Aaron R. Davis
I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of the bullshit, and if you’re pro-bullshit, I’ve had enough of you.
This week was a hard week for me. My mother had a nervous breakdown, and then I nearly did. I’ve been on and off the verge of one for the last couple of months. I’m trying to get through to government professionals, which is turning out to be harder than solving a Rubik’s Cube. And I started with a new doctor this week.
Let’s talk about that last one for a minute.
I can’t work right now because of my mental illness. My wife works four jobs and pulls in about $1200 a month. Our rent is $900 a month, so you do the math. We didn’t have insurance for the last few years, until the Medicaid expansion part of the Affordable Care Act went into effect on January 1. I have a number of health problems, and the best I could do for them was to keep going to a local clinic that charged me, as an uninsured patient, $90 just to get into for an appointment. So I basically could only go twice a year so that I could keep up my prescriptions, which they just mindlessly refilled. My doctor thinks I might not even be on the right medications. I think I wasn’t getting a very high quality of care. Now that I can afford to go see a doctor because of the ACA, I will be getting better and more frequent care. That’s a minor miracle in a life filled with depression and anxiety. That’s a worry lifted.
I hated going to my previous doctor. I’ve had bad enough experiences with doctors my whole life, but I hated dealing with the clinic. Every time I went in and said I didn’t have insurance, these people treated me like I was some kind of criminal. Like I wanted something for free. I didn’t, and I always had the ninety bucks in my hand to prove it. Even paying up front somehow got you looks of disdain. The same thing happens to my wife when cashiers see she’s using food stamps.
What people who are a little more comfortable don’t consider is how much people with less money are taken advantage of and nickel-and-dimed to death. We usually can’t pay all of our rent on time, which means we’re always paying a $50 late fee, which means we’re basically always paying more than our rent. Sometimes services get cut off for late payment, so you have to pay extra to turn them on. Sometimes credit card payments are late, so there’s another late fee. There are fees now just for processing payments with a credit card. A lot of people seem to have no concept of ever needing to save up for six months just to see a doctor. And I’m sick and tired of people who have no idea what it’s like acting as though they do.
I can see doctors now. Doctors who will probably end up helping me save my life. Do you have any idea what a relief that is? Part of my mental illness is that I don’t feel very supported by society, and now I’ve got another rock of support. I can go see a doctor. I can have my progress monitored. I’m not going to just be left to develop some kind of illness or let my problems overtake me.
So I take it personally when politicians and rich people and even people I know tell me that I shouldn’t have it.
Oh, they don’t say that, of course. No one has the guts to come out and just say “I don’t believe poor people should have access to healthcare.” But it’s what they mean. It’s what they mean when they vote to defund it, or when they close down the government in protest, or when they go and pander to their slavering followers by promising to repeal it. You’re saying that I should die for the crime of being poor. To which I say: go fuck yourself.
I’m sick of treating these people like they have anything of value to say. I’m sick of our “all sides have equally valid points” mythology. It’s not true. If you openly pretend that there’s still significant debate over global climate change in the scientific community, you have nothing to say that is worth hearing. If you think anyone who owns a refrigerator can’t possibly be poor, you are a fool and I don’t have to listen to you. If you’re someone who actually votes for people who think electric cars should be regulated and guns shouldn’t, I don’t want to talk to you. If you’re someone who supports politicians and talk show hosts who argue over the “legitimacy” of rape or whether birth control should be covered by insurance, I don’t have to listen to your ideas. If you want to argue about your tax dollars subsidizing healthcare, but never want to talk about your tax dollars subsidizing war by a much, much higher percentage, I’m done. I’m out.
I know, I know: “You don’t want to hear anyone’s opinions but your own.” That’s what idiots always say when no one is willing to let them defend their racism or classism or sexism as valid points of view. You know what? We don’t have to. When you’re telling me that I should die simply for not being able to afford healthcare, I don’t have to.
And I’m not doing it anymore. You have the right to say whatever you want. You do not have the right to be taken seriously. You don’t even have the constitutional guarantee to be listened to.
I’m not listening.
Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.