(MADISON, WI) — The Trump administration continues to show that it is a direct threat to the lives and wellbeing of every American. The President has refused to lead as Coronavirus takes more American lives and Wisconsin Republicans have followed his example by forcing Wisconsinites to choose between their health and their constitutional right to vote in the April 7 election.
What’s more is that in the midst of a pandemic that has taken nearly 70,000 American lives, Trump continues to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act, despite people needing quality, affordable and reliable health insurance more than ever. Wisconsinites are speaking out about their desperate need to get health care during these unprecedented times.
In February of 2019, I took a new job that didn’t offer health insurance, but did offer to pay part of whatever insurance I could find on my own. As much as I wanted to buy a plan off of Wisconsin’s marketplace, my window had closed, so I was forced to buy private insurance that does very little. I pay nearly $300 a month and am only covered up to $15,000 for a hospital visit.
Fast forward to March of this year — I was laid off from both of my jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. For now, I can pay the few bills I have: my rent, my groceries and my dog’s food, and my inadequate health care, but who knows how long I can manage living off what money I have saved up. I don’t blame my employers as they are suffering just like the rest of us. No — the fault lies with President Trump. Hundreds of thousands of other Wisconsinites are going through exactly the same uncertainty I am because of his failure to lead during this crisis.
Like many of my friends and neighbors who find themselves in a similar situation, we have had a steady diet of bad news as we try to make sense of how we got to this point and how we get to safer ground. What’s clear is that this all may have been avoidable had Trump taken the pandemic seriously from the outset.
There was time to prepare our health care system and create economic plans that would help Wisconsinites like me get by in these unprecedented times. But instead, Trump took China at its word and downplayed the severity of the virus, even saying in February that the numbers of cases would shortly be down to zero as it just magically disappeared.
Even Fox News will admit that not only was this untrue, but now both our health care system and economic safety nets are being overrun because of a lack of preparation on the president’s part.
More than ever, even a slight cold is terrifying because we just don’t know what it could be. Any sort of illness not COVID-related makes you more vulnerable to catch the virus, and so it is imperative people can get the care they need.
The images we see on television and across the internet show us we need to conserve every ICU bed and every piece of personal protective equipment to make sure those who really need these resources can get them. I don’t want to be in a situation where I get so sick that I am taking resources away from someone with the coronavirus. We all have to do our part.
And frankly, I’m worried about what will happen to myself after the in-person election we were forced to have just over two weeks ago. I didn’t get my absentee ballot in the mail despite requesting it three weeks ahead of time, so I left my home to participate in our democracy. It is inevitable that people are going to get sick, and some people may die, because they were forced to go to the polls to vote.
The clock is winding down for him to do the right thing; I hope for all our sakes that Trump comes to his senses and allows us to get the insurance we need and to protect our already overburdened health system.