Insights from a Wheelchair-Bound Friend

Insights from a dear friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) about the proposed Republican health insurance “reform”:

Ok, here goes. I can’t stay silent. 

Do you have a family member with significant disabilities or are you disabled yourself?

The reason the ADAPT activists were removed is because Mitch McConnel ordered the police to remove them. The activists had been calmly and peacefully protesting the Medicaid destroyer (aka health bill). Why? Because the bill is written to cut 800 BILLION dollars from Medicaid. It also is written to drastically reduce Medicaid funding for home care.

For the disabled community this means three things: 
1. Under the current bill, those who need significant home health care will no longer be able to get it, because there will not be funding for it. This will force us into long term care hospitals and nursing homes to live out our days. These hospitals and nursing homes will be overcrowded and underfunded and basically totally miserable. It will reduce our quality of life drastically…and when you are this sick or this disabled, quality of life is hugely important. 
2. The cuts will leave the hospitals and nursing homes we will be forced to live in – basically in prison – so underfunded they won’t be able to afford proper care. 
3. Those well enough to live at home will not be able to afford medicine – the money won’t be there – or wheelchairs or medical supplies. The quality of supplies will go down – substandard wheelchairs that leave pressure sores, substandard walkers that tip and let you fall, etc.

If you think all of that is fine..
if you think we deserve that kind of treatment and lack of care …
if you think we deserve to be locked up to save you a damn few dollars… 
if you think we somehow earned this horrible treatment so that the rich can be richer…
then you might want to step back and re evaluate your life.

This is what the activists were protesting. You all were worried about death panels under Obama (that never happened) but this is ok with you? Bullshit. Don’t tell me you care about people. 
The activists had a right to protest. They were only there 30 minutes. They were arrested because McConnell didn’t want to hear their words. He didn’t want to listen. He didn’t want to look at the faces he is dooming to death or forced into prison. 
Here is a shocking fact: The activists didn’t resist arrest. The woman in the video was struggling with leg jerks, made worse by stress. Most severely disabled people completely understand this. It happens to a lot of us. She couldn’t control them. She warned them not to stand in front of her. They did. They grabbed her legs which caused her to slide down. Rather than be reasonable they forced her from her chair. It was inexcusable.

She started screaming when her legs were being grabbed because it pissed her off…as it should have.

A lot of the activists were held at the local station, in a federal building. A building, by the way, that was lacking a wheelchair accessible women’s restroom. The women were there for hours, many cathed who needed to empty bags, others needed the facilities. They had to be embarrassed and humiliated and forced to use the men’s room instead. If a black man was forced to use a different bathroom because of the color of his skin, the county would (hopefully) erupt. But 25 years after the ADA was passed, people with disabilities were denied equal rights and equal access. And it happens all. The. Time.

That is why we fight. We fight for our rights to live and love and be free and cared for. We fight for the right to live at home. And use a public bathroom. And be treated with decency by our lawmakers and our officers.

You see..I know the back story. These are my people, my community and MY LIFE on the line.

I will not shut up. I will not settle down. Because people like a lot of you on this thread have NO PROBLEM with me being forced from my home to live in a hospital an hour away.

We do have rights. We will fight for them. And while the cops had to follow McConnell’s orders and remove the protesters, they did it all wrong. There were bad lifts that left bruises and injuries. People on ventilators separated from caregivers and without a nurse to help them. And people removed from their mobility because the cops couldn’t see the difference between a health issue and “resisting”.

In case you were wondering, what I described about what will happen to us is accurate. That is what an 800 BILLION DOLLAR CUT TO MEDICAID looks like. Its not just people scamming the system being kicked off. We don’t spend 800 billion on scammers. Its poor people who get kicked off, who can’t afford their medication or their chemo or a wheelchair.

It’s sick people, who live on life support, who are forced to go live in a hospital.

It’s children…CHILDREN..who die because their parents can’t afford the hospital bill for CF complications, or chemo, or a life saving operation, or a nurse to help keep them alive at night. 
It’s people who rack up an astounding $500,000 hospital bill because they had to be in ICU for quite some time. 
It’s people (ME) who rack up $1,000,000 a year in medical bills. It doesn’t matter how many jobs my parents get…we would be bankrupt after 4 months. And Medicaid will only be able to pay a fraction of it.

Choices will have to be made…who to treat and who gets nothing because they are terminal anyway.

That is what 800 BILLION dollar cuts to Medicaid look like. 
You are really ok with that?”

***

And now a poem…
Democrat, Republican, poor, rich, and middle,
God-believers, non-believers, the big and the little,
gray/white/red/brown/yellow/black-haired, and old,
young, introvert, extrovert, scared, brave and bold,
northern, southern, western, eastern, female
and male, tall, short, and yes, even those with a tail
straight, LGBT, white-skinned, and dark-skinned –
WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. And that’s the end.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

together

 

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Pep Talk

Pep talk to self: Don’t be discouraged. Think of all the kindnesses you’ve witnessed today, remember all the good people you’ve met, and all the beauty you’ve seen. There were flowers and a fairy house; a UW cap and a letter for Dad; a former student at the espresso stand, and two very cool baristas full of smiles and sass; Dad’s old friends who became your new friends; a bike ride in sunshine; Mary, the post lady loaning you her reading glasses without even being asked; a kitty cat weaving between your ankles; 10 cents off of your gas; Xander’s CD playing in the car; an “I love you” from your 99 year-old father; and an “I love you” from your husband of 33 years; and now stars sparkling above you, and the smell of summer coming through your office window. It has been a really wonderful day.

sweet peas this one

Photo of sweet peas by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

Protesting for Their Lives

The people in the wheelchairs were protesting the proposed cuts to their health care insurance. Some of those people will, quite literally, die without the health insurance the Republicans are proposing to cut. I think it’s important to understand why those protesters were there. They were fighting for their lives. This is not hyperbole.

I myself rarely use my health insurance – so rarely, in fact, that my doctors’ office was surprised when they found my 30 years of doctors’ visits could be printed out on one page. But I am concerned for my friends who are dealing with serious health issues, and I support the folks who were outside Sen. McConnell’s office protesting. They had every right to be there.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
– First Amendment to the United States Constitution

The “Right Thing”

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” _ Micah 6:8

How do we know if we’re doing the “right thing”? Here’s what I think: I think we can trust we’re doing the right thing when we’re motivated by unselfish Love – when we’re motivated by the desire to help those in need, to stand alongside those who are oppressed, to seek after justice and mercy. Boom. Right there. What do you think? Will that work? 🙂

“The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

give us courage

A Free Press

“When the press is gagged, liberty is besieged…”
– Mary Baker Eddy, founder of The Christian Science Monitor

The job of the free press is to keep our citizens informed. When the White House refuses to let the free press do its job it is an attack on our democracy. Our government is by the people, of the people, and for the people – it is not supposed to be a dictatorship, or a corporation. Our government depends on an informed citizenry – how can we have an informed citizenry if the White House refuses to let its citizens see what it’s doing? Pictures don’t tell lies. Yes, words can be twisted, biases can be presented in the written and spoken telling of a story – but a rolling camera that films exactly what is being said and done isn’t lying – it isn’t showing bias – it’s just showing us exactly what is happening – and that is vital for a healthy democracy.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
– First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

“It is the pulpit and press, clerical robes and the prohibiting of free speech, that cradles and covers the sins of the world,—all unmitigated systems of crime; and it requires the enlightenment of these worthies, through civil and religious reform, to blot out all inhuman codes.  It was the Southern pulpit and press that influenced the people to wrench from man both human and divine rights, in order to subserve the interests of wealth, religious caste, civil and political power.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings

“When the press is gagged, liberty is besieged; but when the press assumes the liberty to lie, it discounts clemency, mocks morality, outrages humanity, breaks common law, gives impulse to violence, envy, and hate, and prolongs the reign of inordinate, unprincipled clans. At this period, 1888, those quill-drivers whose consciences are in their pockets hold high carnival. When news-dealers shout for class legislation, and decapitated reputations, headless trunks, and quivering hearts are held up before the rabble in exchange for money, place, and power, the vox populi is suffocated, individual rights are trodden under foot, and the car of the modern Inquisition rolls along the streets besmeared with blood.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings

Medicaid Cuts

Did you all see the video of the people getting dragged from their wheelchairs and carried out by law enforcement officers for protesting proposed Medicaid cuts outside Sen. McConnell’s office? If you missed it, here’s a clip.

Here’s what Donald Trump promised during his campaign: “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.”

And here’s what Trumpcare proposes today:  Medicaid Cuts.

In grade school I was taught that the United States stood for liberty, justice, and equality. We were the good guys. We were the country that people immigrated to for freedom and opportunity – people came here to escape religious persecution, political persecution, and poverty. My immigrant ancestors came here to find better lives for themselves and their families, and, unless you are descended wholly from indigenous peoples or slaves, so did yours.

And look at us now. What have we become?! We are the only industrialized nation with for-profit health care. Health insurance corporations don’t actually seem to care about making people healthy – the corporations’ main concern is making money. That’s what for-profit corporations do: They make money. And our politicians are, of course, in the back pockets of these guys because that seems to be what their chief concern is, too – making money. (For an insightful piece about this from the perspective of a patient – click here.)

Add to this the corruption found in pharmaceutical companies (click here for a link to a Harvard University study), and if you are suffering from health problems and don’t have insurance to pay for the cost of your care, you and your family could get financially wiped out in a matter of days. (According to the HealthCare.gov site, the average cost for a three-day hospital stay is $30,000.)

This is shameful.

Our Republican legislators – the (fill in the blank) who came up with the latest health care “reform”  plan should be ashamed of themselves. But somehow I doubt they are. Their proposals indicate they don’t have any kind of collective conscience. They appear not to give a hoot about the people they were elected to represent.

And this might be a good time to remind our politicians that they are not the bosses of us; we are the bosses of them. They are here to serve US – not the pharmaceutical companies, and not the health insurance corporations – but US. And if they won’t serve the people who put them in office, then it is time for us to fire their kiesters.

“The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good.” – Mary Baker Eddy