Tears welled up in my eyes as I pleaded with the voice mailbox at Senator Rob Portman's Washington D.C. office. With no town halls to express my views and full mailboxes at his Ohio offices, I'd finally connected. I poured out my soul, “Please don't take away the healthcare of We the People of Ohio. Every single one of us deserves access to affordable, quality healthcare. Every. Single. One."
I also told Senator Portman's voicemail that a senate bill designed to reduce the taxes of the ultra-wealthy was no reason to throw the health concerns of We the People under the bus. The Graham-Cassidy bill, like its recent brothers BCRA, AHCA, and Skinny Repeal, would remove patients from Medicaid, cause those of us with pre-existing illness to suffer astronomical insurance premium increases, and likely cause a return of lifetime insurance reimbursement caps, all of which put working Americans at risk of bankruptcy for seeking necessary medical care. If we think Governor Kasich's stranglehold on local finances hurts as he builds up the Ohio rainy day fund, We the Taxpayers haven't seen anything yet as insufficiently funded Federal block grants cause States (and ultimately their taxpayers) to scramble to pay the bills.We the People need to be at the table when our healthcare access and delivery are discussed. When the small group of white male lawyer Senators scurried away to privately decide our healthcare fate, we knew the result would be ridiculous. Fortunately the Senate Democrats and a few politically courageous Republicans agreed. But here we are again, calling and faxing and writing our senators to try to make our voices heard.
So what do We the People want? I often ask voters that as I travel Ohio's 2nd Congressional District on my campaign. As I listen to a voter, I gesture to two people near us and say, “The current Republican administration wants to give those two people access to affordable healthcare insurance, but not you and me? Is that OK?” The answer is, invariably, a resounding “No”. We the Patients want universal access.
“Do you know that in the U.S. we spend more than $10,000 per person each year on healthcare? We spend much more than other industrialized countries and achieve worse outcomes. Do you think we should work to improve that?” The answer is, invariably, a resounding “Yes”. We the Taxpayers want good value for our governmental investment.
We know Senator Sherrod Brown has our back on achieving universal access to affordable quality healthcare delivered in a cost-effective manner with the best possible outcomes. Please call Senator Portman to ask him to stand with Senator Brown on the side of We the People, for a change.