In my previous blog post about the current Republican health care debacle that may, or may not, be foisted upon us, I made an unintentional omission, one that I would like to address here.
George Will, in the context of writing about Down's syndrome, once wrote that that an opinion-maker with a personal stake in an issue had an obligation to the public to reveal that stake. He then discussed revealed that one of his children has Down's syndrome, a statement that earned him both my sympathy and respect. For that matter, I happen to agree with his position as it relates to revealing a personal stake in issues about which one comments publicly. I do so now.
My oldest granddaughter, who turned 5 a week or so ago, was born with a series of congenital heart defects: a pair of conditions known as criss-cross heart, and transposition of the great vessels, in addition to a leaking mitral valve. Had she been born a few years earlier, she might not have survived outside of her mother's womb. However, thanks to medical advances, and to a handful of children's hospitals with the knowledge and skills needed to treat these conditions (in this case, the Johns Hopkins Children's Center). she has beaten the odds and made it (knocking on wood) through three surgeries, the most recent of which was this past Monday. I should add that all of this is purely palliative care; there is no cure for the conditions she has, and the path forward for her almost certainly involves a heart transplant at some point.
Needless to say, all of the medical treatment she receives is very expensive. Fortunately for her and the rest of us, she has two wonderful, incredibly dedicated parents with first-rate health insurance. More importantly however, in her case, the Affordable Care Act (hatefully known to some of you as "Obamacare") outlawed insurance bans for pre-existing conditions and lifetime insurance caps on the amounts paid for health care. Without those reforms, my granddaughter's health care road might well be an impossible one for her to travel.
It is precisely why, on a personal level, the political shenanigans and game-playing in the media on an issue as vital as health care is for everyone beggars belief. Do these people have no thought for the impact their game-playing has on the rest of us? Mitch McCONnell suffered from polio as a child. Does that give him no ability at all to relate to children like my granddaughter? And these people--I'm tempted to say something stronger than "people"--had the colossal gall to talk about "death panels" in opposing Obamacare. Their so-called bill, which would repeal the reforms that benefit my granddaughter (among others) is nothing but a giant nationwide "death panel."
Shame on them. And shame on all of us if we don't fight them with all we've got. My granddaughter's life may depend on it. Perhaps the life of someone you care about will as well.