Good Girl Gone Bad

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The conservatives who want to repeal healthcare for 30 million Americans want us to only think about the issue in abstract terms and generalizations. It’s time to stop letting them get away with that  and to listen to the stories of people whose very lives depend on access to health care they can afford. This post, from Katie Mazurek’s blog, is the kind of story we simply cannot ignore and one of the many reasons we need to fight back.

Can you start a paragraph with god dammit? Asking that question solves the problem, I guess. I don’t swear often in writing, mostly because I think of my dad every time my fingers punch those keys. But this. THIS. What else does someone who is battling a life threatening disease and who also not independently wealthy say when her government threatens to take away her health insurance?

Let’s back up a few paces. First, let’s talk about life with a major illness. Let’s talk about the stress- not only about whether or how you will survive your disease, but how it blows a hole right through your entire life. How you practically fracture in half trying to manage the mental, emotional, and physical assaults that are hailed at you. How you have to spend time away from your children to travel for treatment or because you are too sick to function. How your children become acutely aware of your illness and pieces of their dreamy childhood are robbed from them as they sleep.

And sleep? Let’s talk about not sleeping or sleeping in pain or not being able to do anything other than cling to your bed. Let’s talk about disease and your marriage and how illness and fear fray at the lines that hold the two of you together. Let’s talk about not being able to work and medical bills and travel expenses and scraping together whatever you can to pay the mortgage or the utility bill. Let’s talk about wondering if you are going to die and going through treatments so brutal they are just on the other side of death anyway.

Now, let’s talk about heartache. Let’s talk about all the ways your life has changed. Maybe your body has been mutilated from your illness. Maybe there is a dark cloud that hangs over you from all the stress and fear and unknown that you have somehow marched through like a deranged soldier. Perhaps your children now worry that you won’t come back when you leave them. Maybe you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror anymore. Now you notice that your smile has changed in pictures. How the corners of your eyes don’t draw up anymore because you’ve been through too much sad and too much suffering.

With all that in mind- broken hearts and dreams and bodies- think about your lifeline. You’re fighting to stay alive. You go to all your doctor’s appointments, and there are lots of doctors appointments. They are so frequent, in fact, that going in for treatment sometimes feels like a Cheers episode. You take all your medications, upwards of a dozen, to help you stay alive. You’re doing your best despite being in hell.

Suddenly, people who don’t know you, and who never care to know you, take matters into their own hands. Their solution for a problem that has nothing to do with you, for which you had no hand in creating or worsening, could kill you. I’m not being dramatic. When I’m looking at what is happening in Congress right now all I know is that there are a whole lot of questions with terrifying, life-altering, consequences dangling at the end where the answers should be.

This isn’t okay. This isn’t how we treat people who are sick and who are suffering. It is unconscionable that we would even pass this off as a remote possibility, let alone a legitimate action point. The idea that I have to sit here and read about the risk of losing my health care and then try to work out in my mind what it would be like to lose our house or whether or not I would even qualify for any new plans paralyzes me with fear. I sit and stare blankly as the tears roll down, wondering how this happened. Wondering what will happen. It is fear so sharp and intense that it steps in line ahead of all the other worries I’m carrying right now, and those were pretty hefty to begin with.

This can’t be the way we move forward. I am not a bad person deserving of punishment, I am a sick person. I refuse to believe that my country would do this to me. I have been weighed down too much to be finally broken by my own team. I didn’t fight this hard to end up living this kind of life. Guys, this is the United States. United. This is not an exclusive club that benefits the few and the fortunate. We can do better than this. We have to do better than this. Our lives depend on it.

Give ‘Em Hell.

–crossposted from Katie over Cancer, a blog written by Katie Mazurek, a 33-year-old mother of 2 who was diagnosed with breast cancer on February 9, 2016. You might remember her from her work advocating for medical marijuana this fall and should definitely visit her blog where she chronicles her fight. You can learn more about Katie at her Facebook page, too.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

26 Comments

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  • Heath care is in a death spiral now. It wouldn’t last 2 or 3 more years with the cost increases we have seen. We have to do something now. Those young professional, small / large businesses and working class voters in the blue now red states were smart enough to realize this.

  • You’re just smashing words together Bill. That doesn’t make it a valid point. It’s saddening that Katie’s life means so little to you. Greed over human life no more. The pitchforks are coming.

    • Grotesque ugly greed is on both sides of the picture.
      Please consider a bit of the following as you do your part against ACA Rip Off.
      The mega wealthy blood money profiteers from ACA cancels, can Invest in Trump Economics.
      Thanks to foreigners, crude oil Equities and the Stock Market are up. And everyone knows the three Goldman Execs will promote more Stock Market pump up. (And Goldman Sachs can again profit when the Stock Market turns downwards.)
      Thanks to upcoming changes at Department of Education, could be that Investors and holders of Charter School Stocks will acquire more profit.
      Thanks to upcoming changes at Department of State, Investors, Investor-Partners and Stockholders investors in Russian Oil, will profit.
      Thanks to the possible changes at Department of Labor, stocks of fast-food corporations may retain net, net profit. And robotics stocks may swell in value.
      And you know the way to make the US Military more lethal is to increase spending at misnamed Department of Defense.
      So when the Trump pump up of the USA Economy works, where’s a safe place to park Trumped up profits, some listed above?
      “Park them in the National Parks. Position to park them in Public Lands now in transition.
      Let the profiteers buy up more of Montana.”

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if all you bleeding heart liberals were as concerned with the 30 million people who couldn’t get health insurance under obamacare, as with the 20 million that may or may not either lose coverage, or get diminished coverage?

    These stories are heart-tuggers, but imagine what life is like for the 30 million without coverage. Why do we not hear about them? Does anybody care?

    • Do you have any idea how many more Americans have healthcare than would not have because of the ACA? I suspect not. And how many will lose health care when the GOP repeals it?

      • But you completely avoided my question. So it appears you care more about the haves than the have nots. And yes, I do know the numbers, and if you would have read my comment, you would have noticed I said “20 million” which is the number referred to in the media. Of course I care about them, but it is those without who I care more about now.

        But never to worry, Mr. Trump proposed universal health care today, and cutting costs from pharmaceuticals, unlike anything the democrats were able to do. And he will not sign the republican bill to repeal Obamacare until they agree to his universal health care bill.

        Poor democrats. Got the health care rug pulled right out from underneath themselves with this one. But keep rooting for them, and against Mr. Trump’s universal health care plan, it’ll do you and your bleeding-hear liberal friends good!

        • You live in a world devoid of logic and reason if you believe that Herr Trump is going to magic up universal healthcare and reduced costs for drugs.

          Those things require plans, not words. He’s certainly not capable of the former and barely capable of the latter.

          And while math is hard, you do realize those who got coverage under the ACA would be “have-nots” without it, right?

          • You don’t have to be so unpleasant, Mr. Pogreba. I understand arithmetic just fine. But you still haven’t acknowledged that Mr. Trump has said he will cover the 30 million who have no insurance. Instead of spreading such ill will, why don’t you get to work and help him to provide that coverage? Is it because your liberal democrats failed to do what you say will take magic? Or is it more fun to jump up and down indignantly because you think someone might lose something while the other 30 million poor souls only wish they were so lucky as to worry about losing health care they never had?

            And why do you address Mr. Trump with “Herr?” He has German ancestry, but is American. Or is it because you disrespect Germans?

            • Why don’t you get back to us, Georgette, after Trump unveils his health care plan. Then we can have a serious discussion. Until that point, to quote the President-elect’s Twitter attack on civil rights leader John Lewis, “All talk, talk, talk — no action or results.”

            • I think the reason I call him Herr Trump is pretty obvious.

              I pity the people who actually take Trump’s words at face value. His diction and grammar, which operate at about a sixth grade level, might persuade some, but what they really do is obscure the emptiness of his rhetoric.

              • Thank you Mr. Pogreba for the opportunity to understand why the “deplorables” in the U.S. decided to not vote with your liberal politicians. It is obvious you have much disdain for simple people, and those with limited education.

                You may not know this, but “Herr” is a friendly German title. I refer to my father-in-law as “Herr Dieter”. That you would insinuate that is somehow negative is rather foolish. But I guess that goes with your animosity towards deplorables,

                • Georgette, please, at this point I really must ask, just WHAT makes a good deplorable? And what makes deplorables good? I really want to know!

                  For you see, it’s been said that “beauty is it’s own excuse for being.” WHAT, pray tell, is deplorables excuse for being? In other words, we can all agree that beauty enhances and brightens our existence. Can the same be said for deplorable? And if so, how?

                  You appear to be knowledgeable of delporableism, so who better to explain to us just why being a deplorable is relevant and important.

                  I breathlessly await your cogent reply.

                  Thanks in advance.

            • Let’s do a little more math, Georgette. About three million more people voted for Secretary Clinton than the person who is going to become president. Three million. About 10% of the number who are going to lose health care.

              No one has called you deplorable. I have no disdain for people with limited education, as I believe everyone should have the right to an excellent education.

              I am, however, increasingly unable to tolerate people who seem incapable of telling the truth or even acknowledging objective reality. I am terrified for the future of a country in which those things no longer matter.

  • The choice is repeal or watch it collapse under its own weight? Do you agree or disagree? If you disagree state why.

    What about the many young couples that opt for Obamacare with exorbitant deductibles to minimize their losses due to tax penalties? Is this a giant leap towards socialism?

    For tax year 2016, the penalty will rise to 2.5% of your total household adjusted gross income, or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, to a maximum of $2,085. For tax year 2017 and beyond, the percentage option will remain at 2.5%, but the flat fee will be adjusted for inflation.

  • FYI, I know this is not CNN (Comedy News Network) but should should do:

    President-elect Donald Trump revealed in an interview with The Washington Post that he’s almost finished with a plan to replace ObamaCare and vowed to have “insurance for everybody.”

    Trump declined to reveal the pertinent details of the new healthcare plan, but told The Post in the interview published Sunday night that drug companies will be forced to negotiate on Medicare and Medicaid prices. He also plans to fight pharmaceutical companies over drug prices.

    The president-elect insisted that his plan for replacing the Affordable Healthcare Act is all but finished, and added that care would have “lower numbers, much lower deductibles.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/01/16/trump-reportedly-insists-healthcare-replacement-will-have-insurance-for-everybody.html

    • Trump mumbling words he thinks will make people happy is hardly a plan, unless he is proposing Medicare for all, which the GOP certainly will not support.

      The truth is that the Republicans have had YEARS to come up with their magical replacement and have absolutely failed to do so. Their plan? To obstruct the ACA, demonize the ACA, and hope like hell the ACA doesn’t actually go away because they’ll lose a campaign issue.

      The GOP lost its function as a governing party a long time ago.

    • “Trump declined to reveal the pertinent details of the new healthcare plan …” says it all; just like his “foolproof plan” to defeat ISIS — “I know more about ISIS than the generals do;” or his plan to build a Mexican border wall and have Mexico pay for it. Our President-elect is a grifter.

  • I guess there were those that didn’t agree with the below.

    Clinton’s supporters range from long-established liberals like Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenenberg, as well as an eclectic mix of young stars including Katy Perry, Waka Flocka, Ariana Grande, and America Ferrera. That’s right: Clinton has America’s vote. Oh, and also Rosie O’Donnell, Larry Flynt’s, Matt Damon‘s, and Lena Dunham‘s.Here’s the list of Hillary Clinton supporters:

    George and Amal Clooney Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Robert DeNiro Ari Emanuel Jane Fonda Abby Wambach Dustin Hoffman Drew Barrymore Connie Britton Matt Damon Cher Beyoncé Debra Messing Ellen Pompeo Jessica Alba Bryan Lourd Larry Flynt Ellen DeGeneres Harvey Weinstein Beth Behrs Estelle Karl Lagerfeld Carole King Tig Notari Cyndi Lauper John Leguizamo Padma Lakshmi Guillermo Diaz Lena Dunham Lady Gaga Ted Danson Gideon Raff Ben Harper Adam Shankman Russell Simmons Tony Goldwyn Bellamy Young Orlando Bloom Maria Bamford Jamie Foxx Anna Wintour Lukas Haas Chuck Lorre Meg Ryan Salma Hayek Cristela Alonzo Candice Bergen Mary J. Blige Sally Field Martha Stewart Craig Newmark Viola Davis Pharrell Williams Candis Cayne Vera Wang Tom Hanks Octavia Spencer Britney Spears Zach Braff Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Larry Flynt Lindsay Lohan Jeffrey Wright Tony Bennett Johnny Galecki Magic Johnson Abbi Jacobson Katy Perry Kerry Washington Olivia Wilde Lori McCreary John Legend K. Michelle Ne-Yo Julianne Moore Josh Peck Eva Langoria Amy Schumer Anne Hathaway Jim Parsons Demi Lovato 50 Cent Cybill Shepherd Jamie Lee Curtis Michael Kors Amber Tamblyn O’Donnell Amy Poehler Jemima Kirke Katy Perry Gina Rodriguez Mary Steenburgen Shonda Rhimes Constance Wu Natasha Leggero Zoe Kazan Tracy Anderson Shannon Woodward Katie Lowes Sting Uzo Aduba J.J. Abrams Steven Spielberg Jeffery Katzenberg Jon Bon Jovi Ilana Glazer RuPaul Haim and Cheryl Saban Kat Dennings Jesse Tyler Ferguson Jennifer Lopez Dascha Polanco Leonardo DiCaprio Rob Friedman Snoop Dogg Waka Flocka Ariana Grande L.A. Reid Kelly Clarkson Ja Rule Katie Holmes Reese Witherspoon Stevie Wonder Tobey Maguire Kate Walsh Diane Kruger Ben Affleck Jennifer Garner Richard Gere Bradley Whitford Quincy Jones Barbra Streisand Dakota Fanning Marc Anthony Bryan Cranston Jesse Eisenberg Chris Colfer Retta Elizabeth Banks Sean Astin Howard Stern Alex Rodriguez Usher Greg Berlanti Steven Bochco Antonio Villaraigosa Amanda de Cadenet Lee Daniels Howard Gordon Rob Reiner Andrew Rannells Jemima Kirke Christina Aguilera Kate Hudson Chris Silbermann Elton John Andra Day Kendall Jenner Ricky Martin Michael Douglas Will Ferrell Morgan Freeman Sean Penn

    • Dang it, Bill. I’m with you on this one, buddy. It just ain’t right that all the talented, bright, charismatic, intelligent, successful people are all liebruls! That’s why I heard that Drumpf’s next reality show is going to be called Deplorables Got Talent! Yep. Lord Cheeetoh’s gonna show the world alright! Drumpenfuhrer’s gonna scour the country in search of inbreds that can sing, dance, act, walk and chew gum, or do anything real good! He wants to show Murica that deplorables just aren’t what they appear to be. Deplorable!

      Will he succeed? I dunno, but I did hear that most of the big acts for his inauguration will be doing karaoke! And of course, rocker Turd Nugget. A gem of a man!

      Yessirree. Just ain’t right. Gotta be some elitist (not stooopid) deplorables out there somewhere!……………but I doubt it.

  • We are dealing with Fascists, the GOP are now part of the American Fascist movement. “If we define an American fascist as one who puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful.” Vice President Wallace, 1944 definition of an American Fascist and warning that they would someday rise in America.

  • Ayn Rand Lexicon – The difference between [socialism and fascism] is superficial and purely formal, but it is significant psychologically: it brings the authoritarian nature of a planned economy crudely into the open.

  • Sometimes, bullshit IS the only appropriate response. Gonna be a tough four years for the Herr Drumpenfuhrer and his Deplorables.

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