Memo to Democrats: It’s the healthcare, stupid. And it’s personal.


Look we all get it, everybody hates Donald Trump. Hell, when Trump leaves the house in the morning, even Melania says “Have a nice day dah-link. And don’t forget to cross against the lights!” But Donald Trump doesn’t just survive by diversion, Donald Trump himself is the ultimate diversion, and we can neither forget that, or fall for it.

As hard as he tried, Donald Trump wasn’t even on the ballot in 2018, and we more than doubled the national vote margin of victory. And most successful candidates treated His Lowness like the kid in class with cooties, they avoided the hell out of him. They talked about “kitchen table” issues, healthcare topping the list. With the Trump DOJ arguing in court to dismantle the ACA permanently, healthcare will top the list again in 2020, likely with guns right alongside it.

Every Democrat running for President has at least a fairly detailed healthcare policy that they’re touting. basically, they fall into three buckets. There’s Medicare for all with no private insurance option, Medicare for all with a private insurance option, and strengthening the Affordable Care Act along with a public Medicare buy in, which basically means near or total universal coverage. every plan has its own strengths and weaknesses, but when you look at the bottom line, they all end up in the same place, universal healthcare as a right, and not a privilege.

But there is one thing that people who already have healthcare tend to lose sight of. And that is just how important healthcare is to people who don’t have it. That is both perfectly normal, as well as perfectly understandable. After all, how do you describe to a person what an orange tastes like if they’ve never eaten an orange. It’s one of those things that has to be experienced.

Let me tell you a little story. Most of you may already know that I suffer from degenerative glaucoma, and that I’m legally blind. The fact that you’re reading this is because my good friend Ursula Faw proofreads this stuff before it’s published, otherwise you’d be trying to decipher the Dead Sea Scrolls. Those of you who know me also know I’m not looking for an invitation to a pity party. I already know what my wife and kids look like, and I’ve already seen my Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, and Cubs win world championships. Seeing any more of Donald Trump I can live without.

For the last four years, my wife and I have lived solely on her retail sales paycheck, along with a puny monthly payment from my defaulted on UAL pension program. Teri gets health insurance through her work, at a cost of $41 a week, but to cover me would mean paying twice as much for my coverage as she pays, which is not feasible. So, I am uninsured, and have been for four years.

Late last November, I embarked on the Ring Quest of trying to get disability due to my legally blind status. After a rather lengthy but orderly process, I was approved for disability, and in late September, for the first time in five long years, in one day we will go from the working poor to the middle class again. I was also notified that due to my disability, I also qualified for early entry into the Medicare program.

But! And all of you should know by now that when you’re dealing with the federal government, there is always a but! Due to the program rules, there is a 24 month waiting period before I become eligible to sign up for Medicare. That means that it will be March of 2021 before I can begin to be covered under Medicare. n the meantime, it is still to be determined whether or not there are any plans available on the ACA “exchanges,” or whether the coverage would be worth the expense.

So, as you may well imagine, I have been following the healthcare proposals of the presidential candidates pretty damn closely. And after months of sniffing out what details there are, and comparing the plans against each other, you wanna know what my considered judgement, as a serious stakeholder in all of this, is? I honestly don’t give a fat flying fuck which plan I end up wit, as long as I can see a fucking doctor again! And if you think that I’m the only lazy slacker who feels that way, bubelah, you are sorely mistaken. There are millions of us.

So, here’s my expert, man-in-the-street advice to the Democratic presidential candidates. Pitch the hell out of your healthcare proposals, because, Glorious Bleater notwithstanding, they are of critical importance to millions of us. But please, I beg of you, no matter what contrasts you draw between your plan and the others, do nothing to ridicule or minimize the value of those other proposals!

Because, by June of 2020, this is all going to be over. There is going to be one presidential candidate, with one healthcare proposal on the national platform. But there are going to be 460+ House and Senate candidates out there, running right alongside of the presidential candidate. And every one of them is going to have to be able to sell that proposal to their own voters. There can’t be any rancor or hurt feelings about it coming from the primaries, people have to able to endorse, support, and vote for whatever plan it is.

So please, once the primaries are over with, let everybody come together behind whatever healthcare plan wins out, because when you come right down to it, anything is better than what we already have. But this is too important to fuck up. After all, my life might depend on it, and it just don’t get more personal than that.


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8 Comments on "Memo to Democrats: It’s the healthcare, stupid. And it’s personal."

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p j evans
I went without insurance for years, even the employer-provided stuff, because it would have eaten a good chunk of my paycheck, and also because I couldn’t figure out the “information” that they provided. Then there was ACA, and I could pick one that was approximately what I needed at the time, and affordable (at least until I hit 65 and they doubled the premium without notice). I got the old shingles shot through ACA. Medicare is still more than I can really afford, but it covers most of what I need, and it’s been covering most of my (successful) cancer… Read more »
Virginia Bergvall
I also know what it’s like to be without insurance. Back in the day I had a “pre-existing condition”. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure in my early 30s. I would not be covered for anything that could possibly be connected to high blood pressure. We had insurance as a family because with 3 little kids we had to. My husband was a construction worker and always worked but didn’t have insurance paid for through most of his working life, so we had to foot the bill. When he was old enough to be on Medicare we breathed a… Read more »
rory darjiit
Thank you for sharing. As someone with a heart transplant recipient in my household, I totally relate to a lot of what you discuss. It makes me question whether our path to universal should be one big sweeping plan, or a step by step approach where at each step we tackle the populations in the most need. I know that tends to be a charged question in our current climate… people passionately think one way or the other. What I’m saying is that I really don’t know how we help as many people as possible as quickly as possible. And… Read more »