Republican health care bill will hurt Auburn | GUEST OP

  • Friday, June 23, 2017 2:25pm
  • Opinion

Fourteen million. That’s how many of us will lose Medicaid if Republican leaders in the House and Senate push through health care repeal. I’m enrolled in Apple Health, Washington’s Medicaid program, and my health depends on our electeds in D.C. doing everything they can to stop health care repeal.

I’m looking at you, Rep. Dave Reichert. Voting no isn’t enough. I need you to tell your colleagues that the lives of their constituents are worth more than party politics.

There are many people like me, watching closely and feeling vulnerable. We won’t forget or forgive if we’re betrayed by the people elected to protect us.

My health care journey began when I lost my job after working for 33 years as an executive chef. I was 62 and without a steady paycheck. That was scary enough. Then I started getting short of breath from simple tasks, and one of my legs began to swell. I went from the GP to a cardiologist to the ER.

It turned out I had deep vein thrombosis – blood clots in my legs. The diagnosis saved my life. But it meant I had to take an injection that costs $1,100 a week, and I wound up with $6,000 in medical bills.

At the time, I thought I had insurance through COBRA, which cost $650 a month. I had enrolled after a complicated process but missed a payment by a few days, and the insurance company dropped me. When I found out, they wouldn’t reinstate me. I wasn’t profitable for them.

I’d never been uninsured before and had no idea what to do. Then I found out I might be eligible for Apple Health. I submitted my application one day and was enrolled the next.

Now I’m worried my health care will be taken away just as quickly. The repeal passed by the House ends funding for the Medicaid expansion that makes Apple Health available to me. It also sets per-person caps on Medicaid instead of paying for health care according to need.

That means rationed health care for the more than 70 million people, with 14 million of us pushed off Medicaid entirely, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The Senate Republicans also plan on ending Medicaid expansion and capping care – the only difference is how quickly they’ll cut.

It’s infuriating to think my life could be traded away so politicians can give a giant tax cut to corporations and billionaires.

Everything’s at stake for me. Without medication, pieces of the blood clots that form in my veins break off. They can travel to my lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism – which could be fatal.

With Apple Health, I’ve been regaining my health, volunteer at my church preparing free community meals, and hope to be able to get back to work. But I know how quickly luck can turn. I went from feeling pretty good to being in the ER the next week. That can happen to anyone, and we shouldn’t have to worry about Medicaid being there for us.

In May, Rep. Reichert felt enough pressure to reject health care repeal – after he’d voted to move it out of committee. But that’s not the final word. If the Senate jams its version through, repeal will be back on the House floor again.

I’m going to watch my congressman every step of the way. In May, he made us wait for his no vote until the last minute. He should stand up right now and reject cutting and capping Medicaid.

George Poston is a member of Washington Community Action Network, a statewide organization with 44,000 members fighting for racial, social, economic and gender justice. Poston lives in Auburn.

More in Opinion

Sen. Mona Das. COURESY PHOTO
After a senator’s claim is debunked, a call for an apology

The GOP wants a Democratic senator held to account for accusations which an investigation found to be false

Mitsubishi launching into regional jet space

Traditionally, media coverage of the Paris Air Show focuses on the battle… Continue reading

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease this Grandparents Day

Pacific Medical Centers doctor shares top signs of the disease, as well as tips to maintain cognitive health

Gov. Jay Inslee. REPORTER FILE PHOTO
Inslee passes up a chance to confront corporate ‘blackmail’

Governor skipped a meeting about tax breaks, he said, Boeing squeezed out of the state.

Parents and adult fans: biggest challenge facing high school sports today

By Karissa Niehoff and Mick Hoffman, for the Reporter Inappropriate adult behavior… Continue reading

Libraries are welcoming spaces for everyone

King County Library System is committed to inclusion – the idea that… Continue reading

It is time to talk about our national debt

Our nation is on an unsustainable borrowing trajectory and it could get… Continue reading

Tribes outraged by EPA move to roll back improved water quality standards

Treaty Indian tribes in Western Washington are outraged that the Environmental Protection… Continue reading

Publisher’s decision to limit e-book access is bad news for library patrons

A recent decision by a book publisher to limit public libraries’ access… Continue reading

State’s new voting system passes key test

Whew. Tuesday’s primary marked the electoral debut of VoteWa, and the sparkling… Continue reading

Careful not to follow Sweden’s haste | Brunell

Sweden and Washington state are very similar. Both have strong “green” movements… Continue reading

Got your grill on? Hot Coals – great for Burgers, bad for garbage

Summer has finally arrived in Auburn. The sun is shining, gardens are… Continue reading