While President Trump celebrated with GOP lawmakers at the White House after the House passed the Republican-backed health care bill, I could not help but feel a profound sense of disgust, anxiety and anger.
Here were a bunch of mostly men who have access to the best health care in the world reveling and rejoicing at the fact they were one step closer to denying that very same access to millions of people. If the American Health Care Act, aka Trumpcare, is enacted, the death, despair and decimation that will result are almost incalculable.
For me this is more than academic. At 34 years old, I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, which is considered to be one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer. There I was a mother of three very young girls having to cope with this most devastating diagnosis. Complications ensued and there was a close call with the hereafter when doctors found a blood clot in my heart.
Thankfully, this year I will be celebrating 9 years cancer-free. I am also fortunate enough to have private insurance provided by my employer. It was that arduous cancer journey that led me to dedicate my life to helping other women battling the scourge of cancer. As a patient navigator at the Columbia University Medical Center I am on the frontlines everyday helping to navigate the care of breast and gynecologic oncology patients. It is not a job — it is a calling.
It is also not easy. This bill will make it impossible. I do the Lord’s work in the proud and working class community of Washington Heights, which has the highest concentration of immigrants in all of New York City. This tax cut for the rich disguised as a health care bill will wreak utter destruction on this community, especially those battling with cancer and other grave illnesses. Not only do they have the burden of a chronic, potentially life-threatening disease, they also struggle with being priced out of their neighborhood due to gentrification and accessing the already limited resources as a result of it.