I’m scared for my patients. For those who celebrated when the Affordable Care Act meant they and their families could finally get the care they needed, and are now asking everyday if they’re about to be abandoned. For those who rely on Medicare and Medicaid. For those who keep asking me to reassure them that their insurance company has to wait until the next enrollment period to make any coverage changes; reassurance that I can’t give because I know damn well that your plan can be changed at any time regardless of what you originally signed up for.
I’m scared for my friends. Friends who rely on the ACA to be able to afford healthcare and still work in the industries they love instead of being forced to work jobs they hate purely for the benefits they bring. Friends who are LGBTA and face hatred being written even further into this country’s law. Friends who are disabled. Friends of colour. Friends trying to get by when their own families hate the things they believe in, and who are now supported by the administration in hating them.
I’m scared for my family. For my father who’s employed by a Chinese company as the current administration does everything it can to destroy economic and diplomatic ties with that country. For my mother who has a litany of pre-existing conditions that could destroy her ability to receive affordable healthcare. For my sister who very nearly became an illegal immigrant when she recently had to renew her green card and struggled to find the money to do so. She relies on an ACA credit to afford insurance and has a history of pre-cancerous cells showing up on Pap smears – if they take away that help, she’s screwed as her employer’s too small to provide insurance.
I’m scared for my husband who works for a non-US company that tries to provide its US employees healthcare akin to that provided by their own government. They’re too small to survive inevitable rate hikes easily without having to cut back on the support they provide. And who knows how international companies will be treated by this administration anyway.
I’m scared for me. I’m a woman with my own litany of pre-existing conditions that could make me uninsurable. Years ago, my mother’s oncologist advised not having her cancer genetically tested out of fear that my sister and I would be saddled with a rider of non-coverage for cancer-related care due to the pre-existing condition of my mother having a genetic form of breast cancer. But who’s to stop that family history being considered pre-existing anyway? I’m an immigrant in a country where the new president screams “Hire American” in his first official speech. I’m taking a good job that could be filled with an American citizen. I’m here on a green card dependent on the good graces of Homeland Security. I’m a taxpayer but not eligible to vote – which means my elected officials take my money, but don’t care about my opinion since I can’t alter their employment.
I’m scared because I have it a lot better than many others; my being European is an immediate advantage in this racist time. Science and reason and fact are being attacked and censored. My rights as a woman are being stripped away. And I have it better than thousands of others. That’s terrifying.