Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Doorways and Lifelines

My son is 18 now, and he deserves
affordable healthcare.
Why the Cassidy-Graham Healthcare Bill Must Not Become Law

Today, I am thinking about two-faced Janus, the Roman god of doorways. Today, my son crosses a threshold from childhood to adulthood. Last night, he went to bed a minor; when he woke up this morning, he was an adult.

He seems ready enough. I’m not sure I am.

Today, on my son’s 18th birthday, I woke up to the news that Republican senators are once again attacking healthcare protections that have provided an additional 20 million Americans with insurance, ended discrimination against those with preexisting conditions, and required that all health insurance plans cover essential health benefits. 

One of those essential health benefits is mental healthcare. The proposed Cassidy-Graham bill, a Republican end-run around true bipartisan healthcare reform, would destroy parity and end coverage for essential health benefits. For my state, Idaho, which failed to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the proposal could devastate healthcare services for our neediest citizens.

The proposed bill would directly harm my son.

My now 18-year-old son has bipolar disorder, a chronic health condition that can adversely impact his quality of life. He manages his bipolar disorder well with medication, therapy, and support groups. But all of this comes at a cost. 
Republicans are standing at the
threshold. I'll be happy to
show them the door if they
take my son's healthcare away.

Before the Affordable Care Act, I was unable to afford a policy that covered my son’s mental health. I personally know several families who have gone bankrupt trying to pay for mental healthcare for their children

This is not the world our children deserve. Mental illness is not a choice or a character flaw, any more than physical illness is. Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has become a passionate advocate for affordable healthcare because of his infant son’s preexisting heart condition.   

I feel the same way about my now adult child’s bipolar disorder.

Is the Affordable Care Act perfect? No. Is it a lifeline for many millions of Americans who now have healthcare coverage? Undoubtedly.

Our country’s elected Republican leaders are standing at a moral threshold. If they don’t choose the right direction for healthcare, I will do everything I personally can in coming elections to show those heartless jerks the door.


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