By Adam Schwartz
While many in this country are justifiably talking about President Donald Trump’s remarks about NFL players, many are forgetting about another fight. A fight that is quite literally life or death: healthcare.
Instead of attempting to persuade you with arguments about why the new Cassidy-Graham bill is detrimental to our system, I want to personalize the story with my own experiences with our nation’s complicated health care system.
I am a Type 1 diabetic. I have been since I was in the first grade of elementary school. No, that doesn’t mean I have an unhealthy diet that leads to my developing this disease. No, it doesn’t mean I just need to “eat right,” and all my problems will go away. Type 1 diabetes is a genetic and lifetime disease that I did nothing to contract; it’s in my genetics.
Because of this, I have been a part of our healthcare system since I was seven and I will continue to be a part of it until the day I die. I am lucky enough to have insurance through my parents who cover the majority of my costs of this unasked-for burden. If I were like the 28.2 percent uninsured Americans in 2016, I probably wouldn’t be alive to write about this.
One medication, Novolog Insulin, alone can cost upwards of $577.70 per bottle, of which I get seven of in one prescription order (totaling a total of $4,043.90 in one trip to the pharmacy). And that is just the basic medicine I need to
survive. That is not including the materials required to administer the drug, which I will not go into for the sake of time but suffice it to say it is no small cost either. I feel the need to reiterate at this point that all of this is not something I need to be “healthy” or “treated;” I need this just to survive like any normal person. And I am not alone.
According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), approximately 1.25 million Americans are living with Type 1 diabetes, and of those 1.25 million, 200,000 of them are under the age of 20. That’s you, that’s me, that’s your
younger sibling, that’s your younger cousin. Chances are you know someone in your family who has Type 1 diabetes. Do they deserve to die because they can’t afford their life-saving medication?
The point here isn’t to insinuate that Republicans want people like me to die. It’s that they do not put real faces to these problems. I don’t believe for one second that any good-minded man would intentionally vote for someone to die. But this bill is implicitly doing just that. It’s allowing for prices to go up on life-saving medications, it’s allowing a company to reject me because of a disease I had no choice in acquiring.
Please, for me, and for the millions in America living with worse things than me,
contact your Congressmen and Congresswomen let them know how their vote could save someone’s life.
This is the opinion of Adam Schwartz, SJU sophomore