I may be dead already.
And House Republicans may be the ones who killed me.
With the passage of a healthcare bill they, themselves, haven’t read – haven’t studied – haven’t thoughtfully considered in any way – it seems they’ve opened the door for insurance companies to deny people coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
I have one.
I’ve had two small heart attacks this year.
So I sit here stunned at the news on my computer feeling very much at a loss.
People have legitimate political differences, but this… it’s just beyond anything I’ve ever experienced personally.
There are people who count on me – my daughter, my wife, my students. I’m not so vain as to imagine that they can’t get along without me, but my loss will hurt them. I think at the very least they’ll miss me.
I’m 43-years-old. I’ve lived a good life. I just never expected to be abandoned in such a way by a society I’d always thought was more humane.
But if this legislation becomes the law of the land, what will I do?
I take six or seven pills a day to control my cholesterol, keep the stints in my heart clean, control my blood pressure, slow my heartbeat, etc. Without them, I almost certainly will have another heart attack. Yet I have no idea how I could possibly afford to take them without insurance.
And if I get sick, I won’t be able to work. I’ll bring in even less money. I won’t be able to help support my family. I’ll end up being a liability, a burden.
House Republicans have to know there are people out there like me. There have to be a lot of people in even worse shape than I am.
Are they really going to just let all of us die?
I had hoped to see my daughter grow up. She’s only 8-years-old, the most precious person in my life. No one is more full of energy, more vivacious and joyful. She loves to draw and write short stories. She pretends to be a teacher just like her father and gives her stuffed animals assignments.
I guess I’ll never get to see the person she becomes. I’ll never find out if she goes to college, if she finds love, if she has children of her own.
Can it really all come down to this?
My wife and I have been through a lot together. We met back in high school. Before I became a public school teacher, we worked together at various local newspapers. She supports me when I can’t go on. I hope I am able to give her back even a fraction of the strength she lends me.
Does this mean we’ll have to say goodbye, and so much sooner than I ever imagined?
My middle school students and I just finished reading “The Diary of Anne Frank.” When we closed the book, there were some tears shed. I passed around the tissues, and we discussed how we felt. Many of them expressed anger that some people could hold others’ lives so cheaply as the Nazis did Anne and her family. Are House Republicans guilty of a similar crime? They aren’t rounding anyone up to send to death camps, but they’re apparently content to let many of us just die.
The pundits tell me I have nothing to worry about. The bill won’t pass the Senate, they say. And even if it does, the President would be breaking every campaign promise he ever made, if he signs it.
So what else is new?
This is the world we live in now.
It’s not the country I was born into. It’s a cold place. A heartless reality.
Perhaps tomorrow I’ll gather the strength to resist, to call my Congressperson again, to protest, to organize.
But as for today…
I can’t even.
So I’ll head home, and give my family a big hug, spend whatever time I can with them.
Because if my life now depends on the compassion of Republican lawmakers, I may not have much of it left.