Hi, I’m Erika.
I’m an aspiring writer that likes to rent movies, volunteer in my community, and continue to nag all my friends to watch “The Wire” because I think it’s brilliant.
I am probably like a lot of women that you know, except there was an accident when I was born and my brain lost oxygen. This damage, called cerebral palsy, affect people in many different ways, but mine has left me too impaired to stand, dress myself, or go to the toilet without assistance.
With the help of my family, and attendants paid for by Medicaid (Right now, my mother is in both categories) I was able to graduate from college, see some of my writing get published, and attempt to take a small part in fashioning the political future I want to see for all Americans, whether disabled or able-bodied.
It has been a lifelong struggle (I remember going to school board meetings to fight cuts at the age of six) but one that has really taught me to fight, especially once I learned that the free market was more scared by the chair than impressed by the woman inside it.
After college, my search for a job went nowhere, even in the hottest economy of my lifetime—I hate to think what it would be like now but I did hear that I was brave to act like I had something to offer a few times. (Unfortunately, compliments aren’t great currency, so I still had to stay on benefits.)
That’s why I think it’s terrible that Trump staff like Kellyanne Conway are allowed to lie and minimize our concerns by saying other people, maybe the folks who were able to finally get care for chronic conditions from the Medicaid expansion (three friends-of-friends I can name off the top of my head, and, who are all employed,), can “just get jobs” that provide health benefits like she has. That way we can all pretend that health programs can work perfectly fine with $800 million of stuffing kicked out of them and that it’s perfectly fine for me to settle back and not worry about my neighbor because he has one more tiny set of options than I do. I’m sure I will have plenty of time to consider them all as I fill out my Trumpcare eligibility form every month, or scramble to find something to satisfy the exciting new “work requirements” that soothed some Senator’s concern, somewhere.
And, yet, awful as that stuff seems to me (and it does), it’s not the worst-case of being over fifty, perhaps, and needing more help, and having nothing to keep me in my home trying to live the life that I want. Attendants already have to scramble to make a living… how enticing will a lot of work for zero dollars be? It is so terrible that I work really hard so I don’t have to think about it, as if failure isn’t an option.