I have never been a particularly political person. I vote in presidential elections, but am oblivious to local and state office holders. I survived the Nixon years, the Clinton years, and the Bush years with little involvement. Even the impeachment processes for Nixon and Clinton got little attention from me. I was deeply enmeshed in advancing my spirituality and developing skills to help others. But now I’m truly upset—over health care. I’m shocked at the cruelty of Congress in gutting Medicaid (and other provisions in the Better Care Reconciliation Act also known as Trumpcare) in order to finance major tax cuts for the wealthy.
Medicaid is the health insurance for the 74 million Americans who are disabled or lower income and 40 percent of those are children. They are being thrown under the bus in order to provide a tax break to those who earn more than $200,000 a year, to pharmaceutical companies, and to insurance companies.
Often, what is happening in the government can seem far removed from our personal lives. But health care affects us all. We all know someone who will be negatively impacted. I have a student, Annette, whose husband had a stroke last year at 50, cannot move or speak, and needs 24/7 care. She has used up all her savings and is working two jobs in a desperate attempt to keep him cared for. With this new bill, he will be out on the street.
That’s why the Senate bill, when it was finally released from behind closed doors and brought into public view yesterday, is creating such furor. When your employer no longer needs to cover your health care, when you can’t cover the cost of your parent’s stay in a nursing home, when in-home care is out of the question, when your state says your pre-existing condition means you’ll have to pay much higher premiums for less coverage, when you are denied coverage for birth control or maternity care, when you can’t afford a doctor co-pay or the exorbitant price of the drug you need to stay alive, what will you do? What if you’re older? You’ll be charged five times higher rates than those who are young.
But in human rather than economic terms, what is wrong with the people who drafted this bill and those who support it? Why do they want to punish an infant for being born with a heart defect, or a child with asthma? Why punish an adult who gets MS or cancer or is disabled? And why hurt the many veterans who rely on Medicaid? [http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/338863-medicaid-is-a-lifeline-for-1-in-10-veterans-will-the-senate]
I, for one, would like to see Congress participating in the same health care choices as the rest of Americans, not the gilded version they are eligible to receive. [http://www.snopes.com/members-congress-health-care/] Maybe then they’d realize the human implications of government health care policy. And posssibly understand why most industrialized countries have universal health care coverage, while spending considerably less than the U.S. on health care.
There is a cancer that affects those who have drafted and promoted this bill—a cancer of greed, a cancer that stems from lack of compassion, a cancer that is eating away the moral fiber of our country. Why can’t health care reflect a consciousness of unity—in which we understand that we are all interconnected. What happens to the least of us, happens to us all.
As a spiritual teacher, your health is important to me: your physical health as well as your mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I see people suffering from fear now—fear and anxiety over what will happen when they or their loved ones need medical help and it isn’t affordable.
Can we focus on relieving suffering rather than on adding to the coffers of the already rich or exacting political revenge? Can we stop the onslaught of heart disease: the withering of closed hearts?
Call your congressional representatives and senators. Email them. Go to town meetings. Share your thoughts on social media. Let those who govern know what you think, and how this bill will affect you, your loved ones, your community. Don’t know who represents you? Go to https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials and find out. Be the change you want to see!