The Politics of My Children's Health: 3 Things Politicians Should Keep In Mind


I was lying in bed the other night, watching some show on a news channel. The hot topic of the night was — you guessed it — healthcare. News reporters were debating, senators were giving speeches and guest speakers were chiming in whenever they could.

One person would argue millions of people would lose healthcare under the new plan. The next person would respond by saying that number doesn’t factor in the economy’s growth. The debates continued for what seemed like an eternity.

Then they played a clip of the president saying how he’s going let the present healthcare system implode — then people will come to their senses.

Wait, what did I just hear? I think we need to take a timeout.

I didn’t hear one politician mention my well-being or that of my children.

I’m a mom raising four boys, and all of them have issues. One of my 12-year-olds has asthma and a severe nut allergy. He requires quarterly doctor appointments and several medications, even when he’s not sick. He also carries an Epipen everywhere he goes, just in case (I’m not going into how much that costs). My other 12-year-old has GI issues, nothing too serious, but he also requires medication.

My youngest two, the twins, were born prematurely. They’ve spent a collective 17 weeks in various ICU’s since their untimely arrival. Now one has an autism diagnosis and the other one is developmentally delayed. Together, they see three different doctors and a handful of therapists. They keep me very busy.

As you can imagine, healthcare is very important for my family. Personally, I don’t think either bill is good enough, so I’m not taking sides. Instead, I want to remind our politicians of a few things as they continue their discussions:

1. You aren’t debating a healthcare bill about numbers and statistics; you’re debating the health of real people. Frame your arguments accordingly. I don’t want to hear about tax breaks or special interests. I want to hear about supporting, researching and improving our care.

2. No matter how healthy you are now, you’re only one diagnosis or accident away from being “unhealthy.” We all have family members with age-related illnesses. Many of us have spotty medical histories ourselves. And then there are the children, the ones who can’t speak for themselves. We need to protect them. Even if your own child is “healthy as a horse,” you most certainly know a child who is nt. So before you begin talking about “pre-existing conditions” and “high-risk pools,” I urge you to keep these people in mind.

3. If healthcare fails, you all fail. I don’t care what bill you voted for. You’re not doing enough, as a whole, to improve our care. One side is having closed-door sessions while the other is making speeches to a room full of people in their own party. My 12-year-olds work together better than you do!

So as you continue debating about the health and well-being of my children, please set your egos aside. Focus on the task at hand. Our children are counting on you.

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