Week in the Word: About Dismantling Health Care

Each week I share a progressive voice of faith from here in the Southland.  This week I share a very personal but timely message from my friend Chuck Fager, long-time Quaker writer and peace & social justice advocate.

Micah

 

From http://afriendlyletter.com/about-dismantling-health-care-this-is-personal/

Before Congress Repeals & Destroys My Family’s Health Care–

Let me say a bit about it.

I’m retired, age 74. Living modestly on Social Security and a bit more; breaking even, few luxuries, no complaints.

I have a partner, four children, five grandchildren, a great grandchild due next summer. I’m white, though my family is mixed.

Three-generations of us, Durham NC 2016

Overall, we’ve been pretty healthy. No big catastrophes–car crashes, cancer, or crystal meth. So far.

But “stuff happens.” And some stuff has happened to us: two grandkids turned up needing serious surgeries. One of their parents collapsed & almost died from untreated hypertension.

And as for me, I’ve got stents in vessels around the heart. Been in three times for that. Plus a couple blood clots.

Some “stuff happened” in late 2011; got a stent, and did a stint in recliner activism.

And don’t get me started about kidney stones.

But it could be worse.

It could be a whole lot worse for me without Medicare. And for several family members without the ACA and Medicaid.

How much worse? Let me mention one number about Medicare: $5000. That’s what my “gravy train socialistic” Medicare already costs me per year; or rather, this year.

(Again, no complaints; but when the talk turns toward “takers & freeloaders,” can we just skip that part?)

Now suppose these arrangements all get upended, as is on the table in many high places in Washington and seems all too likely. Consider:

Several of us, including me, have “pre-existing conditions,” potentially serious ones. And if Medicare was turned into something like vouchers, these would make premium costs jump even higher–if the others and I could get any coverage at all.

Face it: without Medicare, I wouldn’t have a prayer. Or rather–wouldn’t have anything else.

And what about the kids, those unexpected surgeries? And what if that “stuff happens” thing, happens again?

I’ve seen the bills for some of it: the tab on my first stent was around $50,000, before Medicare got hold of it. And one ER visit for a kidney stone attack ran over $1000 per hour. And those were several years back; hospital cost inflation “stuff” happens too.

Yeah. Without Medicare it wouldn’t take much such “stuff” to completely ruin me. Health effects aside, I could be bankrupted by one serious round of it.

Same goes for ACA and most of my family members, who are, remember, overall a pretty healthy lot.

I’m talking personally here because this issue quickly becomes about as personal as it gets. I read there’s twenty to thirty million Americans depending on the ACA; even more on Medicare. I’m concerned about them on a policy level, and hope I feel compassion.

But this ACA & Medicare repeal talk –it’s not just “policy.” Not just about “them.”

It’s about “us.” Me. It will affect me & my family.

My not particularly unusual family.

Directly, and bigtime; not someday, but immediately, and probably catastrophically.

So the drive for repeal is toying with the fate of real people with real lives. All over the country.

Including me and my family. (And maybe yours too?)

The impact of any such repeal will be coming right at us. Directly.

And we’ll remember.

I hope some folks in Washington keep this in mind as they prepare to destroy what keeps me, and us, going now. I’ve tried to let them know. The lines seem pretty jammed.

(And if a picture is worth a thousand words, this short 2011 Youtube clip is worth many more.) Here’s a hint of what’s in it . . .

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