Mr. Trump, I’ve got a bone to pick with you.

Dear President Elect Trump,

I suppose I should say congratulations, so, congratulations.

Anyway, on to my reason for writing to you. I doubt you will care, but you’re causing me pain and a few minor panic attacks. Well I should say that you and your incoming administration are the culprits. I know it is shocking, but it is true. I should explain I guess.

I have Crohn’s Disease. You’ve probably never heard of it; don’t worry, most people haven’t. I am pretty sure you can look it up on Twitter. I was diagnosed 17 years ago at the tender age of 13. Across those 17 years, I have been lucky enough to have good health insurance, parents who are willing and able with the financial resources to make sure that I get the best care I can get. But that is all about to change. This is where you come in.

About 2 years ago, I got really sick. I went from working full time, a healthy 135 pounds to a 108 pound weenie, unable to work, forced to move back in with my parents, leaving my adult life in New York City. I moved back to Boston, but I was lucky enough to have worked for perhaps one of the most caring and generous group of people who provided me with insurance, through COBRA until I was able to get MassHealth (I am sure you’re not a fan of that). MassHealth is that pesky thing that the Affordable Care Act is modeled after. That piece of legislation that Mitt Romney, a Republican like you, championed so that people can have health insurance no matter what.

I would love to be able to work again. It is pretty boring sitting at home with my dog feeling useless, but my doctor says that my health is not stable enough to work. My body just doesn’t seem to want to cooperate with our treatment plans. I tried to get disability, but according to Social Security, I am too young and not disabled enough to receive disability.So, here I am, stuck. Why am I stuck? Glad you asked.

You and your cabinet, along with a Republican Senate and House, want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the very act that allows people like me to get health insurance. So, right there is one reason why you are causing me panic attacks. How would you feel if you had a bunch of people you’ve never met, who are a little angry and irrational, deciding on whether or not you get to keep getting the services you need to live a somewhat healthy life?

There is little more frustrating and terrifying than having your individual health at the mercy of a group of volatile politicians. Are they insured through the ACA? Probably not, you guys get health insurance through your job (ironically). Do any of you have a chronic illness? Who knows, but they are not acting like it otherwise they might be fighting against this repeal business a little more. They are certainly not making decisions based on the people they represent.

Maybe Obamacare (as you call it) is not the best solution that there is to get more people the health insurance they need, but 20 million people seemed pretty happy with it.

Health is something we all have the right to, right? That seems pretty basic. I am a white female (ok, you might hold that one against me), from an upper-class family, so I am pretty privileged. I will not deny that. But I am not one of your enemies. I mean, unless you want to build a wall around all the women, those nasty women. But, there are people who are not like me; there are many less privileged, worse off health-wise than I am and need insurance just to make sure they feel a little bit better and a little less stressed.

Our personal health and wellbeing is something we should be able to control, but we can’t. Our health is always at the whim of a bureaucracy: government or insurance companies. Both of these bureaucracies seem to think that they get to decide what treatment you can get, how much you will pay or not pay and when you get it. I guess doctors are really just making suggestions, not diagnoses and well-informed treatment plans. Sure, you can take control of your treatment plan, but you better be able to pay for it or be ok with going deep into debt to pay for those treatments that get denied. They can’t be that expensive, you ask? Oh, they are. One of my shots costs $12,000 each. And I have to take one every 2 months. So, a little math here, that’s $72,000 a year just for that drug. I will leave out the doctors appointments, blood tests, MRIs, CT scans, and other procedures. I don’t want to overwhelm you.

Here I have a conundrum that maybe you would have some insight that could help me. Do I disobey doctor’s orders and potentially jeopardize my health and go back to working full time so I can get health insurance? Or do I stop taking my medication? Or do I get a loan and pay that $72,000 a year? Any advice?

So you see, when you talk about repealing the Affordable Care Act, you are talking about taking away that little bit of hope and peace that the chronically ill have. When insured, we know there is a chance they we will be able to afford and receive the care we need to feel better. We will be able to be just like healthy people. We will be like those healthy senators, representatives, government officials who are now voting to take away the hope of others, at your request. So, YOU are causing me pain and panic and unrest. I doubt you will believe me. Perhaps you will say I am just another nasty woman or a member of the dishonest press (well I am not a journalist so gotcha there). I am just one of the people you are going to be the international representative of and someone you’re going to supposedly lead for the next four years.

I am just one person who are will probably ignore, but I hope you don’t. My health is in your hands.


Anne Aretz