The Art of Humanity
“Whereas Jesus and his disciples were distrusted by the state largely because they respected the poor and shared everything, the fundamentalists of the present hour would appear not to know that the poor exist.” (1)
A gasp, the intake of breath quickly followed the news--The US House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Colleagues were quick to begin their call to arms. The bill aims to sunset the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion to low-income healthy adults, while also changing the structure of the program via per-capita caps on federal spending. The reduction carries a risk of reducing the number of people covered while also affecting local programs such as special education. The AHCA would slough millions of people off of their employer's insurance, putting them at risk of being underinsured or not insured. It would place those who are or have been pregnant, have had c-sections, postpartum depression, have been raped or abused, or have mental health or substance abuse issues into high-risk pools. Those who have been treated for an illness fall into the category of “high-risk” simply for being human.
I don’t have a story to tell about how a person has been injured by the lack of healthcare. I have several stories to tell--but since time is short let me outline a well-known tale of false beauty. Much like Snow White, the American people have been bamboozled. In the tale of Snow White the Evil Queen, transformed as a mild-mannered old woman, gave Snow White a beautiful red apple which Snow White could not resist because it looked perfect; the old woman handing her the apple seemed benevolent. One bite and the apple rendered her comatose.
Republicans appeared sympathetic to the plight of the middle class, women and the poor, commiserating in their financial and social woes. They bore with them the promise of repealing the ACA and alleviating healthcare woes faced by those in different socio-economic statuses. The AHCA was conveyed to the American people as the answer to the imperfect ACA, a panacea to rising costs. The problem is upon further investigation their answer is laced with poison that once bitten will cause many to fall into a trance of bills.
Humans are vulnerable to injury, sickness, and mental fatigue. Before the ACA came into effect under President Obama those who found themselves ill faced financial woes due to the high cost of healthcare. After the ACA was implemented, they were protected by caps on spending and were taken out of high-risk pools which cost more and which they often couldn’t afford. Becoming involved in the healthcare system isn’t advantageous for women, the middle class or poor. As President Donald Trump once said, “If you have the money, having children is great." (2) Given the bill he pushed to have passed in the House, it can be said that he believes that if you have money, healthcare is great.
ompassion and humanitarianism for the welfare of others are not weaknesses. Understanding the plight of those who are in vulnerable populations or positions while working towards a compassionate healthcare plan doesn’t indicate weakness. Being compassionate and understanding by helping those who are in susceptible positions ultimately increases the moral and financial strength of a nation.
1. Baldwin, Martin. The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings.New York: Pantheon Books, 2010.
2. Donald Trump, interview by Larry King, Larry King Live, CNN, May 17, 2005.