The desire to have a regular source of care and not worry about going bankrupt from a medical bill is not a partisan sentiment. It’s a human one.
From the day I left the Obama administration in January, I have been haunted by a scenario I didn’t want to imagine was ever possible in this country — the loss of health coverage and deterioration of the Medicaid safety net that was at the heart of every Republican health care proposal. Having overseen the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and Medicare, I thought I knew these programs well. But my travels over the last six months taught me a lot more about the families whose lives depend on them, and how tightly Americans’ connection to the middle class is tied to their access to affordable care.
I ended up face to face with a family fearful over what it would mean to lose pre-existing conditions protection for their child now in remission from cancer. I talked to a woman in Minnesota whose mental illness was controlled by medication she was finally able to afford because of the ACA. A young man in Ohio told me that there were no jobs in his neighborhood offering insurance, and that the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid was providing the first access to regular care for many of his friends.
I had known these things, but the more time I spent walking near the shoes of these people, the more it became clear to me: Proposals aimed not at improving the ACA, but at taking away money from care for working American families, had to be stopped.
Everywhere I turned, as I listened to people’s stories, I heard another fainter, but still distinct, note. When and how do we make the cycle of partisanship stop? One thing I’ve learned is that the desire to have a regular source of care and not worry about going bankrupt from a medical bill is not a partisan sentiment, it’s a human one. And when the human system depends on the vagaries of who’s in power in Washington, no one can sleep well at night.
President Trump is on a different page. He is still goading his party to run over rather than work with Democrats. He also…