courtesy of Elizabeth Wiseman Photography


Yesterday while speaking at the joint Brady Campaign/ARS summit in Washington D.C. and working alongside my friends to save lives due to gun violence, I received a disturbing text.

The U.S. House had just passed a repeal to Obamacare by a vote of 217–213, effectively devastating our individual access to healthcare. Afterwards they celebrated with Bud Lights and a reception in the White House Rose Garden.

I had an immediate horrible ugly feeling because I, as did my friends, realized that Americans will die because of this new GOP plan. The American Health Care Act with at least 50 pre-existing conditions, including pregnancy and rape, which may not have coverage, reeks of meanness. Now we must depend on “thoughts and prayers” the U.S. Senate will prevent the ACHA from becoming law.

The next time someone says to me they are “not political”, I am going to simply lose it.

By not paying attention to who is on your ballot or even not bothering to vote (an estimated 90 million eligible voters did just that in November), you essentially made it much more difficult for your loved ones to stay alive.

By not knowing who represents you in Congress or in your state legislature, you just handed over all of your family medical decisions to those who care only about funding tax credits to the wealthy. If you’re a drug or insurance company who will receive huge tax breaks, oh gee, thanks. You also just made sure my family will suffer or go bankrupt trying to afford to stay alive.

By you telling me that you don’t want to talk “politics”, pay attention to the news or “we have different views”, you are complicit. You are an accomplice to the entire GOP which has such disgust for our previous President, they are heartless enough to destroy the security of healthcare which Obamacare provides to millions.

Don’t get me started on what women will lose — the 51% of us. In case you were too busy to notice, reproductive healthcare, fertility treatments and even access to birth control, have been threatened by the GOP for years. We had over 40 dangerous anti-reproductive care bills this session alone in Missouri. Those with money in the bank will always be able to find a doctor in some progressive state to treat what you might need but your daughter and granddaughters may not. Your D & C for a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy may not be covered under the ACHA and may not even be legal in my state by the time we’re done with session next week. Your inability to care and those of you who voted for a sexually abusive President makes you responsible.

I am not an alarmist. My state has solidly refused the past seven years to expand Medicaid to allow over 300,000 low and middle income Missourians, including children, seniors and those with disabilities, access to healthcare access. My GOP-controlled state legislature has consistently turned away federal dollars with no remorse. Frankly, I just don’t get my colleagues (who remind us daily of their Christian faith) continual “war on the poor”.

The first thing I did upon hearing the news was to check my Missouri congressional delegation votes — all six of our GOP Congressmen/women voted in favor of the ACHA. And to demonstrate further ugliness, Congresswoman Ann Wagner of suburban St. Louis,went on air to yell “freedom!”, delighting in her vote to take away healthcare access. I can’t get “Queen of Mean” out of my head. Who does this and then celebrates with your caucus afterwards with cases of beer in glee?

Many of my constituents think I work in Washington and am in Congress, even though I’ve communicated with them frequently the past 8 years as their state representative in Jefferson City. However, I know the majority of my constituents agree that funding tax credits for the wealthy is utter nonsense — that being mean just because you can to those, particularly children who need assistance of any kind, is downright immoral.

And yet, I talk with acquaintances or family members who want to sidestep the political debate and stay non-committal. They blame incessant TV presidential campaign coverage or their personal work load or a number of excuses why they remain “non-political”. They can’t be bothered to vote in local elections when many GOP extremists are elected to public office and start climbing the ladder. They remain silent as the huge national outcry against our current administration grows. They can’t be bothered because, they are doing just fine.

I have news for all of you sticking your head in the sand. You have helped hurt people by your disregard of the political system but more importantly, you hurt my family. Your own healthcare is not a permanent given and you have put my husband, kids and grandkids — our medical care in grave danger.

And if you didn’t know…people with pre-existing mental health conditions still have access to firearms but not healthcare.

Feel better?