Dear Speaker Ryan,
Hello, my name is Mackenzie. I’m 27 years old and I’m a millennial. I am one of those “sick people” that you want to end the insurance protections provided to people who have preexisting conditions. You see, I have a preexisting condition that I was diagnosed with at 24 years old. It’s called Inflammatory Bowel Disease(IBD). It’s an incurable autoimmune disease that affects my intestines. It causes chronic inflammation in my colon and rectum. When my symptoms flare up it’s pretty terrifying to see bloody diarrhea coming out of my body. Especially knowing there’s nothing that I can do to stop it.
Because of the insurance that I have, I am currently a contributing member of society. I have a good job, a house. I pay my bills on time. I’m one of the lucky people because I can still work and there may come a day where I can’t. There are people who are on disability because of their disease and to no fault of their own. Do we not to get to live a full life because we’re sick? We didn’t ask for this!
If this insurance were to be taken away from me because I have a preexisting condition, it would be hard for me to still hold down a job because of what IBD does to me. There are times I’m going to the bathroom 10+ times a day. Some people I know have gone 50+. Can you imagine that? Having to have a bowel movement 50 times in a day?
The only medication that I could probably afford if I lost my insurance is prednisone. Prednisone is not recommended for long term usage because of the side effects it has. Long term usage of steroids can cause bone loss, type two diabetes and an increased risk of infections. The medication I am currently on is very expensive and I would not be able to afford it without insurance. It’s the only medication that works for me currently besides steroids. I have failed two other medications. One I’m allergic too and the other causes such severe side effects it will put me in the hospital. Currently, there aren’t a whole lot of medications that treat IBD so I’m stuck with steroids and biologics. And biologics are very, very expensive.
In the US alone, it is estimated that 23.5 million people suffer from an autoimmune disease. This is not including cerebral palsy, diabetes, ALS, etc. If you took the sum of all of these people it would end up being over 10% of the population under 65. Are you willing to condemn these people to have to live without their medications and doctors because of pre-existing conditions? I would really love for you to tell me that to my face. And all of my friends. And everyone else that has a preexisting condition. That we don’t deserve insurance because we’re sick. I wish that you could walk a mile in my shoes and feel how I feel when I’m in a flare. It’s exhausting, terrifying and extremely painful.
I don’t understand how you think people can afford high-risk insurances because they have a preexisting condition. I can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars a month on insurance that has a high deductible and a high maximum out of pocket. It would send me into a mountain of debt that I wouldn’t be able to pay off. And I’d probably have to declare bankruptcy every couple of years because of it. This isn’t any way for someone to live their life. And medical expenses are already high enough.
I really hope that you and some people in the Republican party will reconsider your position on this issue. But I’m not going to get my hopes up. The way you people speak about sick people you seem to think that we deserve to die a slow painful death. Is that what you want?
If you would like to tell Paul Ryan how you feel about preexisting insurance protections you can contact him here. I will also be sending him this letter and Tweeting it to him.