I was awake before dawn, fretting. At lease I was asleep at 3 a.m.; I’ve been awakening between 3 and 4, fretting. When light came, which was late as there was thick cloud, I discovered a light snow had fallen overnight; it’s still snowing!
We live a block or so from the lake. Occasionally during the winter, before the lake freezes, which it now seldom does, we have “lake effect” snows. These events are a tad capricious and can give us a good deal of snow; go a couple more blocks away from the lake and snow depths will be much less!
The last couple of days I have received notes from two people I care for and respect. Each was writing about how proposed changes to health care would impact their lives. Both have chronic, life threatening conditions that require expensive medications and ongoing medical interventions. They would be the first to lose coverage, and would then have pre-existing conditions that would make acquiring new insurance virtually impossible. The loss of health insurance would at best impoverish them, and might well kill them.
I, too, have chronic health issues (mine accompanying a history of Bulbar Polio) that become more complex as I age. I rely on mechanical support for breathing at night, braces for walking, and a scooter or power chair for traveling long distances; new, Polio related, problems arise with some regularity. Then there are the everyday health challenges that accompany aging and are not polio related. My guess is that, at least for now, I can remain insured, although that may well prove challenging.
If you are of a certain age, you may remember that the March of Dimes promised to meet the health care needs of Polio survivors for the duration of their lives. By the time I was in my teens, they were no longer offering aid to most Polios. Now I am on Medicare, the nation wide health plan for seniors, and I am again facing broken promises. The incoming national administration seems determined to do away with the program, casting all of us to the winds. So familiar!
I was raised with the understanding that the community is only as well off as its least supported member. I am left, now, and at 3 a.m. many mornings, pondering the question so many Native people have been asking since early contact: “What sort of people abandon their own?” Sadly, those coming to power, like many of their predecessors, appear to have a very narrow definition of who constitute their own. That leaves a great many people, mostly those with the greatest need and the least resources, to their own devices.