Let’s Just Call it Humancare…

by Brandon

I’m neither a democrat nor a republican. My opinion of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) would be exactly the same if it were called Romneycare, Trumpcare, Bushcare, or Carebearcare. I don’t care who introduced it. I only care about what it does, what it doesn’t do, and what it should do.

During this blog, I’ll be talking about the good aspects of Obamacare, and I’ll be talking about the bad aspects. And the only thing I’m asking of you, my readers, is that you put your political affiliations aside while you read this blog. For the next few minutes, please forget about democrats and republicans. Forget about Barack Obama. Forget about liberals and conservatives.

I’m humbly asking you to read this blog as a human being with an open mind.

I’m writing this because I need your help. You have it in your power to save my life, and I’m gonna’ be honest here…

I don’t want to die.

So please… just for today… try to see all sides of this debate. And trust me… there are more sides than two.

My life could literally depend on whether or not you give me a few minutes of your day.

You see, I still have faith in Americans. I don’t have a lot of faith in America’s politicians, but my faith in the American people is still strong. I think most democrats are good people. I think most republicans are good people. And I think both sides of this debate just want to do the right thing. They want to save American lives. They simply disagree on the how.

On Facebook, I regularly see very mean-spirited arguments about Obamacare, and it always seems to be a war between two extremes. One side wants to repeal Obamacare, and the other side wants to preserve it. One side refuses to see any good in Obamacare and the other side refuses to see anything bad.

And because of that mentality, we think there are only two options when it comes to Obamacare: We can keep it or we can repeal it.

I’m here to offer up a third option… an option I think we all – democrats, republicans, and everybody in-between – can agree on, if we’re willing to let go of the politics.

I’m offering this option because my life literally depends on Americans coming together on this issue. And it’s not just my life. Thousands of lives are hanging in the balance.

The ultimate conclusion of the healthcare debate will determine whether or not thousands of Americans will live or die.

As one of those thousands, I’m here to ask you to consider my third option. And at this point, I’m not above begging.

Like I said, I really don’t want to die…

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. The battle that followed was brutal. To say I “almost died” is an understatement. It’s more accurate to say I lived in a persistent state of almost dead. I barely survived the fight, and even if the cancer never comes back, I’ll have certain disabilities until the day I die. In the battle, I lost my colon, my bladder, my rectum, and my prostate. For the rest of my life, I’ll have two bags attached to my stomach and I’ll need regular medical care.

In regards to Obamacare and what it does for Americans, I can only speak from personal experience. I admit my experience is anecdotal, but it’s experience nonetheless… and based on that experience, I can say two things with certainty:

1. I’m not an expert on national healthcare.

That’s right. I don’t have a degree that says my opinion is better than your opinion. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know anybody who’s an expert.

If you tell me Obamacare is making premiums unaffordable, I won’t disagree. For my wife and I, premiums have actually gotten better, but I admit we could just be lucky. If you say your premiums have gone up, I believe you. And if you say it’s because of Obamacare, I’m not qualified to say you’re wrong. Maybe you’re absolutely right. I don’t know.

And if you tell me Obamacare is putting too much of a burden on healthy people in this country, I won’t argue with that either. To be honest, I don’t have the ability to see that point objectively because I’m not one of the healthy people in this country. I wish to God I were, but I’m not. So I can’t say I know how you feel. I don’t.

I guess my point is this: I don’t want you to think I’m here to argue with you about anything. I’m perfectly willing to accept all criticisms of Obamacare at face value.

In fact, it would be absurd to suggest that Obamacare is without flaws. Of course it has flaws. I’m sure it has plenty of flaws. Some we know about and some we haven’t even discovered yet.

So if you say Obamacare has caused you problems in some way, I believe you.

I only ask that you return the favor when I say…

2. Obamacare saved my life, and it continues to save my life.

There is absolutely no question in my mind that I would be dead if it weren’t for Obamacare. As a self-employed author, Obamacare allowed me to purchase insurance that provided me with the healthcare that saved my life. And now that I have a pre-existing condition, Obamacare is the only thing that prevents the insurance companies from dropping me like bad habit.

I’ve been through three surgeries, months of radiation, and almost a year of chemotherapy. Without insurance, those options would not have been available to me. There are no chemotherapy wings in American Emergency Rooms. You have to have insurance for that kind of treatment.

So yeah… I’d be dead without Obamacare. And my life still depends on Obamacare’s protection of people with pre-existing conditions.

In short, if Obamacare is repealed, I could actually die.

So there you have it. I don’t deny the problems, but I’m also absolutely certain that some good has come from Obamacare. My life, for example.

And I’m not alone.

Before Obamacare came along, there was a healthcare related study done (in 2012) by the Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance. That study concluded that, every year, there are around 45,000 American deaths associated with a lack of healthcare.

Think about that for a moment. 45,000 is a very big number. And even if you think that study is grossly exaggerating, the number is still huge. Even if we cut that number in half, if would leave us with 22,500 people.

If any other country in the world attacked America and managed to kill 22,000 Americans, the American people would absolutely vote to go to war with that country. No matter how long it took, America wouldn’t stop until that country was defeated. And it wouldn’t just be about revenge. It would be about preventing that country from killing that many Americans again.

And yet 45,000 Americans were murdered every year by a lack of healthcare and we – as a country – did nothing.

Instead, we bicker about a healthcare bill because it has Obama’s name attached to it. We demand the repeal of the only bill that’s so much as tried to do something.

For decades, Americans have been dying because we didn’t have a good healthcare law. People with pre-existing conditions were refused care. I know this because my wife was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was four years old, and before Obamacare, no insurance company would cover her. They acted like it was absurd that she even asked for insurance.

My wife deserves to die because of a disease she got when she was four? Is that really the country we want to be?

So we know that at least one aspect of Obamacare saves thousands of lives every year, yet we’re okay with demanding that it’s repealed? If those same people were killed by terrorists, we wouldn’t let politics stop us from doing something about it. Why aren’t we extending that same care toward people who are killed by sickness?

If you oppose Obamacare, I respect that. For all I know, your every complaint is absolutely right.

But even if you are right, do you really want to sacrifice thousands of human lives to fix those complaints?

Wouldn’t you rather look for an option that fixes your complaints without killing those of us who are depending on Obamacare to live?

I want your problems with Obamacare to be addressed. I want them to be fixed. I agree with you that Obamacare isn’t perfect.

But please… I humbly ask you…

Work with me to fix these problems without sacrificing human lives.

If you truly oppose Obamacare because you think it’s a bad plan… if this truly is not about politics… let’s work together to address your complaints in a way that preserves life.

You see, that’s the one thing politicians on both sides don’t want us to consider. They don’t want us to consider the possibility that Obamacare is flawed but fixable. They don’t want us to compromise.

Contrary to what they claim, compromise is their enemy.

That’s because politicians need Obamacare to exist in extremes. Obamacare has to be good or bad. Great or terrible. Save it or repeal it. They don’t want us to think fixing it is an option. They don’t want us to think compromise is possible.

As long as the politicians have us thinking it’s an issue with only two sides – save it or repeal it – they can get our votes without having to do any real work.

Democrats can say, “Vote for a democrat and we’ll protect Obamacare!”

Republicans can say, “Vote for a republican and we’ll repeal Obamacare!”

Easy. Simple. Deadly.

But if we realize Obamacare can be fixed, it won’t matter which party is in control. Either side can fix it.

And politicians will suddenly have to tell us how they’ll fix it. They’ll suddenly be required to actually earn our votes.

Yes, Obamacare needs to be fixed. It’s got some undeniable flaws. You won’t hear many democratic politicians admit that, though. They’re afraid admitting it has major flaws will give a political advantage to the republicans.

And republicans are no better. Contrary to what they want you to think, Obamacare can be fixed. It absolutely can be altered. It’s not beyond repair.

As a matter of fact, Obamacare has been altered dozens of times already, and it can easily be altered again.

So members of both parties have a tendency to exaggerate when it comes to Obamacare. They just exaggerate in opposite directions. Let’s be honest here…. if this exact bill had been voted into law by republicans, most democrats in congress would hate it today and most republicans in congress would love it. That’s because it’s a tool for them. It’s not about saving lives. It’s about winning.

So let’s work together to take this law away from the politicians. Let’s stop letting the politicians tell us what’s  good or bad. They clearly have ulterior motives.

We can make no progress if we only criticize those who disagree with us. We only move forward when we hold the people on “our side” to a higher standard. We have to be willing to criticize our allies and our representatives. Otherwise, we’ll all just stand in place, throwing stones at each other.

If the Obamacare debate must be a contest between two sides, why can’t we make it the voters versus the politicians who are sacrificing human lives in order to gain a political advantage?

And that, my friends, is why I’ve written this blog…

If this really isn’t about politics for you… if you’re truly against the ACA because you think it’s flawed, then let’s work together to fix those flaws.

The first step is simple: Let’s take the “Obama” out of Obamacare.

Having Obama’s name attached to this bill automatically makes it a political issue. We need to remove the political bickering from this issue. Lives are at stake, and I know none of you, whether you’re democrats or republicans, want to sacrifice human lives just to win a political game.

We have to make it clear that a person can oppose Obama, yet support fixing Obamacare. The one has nothing to do with the other.

I don’t care if you love Obama. I don’t care if you hate Obama.

You opinion of Obama should have nothing to do with your opinion of Obamacare.

So let’s just call it what it is:

The Affordable Care Act (or just the ACA, for short).

Or… if that isn’t pithy enough for you… let’s just call it Humancare.

Truth is, you can call all it whatever you want. Just don’t let the name of the law prevent you fixing it.

So, from this moment on, I will no longer refer to it as Obamacare. I’ll be calling it the Affordable Care Act or the ACA.

I welcome you to join me.

And once we have the name issue resolved, we can move on to step two:

We must demand that this law is fixed by congress.

We must demand that the current group of candidates running for president don’t take an action that kills thousands of Americans. Let’s make them stop this “repeal” nonsense. Instead, let’s force them to fix it. Let’s force them to do a little work and specify exactly what they think is wrong with the ACA, then they can tell us how they’ll address that problem.

We don’t need broad generalizations. We don’t need them to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

We need them to fix the ACA.

Any other option will likely kill Americans. If we leave it as it is, without addressing the obvious flaws, people will ultimately suffer. I have no doubt of this.

But if we let the politicians repeal this law, we’re pretty much sentencing many Americans to die.

Repealing it would be fine if we could trust the politicians to immediately replace it with something better, but it’s time for us to be realistic here… it’s very unlikely that it would immediately be replaced with something else. We know this because politicians had decades to pass a healthcare law, and they did nothing. If they had passed something that addressed the problems with our healthcare system, we wouldn’t have needed the ACA in the first place. So why should we trust them now?

We shouldn’t.

If the ACA is repealed, it would probably be years before another bill was voted into law. And every year that passed without a replacement, thousands of Americans would die. And even after a bill is finally introduced, it will be almost impossible to pass it. If the bill comes from republicans, democrats will try to stop it. If it comes from democrats, republicans will try to stop it.

The bottom line is this: The only way we can truly fix the ACA’s problems without killing Americans is by forcing congress to fix it instead of repealing it.

If we let go of the politics surrounding this law, it quickly becomes obvious that fixing it is the best path forward.

So I’m asking you…

No, I’m begging you…

Let’s come together, not as democrats or republicans or any other party.

Let’s come together as Americans and let’s demand that the politicians in congress fix the Affordable Care Act without killing Americans in the process.

Here’s your chance to be a hero… to be my hero.

Here’s your chance to help save my life and the lives of thousands of other Americans by making sure the 2016 election doesn’t kill us.

Let’s demand that politicians stop acting like the only option is the extreme option. Let’s demand that they do the one thing they all claim they want to do… let’s demand compromise.

If you want to help, share this blog on Facebook and Twitter. Use the hashtag #humancare .

And we don’t have to stop there. We live in an era where we can make sure all of the candidates see this blog. Let’s use technology to our advantage. Let’s show them that this isn’t about winning…

Let’s show them that this is about human beings, like me. It’s about people.

People who don’t want to die.

If you’re feeling particularly helpful, share this blog on Obama’s Facebook page. And on Donald Trump’s page. Share it on the pages that belong to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, or any other politician who might have a say when it comes to the American healthcare system. Tweet this blog on their Twitter accounts (@BarackObama, @HillaryClinton, @SenSanders, @realDonaldTrump, @marcorubio, @JebBush, @RealBenCarson, @CarlyFiorina, @TedCruz, @GovMikeHuckabee, and anybody else you can think of). Or share it on CNN’s Facebook page, or MSNBC’s, or Fox News. Or share it on their Twitter feeds (@CNN, @MSNBC, @FoxNews ). I added the links to each respective page above, just to make it easier for you. And, of course, share it with anybody I might have left out. Anybody you think might listen.

I’m just being honest here, folks… I’m terrified of the 2016 election.

I’m desperate. I’m not ashamed to admit it. This blog is my last-ditch effort to stop the politicians from killing me.

I want the people who are suffering because of the ACA to be helped. I want the problems with the ACA to be addressed. I want them to be fixed.

But please… I beg you… human to human… don’t let the politicians sacrifice my life to gain a political advantage. We have a middle ground; let’s use it. Nobody has to suffer and nobody has to die. The solution can be found in five simple words:

Fix the Affordable Care Act.

Remove the parts that are bad. Add whatever is needed. Tweak it. Improve it.

But please… don’t take it from me. I need it.

I need the protections that are provided by the ACA. Thousands of Americans need those protections. Don’t let them take away our insurance. Don’t let them deny us the healthcare we need to live.

So just this once, can we please come together and fix the problem instead of starting over. Starting over will almost certainly cause Americans to die. And one unnecessary death is one death too many.

To the folks who oppose the ACA, I respect your complaints and I think you should continue to speak out against the aspects of this law that you don’t like. That’s progress. But progress does not come from screaming generalizations like, “Obamacare sucks!” without giving any specifics. So if you really want progress, I want to help. I want your complaints to be addressed. Feel free to use the comments section of this blog to list the specific problems you have with the law. Be respectful, but be honest. That way, if any of the politicians I’ve listed above actually see this blog, they’ll also have a list of the problems you have with the law, so they can consider the ways to address them.

Every problem with the ACA can be fixed. Don’t let the politicians convince you otherwise. They can fix it. They just don’t want to because they don’t think it’ll benefit them politically. It’s easier to just villainize the entire law.

So let’s demand that they actually fix the problems instead of just using the law to get elected. Let’s hold them all to a higher standard, even the ones on “our side” (whichever side that is).

Everybody can win this one. Really. There doesn’t have to be a losing side.

All they have to do is fix the problems within the law instead of pretending there’s nothing good about it.

It saved my life. Surely, that’s at least a little good. Is it so hard to admit there are good things and bad things about the ACA?

This is our chance. Change has to start somewhere, so let’s make that somewhere here. Let’s share this blog on their pages. Let’s make them listen.

I’ll even break my vow and say it one last time, just to make sure there’s no confusion:

Fix Obamacare.

Fix the Affordable Care Act.

Fix the bad without destroying the good.

Whether you share this blog or not…  from the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading this.

I’m no expert on healthcare. I’m just a guy who truly believes compromise is the way to end this debate, once and for all.

I’m just a guy who doesn’t want to die.

Whether you share this blog on the links above or not, thank you for reading this. Even if you disagree with everything I’ve said, thank you for taking the time to listen to me. Even if you don’t share this blog, the fact that you took the time to read it gives me hope that maybe… just maybe… we’re all on the same side of this one, even if we disagree about the details.

We all want to save lives. This is just my humble attempt to show the politicians that this law is about people. It’s my attempt to get them to know I exist… and you can help me do that.

I want them to know I’m a voter, but more importantly, I want them to know I’m a human being.

Please do the right thing. If you must oppose the ACA, please oppose it responsibly.

My life is in your hands.

Thank you.

– Brandon Hale

p.s. I know this is a very important topic for many of you and I welcome your comments. I’m not the king of the ACA just because I had cancer. I understand there are other perspectives on this. I only ask that you keep all comments respectful. I won’t censor anybody’s opinion in the comments section, but I will delete any comments that are mean or blatantly disrespectful. This blog is about coming together, not political bickering.

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