The War Against The Sick And The Poor Is The Biggest Threat To The US

You couldn’t miss the barrage of threats President Trump hurled during his United Nations speech. They were directed at North Korea, Iran, Syria and other countries he says oppress their citizens and strips them of their lives and liberties. He said these countries and their ways of life are the biggest threat to the US but I disagree.

I insist that it is the war being waged on the poorest and sickest Americans who are covered by Medicaid, get Planned Parenthood Services or who are insured only because the Affordable Health Care Act prevents the exclusion of people with preexisting conditions from coverage that threatens this country’s stability. It is dividing the nation between the have and the have nots.

If passed, it will make more Americans disgruntled with government, claim more lives than recent wars and show the world how little regard the US has for the welfare of its own citizens. It is the repeal of the ACA that, “threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of life” more immediately than North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

The President did not bring up the quiet push of his party, the Republican Party, to go after the most vulnerable Americans with the latest healthcare repeal bill. It will leave millions without coverage, raise premiums for millions of others, increase out of pocket costs, strip away subsidies for the poor, and remove preexisting protections for the chronically ill. If approved, this will make The President and Republicans responsible for killing millions of their own citizens just like the leaders President Trump says must be stopped.

The President also touted America’s contribution to healthcare saying the US has “invested in better health and opportunity all over the world.” But, he neglected to discuss his and Senator Lindsey Graham‘s decision to end this country’s investment in healthcare for all. Certainly there is a need for it here.

Hopefully, Republicans will heeds the President’s words at the UN and realize, “It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair. We have it in our power, should we so choose, to lift millions from poverty, to help our citizens realize their dreams.”

Will Relying On Faith Be The Only Way The Sick Survive Under the AHCA?



I bowed my head and prayed yesterday as I watched the votes roll in for the American Health Care Act. I wondered, how can elected leaders vote on a plan without knowing its impact, it’s total cost, or its benefits? How could they, in good conscience, believe that agreeing to something blindly is the right way to protect any American?

By the time my prayer was over, the tally was in and the measure passed in the House. I watched as President Trump heralded Republicans for a bill that will allow states to get a waiver to let insurers  off the hook for covering people with pre-existing conditions.  I wondered, how the same man who denounced discrimination just hours before could applaud a bill that is biased towards the chronically ill?

Before the vote, President Trump signed the Religious Freedom Bill. He said his administration wouldn’t allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied, silenced or discriminated against again. Was his outrage over oppression genuine? Or, is it reserved for people who shared the same income, values or political views?

Of course, the executive order the President signed relaxes the tax rules for religious organizations and the rules regarding punishing them for participating in political campaigns. Conservatives hope this will mean more money in their pockets and speaking opportunities. Meantime, the AHCA  they support will take more money from the working poor, elderly and chronically ill Americans. Aren’t the people affected by the ACHA the same ones religious leaders should be striving to protect and help?

The ACHA will also defund Planned Parenthood, removing medical care options. Conservatives see this as a victory for family values and the right to life movement. But, who will care for sick children born to parents without healthcare? What kind of quality of life will they have without proper medical attention?

I can only assume the President has decided the sick will survive on faith if the AHCA passes in the Senate. Or, perhaps his administration is sending message that discrimination against the sick is okay if it’s good for his political clout.

#ACA #obamcare #healthcare #ACHA #trump #PresidentTrump #sick #discrimination #ChronicIllness #Autoimmunedisease #PlannedParenthood #ReligiousFreedom #ChronicPain #igg4

Why is Discrimination Against the Sick Allowed in the US?


Why is my life not worth more than a vote to this administration? That’s the question I asked myself when I woke up to the news that an amendment has been added to the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The change doesn’t ensure people, like me, with pre-existing conditions will be able to keep or get health coverage.

The Amendment crafted by a Republican Congressman from my home state of New Jersey allows states to seek individual waivers. One could end continuous coverage and give insurance companies a year to write policies that consider a person’s medical status. Does anyone really think this won’t raise the cost of plans?

The amendment also doesn’t address what sick people are supposed to do while they wait for coverage. What happens to their bodies during that time?

American medical experts says sick people will get second class care if any at all. Why is it acceptable for chronically ill people to be forced to become second class citizens in their own country?

Earlier this week, more than 200 members of congress came together to reintroduce the Equality Act. It’s designed to protect LGBTQ rights; to stop discrimination against members of that community.  Where’s the bill for the chronically ill?

When the Equality Act was proposed again, I heard passionate speeches about attacks by the Trump administration on the rights and values of Americans. Congressional leaders said action had to be taken to protect vulnerable citizens. Aren’t the sick, the weak and people suffering from mental or physical ailments in need of the most assistance and protection in this society?

Republicans are thrilled the new healthcare bill may pass in the house today. But I wonder, will their glee over a political victory be consolation to my parents and the loved ones of other sick people as they waste away from illnesses they can no longer get treated?



#paulryan #obamacare #Kimmel #Trump #PresidentTrump #Congress #ACA #ChronicIllness #AutoImmuneDisease #Igg4 #ChronicPain  #RightToLife #Healthcare #healthcare reform

Why Does Congress Think It’s Okay That I Die?


I may only have two days left before I am handed a death sentence. House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Trump are pushing a new healthcare bill that would lead to my death or bankruptcy. You see, I have a pre-existing condition. Without the protections from the Affordable Care Act, buying, obtaining or keeping health insurance will, once again, be nearly impossible for me. Why don’t I deserve the opportunity to fight for my life?

I’m not, nor have I ever, looked for others to pay my medical bills. In fact, in the last 14 years I’ve paid $168,000 out of pocket for my care; not to mention the lost wages from my job. Yet, I’ve held down a full-time job, paid my taxes and voted in elections. I’ve been a good American. Why should I, as a taxpayer, have to fight for medical coverage when it is given to the people who represent us in Congress?

I am being asked to choose between keeping myself alive or losing everything I’ve worked hard to maintain because I was born with a condition that has no cure. Why is my life so disposable? How can confessional leaders vote in favor of a plan that endangers their most vulnerable constituents?

I’m not sure whether those who are determined to repeal and replaced so-called Obamcare believe this is the right thing to do for all Americans. I think they’re using this measure to settle a political score. Should human life  be treated like a political pawn or the previous gift that it is? Why Is no one considering my right to life?

I certain don’t believe those who penned the constitution, which guarantees the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, believed these rights were solely dependent on wealth. Clearly, our confessional leaders do. Without guarantees for pre-existing conditions will only the wealthy will survive medical trials? Is that the America they really want?

#paulryan #obamacare #Kimmel #Trump #PresidentTrump #Congress #ACA #ChronicIllness #AutoImmuneDisease #Igg4 #ChronicPain  #RightToLife #Healthcare


Actions Speak Louder Than Words


Machiavelli said “whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times” and that’s exactly what the President-Elect appears to be demonstrating through his reconsideration of certain terms of so-called Obamacare. In the world of politics, Donald Trump’s willingness to consider keeping at least two key aspects of President Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act may seem like an epic flip flop. It is not. It is a small sign that the inflexible personality he demonstrated while campaigning may not be all there is to him; that perhaps his interest in making America great is genuine and not bound by party interests.

Having said that, consideration of the ban on insurers denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and the provision allowing children to stay on their parent’s plan until 26 are only two of the four requirements that should be maintained.  President-Elect Trump should also consider retaining the provision that makes dollar limits illegal on essential health benefits and the mandate preventing yearly out-of-pocket maximum expenses of more than $7,150 for an individual and $14,300 for a family. Certainly, I believe that more money in the pocket of taxpaying Americans, who would otherwise shell it out for medical care, would stimulate the economy. Saving these two measures also help to accomplish that by lessening the financial burdens on citizens. 

Surely if President-Elect Trump can understand the need to cut taxes for businesses to spark hiring, to give small businesses a break by not requiring them to provide Obamacare to help them succeed, and the need for tax cuts for the wealthy and everyone else to stimulate the economy, he can see why leaving more money in the pockets of average American is an equally a brilliant idea. After all, citizens will still have to pay for whatever healthcare plan he develops. Where will that money come from without the yearly cap? And, what options will consumers have once they fall ill without the no limit lifetime guarantee? 

Over the last few days I’ve looked at the photo of the grippy socks, gowns, and x-Ray shorts I’ve been given at hospital and doctor’s office visits the last few years. The mound reminds me how much money I’ve spent to save my life. And, it also motivates me not to easily give up the fight to keep the medical provisions I need to survive.  

Now I don’t know whether, at the end of his contemplation, President-Elect Trump will break from his party and ultimately leave key parts of so-called Obamacare alone. I hope so. I also pray he will reconsider other campaign promises; that he will re-examine the logistics and costs of them to Americans. If he does that may make him less popular with his base but it will show that he is a leader who relies on his judgment and not politics to determine the best path forward for all.

I honestly can’t say I know what’s in Donald J. Trump’s heart and mind but I know that like Mark Twain said, “Action speaks louder than words.” I am anxiously waiting to see what action our new President will take. 

#DonaldTrump #Obamacare #Republican #Obama #AutoimmuneDisease #ChronicIllness #ActionsSpeakLouderThanWords 

Open Letter to the President-Elect: My Life Is Worth More than Politics


9:45 am, I limped over to my desk and began working on coverage of President-Elect Trump for the second day in a row. By 12:30, I had turned two reporter packages and written and edited nearly a half dozen anchor voiceovers. Then, it was time to hop into a cab for one of my nearly weekly doctors’ appointment. This time, the specialist was at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Years of chronic inflammation caused by the autoimmune disease igg4 related systemic disease had taken their toll on my knees, spine and hip, as well as several organs that have either been repaired, required biopsies or rely on some medication to deal with the damage. And, walking had become nearly impossible at one time but innovative treatments like burning the nerves, steroid injections, and knee injections, along with physical therapy and pain meds had just about restored me to my previous form with a cane.

After an hour at the doctor’s office, I was done and it was time to return to work to write about presidential politics and the rest of the news of the day. Chaos kept me from thinking about the policy change the President-Elect vows to make to so-called Obamacare kept me up on Tuesday night. For hours something my grandma Nettie used to say played in my head, “those who do not listen shall feel;” meaning people who don’t pay attention to what’s going on around them will suffer the consequences.

Had I or any other chronically ill person done enough to voice our outrage over plan to scrap so-called Obamacare? I hadn’t. The thought that I’d done nothing to make sure that a plan that preserves my independence is retained haunted me. So, as soon as I completed my last story I hit the keyboard again to draft a letter to my senators Booker and Menendez and Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. to see what can be done to preserve the portions of the Healthcare Act that have made it possible for me to live, work and thrive despite a sometimes debilitating autoimmune disease.

These thoughts played repeatedly in my head: I cannot go back to paying taxes in a society where, because of the ailment God gave me, I cannot buy health insurance. I cannot worry about getting cut off insurance if the treatment I need cost over a million dollars. Nor, can I go back to paying nearly every cent I earn on health care because there’s no cap on out-of-pocket expenses. I refused to be forced onto disability or into subpar health facilities because that’s the only way I’ll be able to survive without some of the terms of so-called Obamacare. And, the truth is that’s no life at all and not a life I want to live.

A flood of questions ran through my mind too like: If more competition, lower premiums and greater coverage is the aim of repealing the law that’s fine but does throwing out what does work make sense? Why not scrap this so-called Obamacare before another is ready to go? Does it make sense to leave millions of citizens in the lurch while you try to come up with something? Why hurt the very people trying to make America great by requiring less government services by standing on their own two feet? Why is the average American entitled to less medical care than senators, congressional leaders or the president and his family? More importantly, I wondered, why deny hardworking Americans the right to life in the name of politics? I deserve better so I will fight for it like I battle for my life every day. I’m not ready to die yet so I won’t let anyone take away my health care options easily. Will you?

Originally published in the Huffington Post: