Something ironic happened to me this weekend. While blogging during the Rachel Maddow show, I saw the breaking news. A Texas judge ruled the entire Obamacare healthcare bill unconstitutional. As I changed mywindow to check the story online, I saw a Facebook message on the top of my newsfeed from a friend. The judge will make his act of kindness moot if his ruling stands.
My friend Al Ponton posted the following Facebook message.
I had a wonderful experience yesterday. I helped a lady who I barely know to get health insurance. This lady “busses” tables at a restaurant we frequent. Patricia learned somehow that a new owner purchased the restaurant at the first of the year and stopped providing health insurance for his employees. Patricia summoned me to help this lady, but her window to join Obamacare had already expired.
It was around mid year 2018. Here in Texas, the open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ends on 12/15. A few days ago I remembered this lady’s situation and was able to find her. She knew nothing about the enrollment period. She is a naturalized citizen, speaks Portuguese but struggles with English. She lives alone, works two jobs, 6:30 am to 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm five days a week. It’s easy to understand how she can miss things like the open enrollment dates.
She had several medical issues during the year, the most serious was chest pains that led to a night’s stay in the hospital and a $5,000 bill. She was instructed to see a specialist but didn’t go because she couldn’t afford it
Yesterday was her day off work and we spent hours at Starbucks going through the process of finding doctors who are taking new patients, plans they accept, and then going thru the enrollment process. When we finally got the “YOU ARE ENROLLED” confirmation she went off like a little child getting their dream-toy.
I can’t recall seeing an adult being so joyful. Other people in Starbucks probably thought she had won the lottery. Now that she has insurance she’ll quit her second job. She said the long hours are breaking down her body. She was tearful and kept saying, “I’m so happy, I’m so happy”. I am happy too. I hope the people who made the Affordable Care Act a reality know what a great thing they did for many people who work so hard for so little.Facebook Message
Al's deed was magnanimous. The question one should ask is why did he have to invest the time that a vast number of Americans do not have solely to sign up for healthcare. It is unconscionable that we use ignorance of the system as one of the methods to ration and exclude millions of Americans from healthcare.
As the woman Al help was rejoicing over her ability to get healthcare, a judge showed in no uncertain terms how tenuous our situation. As I pointed out in a recent post, most experts believe the judge's ruling is in error. If ultimately the Supreme Court upholds it, one should understand what it means. A Republican Congress modified Obamacare. S
The judge's ruling could be a blessing in disguise if Democrats and Progressives are serious about ensuring all Americans have access to healthcare. Their narrative must be one that points out that our current healthcare system will remain in perpetual flux which is stressful to most and all around immoral. Single-Payer Medicare for All is simple and has support from the majority of Americans.
It is a societal failure that even as the majority of Americans now want real healthcare, that neither party is mobilizing to demolish the fraud that is the current healthcare industrial complex. It will take proactive and punitive activism going forward. We must frame Single-payer Medicare for All truthfully as the only mathematically sound solution. We must tag any politician and organization not supporting it as inhumane given the consequences Americans suffer because of its outcomes or lack thereof. We must be both intentional and relentless. Fact-based truthful repetition with hundreds of thousands of personalizations, stories similar to the one articulated by my friend above, will yield results. Act now.