Hard to stay quiet about health care

By: Anne Todd - Contributing columnist

The crepe myrtles lining 401 South are beautiful. All around us we hear happy sounds of children enjoying summer vacation: day camps through Scotland County Parks and Recreation or churches, baseball and softball games, summer feeding sites, free programs at the Scotland County Library.

Groups have organized fan collections for seniors. The post office had its food drive; men’s health events occurred. Some people are fortunate to get away to visit families or to enjoy the beaches and mountains nearby. We even got to see Zamir White pick up his UGA hat on his mother’s birthday, and we get to see him play another year at Pate Stadium. St. Andrews is readying its football field for the inaugural year. Why can’t we just be happy and stay cool?

We cannot because we must keep our guards up every day and every hour. There are so many competing issues in our national politics that we find ourselves divided. We know that friends, family members, and neighbors may not share our opinions. We see news that may not be true from all sides. It would be easy to sit in front of our fans and eat a fresh peach and wish it would all go away. After all, we can change nothing but our attitudes, right?

Wishing it all away is not working. As a former Republican who worked the polls, I am now registered as Unaffiliated. I vote in the primary of my choice and research candidates instead of political parties.

I try very hard to read and listen to unbiased news and thought-provoking commentaries. I strive not to offend friends who probably support political leaders who daily offend me. However, try as I might, I can no longer pretend to be neutral. Proposed changes to our nation’s delivery of healthcare will affect us as individuals, as families, and as a local community. If we can unite around no other issue, we must consider ignoring our differences for this one. Research for yourselves the history of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It was modified and watered down and phased in over several years. Nicknamed Obamacare, it was the subject around which many politicians campaigned, promising to replace or repeal it.

The ACA, while not perfect, has removed pre-existing and lapse in coverage reasons for claim denials, while allowing adult children to be covered until age 26. It has allowed people not covered through employers to shop the open market instead of living in fear of life-changing illnesses. All predictions have not been realized; some people still play the odds instead of budgeting for health insurance. Nevertheless, we cannot go back to what we experienced before 2010. We cannot accept the cruel proposal now in the Senate.

If you are temporarily able-bodied and do not know a personal healthcare need, I will gladly share the story of my granddaughter, Abby. A very rare genetic disorder necessitates a daily maintenance routine that you probably cannot imagine. Routine visits to specialists and sporadic hospitalizations are her family’s reality. Medicaid CAP/C allows her parents to work; they are both employed in our local school system and strive to improve the lives of many young people. As for Abby, her joy for living is simply contagious. She uses every ounce of her ability and enriches the lives of all who know her. If proposed cuts

reduce her level of care, the nightmare of pre-2010 fights for coverage of every service will haunt her family once more.

Please research the impact of this proposal. Read the report from our federal Office of Management and Budget, a non-partisan agency charged with shedding light on the consequences of any proposed bills. The predictions of people losing coverage under the current proposals come from those number crunchers, not from any one political party. Professional groups of certified accountants are sounding alarms. County Health Departments and private doctors once again are uncertain and concerned. Nursing homes and small hospitals may be in panic mode. Do your homework before you take sides. Consider the impact on our local economy. Scotland Healthcare System is the largest employer in our county. Scotia Village and other nursing home providers may be affected. Even if you do not see healthcare as a right for the most fragile among us, consider the long-reaching affects. Surely we can reach consensus and fight together on this crucial issue.

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Anne Todd

Contributing columnist

Anne Todd, a retired educator, lives in Laurinburg.

Anne Todd, a retired educator, lives in Laurinburg.