The health care reality in one life

Not quite clear if Stalin ever said something along the lines of “a million dead Russians is a statistic; a single dead Russian is a tragedy,” but it is one of the truer formulations of human nature.  It’s easy to have an abstract response to 23 million people losing health insurance or hearing about millions with pre-existing conditions potentially losing coverage.  But hard to ignore one sad story.

A friend shared this on FB.  I couldn’t find anything else on this exact letter, but here’s a Daily Kos post that hits the same themes, so I suspect this is very much the real deal:

Senator Tillis,
I think you probably know who I am. I am the mother of a young man who died because he lacked access to health care. You had me arrested for trying to speak to you when you were Speaker of the House in North Carolina about the importance of access to health care. You were one of the leaders in the fight to withhold Medicaid from a half million people in this state, sentencing some 2,000 of them to death every year.

The ACA would have saved my son’s life because it forces insurance companies to not punish people who have pre-existing conditions.

My son had a birth defect. Like many young people, he decided to take a year off college when he was 19. Little did we know this common decision would be a fatal one for him. He was booted off my policy and then discovered he couldn’t buy insurance at any price because a birth defect is a pre-existing condition – as though he had decided as a zygote to have a birth defect.

This birth defect left him extremely vulnerable to an aggressive form of colon cancer, and he needed a colonoscopy every year. When he lived in New York, he had a doctor who would allow him to pay for his colonoscopies in monthly installments. By age 25, he had already had pre-cancerous polyps removed, so he had a near certainty of developing cancer if he couldn’t get his annual colonoscopies. But when he moved so he and his wife could go back to college, he discovered he could not get a colonoscopy unless he paid $2,300 in cash up front. No credit cards, no checks, no installments, nothing.

When he got sick he went to the ER three times and came away with three wrong diagnoses, three wrong medications and three large bills. You see – and I’m sure you know this – the emergency room only has to stabilize you; it does not have to look for the cause of your problem.

By the time anyone did anything, my son had stage 3 cancer. It was too late to save his life.
My son was a student, he worked 30 hours a week and he was a volunteer. He was an extraordinary young man.

But none of that mattered. He was sentenced to death – a slow and excruciating death – for having a birth defect. He had to leave his wife to get Medicaid and although he had applied for disability when he first became sick, his approval took 37 months and he was dead nine days before his first check arrived.
I tell you this story because, at the time he died, 45,000 Americans were dying every year from lack of access to health care, according to a study by Harvard Medical School that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The ACA has saved more than half of those lives. The uninsured rate in this country right now is at an historic low. The law is saving tens of thousands of lives every year, and to repeal it is tantamount to murder.

No, that statement is not overstating things. You are working on killing more than 25,000 innocent Americans every year. Those are human beings, Senator, and their lives matter a whole lot to me and to all the people who love them.

I have to face every damn day without my beloved son. I get up every morning longing to hear his voice again, devastated that I will never laugh at another one of his outrageous jokes or taste his cooking or have another late-night conversation about philosophy with him. I will never hear him tease me about being a Red Sox fan, or look for my chocolate stash only to discover he found it and left me just one little piece.

Perhaps it’s time to turn your back on your corporate overlords and become truly pro-life. Vote no on repealing the ACA. Vote to save the lives of the people who will die without insurance.

You have to know what you’re about to do is wrong.

If you go ahead with this, I hope and pray that you will burn in hell.

Leslie Boyd
Candler, NC

Where the GOP Base is

Okay, so Corey Stewart, a VA Republican Gubernatorial candidate trying to out-Trump Trump, did not quite win on Tuesday.  But he came damn close on his explicitly backward, nativist appeal.  From the Post:

Stewart, the Prince William County Board chairman, did dramatically better than polls had projected and underlined the depth of support for Trump in the GOP. He wouldn’t concede and said he wouldn’t help Gillespie in the fall, making Gillespie’s road more uncertain.

“We’ve been backing down too long,” Stewart told cheering supporters Tuesday night. “We’ve been backing down too long in defense of our culture, and our heritage and our country.” [emphasis mine]

By contrast, Stewart outperformed expectations by pursuing the same brash, aggressive style as Trump. He went out of his way to challenge “political correctness” by defending preservation of Confederate monuments.

Some Republicans said they opted for Stewart as a way to show their distaste for more traditional Virginia Republicans.

“Gillespie is part of the establishment, and we’re trying to get rid of it, like we’re trying to do with Trump,” said Joe Thornlow, 64, a retiree who lives in Gainesville in Prince William County.

Just so we’re clear, that means Southern, white culture and heritage.  A distinctive feature of which, of course, is white supremacy.

Jamelle Bouie weighs in here, too:

The candidate who nearly toppled Gillespie, in a near-upset that would have upended the gubernatorial race, is Corey Stewart, the Minnesota-born conservative whose slogan—“Take Back Virginia”—captured the core of his campaign. He was running as a voice for Trumpism, railing against “illegal immigration,” condemning “transgender bathrooms,” slamming Gillespie as a “cuckservative,” and centering his campaign on an aggressive defense of the state’s Confederate monuments and memorials. Holding rallies at sites like the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Stewart marched with neo-Confederates and leaned on Confederate iconography. He was running a campaign for an older, whiter Virginia, one that seeks to wrest the state away from its growing majority of immigrants, black Americans, and liberal college-educated whites. And he doesn’t intend to reconcile himself to Gillespie’s win. “This fight will continue, and I’ll continue to fight as long as you’ll fight with me,” said Stewartin the wake of his defeat. “There’s one word you’ll never hear from me, and that’s ‘unity.’ ” …

Factor in the larger political landscape—from the explicit embrace of white racial resentment to the rise of performative outrage (also known as trolling) as a mode of conservative politics—and Corey Stewart’s surprise showing is much easier to understand. A vessel for xenophobia, political extremism, and white reaction, Stewart sits at the intersection of trends in both the Virginia GOP and the country writ large. His near-win, capturing 42.5 percent of the primary vote to Gillespie’s 43.7 percent, shows the extent to which Trumpism still appeals to large parts of the Republican electorate, even when Donald Trump isn’t on the ballot.

And, deserving of it’s own post, but facing reality because I’m about to head to Charlotte to see Muse, this study of “The Five Types of Trump Voters and what they believe” is fascinating and the product of serious scholars.  The “American Preservationists” are not the plurality of Trump voters, but I think they are the most important:

American Preservationists have low levels of formal education and the lowest incomes of the Trump groups—and non-Trump voters as well. Despite being the most likely group to say that religion is “very important” to them, they are the least likely to attend church regularly. They are the most likely group to be on Medicaid, to report a permanent disability that prevents them from working, and to regularly smoke cigarettes. Despite watching the most TV, they are the least politically informed of the Trump groups.

American Preservationists appear more likely to desire being around people like themselves, who have similar backgrounds and cultural experiences. They are far more likely to have a strong sense of their own racial identity and to say their Christian  identity is very important to them. They take the most restrictionist approach to immigration— staunchly opposing not just illegal but legal immigration as well, and intensely supporting a temporary Muslim travel ban. They feel the greatest amount of angst over race relations: they believe that anti-white discrimination is as pervasive as other forms of discrimination, and they have cooler feelings (as measured on a feeling thermometer scale) toward minorities.(2) They agree in overwhelming numbers that real Americans need to have been born in America or have lived here most of their lives and be Christian.

And here’s some cool graphs putting their attitudes in context relative to other Trump supporters:

Lots of good stuff in the report.  You should at least check it out and scan the charts.

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