Today would have been my boyfriend’s 59th birthday. He had tons of health issues. In the year before his death I had either called 911 or driven him to the emergency room on 5 occasions. Most nights we didn’t sleep fully because he couldn’t breathe. In fact he had to fight for nearly every breath he took. It was heartbreaking to witness.
When the Affordable Care Act came along I heaved a huge sigh of relief because I thought that finally he would have the health insurance he so desperately needed, and perhaps get some continuity of care for a change instead of these spot checks by harried emergency room doctors and yet another bill to add to the 90,000 dollars’ worth of medical debt that he had racked up and would never be able to repay.
Unfortunately, due to his declining health his income had declined as well. Because of his low income, he didn’t qualify for the Affordable Care Act insurance. In a just and decent world, he would have then been able to get Medicaid. But no. We were in a red state, Florida, and that meant that Rick Scott, the evil republican governor, refused to accept the federal funding that would allow the Medicaid program to expand enough to accept people like my boyfriend who fell between the cracks. In fact it widened the crack considerably.
This meant that my boyfriend was in the awkward position of being too poor for Affordable Care and too rich for Medicaid. So he continued to have no insurance at all. Until that fateful day when it was no longer needed.
They found his body in his truck in front of the pharmacy just a few blocks from home. He was clutching his rescue asthma inhaler. What a horrible, lonely, terrifying way to go.
I will never know what happened that day, but I will always think that if he had been able to get adequate medical care, if his asthma and his heart issues could have been brought under control, the love of my life would still be alive. And the only thing that stood between him and that medical care was a republican governor who was trying to make a political point. And the final bitter irony is that my boyfriend was many things, but a democrat was not one of them.
Make no mistake: any political party that is willing to risk peoples’ lives just so they can try to make a president’s initiative look bad and therefore garner more votes for their party is evil. Republicans do not care whether you live or die. They just care about manipulating your vote. People are dying in red states. Fathers, brothers, sons, mothers, sisters, and daughters. They’re dying because they can’t get the insurance that would easily be available to them if these republican governors accepted the available federal funding. And they’ve left behind loved ones who can vote.
So please vote tomorrow. Please. Do it for my boyfriend and for the many other people like him.
Rick Scott, you creepy, lizard-like man with no conscience, j’accuse.