Photo: CBS News
Like most of us, they demanded change from our elected officials. The Democrats failed to give us that change.
The use of fossil fuel is going the way of the dinosaurs from which it was created and cleaner sources of energy are replacing it, necessary if our planet is to survive--but I feel for these people. They can only think of the survival of themselves and their families. That's human nature. I care about the environment and the economy. Those things are important to our future. But my priorities right now are the things most important to me: Social Security and Affordable Healthcare.
Both of these things are on the Republican chopping block.
I'm 63 years old. I chose to take Social Security early because frankly, I don't think it's going to be around when I'm 70 or even 65, if the Republicans have their way. I've advised my son, who's now 37, to make other advance arrangements for his retirement when the time comes. I wonder how long I'll be able to get those monthly checks, how much I'll get back of the money I paid into it.
As for health care, the Affordable Care Act has been a godsend. It's by no means perfect, but it's enabled me to see doctors when I need to, to get the medications I need--and there are a large number of them. I take twelve pills each day. I'm epileptic. I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Low thyroid. Arthritis. Glaucoma. Sometimes I think the list of problems I don't have is shorter than the list of everything that's wrong with me.
For the past 31 years, I've been a professional writer, a novelist--which means I'm self-employed. Before that, I worked for a major advertising agency, where I had excellent insurance, provided by my employer. I should have bought health insurance when I sold my first novel--I was making good enough money to do so. But making good money was my excuse, in a way. I just paid cash when I went to the doctor or picked up prescriptions. That was fine--at first. But chronic illness can and does wipe out one's bank accounts. My mother was diabetic and had multiple strokes. She was totally disabled and dependent upon my son and me. After my father's unexpected passing--a massive heart attack following surgery--I had an emotional meltdown, For years, I couldn't write. Eventually, the income from my books dried up, for the most part. I ended up broke and unable to keep taking all of those meds. That took a toll. These days, my eyesight is so poor, I can't read well. My concentration is better on some days than others. And arthritis makes it difficult for me to write or to even use the computer without speech recognition software.
The Affordable Care Act enabled me to get treatment for those pre-existing conditions. It's enabled me to see my doctor regularly, to get my meds and tests when needed. I had a CT scan a few months ago. Because of my insurance coverage, it only cost $49. Without coverage, I would not have had the test.
When I hear people saying they're sick of "free" this and "affordable" that, it angers me. Anyone can end up in a desperate situation. Anyone. People on welfare, people who depend on services like food stamps or affordable healthcare are not just lazy, not all drug-addicted or mentally ill. They're mostly working class people who can't get a job that pays a living wage, people who have been laid off their jobs, people who are trying but still not making ends meet. Or people like me, who made good money but bad decisions.
There but for the grace of God go you. Think about that when you're tempted to judge.