While the healthcare debate may seem to be about something that affects just over 10% of the population, the reality is different. The problem is that by the time one realizes that fact; it may be too late.
Most Americans get their health insurance through their employer, Medicare, or traditional Medicaid. There is a large percentage of Americans who are forced to purchase insurance on the individual health insurance market. The Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare exchanges made these insurance policies worth the paper they were written on and to many, an affordable alternative when coupled with the Medicaid Expansion states who cared about their citizens accepted.
Since coming into office, Donald Trump and his administration have been sabotaging the Affordable Care Act. They’ve cut advertising and outreach aimed at encouraging people to sign up for Obamacare. Trump continues to threaten cost sharing payments to insurance companies which will increase premiums by over 20%. The Medicaid cuts most in the Republican Party are pushing will kill many, most in red states.
There are several reasons the health care debate remains unresolved in America. The first is the sea of corporately driven misinformation designed to mislead Americans into supporting a system that further puts them in debt and transfers their disposable income to insurance companies, drug companies, and other stakeholders in the healthcare industry.
The second reason is our inability to get personalized stories enough exposure. One of the problems with health care is that most of the times in one’s life, it isn’t something used or being thought of often. But no one knows when they will get a chronic disease or will get into an accident. When one is forced to view their vulnerability or even their mortality through someone that they can identify with, it becomes more real.
I met Eleanor Goldfield a few years ago at a Move to Amend (MTA) conference in Washington DC. We were in the same empty conference room. She is a well-known activist in Progressive circles. Goldfield was setting up to interview a few members of the organization for Free Speech TV. She got my attention when I overheard her conversation discussing white privilege with another white person. It was like she was echoing an interesting article I had read at the Huffington Post many years past. I knew then she was more than your weekend activist shouting out politically correct slogans. I interviewed her that night.
What I did not know then was that Eleanor, a young millennial, was going through a health ordeal. She was amiable and at the same time hard hitting about our political system, income and wealth inequality, racial, social and criminal justice, and the environment. Eleanor had recently been diagnosed with cancer. No one had a clue.
As I was reading my Facebook thread, just last week, while at the Airport in Washington DC, I saw the following post from Eleanor.
I always wanted long hair – still do.
But when cancer says f$ck your long hair, I say #f$ckcancer and also – I’ll take a badass jagged new do from @codyferro
**Note: I’m in remission so no need to panic. You’ll all be stuck with me for quite a long while yet 🙂
A few days later I sent her a message in an attempt to find out what was going on. I told her that I thought many would benefit from telling the story about her experience. After all, as a member of the invincible generation, her story would help in many ways. It would cauterize in the psyche of many, especially millennials, that they are not immune to illness in their young years. It would make it urgent the participation of many on the sidelines into the health care debate. It would change the myth of who benefits from Medicaid.
Goldfield agreed to a Skype interview and appeared on my radio show Politics Done Right on Thursday.
Interview with Eleanor Goldfield about ACA, Cancer, & more
Eleanor pointed out many of the flaws in our health care system. She is on Medicaid; saying in her parlance, “There is not a lot of money in trying to save the world.” She did not do well with chemo therapy. It made her feel that instead of killing her cancer it was killing her. Worse, it was not working. She chose an alternative treatment. Even though that treatment put her in remission she has to pay for it out of pocket because it was not a drug company sanctioned treatment.
Goldfield said that the current health care debate and the possibility of losing Medicaid are stressful. She would not be able to cover her monthly and sometimes weekly visits to her doctor. She said her oncologist made her fill out a stress diary given that stress can increase the growth of cancer cells.
Eleanor is not letting her ordeal deter her from her activism. After all, in the times of Trump one cannot rest on one’s laurels. She has written the new book titled, Paradigm Lost. She describes it as follows.
Political poetry intertwined with powerful activist art.
We have adapted to greed, consumerism, hate, injustice, war, destruction and sociopathy. Adaptation has kept us alive for millennia – and now it is killing us. We need a shift, a 99% lift – we need to lose the view that things are inherently awful and we can’t do anything about it.
We need to stop manufacturing consent and start manufacturing dissent – by the boat load, ship it out like Amazon knick knacks – from sea to shining sea and back again. We need hope – without optimism. We need to feel inspired. Art can, poetry can. Through our emotions, building the notions that we can – can Do Something
Eleanor blogs at ArtKillingApathy.com.
When Americans, young, old, and from every socioeconomic background, realize that they could find themselves at the suckers end of our health care system, they will supersede the will of the medical industrial complex, another wealth thieving arm of the plutocracy, and force the only practical solution to our health care problem, single-payer Medicare for all.