The story above is a real tragedy in a political climate that can’t tell the difference between something that matters and something that is little more than self serving noise.
I know someone in Tennessee that basically suffered the same fate. Her daughter also had a blood cloth (actually starting with a broken toe) and ended up dying. Lack of insurance also killed her.
In Tennessee for several years now, a state ruled by a Republican super majority in the legislature, for several years now we have had the spectacle of grown people who supposedly care “protecting” the poor people of this state by denying them access to the medical care they need to have any chance to a decent life or in fact life at all. It doesn’t have the immediate visual punch that many other things in the news has but in remains an atrocity, an eminently preventable human tragedy.
In Tennessee it regretfully has become a partisan issue. There are Republicans who say yes but they tend to be the exceptions that define the rule. There are more Republicans and part of being a Republican has been to say no.
This past year a little headway was made. After a lot of pressure the Republican speaker of the house appointed a task force that came up with a plan for expansion. It has some problems in it, but it is a plan and perhaps the only plan that has a chance. The scary part is that if it fails it is not clear where or when the next plan is coming.
The most important part, by far the most important part of the plan, is that it says by its very existence that health care reform in Tennessee can be a bipartisan issue. It can be about the good of people and not the good of the party. Health care expansion will never see the light of day if it is simply a Democratic issue.
But everything operates in a wider context. Tennessee is going to vote for Donald Trump. I have voted for Hillary Clinton but the state is going to vote for Trump. In an election that has set neighbors against neighbors I know many people who are going to vote for Donald Trump. Many of them are decent people. Some are people fighting for health care expansion. Some have no coverage and suffer every day because of it. They are not the racists or bigots hanging from the edges of Trump rallies. They are not Alt-right or alt anything. Most of them are poor people sick of the way things are going and eager for a change.
And that brings me to the real point of this post. More than anything it is to friends and neighbors…. people I care about:
If Donald Trump wins the presidency health care expansion as a non partisan human issue is dead in Tennessee. Expansion is tied to the ACA and in the feeding frenzy that would follow a Trump victory the ACA would be crippled if not killed. The little bit of progress made in Tennessee over the last year would disappear. It would become political suicide for a Republican to say close the gap.
And the needless tragedies, the deaths that don’t have to be will continue. The state of Tennessee will continue to destroy people to protect them from access to health care. Such simple insanity. I will never understand how one person can turn his back on the suffering of another for their own political advantage. It makes me ill to think about it.
I am not sure what I am asking people. I don’t know this will change many opinions. This does not seem to be an election of changed opinions. Maybe it is simply to explain part of the passion I have for the defeat of Donald Trump. Maybe that is all.
I believe Donald Trump will, if given the power to do so, destroy this country. More immediately he will be a major part of the destruction of any chance for 280,000 Tennesseans to get access to the health care that poverty prevents them from having. I pray to God every day he loses.
If we turn our backs on the small progress made in Tennessee, if once again it simply becomes a partisan issue we might as well concrete in the gap and put up guard rails because people will live there forever. And there too many people, way too many people will die.