I pre-existed. Even if I had never had breast cancer, the very fact that I am a woman, is a strike against me. If we are to believe that the GOP has just secured a victory for America by sending a bill to the Senate that denies access to care to over 24 million Americans, and jeopardizes those with pre-existing conditions by leaving it up to the states to decide if insurance companies should be compelled to offer them fair, affordable, and comprehensive coverage, then I have a little piece of the Brooklyn Bridge I’d like to sell you.
This bill — like this congress and this administration — has no moral compass. It penalizes the sick, the elderly, the disabled, women, and children. It divides us by fate and fortune. The healthy, wealthy, and young are all over social media claiming they should not have to pay more for the sick. They have no desire to be their brother’s keeper. Of course, when you believe you use “less healthcare” than others, or when you are wealthy enough for it not to matter, it is tantamount to pushing your way to the head of the line, to the very threshold of the red carpet because you believe you are somehow more beautiful, more worthy, more monied than those waiting in line. It is privilege at its worst.
By now we all know that the Senate has deemed the House bill unsustainable. They will amend, or they will start over, but our fate is still in the hands of a political party and politicians who feel no sense of obligation to the greater good. They are the pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps crowd. They simply can’t imagine why government needs to provide for its citizens. They have no compassion, no empathy, and no sense of responsibility to those they represent.
I’m happy to go on record to state that I will gladly pay more. I will pay more to ensure that those less fortunate do not go without. I support every effort to make access to affordable care universal — I do not believe I deserve more than my neighbor, even though my neighbor may believe he deserves more than me.
The lack of leadership in Washington is bringing this democracy to its knees. But we cannot give up; we cannot go quietly. Our voices must be heard. We don’t need to be perfect or solve all the problems, we just need to show up. There’s honor in that alone.
And if they still think that some among us should be penalized with less access to care and higher premiums, well then nothing anyone says is going to give them a heart or convince them that caring for each other is the reason we are all here. They can gloat all they want about being young and healthy, or rich and immune (like some members of congress) — but let me just say this: There but for the grace of god they go.
And should the moment come when they find themselves standing in my shoes — or in the shoes of anyone whose health and financial security is at risk — I pray that someone kind, someone with a heart, someone who has selflessly chosen to be his brother’s keeper, has mercy on their souls.