By Erin Branscome
FYI that I’m pretty much done with extended family and acquaintances who don’t believe that everyone should have access to healthcare.
To be clear, I’m not talking about people who disagree with aspects of the Affordable Care Act, or any other specific system. I’m not talking about people who agree that everyone should have access to healthcare, but who *disagree* with me on how best to accomplish that.
I’m talking about those people who believe that anyone who can’t afford health care should suffer and die. I’m talking about people who’s biggest complaint about “Obamacare” is that their premiums increased too much for them to be able to afford a new pool. I’m talking about people who believe as a matter of principle that you should be on your own when it comes to healthcare — if you can convince other people to help you out, great, but if you can’t do that, sorry; guess you’re gonna die a slow, painful, and utterly preventable death.
Because what every single one of you are saying, if you drill it down, is that if it were up to you, I would be DEAD.
This is not conjecture. This has been confirmed by multiple doctors. If I hadn’t been steps from an operating room when my intestines ruptured, I. Would. Be. DEAD. (I came very, *very* close to dying, regardless.) According to the ER doctor who admitted me that night, if I hadn’t had insurance — good insurance — I *wouldn’t* have been in the hospital, because at the time, they didn’t think I had anything that serious, and admitting me was a “better safe than sorry” thing. If I hadn’t had insurance, hadn’t had the ability to *afford* an optional night in the hospital, I would have pushed for discharge. The ONLY reason I didn’t go home that night, with what they thought was just an ulcer, is that I had insurance. I only had insurance because of the Affordable Care Act.
Without “Obamacare,” I WOULD HAVE DIED. Either alone and terrified in my bed, unable to cry out for help as the pain became excruciating and my lung collapsed — OR, were I able to crawl down the hall to my parents, I would’ve likely bled out in their arms while they tried to figure out what was going on, tried to get help, writhing in indescribable pain and suffocating to death on my own fluids, before mercifically losing consciousness and dying. Imagine the trauma to my parents and siblings.
And if you had your wish, that’s exactly what would’ve happened.
I’ve explained this, over and over. Again and again I strip naked for you, exposing my scars — flay my skin and rip it apart, letting you climb inside, *hoping* to find some scrap of compassion and always being disappointed. Humiliated, as you refuse to address the critical point and instead repeat talking points and lies, making it perfectly clear that nothing I said mattered. My pain — my *life* — doesn’t matter.
As so many people have said, I cannot teach you how to care about other people. I can’t explain to you *why* you should care; I can’t argue you into compassion. And I’m through trying.
But understand this: unless it’s preceded by a humble admission of guilt and a sincere apology, I NEVER want to hear “I love you” or “I’m praying for you,” or even “How are you doing?” ever again. I NEVER want to hear you offer your disingenuous concern or empty prayers to my parents, ever again. Your words are lies, designed to soothe your conscious and make yourself feel better, and I refuse to allow you that option, out of some misplaced sense of “civility.”
If it were up to you, I. WOULD. BE. DEAD. Period.
You’ve told me that you hate the ACA because of the non-essential items you were unable to purchase because of increased premiums. Even *assuming* that’s true — a big assumption — you’re *still* telling me that my LIFE means less to you than a new pool or a cross-country RV trip. And *I’m* the one lacking civility?
From now on, when you ask me how I’m doing, the answer will always be “none of your business.” When you tell me you love me, I’ll respond that I don’t believe you. And I sure as hell don’t want the meaningless, feel-good prayers you offer up to your false idols of American Nationalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism. (And if I see or hear about similar comments to my parents, my response will be the same.)