The first thing I thought when I woke up on November 9th was that I may not survive his presidency. I wanted to tell myself I was overreacting or caught up in the emotion of this loss, but I couldn’t. I knew that Donald Trump may kill me, and very few people care or even realize that disabled people aren’t just “at risk” now (we’ve always been at risk). We are under direct attack.
Next year I turn 26, which is the magical age where insurance companies say you can no longer possibly be dependent upon your parents. Within the Affordable Care Act, there is a small, not well known provision that allows me to remain on my Dad’s health insurance as a “disabled dependent.” Without health insurance, I would not be able to afford any of my medications except for prednisone. That is one of 13 prescription medicines I take, plus a monthly infusion of iron & benlysta (modified chemo) that totals $21,000 a pop.
If Donald Trump and Paul Ryan has his way, the ACA and that crucial provision will be repealed in the first year of this new Congress.
My only other option is Medicaid, but you have to be on SSDI for a year before you’re eligible. I’m 8 months into my application process, which could take as long as 2 more years to complete. That means possibly 3 years without health insurance.
Even this backup plan is in peril. Our new government is rabidly anti-welfare and has pledged to cut funding to Medicaid or dispose of it altogether if they can.
Understand, I won’t just be in pain or laid up without my medicines. I won’t have just arthritis or mobility problems. I won’t just be uncomfortable. Like many of my disabled friends, I will die. Again: I will die. It will be slow, and it will be painful, but the end result will be the same. And I am among some of the most secure and privileged disabled people in this country.
So this is a call to everyone (and I mean everyone):
Don’t forget about us. Don’t forget about us when you’re advocating for reproductive rights, civil rights, social justice, and environmental protection. Disabled lives intersect all of those. We need your help. We need you to fight with us and for us at every turn because we are among the most vulnerable in society.
Taken from a personal Facebook post I made November 30, 2016 in response to this article. Featured image is from a series by Tom Olins in 1990 during a protest for accessible transportation in Atlanta. You can see more here.