The US House of Representatives took a bold step forward in voting to rip the health care from millions Americans today, including me.
I was laid off from my staff writing job at an environmental news site in January, three days after the inauguration. Because of the job, I’d spent the previous two years reporting on the end of the world, and it was burning me out. My girlfriend would ask if I wanted tacos or pizza for dinner and I’d think, “What’s the point? Climate change is gonna kill us all soon anyway.” This was no way to live, and while getting laid off was upsetting, I had wished aloud, many times, that exactly that would happen. It was hard to be too depressed. There was, however, one huge problem: health insurance. I was about to lose mine.
Or, at least, it would have been a problem if not for the Affordable Care Act. When President Barack Obama signed the ACA, Washington joined 32 states in expanding Medicaid coverage. Because of this, I was able to immediately sign up for Medicaid after losing my job. It was a huge relief, and without the ACA, getting laid off wouldn’t have been a surprise sabbatical; it would have been a disaster.
Now, the GOP and President Trump (words that are still hard to type) are one step closer to dismantling the ACA without knowing how many Americans would lose their health insurance or even how much it would costs. We do, however, know that cutting billions in Medicaid spending will hurt 11 million low-income seniors and people with disabilities. It will hurt the 30 million children who get their insurance through Medicaid. And it will hurt everyone who benefited from the ACA Medicaid expansion, including me.
If this happens, some people will go broke and others will die. The GOP knows this and they don’t seem to care. But, there is another consequence of passing this terrible legislation that may get their attention: If the Make America Great Again Health Care Act or whatever they are calling it passes and I lose my health insurance, I will be forced to gay marry my girlfriend just to get on her benefits.
Republicans in the Senate: This bill comes to you next. Do you really want more gay marriage on your hands? We will have a ceremony. There will be women in suits. Lots of them.
Think about that before you vote.