On the GOP’s New “Healthcare” Plan

Of my various pre-existing conditions, type-1 diabetes is the most cost-intensive. In the GOP’s new plan, my state can either continue the Obama-era protections for pre-existing conditions or place me (and others like me) into a “high-risk pool,” as a way to separate me from healthy people, who can then enjoy lower premiums.

Here’s what Andrew Gurman, the president of the American Medical Association, has to say about high-risk pools:

“Prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, 35 states operated high-risk pools, and they were not a panacea for Americans with pre-existing medical conditions. The history of high-risk pools demonstrates that Americans with pre-existing conditions will be stuck in second-class health care coverage — if they are able to obtain coverage at all.”

Without coverage, I will pay out-of-pocket at least $500 per month in insulin and testing supplies alone. With insurance, under the new plan, my costs may be–what?

Trump said on Monday: “It will be every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.”

Yet nearly every publication I have read, with the exception of The Wall Street Journal, disputes this fact. The Journal’s opinion, contrary to the president of the American Medical Association, is that “high-risk pools are a fairer and more equitable solution.”

Yet The Journal’s editorial misstates the amount of money available to states for these pools as a “$100 billion.” The real number is $8 billion, which is woefully inadequate according to nearly every healthcare expert. (Please correct me if I’m misreading this).

Implicit (to me) in so much of the debate about healthcare is that there must be “winners and losers,” as if the health of other human beings is a game.

Also implicit is the notion that sick people do not “deserve” to pay the same premiums as healthy people–after all, why are we sick? I’ve actually seen this argument made against people with diabetes. What can I say? If you know me, you know I fight every single day to be healthy. And yet, I have several chronic illnesses–so, inevitably, on any given day, I lose my fight. That is the nature of chronic illness.

So what do I deserve as human being who requires care? Do I deserve the label (and attendant costs) of “high risk”? Or do I deserve to pay the same premium as my “healthy” friends?

Health care is not political. We all deserve health care. When we create distinctions between the sick and the healthy, we fail to recognize each other’s humanity.

And just to say: I am not posting this picture of my infant son and me to be gratuitous or attract undue attention to my post. The point of the picture, to me, is simple: Healthcare is about caring for those who need it. And some require more care than others.

Originally posted on Facebook.