Shortsighted cruelty

Dear President Trump,

The issue that I’m feeling most strongly about today is the healthcare bill that would allow states to decide whether to require insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions at the same rates as other people. From a public health and economic standpoint this is the epitome of shortsightedness. Such a provision will almost certainly reignite the pre-ACA sky-high rates of personal bankruptcy claims. Also as more people are driven out of the market, fewer will seek care early on in a disease process. They’ll wait until it’s serious because they can’t afford the out-of-pocket expenses. Not only is it more expensive for the whole system (including the tax paying public) to treat more advanced, serious illness, but it also puts the public health at risk. If people wait to be seen for something that turns out to be TB or the avian flu, how many more people will they infect? Even on these large scales, your calculus is off. You may be able to save insurance companies money and satisfy a few hard line Republicans in Congress, but it can’t possibly really save the country money in the long run.

Then there’s the more individual level costs that such an out for insurance companies creates for real people, like me. I currently have employer-subsidized health insurance and I’m quite grateful. But if I were to lose my job there is no way I could get reasonably priced health insurance if your provision went through and Washington State adopted it. I have a congenital heart condition (aortal insufficiency, meaning my aorta is stretched and weak and could blow at any time). If I had to worry about whether I could afford the annual checks to see if my aorta has further distended or if I feel something strange in my chest and had to debate whether I could afford to get it checked out, it’s highly likely the stress would affect this condition and would certainly affect my quality of life. And what if I were to need surgery or it blew and I survived? I’m one of the fortunate ones. Millions of people are in dire circumstances with their health and healthcare and you all are throwing them under the bus.

I hope you will wake up and find the decency to back off this short-sighted, cruel plan. All people want is a reasonable measure of safety, happiness, health, and peace.

May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May your life unfold and intersect peacefully.

Tracy Simpson

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