Citizenship is bipartisan

This morning I said to Loved-One, “Due to Trump, good things are happening.”

“Like what?” he replied through a fog of sleep.  It was 5:00, afterall.

“Well, Congress is taking steps to curb Executive Orders,” I said.  “That began a downward spiral with GWB, and got worse with Obama.”


“And Congress is finally realizing who their boss is.  Not the President, but us.” 

Loved-One is not a morning person, so I had the bully pulpit.

“And a whole lot of citizens realize it’s up to us to let our Congressmen know what we want and need.”

That made me think of John McCain and how it relates to some local health care advocates.

 I admire John McCain’s address to Congress, “We are the servants of a great nation, ‘a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.’” 

All over the country, people  demonstrate what they think their “servants” in the Senate should do next. I got a chance to talk to some local activists about what direction our nation should go to fix healthcare.  

Juliane Morawski, a retired nurse after a 30-year career, experienced first-hand the impact that a lack of good insurance has, through her experience in the emergency room. “It’s financially a disaster, it’s a waste of money, and it’s a drain on the health care system,” she said. “The loss of planned parenthood would be devastating. We need primary affordable care for these people right where they are.” She went on to explain that abortions are a small part of Planned Parenthood’s services. “They do depression screening, abuse screening, breast exams Pap smears, HIV testing, among other things.”

According to a 2016 Guttmacher Institute survey, only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortions. Twenty-six percent of patients said Planned Parenthood is their only source of healthcare. Men can also get services for prostate, colon and testicular cancer screening, vasectomies, infertility screenings, and sexual-health services, among other necessary health treatments. The transgender population can get hormone therapy. (Guttmacher Institute, is a non-profit that works to advance sexual and reproductive health worldwide.)

For Morawski, it’s a moral issue. “We have to take care of each other,” she said. I was born with access to enough resources, not everyone is that lucky.” She’s worked with the Community Health Partnership in Harvard and said she’s seen first-hand the improvements to healthcare the ACA, also known as Obamacare, has done for people.

Drew Knobloch, has insurance through his employer, yet he’s quick to tick off the benefits the ACA affords him: “No annual maximum, no lifetime maximum, preventable care is covered 100%.” He went on to say, “In a first world country, no one should go broke because of health care.”

Crystal Squires is military spouse with chronic depression. She’s part of several activist groups, including “Medicare for All.” She and her husband have a trans-gender daughter. “Chronic depression and transgender are on the list of pre-existing conditions for the proposed repeal bills,” she explained. Squires helped organize volunteers for Women’s March on July 22. Woodstock was one of the stops along Grace Wilbur Trout’s 1910 suffragette tour.

Jeff Varda thinks Healthcare is a basic right. He’s pragmatic about the reasons. “Keeping the population healthy leads to more productivity.” Although he says he has not benefitted directly from ACA, “Good healthcare is something all Americans should do for America.”

Kim Rosengren’s immediate family is from Sweden. Healthcare is not a problem there. “You go in, you give your birth number, and you get treatment. It’s very affordable,” said Rosengren. “Norway passed Universal Healthcare in 1912, England has had it for 70 years. It’s time we repair, not repeal ACA.” Rosengren has a sister with Addison’s disease, which made her uninsurable before the ACA. She blames the health cost problems on the profitable insurance companies. “They need to be reined in.” Acknowledging that medical costs rate of increase has slowed, she thinks it’s still rising too fast.

Allen Williams, a retired Science teacher, said, “At the end of my time, I want to tell my children I tried.” His youngest daughter, 28, has pre-existing condition and benefits from the ACA. “We were too complacent,” he said with a tear in his eye. “We thought everything was getting better.” He has been an activist since the Viet Nam War era. “The basic principles of liberty, decency, and humanity are being undermined. It’s a shock,” he said. “It took so long to hobble together the ACA. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step forward. People don’t want to take it away.” William thinks Medicare for All is a simple idea. Everyone would pay a premium until they reach retirement age. “We should all bond together and pay into the system, like we do for schools or the police department. It’s that simple.”

Not one of the citizens I talked to heard McCain’s speech, yet they echoed his sentiment:

“Incremental progress, compromises that each side criticize but also accept…is our system of government, operating in a country as diverse and quarrelsome and as free as ours.”

A stateman says and does things that help us strive for a better future.  They lift us up to be a better citizen.  I think John McCain did that with his speech. So did the people I talked to about healthcare. For the full text of John McCain’s speech, click here.  Then pop back over here and let me know what you think.