Stop calling me a “pre-existing condition”

I am not a pre-existing condition. I am a human with a body, just like every other human with a body.

Of course I’ll accept the paternalistic “protections” that politicians are scrambling to promise people like me, people with “pre-existing conditions”, but what I really want is quality, affordable healthcare. For all of us. 

I’m not a one-issue voter, but healthcare is one issue that is personal to me. I have a chronic medical condition, Type 1 diabetes, that I not only have to manage every day, but which puts me at high-risk if I get Covid (wear a mask, please).

Along with millions of Americans, I would be uninsurable without the ACA, or insurance would likely be priced out of reach for me. 

In January 2017 Trump promised better and cheaper healthcare, and he’s continued with those promises for 4 years. What a concept. I want that. But there is no plan, and there will be no plan, just like there is no plan to manage the pandemic which has killed over 220K Americans, a healthcare crisis which has put 8.9 million Americans at risk of becoming pre-existing conditions.

We would not be here if Hillary Clinton was president. By “here” right now I mean we would not be in the middle of a health crisis unlike any we’ve seen in a century, and we wouldn’t be faced with our own government arguing before the Supreme Court that they should repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the law that was passed for us, the people, the law that 70% of Americans want to stay intact. I’m sure Hillary’s chief of staff would not be saying that the pandemic is uncontrollable so they’re just going to give up on it and offer up thoughts and prayers to those working on a vaccine. Joe Biden will not give up either.

Elections matter. I’m voting for Democrats because they are the ones who not only believe deep down in their souls that taking away healthcare in the middle of a pandemic is cruel, but they also believe that we should make our healthcare system better.

On the other hand, Trump wants to give us better healthcare so badly, so strongly, so perfectly, that now, 3-1/2 years later, I can hand you a laundry list of his healthcare triumphs: 

  • He stood by (or cheered, more likely) while the Senate tried, and nearly succeeded, to repeal the ACA. He’s still mad at John McCain for that.
  • He lazily sat in his office tweeting and allowed the Covid pandemic to spread uncontrolled, which resulted in millions using their jobs, and their healthcare as a result.  
  • He watched from the sidelines as Black Americans, people of color, and Indigenous people bore a disproportionate share of the Covid cases. A healthcare crisis on top of an economic and racial crisis, or an economic and racial crisis which exacerbated a healthcare crisis.
  • He did nothing as older Americans in long-term care facilities died at alarming rates.  
  • And to absolutely convince us that he actually, honest-to-god wants to give us better and cheaper healthcare, on June 25, in the middle of a pandemic, the Trump Administration asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act. He asked our Supreme Court, the people’s court (theoretically anyway), to overturn the law that our government, duly elected, passed. *
  • But wait! I’m not done! During a town hall event with Pennsylvania voters in September, Trump himself said, “We’re going to be doing a health-care plan very strongly, and protect people with preexisting conditions. . . . I have it all ready, and it’s a much better plan for you.”**
  • When Kayleigh McEnany was asked about the plans for a new healthcare plan, she hemmed and hawed and finally replied “If you want to know — if you want to know, come work here at the White House. Yes.”

Does this sound like someone who is actually working on a plan?

  • On September 24 he signed an executive order saying he will protect people with pre-existing conditions, an order that has no teeth, no substance, but a good photo op if you’re into that kind of thing.***
  • He told us that he had made insulin cheaper than water. Just like Jesus turned water into wine. I know a thing or two about insulin and it’s not cheaper than water.
  • To top it all off, during the last debate Trump said that he wanted the court to overturn Obamacare. Which we already knew, but now he’s just piling on to convince us of the aforementioned promise of better and cheaper healthcare.
  • And on Monday night the deal was sealed, the GOP and Trump got their Supreme Court wish, and then called it quits before passing a Covid relief bill.

This is not a guy with a plan, unless you call taking away healthcare and letting people die a plan. 

[If you want to see what a plan actually looks like, check out Joe Biden’s plan]

Prior to the ACA, employers had the right to deny coverage due to “pre-existing conditions.” This wordy moniker applies to me. 

If you have a pre-existing condition it means you had an illness or condition that existed before you tried to buy that overpriced and inadequate insurance  policy.

Having a pre-existing condition was a very handy way for insurance companies to turn you down, deny your claim, jack up your premium. It is an insurance term, not a medical diagnosis, a construct invented because our healthcare system is largely still based on insurance, based on denying people coverage in order minimize risk to increase profits. That’s how insurance works. 

The ACA prevented insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, which made the system less cruel. That was a good thing. The other good things that came with the ACA were Medicaid expansion, elimination of lifetime caps, basic coverage that every insurance plan had to include, and allowing parents to cover their kids until age 26. 

And now the pubic discourse is all about “protecting people with pre-existing conditions”, instead of how we’re going to make our healthcare system better for everyone, whether you have a chronic illness, need birth control, a vaccine, an annual physical or are having a baby, or have had a heart attack, or Covid. Can’t we just have healthcare?

Trump tweeted on October 5: “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

Telling people to not be afraid of an illness is not a plan, it’s cruel and clueless. But we know he’s cruel and clueless. We know that if he and his enablers don’t care about millions getting sick and 220K people dying of Covid, they certainly don’t care about you or me and our pre-existing, current, or future conditions.

Trump and the GOP are trying to convince us that they have a healthcare plan hidden in a vault somewhere, and we should trust them. Don’t believe them. The evidence speaks for itself, plus the theory of government under Trump, if you can call it a theory, is that he matters and you and I don’t. 

But elections do still matter.

I voted (already, you should too) for Democrats up and down the ballot because I believe that healthcare is a human right, not just a privilege afforded to the rich and strong and lucky. Democrats are the only ones on your ballot who will try to preserve the healthcare we have, and work to make our flawed healthcare system better. 

#voteblue2020 #BidenHarris2020

*https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/us/politics/obamacare-trump-administration-supreme-court.html

**https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/18/kayleigh-mcenany-watch-come-work-with-us/

***https://khn.org/news/trumps-executive-order-on-preexisting-conditions-lacks-teeth-experts-say/

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