Thursday, September 29, 2016

My presidential endorsement with reference to 3 fictional characters (Part 1 of 3)

Walter White for Hillary
         I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton because of Walter White.
         Yes, Walter White, the Chemistry Teacher who gets cancer, can’t pay his medical bills, and breaks bad by selling meth, becomes the drug king “Heisenberg” and ruins the lives of almost everyone he loves in the process.

My Own Experience
         I have a pre-existing condition, Pulmonary Atresia with VSD (a heart condition). This means, before the Affordable Care Act was law insurance companies would do everything that could to not pay for my medical expenses. For example, while I was on internship I had a check-up and found out my insurance company at the time refused to pay for anything that involved my heart, and cast the widest net possible in defining what involved my heart. I actually had to enlist Governor Martin O’Malley and the Attorney General to help me fight for basic healthcare!
         So, in my experience, without the Affordable Care Act, a basic check-up that is required for someone with my condition costs over $10,000 and I have to pull every trick I know how to do, and figure out some I don’t, just to make sure the free market doesn’t swallow me whole. After the passage of the ACA it costs $2-4,000.
         When (not if) my valve will need replacement under the ACA it will be very difficult to pay off my medical expenses, but with hard work and perseverance I’ll get it done. If my valve needs replacement, and the ACA is not in place, I won’t be able to pay my medical bills.

This shapes the lives of over fifty million Americans
         This is not a position unique to me. 57,200,000 Americans have a pre-existing condition. Before the ACA insurance companies could in a variety of ways, choose not to cover us or punish us for our pre-existing conditions. To be clear, many pre-existing conditions are not as extreme as mine, for example acne, asthma, diabetes, and high cholesterol. At the same time, imagine an insurance company using your pimples as an excuse to not pay for treating any part of your body that has skin on it!
         So, for me, and many like me, where the two candidates fall on the ACA is incredibly important.

Donald Trump’s Position
         Donald Trump’s position on the ACA is all over the map. In fact, he’s redone his official position page since this morning. He’s claimed that he loves a socialist system like Scotland, that he’ll protect people with Pre-existing conditions, that he’ll repeal the ACA and not replace it with anything.
         Then there is the current position on his website (again, different than the one I read this morning). Look carefully at his official position (if you can, the page keeps changing). He’ll repeal the ACA on day one. Then he says he’ll replace the ACA, but makes no mention of Pre-existing conditions. He continually focuses on the free market and unleashing the power of business to provide goods and services. In my experience, businesses are happy to use their power to deny goods and services when it comes to paying for healthcare of people with pre-existing conditions.

Hillary Clinton’s Position
         Unlike Donald Trump’s position on the ACA, Hillary is clear, she’ll keeps laws in place to protect people with pre-existing conditions. Additionally, she’s been consistently fighting to provide healthcare for all since the Children’s Health Insurance Program back in the ‘90’s.

The Choice
         I know some people I’ve talked to think it is really bad to be a “one issue voter.” In fact, they seem to think my opinion on who should be president doesn’t count because I have real skin in the game, that one particular policy will shape my life in a big way, so I can’t be objective. I’d love to be objective! I’d love to make this decision looking down on it all, like Gloucester on the cliff in King Lear, or to treat elections like some game or game show, like it is Dancing with the Stars or a way to express my particular cultural and social location.
         But I don’t have that privilege.
         If Hillary is elected I spend 10% or less of my income on check-ups, and when my valve goes I struggle financially for a year, but stay afloat.
         If Trump is elected I spend 25% of my income on check-ups and call in favors, and when my heart valve goes I die, go bankrupt, or break bad.
         So, for the sake of all of us with pre-existing conditions, please give Hillary Clinton a second look.

Next up, Pedro.

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