At the moment, I’m luckier than most people expressing their thoughts on this topic.
I’m not currently taking any medication (with the exception of the occasional Aleeve for menstrual cramps). Though my quality of life would probably improve if I were to try anti-anxiety medication and found one that worked for me, I will be capable of continuing function without taking medication if my health stays as it is. I wear glasses, but my prescription thus far has only changed a few times since I started wearing them six years ago (and when it has changed, my family has historically been able to pay for the visits and the new lenses without glasses). I’m not presently receiving any sort of mental health treatment. I don’t have any serious physical health complications now.
Hi, I’m Paula, and #IAmAPreexisitingCondition who doesn’t see doctors much.
But observe my choice of words above. “At the moment”. “Currently”. “Historically”. “Now”. “Presently”. “IF my health stays as it is”.
And that’s a big if.
IF whatever is causing my menstrual cramps to sometimes be so severe that I shake and vomit and am incapable of extended sitting or standing doesn’t progress into anything worse.
IF my anxiety doesn’t progress to the point where I am unable to drive or do my job or interact with other people altogether.
IF the suicidal ideation that I often struggle with doesn’t lead to an actual suicide attempt.
IF my eyes don’t develop problems other than the slight astigmatism they currently have.
IF my family doesn’t suffer a major financial hardship.
IF the Autistic Burnout that I seem to be falling into doesn’t give way to complete Autistic Collapse and my functional abilities and overall health tank completely.
IF I don’t develop the cancer or the fibromyalgia or heart disease that runs in my family.
But even IF my health remains stable or, God allowing, even improves, even IF I never have to take prescription medication or have serious changes to my eyewear or require another surgery (oh, yeah, I did have an osteochondroma [bone spur] removed from my right arm when I was 14. I forget about that sometimes. Huh, and I also had TWO benign atypical moles removed when I was 19) and become the pinnacle of mental and physical health, that my family DOES require medication and treatments and doctors’ appointments, that I have friends that require the same, that there are people in my community and on my planet that rely on healthcare to stay alive and/or as close to “well” as modern medicine currently allows, makes me very interested in what happens to access to healthcare and, by extension, health insurance.
Which is a topic that I’ll admit that I don’t know terribly much about.
I do know that “Obamacare” (or the Affordable Care Act) is by no means free from its flaws. Some saw their premiums go way up after it was implemented. That people were fined for not having health insurance doesn’t sit well in a nation supposedly founded on personal freedoms.
Obamacare isn’t a perfect policy, and, as such, it has room to change.
I know that these programs cause the federal government a lot of money.
I know that the Trump Administration is planning on budget cuts and the implementation of the recently-House-passed American Health Care Act, or “Trumpcare”..
I know that the Autistic Self Advocacy Network has been protesting these cuts tirelessly and is calling on advocates to do the same.
I know that the Autistic Self Advocacy Network is far from alone in this.
I know there are other nations with universal healthcare and, thus, healthcare at lower costs to individuals.
But there’s a lot that I don’t know.
I don’t know how the balance between preserving our budget and providing for those in need should be metered out.
While I like the concept of universal healthcare, of everyone having access to the services they need to stay alive and healthy, I don’t know how this would be practically implemented in the United States.
I don’t know how much of what is planned under the AHCA will actually come to pass in the Senate and beyond or what that will look like when it does (though the conjectures. are. quite. numerous. and generally not very favorable for the current iteriation of the act).
But I know this: lives and well-beings are at stake.
And I know that no one deserves to die of something that we as a society have the means to prevent.
I can’t tell you yet what, exactly, needs to be done, but I can assure you that something does.
My end plea to you, dear reader, is this: do your research, have an opinion, and make that opinion known.
Maybe it’ll take some time. Maybe you, like me, will come away from reading many articles and hashtag threads and Facebook conversations and still not be 100% certain.
And that’s okay.
Tread cautiouslessly, tread slowly, tread with an open mind to all sides of the conversation. But dare to tread. Don’t let apathy take over.
Tread like your life depends on it.
Because one day, it very well might.