I don’t know if I had ever even heard of Jason Chaffetz until this morning and yet, by lunch, the Utah republican had basically broken my brain. It was not his fault alone, the camel was already begging for a merciful death before Chaffetz ever added his victim-blaming straw. The first thing I read this morning was a breakdown of the GOP healthcare* plan. This is why we can’t have nice things. Because they walk right in, snatch it up, tell us we don’t deserve it, and then take it home for themselves.
But Chaffetz and his fucking out-of-touch, dehumanizing, pedestal-standing self can fuck the fuck right off.
“We are getting rid of the individual mandate. We are getting rid of those things that people said that they don’t want. And, you know what? Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. So maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest that in health care. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.”
So what he’s saying is that if we just all make better choices perhaps we can afford health insurance. Maybe if they made better choices we wouldn’t be in this position in the first place.
Picture it. Trump America, 2020.
First, a little backstory for those who are new here: two years ago I had my son, Rowan, at 31 weeks gestation, due to severe preeclampsia. Between the two of us, we were in the hospital for two months.
My IUD expires in 2020. I’m responsible and well aware that I should never have more children, for a variety of important reasons. Unfortunately, birth control coverage is long gone, so now I have to pay $1000 for the luxury of having someone pry open my cervix and shove a piece of metal into my uterus.
I guess if I did not have the money, I am just supposed to never have sex again. Or use condoms — because that’s not a risky plan or anything. But, let’s say I manage to come up with the money.
IUDs are pretty damn effective but I personally know people for whom they have failed. Let’s say I end up in that <1%. Probably the same way you ended up in your 1%: mostly luck.
Because the insurance mandate was discarded, there is no way to force coverage for pre-existing conditions. Because I had a preeclampsia and a baby prematurely before, I can no longer get coverage. Doesn’t really matter, since maternity is not covered anymore.
To be honest, in 2017 I would have quickly had an abortion. It might have taken me more than six weeks since I would have to wait for physical signs to suspect I was pregnant. But I would have been expedient about it, either way.
Since that is no longer a legal option in 2020, I press forward. Around 20 weeks pregnant, my blood pressure starts to rise. We begin twice-weekly monitoring. At 22 weeks I’m officially labeled as “Preeclampsia with Severe Features.” I have a choice to make. I could opt for an abortion, assuming there is still a “life of the mother” clause. I’d have to do it pretty damn quickly, though. And because nobody is actually “pro-abortion” and we’re pretty close to viability, I go ahead and begin my inpatient hospital stay, to see how far we can carry this pregnancy before one or both of us dies.
A game of maternity mortality chicken.
At 24 weeks my lab work shows that I have developed HELLP syndrome. My kidneys and liver are shutting down. We pump me full of magnesium sulfate to try to prevent a seizure. Now we have a crisis which turns into an emergency c-section. Assuming she lives, I have a micro-preemie who will have an outrageously expensive, long-term NICU stay. Six months, maybe? There may or may not be any long-term special needs that cost an extraordinary amount of money but there will definitely be a lot of follow-ups with specialists.
Since I made too much money to qualify for whatever vestiges of Medicaid were left, if indeed there are any, the bills start rolling in. My family is financially ruined, the hospital has to wave millions of dollars of costs that can not be paid. Since hospitals are, I would hope, considered essential, the government ends up paying out a ton of money anyhow.
A new iPhone paid for over three years is, approximately, $20 per month. If only I had traded it in for … what, exactly?
The trauma and stress erode my mental well being. I no longer have access to decent therapy, since there is no required mental health coverage. Someone takes me to the ER, which is now far, far past capacity and was never great for a mental health crisis in the first place. More bills.
My preemies will not have insurance, either, since prematurity in and of itself disqualifies them.
The ball keeps on rolling. Even people who do everything “right” will end up screwed. And because right-wing, condescending, fake-Christian assholes are now the gods of morality, anyone who does not pass their litmus test for perfection ends up doubly screwed.
So sure. Take my fucking iPhone.
*Does not actually include any healthcare.