Once again into the breach, the current bumfuck governing body that 62 million people voted in has failed to come to a consensus about just how much they should fuck over the people who voted for them (and everyone else, but also those 62 million).
Yet they carry on, because of course they do, despite the fact that nobody who voted for or against them agrees with what they’re doing. My best guess is that they believe they are ordained by God to make these poor decisions, as if Jesus murdered lepers instead of healing them.
But I digress.
The reason we keep calling, and we keep trying to save even the current mess that is the ACA, is that many of us would die or struggle without it. Many knew that this is exactly what current admin would try and do, regardless of who it hurt. It’s why some with chronic conditions and issues turned to a dark place after the election, and I could not blame them. I was in that dark place for a long time. I have a great life, a great spouse, a roof over my head, a job, but I despaired too. I drank too much, and I lost a lot of time. Because I knew the truth. I knew how hard this was going to be. I knew we’d fight a long time, and that even if we fought, we would probably lose again and again and again, because all those things we think are laws in this country are tempered absolutely by the conscience and decency of one’s leaders. Elect incompetent people who have no shame, and pair them with incompetent people who want power and/or feel they are Ordained By God to Rule, and you are fucked. It’s the same in every country.
I have written about what life was like for me before the ACA, and the feeling of relief I had when it passed. It’s a relief I’ve been living with for four years, and that relief has helped give me the courage to pursue my writing without undue worry. I knew I’d never, ever have to go through the fear and terror of being uninsured, living on expired insulin, ever again, no matter what layoffs headed my way.
But the repeal of ACA will bring us back to that dark time. I understand why people feel despair, because I feel it too. I hustle like hell, even with health insurance, to pay for my meds and my premiums. I can guarantee Congress that I “pay my share” at about $12k a year in premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. How many iPhones is that, Chaffetz?
Saving the ACA is pretty personal, for me. And whether or not many in my family realize it, it’s vital to them as well. I have a niece and nephew with chronic conditions. My dad has chronic issues, and both my parents are nearing retirement age, and with Medicaid under the gun and Medicare next, I have no idea how they will pay for their healthcare after they are no longer able to work.
If we save the ACA I keep my “in case I’m laid off/fired” healthcare safety net. If we save ACA I could be a full-time writer someday. If we don’t save ACA and I lose my job for any reason, I’ll probably die. Meds are $1500 a month to keep me alive (not counting premiums).
When I went to pick up my latest round of meds and the pharmacy tech asked if I knew the bill ($500) I said “Oh yes. But I’ll die without them. So they kind of have me over a barrel.”
And she said, “I guess I would die, then. That’s more than I make in a week.”
This is America. People work hard. There’s a narrative among many in this country – even my own family! – that the problem is that people don’t have jobs, or don’t work hard enough. This is an insidious lie. The truth is that care is unregulated; hospitals have no formal pricing list; capitalism is a shitty way to run a healthcare system; it’s inefficient, and the government says hospitals must pay for everyone who comes to ER, but doesn’t reimburse them for it (best they can do is claim it as a loss on taxes). Our healthcare system is overly complicated, and the truth is that what’s going to help fix it is a regulated system and a giant Medicare-for-Everyone option that forces places to agree on pricing structures and streamline them. Our current patchwork capitalist system is murdering people; it’s not providing the best care in the world. Far, far, from it.
I hustle like hell at a day job, with the Patreon, and with my novel writing to both make ends meet and live a good life. And I’m desperate to keep making money because I don’t know when it will stop and everything will turn back to what it was. Don’t tell me I don’t deserve expensive care. The whole fucking POINT of civilization is that we work together to make a better world.
We are all affected by this one way or another. Some more than others. Some later more than now. Some now more than later. It’s what health insurance and health care systems are for. If something terrible happens to you, as it happened to me, then you can rely on insurance to help you manage it. But with out of control costs and unregulated insurance carriers, you end up with a Wild West hodgepodge of scammers and incompetents. No one is there to hold them accountable. They know that.
Many fear the government, and the over-regulation of the government. I get that. But the truth is, we ELECT our governement. If they are shit, kick them the fuck out. The government works for US. They should be afraid of US. We should not be afraid of them.
Everyone deserves care. I don’t care if you work or don’t work or you’re citizen or not. We are all humans. We should care about other humans. If you think people deserve to die because they don’t have money to pay for life-saving treatment I can’t help you.
What has made humans successful isn’t our brains or standing upright. It’s that we care for each other. We cooperate. Together, we are better than one. Libertarianism sounds like a real fun idea until you break your legs in the woods. Who the fuck is going to save you then, huh?
People. People will fucking save you. Because we work together. We take care of each other. We ensure that even those who are born with the least are given enough resources and opportunities to compete with those born with the most. THAT is equality. That’s the American story we tell ourselves, but still haven’t been able to make true.
It’s working together that has led to every single success humanity has achieved over these 200k years. To survive, we must work together. And yes, that means caring for those among us who are most vulnerable. You, me, your kids, your neighbors, your friends, your future.
We can have our Star Trek future. But we have to believe in it. And we have to shine a light on it. And we have to build it. Together.
I have talked a lot about fighting. Fight the future, fight the darkness. But it’s fighting that got us here. It’s fighting that makes the 62 million so desperate and fearful. I understand, now, that this isn’t just about fighting. It’s not a war that requires guns. This is a war of stories, and to de-escalate requires more than having a bigger gun. It requires being the very best people we can be. It requires compassion. It requires cooperation.
Most of all, getting to the future we want isn’t about flailing around in the darkness, punching walls. Getting the future we want is about bringing the light.
We must be the light in the darkness.
And each of us, every one of us together, all those little pinpoints of light – that’s what will secure this future. Hope, coming together, bringing the light.
Be the light.
Believe in that future.