Why We Need The Affordable Care Act (ACA)
I posted this story about my father (seen below) on Twitter a little over a week ago.
It’s gone around quite a lot since then, and I’m happy it has. I don’t suspect the right cosystemyes have seen it, nor do I guess that if they did see it, they’d care, but the truth of the story remains the same: my father would be alive today if the ACA were in place then. And without the protections of the ACA that let me get healthcare for me and my family without the roadblock of pre-existing conditions, I could end up in my father’s shoes, too. I’m 40, now. Certainly not an old man, but not a young one. My father was only 63 when he passed. Last year I had pneumonia twice — and pneumonia is a killer. What if I were without health care? Would I have gone to the doc? Maybe. Maybe not as fast. Maybe I would’ve gone and had a stack of bills to pay for years to come, or maybe I would’ve waited too long and suffered more — or worse, got dead.
The ACA isn’t just about insurance. It’s a panoply of protections: line items that seem small on the surface but are huge to those that need them, provisions to protect women’s health, provisions to help us get free tests to prevent big diseases, coverage for autism therapy, calorie/nutrition information at restaurants. The ACA is designed to protect individuals, and not a system. It’s just the first volley, an imperfect one, but one that makes health insurance — and by proxy, health care — affordable and within reach for millions of Americans, including us poor sods in the creative class who really would rather not do without it. The ACA helps the middle-class, the lower-class, it helps women, it helps the disabled, and all of those will be disproportionately affected by its repeal.
Its repeal is very much about protecting a system over protecting the individual.
It’s about protecting profits.
It’s about protecting the upper class only.
That’s what you need to understand about all of this — it’s about money.
It’s about taking it from you and giving it to someone else. It’s about tax cuts for the rich, it’s about lobbyists, it’s about bolstering a system and removing the protections for the individual. It’s the same way that the venomous and vigorous defense of the gun industry isn’t about your rights, it’s about protecting profits. It’s about protecting a system of gains that exploits you and your fear. (And in all of this you will find perhaps no greater irony than the fact it is a Constitutional Right to protect your guns, but you have no such right to health care.) For the record, I’m not even against guns or gun ownership. I am decidedly pro. But don’t mistake the fight as one that cares about you. It’s one that cares about lining the pockets of people who assuredly are not you. And the same goes with the fight for health care. It cares nothing for you. It pretends to. The GOP talk a very good game when it comes to you, the middle-class. (Or, even better, you, the white male middle class.) But they don’t give a shit about you, either. They stoke racism and sexism and other-ism to make you fear phantom enemies. They say, “It’s THEM. It’s THOSE PEOPLE who are hurting you. They’re welfare-grabbers, they’re terrorists, they’re needy women, they’re the weak disabled, they’re sexual deviants who deserve what they get,” and they wave their hands and gesticulate and point, and you look in that direction. And while you do, mad as hell, they give you a little hip-check and slip a hand into your pocket — and then they steal your wallet. And what they don’t tell you, what they never ever want you to figure out, is that you’re just as marginal to them as those other groups. They pretend you have solidarity with them, oh, ho ho ho, we’re all white, we’re all just working class people, we all love America.
Then they rob you blind and blame it on someone else.
If they cared about you, they’d protect you.
And they don’t care.
They care about their money. They care about the richie-riches.
Not having the ACA shackles you to a job — and it makes keeping that job more important, so it’s harder to leave, which gives that employer more leverage over you. Which again, favors the employer. It doesn’t favor you, the worker. It helps your boss, and your boss’ boss, and it helps the investors. Once again: it helps the wealthy. It helps ensure that the creative class can’t survive either, because we’re out here on the margins, on the frontier of wild space. It means we need jobs to survive, too. It means we suffer under an ecosystem that exploits us, rather than one that is meant to help us. We outnumber them by a massive, unconquerable margin, and yet we are conquered. Because we buy the lie. We take the story sold to us that we too can be rich someday, that the wealthy got there because of hard work, that they will extend their hand to us and help us up — despite the reality, the constantly proven reality, that they will slap your hand away from the golden ladder the moment you dare to fucking reach for it, you prole, you peon, you paltry serf. And we nod and we smile and we continue to vote to make them richer and us poorer, we vote to give them the best health care and to kiss our own health goodbye. We vote for ignorance over awareness, for a single path that someone else designed for us, for limitation over freedom. We always vote for them instead of us.
But the ACA is about us. Planned Parenthood is, too.
The ACA and PP is about giving us access to not just affordable health care, but knowledge about our own health. Without it, we’re gonna break. People are going to be hurt. The marginalized will suffer first, but the middle-class will suffer next — the working class is long in the tooth with horror stories of when family members fall ill. Just like the story of my father, a man who would still be around if he had access to health care when he got cancer.
Help keep the ACA. It isn’t perfect, but as I say below, just because your car needs new belts isn’t a reason to drive it off a fucking bridge. Call your representatives (need a script?). Go to a rally. Coverage matters. They don’t have a replacement. They’ve tried 60 times to repeal the ACA and over the course of several years they have continued to come up dry with any, any kind of replacement. They’re pushing us all out of a plane and promising to figure out how to build a parachute as we plummet. (And the truth is, they’re really only concerned for the golden parachutes they give themselves and CEOs.)
Don’t help them.
Help us. All of us. You, me, your neighbor.
We need the ACA. Demand they fix it, not destroy it.
Demand they help us, not destroy us.
And gods help us, in 2018: vote.
* * *