I don’t want this blog to get too political, because health policy isn’t the only thing I care about, but I also want to make people aware how much it’s been on my mind lately. I think that when people think about health policy, the tendency is to think so much about the big picture that the actual, real people who will be most affected by policy change are totally forgotten.
I talked in an earlier post about why healthcare is so important to me. You can read that here, and that’s what I want to share as my “Currently Reading” for this week. It’s more than shameless self-promotion; I really want people to understand how much my life revolves around, and relies on, healthcare. I also want to talk more specifically about the proposed Graham-Cassidy bill, and what it would mean for me (and for others with pre-existing conditions) if the bill were to pass.
I have a pre-existing condition, and this isn’t something that’s ever going to go away. If states are allowed to waive protections for people like me, the cost of my premium could go up astronomically. What do I do, then, if I can’t afford to pay my premium? How do I get the medical care that is necessary for me to just live? That isn’t, and cannot ever be, a real choice. I shouldn’t have to worry about being able to pay for something that’s keeping me alive. Waiting until the situation is dire and visiting the Emergency Room could very literally mean life or death for me, and is actually more expensive for taxpayers than allowing me to have access to reasonably priced, preventative healthcare.
The other alarming provision of Graham-Cassidy is the conversion of Medicaid to a block grant, with the ability to cap the amount spent. I rely on a waiver that provides Home and Community Based Services – essentially, this waiver helps me to live at home, rather than in an institution or nursing home. If Medicaid is capped, what do I do when I’ve reached my limit? I cannot get out of bed, use the bathroom, or take a shower without the assistance provided by the waiver. When this assistance goes away, how do I live any semblance of a normal life?
I very strongly believe that everyone deserves the chance to live, and that having access to healthcare is a vital part of that. Please join me in asking your Senators to vote no on Graham-Cassidy – ask them to remember the constituents that they represent.