Originally posted at One Hot Mess. Republished with permission.
I didn’t really mean to become friends with Frances. Not because I’m unfriendly, but simply because I dreaded the idea of hanging out with one of my daughter’s random friend’s parents. This was not my idea of a good time.
But the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and Paige had squeaky-wheeled me into calling “Lena’s mom.” I scrawled a half-assed note and dropped it in “Lena’s mom’s” school folder with my phone number.
I was sort of relieved when I didn’t hear back right away, because frankly I was a little bit intimidated by the vibe of “Lena’s mom.” I’d seen her in the hallway of the girls’ preschool and she seemed tough, even by my born-and-raised-in-NYC standards.
I’d witnessed her road-raging out at someone on the way to school one day. I’d overheard her talking about halibut fishing on her dad’s boat in Ketchikan. I was to later discover that Frances was a key member of any zombie apocalypse team, with wide-ranging practical skills from elaborate cake-baking, to pickling and canning, to gardening, to tire-changing, to giant boat-driving.
In other words, a doomsday-prepper’s dream.
At the time though, she was just another parent at preschool, and a bit of a spicy and frosty one at that.
Fast forward to a call back, a playdate, many cocktails, many more playdates, and even a moms-only birthday trip to Seattle, and it’s safe to say Frances is one of the biggest friend scores of my adult life. And I owe it all to Paige’s persistence at nagging me for a playdate with Lena.
Right about the time we became friends, Frances was finishing up chemotherapy for lymphoma, with which she’d been diagnosed shortly after her second daughter, Aurelia, was born. One of the first parties she invited me to was a celebration of completing chemo. (She’s also a great event planner).
I’m thinking about Frances today and the millions of Americans who Congress is effectively telling to drop dead.
When I contact our senators, which I’ve been doing a lot of lately, I hear nothing back, and last week they voted against the life of my friend and the lives of millions of other people with preexisting conditions who did nothing wrong besides have the misfortune to get sick in America.
What Congress is doing is nothing short of murder. It’s bad enough that its membership is beholden to corporations and lobbies instead of the American people. Now, their petty partisan brinkmanship, pandering, and in-fighting is literally killing their constituents.
Remember, the people who will be harmed here are the same people who elected these senators and representatives to advocate for their best interests. So now, instead of doing that, they’re robbing them of the health coverage they’ve come to rely on and that they need to survive.
God forbid Frances or others in her predicament experience a recurrence of cancer, because treatment costs six figures the first time. Unfortunately, the chance of a recurrence is high. Frances had direct radiation to her breasts, lungs, and thyroid every single day for a month and has a weakened heart as a result of chemotherapy.
What will she do if her cancer comes back? Nothing, if Congress has anything to say about it.
“Repeal and replace” is a great catchphrase, but it doesn’t mean much when there’s actually no replacement.
“Fixing what doesn’t work” is also a nice idea, if only that were the plan.
But let’s not kid ourselves. That’s not the plan, because there is no plan. Congress isn’t fixing shit. It’s kicking down a big tower of blocks because it hates the kid who built it.
Millions of Americans of all political stripes stand to lose health care coverage under Congress’s latest base and craven shenanigans, leaving them with what? Leeches and blood-letting in supposedly the wealthiest democracy on earth?
The truth is that a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act — especially elements like coverage to age 26 and of preexisting conditions — is deeply unpopular, but Congress doesn’t care. It’s determined to do away with the ACA because of a juvenile political vendetta that no American who has ever been to a doctor in this country gives two shits about.
There are no words for how fucked up that is. Actually, there’s one word for it: