Dear 115th US Congress, Please Stop It

Seriously. JUST. STOP. IT.

Do NOT attempt to keep repealing The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Yes I used the real name, to remind us all what it was meant to do, even though, yes, it failed on some counts (more on that in a minute). I will NOT use the nickname everyone uses derisively, although I am forever grateful to that president.

I am tired. I am tired of living on tenterhooks. I am tired of my phone buzzing with various news alerts, and the constant notifications of tweets by Andy Slavitt, Sarah Kliff, and others fighting the good fight, explaining what the hell is happening, how it will impact regular and poor Americans like me. I’m tired of worrying ALL OF THE TIME.

I know, I know. I could turn off phone notifications. I don’t have to wade into Twitter, to be so involved. For starters, I am utterly dependent on ACA remaining the “law of the land” and I do not have the luxury of tuning out. I worry when the notifications are NOT happening too. I have to remain involved and engaged, to do whatever I can, no matter how small. It is frustrating I cannot do more—I would’ve been in Annapolis or D.C. today for Lives on the Line, but I have to work. That’s the breaks you are poor, you are a member of the gig economy and you have to hustle all the time. I just want to slap people who tell me to “turn it off” for a bit. I always notice the people who say that to me can afford health insurance, can afford my services, can afford to go on vacation.

And frankly I am proud to be involved even the little bit I can. I get up every morning and search the news and tweets. And it is horrible. Then I write the tweets for my local Indivisible group. I want to do this; NEED to do it. Because I’d be reading that stuff anyway—might as well use it, make a small contribution.

Since November I have not had one night of sleep in which I did not keep my mouth so clenched I did not wake up with a headache. The past few months have been alarmingly like the two weeks in early 2014, when the new imaging center I used thought I had a recurrence. That wait for the MRI, then the wait for the results–agony. I could barely function. The only thing different now is I’ve learned how to function a little bit.

But I am always in a shitty mood.

There was a tiny bit of reprieve early Friday morning, when 3 Senators voted no. And nearly 48 hours later yet another, a new proposal is being floated to once again repeal the ACA. On top of that, as I write this, the wanna-be Dictator is threatening to de-stabilize the insurance market. Does anyone even understand they are playing with our lives?

THIS. IS. NOT. A. GAME. You all are threatening my life. And I don’t just mean “life”—why is death always the metric. I mean how I die, with a roof over my head because debt hasn’t rendered me homeless.

I’ve written on this blog a little bit about heart disease—readers will know my family has a history of heart disease. My maternal grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer (left untreated) while she was dying of heart disease. This was one of the reasons I was so blindsided by my own diagnosis. I get frustrated that women’s heart disease awareness movements “use” breast cancer to prove that heart disease is the bigger killer. But right now, I’m thinking this stress will give me a heart attack, maybe I should worry about cancer less? Will I survive a heart attack? What with all the heart damage Herceptin gave me?

The constant stress this administration causes me might kill me, and I’m not being hyperbolic, I HATE hyperbole (though I’ve had to use it lately). Maybe that is the plan—then I guess I won’t care if the ACA gets repealed.

And to be clear, it is this constant living in limbo that I’m speaking of here right now. I’m not even going to touch on the other stuff happening that is giving me worry—the threats to freedom of the press, the clear direction to authoritarianism that we are taking, my very real fear that the American democratic experiment is ending.

So I beg this Congress, stop it. Be the deliberative body you are supposed to be. Who do you serve, WHY do you serve? It isn’t supposed to be about “winning at all costs”, it’s supposed to be about serving us, The People. When so many people are telling you they will hurt—LISTEN TO US.

Yes, I know the ACA hurt many people. So figure out a way to fix it. I cannot believe I am advocating for, or defending insurance companies—the people I fight with on behalf of a provider (as a medical biller). There is a great deal of work to do, so stop with the shit-proposals. Find the way. You are supposed to be smart.

So please, Members of Congress, hear my plea. I want to live. I’ve lived through cancer, I know how much it costs (yep, even before the ACA it was too expensive—Obama didn’t cause that, greed did, read some literature about this). If my cancer comes back, especially metastatic, I’d like to live as long as I can, at least comfortably. I’d like to NOT bankrupt my family. Everyone threatened about government death panels back when the ACA was being written, remember that? Do you even understand that YOU have become the death panel now?

Stop it. Please. I need a break.


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