If only having a big heart could overcome having an afflicted neurological system…
The following open letter is by 28-year old Emily Todebush. Emily was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and faces a lifetime of medical problems and major health issues. But Emily is fortunate: she has health insurance. Thanks to her health care coverage, she doesn’t have to face catastrophic medical bills that would bankrupt families without health insurance.
In Michigan and every other state in the United States of America, millions of people who go to work to earn a living don’t have health insurance and don’t make enough money to pay for insurance on their own. These are the people that the Affordable Care Act, though the expansion of Medicaid, would be saved from bankruptcy, crippling diseases, and even death.
Despite the fact that she has health insurance, Emily understands the critical importance of expanding Medicaid in Michigan. While others would be preoccupied with their own problems were they in her shoes, Emily has a heart big enough to care for those not as fortunate as she is. She understands that upwards of a half million Michiganders — WORKING Michiganders desperately need this life-saving health insurance. This is a situation in which, though the tea partiers and conservatives would love to simply shout “GET A JOB!“, having a job is not enough.
Unfortunately, Emily’s senator, John Pappageorge does not understand any of this. Pappageorge is one of the many Republicans with hearts too small and ideologies too large to understand just how important expanding Medicaid is. He is far more concerned about harming our president’s legacy and making sure that he has no successes, even one that would help so many people.
So, Emily wrote to Senator Pappageorge. He has not responded.
Emily’s important letter is below. If you are represented by a Republican that refuses to support the expansion of Medicaid in Michigan, please contact them and let them know they will be held accountable for their un-American refusal to help those who need it most.
And a deeply heartfelt thank you to Emily for sharing her letter with us.
Since I was a very little girl, I have had a tremendous and overwhelming love for my country. I believe that while our union is not perfect, when we gather to debate, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our constitution. We affirm the promise of democracy. We are celebrating that our nation is truly an idea that is unique in its own right; carefully thought out and a masterpiece in the making. It demonstrates that what makes this country exceptional is our allegiance to an idea, a constitution, which our four founders articulated many centuries ago. Our government was carefully designed as a government for, by, and of the people. It is our call to duty to bridge the meaning of the words written as a Declaration of Independence with the realities of our time; for history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing.
I am writing to you today to urge your vote on HB 4714, the Medicaid Expansion bill. The Medicaid Expansion bill HB 4714 is a victory for hard working people who put in long hours for little pay, but can’t afford to see a doctor because they have no health insurance. Medicaid expansion will help provide health coverage to the nearly 400,000 Michigan adults who have no medical coverage. I am disappointed that the senate did not feel that voting on this bill before summer recess was as critical as their own vacations.
You may ask yourself why I care so deeply about this bill. While I myself do not rely on Medicaid, or any government assistance for that matter, I was recently diagnosed with a Relapsing Remitting course of Multiple Sclerosis. If you are unfamiliar with the disease, I should tell you that the unpredictable manner in which this disease attacks makes it almost impossible for me to plan my future. This disease in its progression will deteriorate my brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis and a whole host of other disabilities. Most girls my age (28 years young) look forward to planning their weddings; I plan for my long term care. The cost of care to help prevent and delay disability is absolutely staggering. The cost of the medication that helps stop MS from attacking my body would cost $4,000 a month without insurance, which does not include any of the medications I take to manage my daily symptoms. The cost of annual MRIs to determine the progression of my disease would cost approximately $30,000, assuming everything is normal and do not need to be repeated in 6 months. Those numbers do not include blood tests, office visits with my neurologist, or hospitalization should I have an attack. Without these medications, I would be a prisoner in my own body.
Emily Todebush with some guy named Joe
I am not telling you this to point out how sick I am, but to point out how sick I am not; due to excellent care I receive because I have health insurance. While I am hopeful that I will never need to rely on government assistance, I would think that the government in which I hold to such a high standard, and love so much, would want to do everything in their power to protect people like me and help me live a full and prosperous life; because isn’t that what our Constitution states? Isn’t that what makes this country exceptional? Isn’t that what sets this country apart from the others? I believe that in a prosperous America, no one should go broke because they get sick.
Senator Pappageorge, I am asking you, as your constituent, to please vote for Medicaid Expansion and give people like me the peace of mind that, should the time come when I am unable to care for myself, the state and country that I have loved for the 28 years will have my back. The notion that poor people do not get sick or deserve the same care that is afforded to me, someone who has insurance, is absurd. I am not a taker. I am not someone who saps this government of their resources. I am none of the things in the picture that your party has painted of someone with a pre-existing condition. I am a person. I like to read to my little brothers. I like to BBQ with my friends and family. I like to ride my bike and enjoy the great community in which I pay higher taxes to live in. Most of all Senator Pappageorge, I vote. I cannot in good conscience support any candidate who would help deny 400,000 hard working Michiganders the opportunity to receive medical coverage. The Affordable Care Act is the first step in the right direction for reforming our nation’s health care system. I hope that my story will help you see that this bill far extends beyond party lines.
In good health,
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