My name is Chris Paris, I come out of a large, crazy, loving, family of 8, with a strong religious background. My little brother is a priest, and maybe I have a hard time addressing him as father, but don’t try to pin me down on that! I married a very talented, incredibly smart, strong and independent pastor’s daughter and we had one daughter who is the light of our lives and despite all of our best efforts in leading her down wrong paths, is a well-adjusted, moral, empathetic, brilliant, talented and courageous woman. What I bring to the mix of our own little herd are super poor taste “Dad jokes” and a fairly healthy contrarian streak.
Over 3 years, I saw our family healthcare policy go from around $480.00/month to over $1,200.00 month. Around the time our healthcare policy was becoming prohibitively expensive, our daughter began having seizures and was diagnosed with Epilepsy of a kind that she will not “grow out of”. I’m not sure I can fully communicate what it is like to see your child going through a full tonic-clonic seizure, but it is damn scary and it’s a ticking time bomb that you never know when it will go off. The despair and helplessness is something shared by so many people who see their loved ones suffer and to make it worse for us, we were informed that it would never stop.
This epilepsy diagnosis meant that healthcare which I always knew was important but was sort of abstract for me, suddenly became very real, moved very front and center. I was locked in no matter what the cost was, because if I dropped coverage, our beautiful, smart, sassy, caring, daughter might never be able to gain decent coverage afterwards.
Even as far back as the early 90’s when I worked for a doctor who wanted to provide health insurance for me, I learned about “health insurance”. They gave me a questionnaire which had a ton of questions. I truthfully recorded that as a young kid I had asthma but I hadn’t had any for about 10 years, nor did I require any sort of prescription for asthma medication. They came back to me with a policy that covered everything except anything in any way related to the upper respiratory system…
So.. Health insurance that wouldn’t pay for the flu, bronchitis, sinus infections, colds, etc. The ONLY thing I ever went to the doctor for were bones, cuts or Upper respiratory. The ONLY thing I went to the doctor for once or twice per year were some sort of Upper Respiratory infection. So I told the doctor to save her money, that coverage wasn’t coverage. Notable, is that we did, and we actually have, it rather good here in Maryland, compared to other states, from a consumer’s point of view, in healthcare policy.
Having had that “mild” experience with pre-existing condition status, I kept our health insurance current, even when it was expensive for us, through many job changes. However, under ACA we bought our daughter her own insurance policy, so she wouldn’t lose coverage at 26. Now, since she’s in an individual policy, if they pass the legislation which amounts to a tax break, more than any sort of real healthcare reform, we may not be able to afford her anti-seizure medications, which run well over $1,000.00 a month, just for the medication. If she loses her policy and has to enroll in a high-risk pool policy which can run $1,500.00 a month, will it even completely cover her medications?
The thing is, this tax break and spite move against Obama, may mean that our daughter, after having been seizure-free for over 4 years on her medication, will be again exposed to the risk of terrible, possibly fatal seizures. If we can’t afford the prescriptions or insurance for her, how is a young kid, just out of college, with debt going to afford them? Do we start robbing banks? Begging for handouts? Or just die and go away?
This is why I am (we are) ready for the fight. If the people who want to push the GOP (it’s not just a Trump agenda) agenda think they are dealing with some abstract issues of people being too reliant on the government, they better think again. They are dealing with people whose loved ones they are pointing a gun at. No one points a gun at the head of our daughter and gets away unscathed, not while I’m still breathing.
A lawyer once told me that when you come to the negotiating table, it’s important that even if you hold all the cards, you let the other person walk away with something, otherwise they will fight tooth and nail, because they have nothing to lose. Trump, GOP, you are on notice, we know you are lying, you want to crush us and leave nothing on the table for us. Our daughter is our everything. So now you have a fight on your hands. I am, our family is, indivisible.