Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mr. Rubio, please do not kill my kids....

Dear Mr. Rubio, et al:

Please do not kill my kids.

Last weekend, Nick, our 24yo son, experienced what he describes as “the worst asthma attack of my life”. It came on suddenly. For the first time in his life, his inhaler did not work. A co-worker took him to a local ER.

​​There, he was given two breathing treatments, oxygen, and six steroid pills, before his breathing was once again at a healthy level. The next day, he was still having trouble breathing. He was able to get an appointment with his GP, who gave him additional medication, allayed his fears that his childhood asthma would once again become a chronic problem (unlikely), and scheduled a follow-up appointment. Four days later, he is improving, and hopeful.

​​Here’s the thing, were it not for the Affordable Care Act, Nick would not have health insurance, despite working a full-time, food services job, while saving to finish college. He might not have gotten the same level of care at the ER (if he went at all). He would not have been able to see his GP the next day (necessitating another ER visit?). He would not have been able to afford the necessary medications. His choices would have been incurring unmanagable debt, or risking death. Make no mistake, asthma properly managed is a bother. Unmanaged? It is deadly.

​​Our younger son (also a college student), has severe asthma, and will require (unrelated) drastic spinal surgery. In addition, as a child, he struggled with a pediatric seizure disorder. He has survived 21 years only due to quality health care. Cut him off, and we could very well lose him.

​​Today, the Senate votes on the Affordable Health Care Act. Our son’s lives (along with 24 million others) depend on affordable, accessible, quality, health care. I, and millions of others, have called, emailed, snail-mailed, Tweeted, Facebooked, marched, waved signs, spoken out, on this issue. We have pleaded with our government not to abandon the sick and frail among us.

​​We are not Democrats. We are not Republicans. We are aging, middle-class parents of two responsible young men. This is not (nor should it be) a partisan issue. The right and means to care for ourselves and others is (or at least should be) a basic human right. We are blessed to live in a country that offers some of the best health care in the world. How sad would it be if only the weathly could afford it?

​​I can say, and mean, that I will never vote for anyone who votes to take away life-saving medical care from mine and others. I can say, and mean, that I will actively work against anyone who supported the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. In the end, though, nothing would make up for the suffering and possible death of my children.

​​So once again, in this very public forum, I beg the US congress not to risk my children’s lives in the name of scoring a political victory.