value of my life. I need health care to live.

I want to live.

Today I will live. Dozens of tests and procedures will allow me to help my family set up a weathered picnic table for an annual neighborhood BBQ. I will swallow two dozen medications and supplements so I can eat crisp lettuce and carefully prepared, allergen-free chicken. Next year, whether I am in any condition to attend the BBQ may depend on the decisions of lawmakers who are right now indirectly setting a value on my life.

Please. Call your representatives. Electronically contact them; apps like Countable [https://www.countable.us/ ] make it easy. If they are against this bill, thank them. Encourage them. If your representatives are supporting this bill, please urge them to reconsider. This is not about red vs. blue, Republicans vs. Democrats. This is about life vs. death for people like me. Please, call.

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