This is a response sent to Senator Jeff Merkley via e-mail requesting my thoughts on “Trumpcare” and “Obamacare”:
During 1997-1998 I attended Portland State University and received a BS in Community Health Education; I was in my late 40s at the time. I wrote a lot of papers on disability, chronic illness, racism, bigotry, poverty, the disenfranchised and health care; I’ve had a lifetime of experience. I’ve been involved in Healthcare for over 40 years as a paid professional, a consumer, and as an advocate and unpaid volunteer. I also have physical health issues that require chronic medical treatment. We who have any sort of physical or mental disability or any form of chronic illness, or even those of us who have an acute illness such as bronchitis or a temporary disability such as a broken ankle…we keep the economy going! We see a plethora of medical practitioners; doctors, nurses, physical therapists, chiropractors, pharmacists, therapists, dentists, naturopaths, acupuncturists, occupational therapists, medical social workers, medical case managers, etc. We have labwork, physical therapy, x-rays, diagnostic tests such as CT Scans, MRIs, colonoscopies, pap smears, biopsies, etc. We use adaptive equipment and monitoring devices from glucose blood monitors to Braille reading materials to wheelchairs to oxygen to support stockings to bandages, etc. We use prescriptive drugs, natural remedies, and nutritional supplements, we’re on special diets. We may have special needs like kidney dialysis or gastric tube feedings or Nursing Home care….and I’m really only touching the tip of the iceberg here. Not only do we keep all these people who provide us services employed, we keep their instructors/teachers employed. We also keep the people who make the products we need employed. Then we also keep the people who supply the technology or supply the materials to make the products employed. We keep the researchers and inventors employed. We keep the people who transport us and the products we need employed. Beyond all this we also help to keep everyone else in America employed who provide us and our Health/Medical providers with everyday necessities for both ourselves and our families such as food, clothing, housing, sanitation, education, safety, etc. We are America, the most diverse country in the world and each individual no matter their race, religion/spiritual practice, culture/ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, social status, income, or any other label designated is a necessary part of the whole and of our survival.
The American Heath Care Act (AHCA, “Trumpcare”) is drastically short-sighted. In the GOP’s obsession to destroy the Affordable Care Act (ACA, “Obamacare”) — and everything else former president Barack Obama has done — they have blinded themselves to the economics of America…and more importantly the actual needs of individuals who have healthcare needs. Furthermore, it seems the GOP has no knowledge of the longevity of diseases or disability or the amount of care or treatment people may need throughout their lives. Since the abysmal AHCA’s development I’ve spoken with family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances and others who have a variety of chronic health / disability needs and/or have family/friends with needs. They have a variety of conditions such as sleep apnea, diabetes, hypertension, depression, cancer, asthma, dementia, arthritis, muscular dystrophy, kidney disease, pernicious anemia, thyroid disease, cerebral palsy, carpal tunnel syndrome, attention deficit disorder, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, blindness, allergies, schizophrenia…and more. For myself and these individuals, we know our lives will be shortened and we’ll have less than optimal medical care if there is not a viable Healthcare plan that addresses current and long term needs for all Americans.
I’m of the mind that Healthcare/Medical Care is a Human Right. I’ve held both Life & Death in my arms. I’ve seen beautiful miracles happen and I’ve seen what lack of healthcare can do. I’ve seen the best compassionate and caring healthcare as I’ve also seen the results of inadequate healthcare and abuse. The ACA was a saving grace to millions of Americans. The ACHA is a plan that will incite cutting corners and doing less rather than doing what is right for those in need; it will do more harm than good for and to America.
There are 3 givens in the life cycle of Humans…we’re born, we’ll die and in-between we’ll become ill and/or injured and need some form of Healthcare or Medical Assistance. Like it or not if President Trump and the GOP Congress enact the ACHA, they will be complicit in the elongated physical, emotional/spiritual, economic suffering and premature deaths of millions of Americans. Tax cuts for the rich aren’t worth any of this. If you happen to see me on Twitter, you’ll note that I call the AHCA a plan that promotes genocide (harsh but true words).
Thank You so much Senator Merkley for being a champion of the People and for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts. Please also Thank Senator Wyden and Representative Blumenhauer for their tireless efforts as well.
In Peace. Bonnie F. Walker, RN, BS, LNC