IT'S PERSONAL: Matt DeCample writes about what the pending health legislation means to him.

Most major newspapers today gave bigger headlines to Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and the probe of Trump ties to Russia than to the looming vote today on health legislation with impact, sometimes dramatically awful, on every single person in the United States.

This is the vote on opening debate on a bill to repeal, or at least critically damage, Obamacare. Every version considered by the Republican Congress harms sick and poor people in return for tax breaks for the wealthy. “Maverick” John McCain, stricken with cancer, will fly in, presumably to give his vote to his party. David Corn of Mother Jones commented bitterly on that:


Will cancer-stricken @SenJohnMcCain help a draft-dodger who called him a loser take health care from millions? Then this will be his legacy.

Much could be said, but I think Matt DeCample, press spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe, does as good a job as any in describing the situation from the viewpoint of a cancer patient. He wrote about it on his Facebook page. Here’s some on the version passed by the House (he remarks that the Senate versions are just as bad if not worse):

In the part that makes it personal, the House Bill would eliminate current protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. This group includes far more people than you realize. I’m one of the obvious ones, because of my liver cancer. I will have a pre-existing condition until the day I die.

If enacted, this law would statistically put the day I die closer to today than to the distant future. I could no longer afford the care I will need when my cancer resumes its progression. There may be insurance plans I could buy, but the ratio of coverage to out-of-pocket costs would make those policies useless.

When the House bill passed, four Congressmen from my state stood and voted yes. They voted to significantly increase my risk of death from cancer. I’ve met all four of them and consider two of them more than casual acquaintances. But they stood united and voted that this was in the best interest of their country and the people they represent, including me. Their colleague, Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama, said that the bill would be “…reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy.”

I’m still waiting for Congressman Brooks to tell me what I did to deserve cancer. Never smoked a cigarette, don’t drink much, and work out when I can. Or what Congressman Brooks’, along with his colleagues and friends, did to deserve having a deranged man try to murder them on a softball field in June, requiring some of them to need a lot of expensive and immediate health care.

After this vote, House Republicans joined President Trump on the White House Lawn to celebrate with beer and congratulatory speeches. I’ll always remember the beer, because when you’re going through cancer treatment, you can’t have beer.