Letter to the editor:
On July 19th, I received an email invitation to attend the Open House for Dave Brat on July 27th. As Mr. Brat has been unreachable, both my husband and I felt that this would be a good opportunity to meet and chat with him for a few seconds.
For me, having him understand that the Affordable Care Act saves my life was very important. I’ve had an irregular heart beat my entire life. In the 30+ years I ran social service agencies, I was always covered by the insurance I purchased for all employees. As such, I didn’t expect to find it virtually impossible to get insurance when I retired at age 55 in 2011. My husband, who owns his own insurance company, was also covered under my policy.
While on COBRA, I contacted each and every health insurance company in our area. We could afford to pay whatever price they wanted, but no group would cover us as we both were older adults with pre-existing conditions. Thankfully, we did not have any major events until “Obamacare” became a reality. Because of our income, we had no subsidy, but that was fine with us. We have been blessed. I don’t begrudge anyone who needs the subsidy either. As the world’s wealthiest country we need to make sure everyone is covered. In 2016, all of this changed when my heart condition became so bad I couldn’t climb stairs or walk without becoming winded. Over 85% of my heart beats were irregular!
The great doctors at VCU in Richmond performed cryosurgery on me and the results were outstanding. All of the expenses, except for about $3000 were paid for by our ACA (Obamacare) policy. Consequently, I have become a great proponent of this program and have been deeply distressed to see how the GOP has been undermining it at every opportunity.
So, my husband and I set out to visit Mr. Brat at his open house to explain how important the pre-existing condition clause was to people like us, to children born with disabilities, to mother’s who have had difficult pregnancies, to older people struggling with regular problems like high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
My husband is a very conservative man who actually voted for Mr. Brat in the past. We were not expecting any problems nor were we planning on causing any. We have two children who are military officers and we even have season tickets to the Navy Midshipmen games!
When we arrived, we found that they didn’t have a name tag for us at the door, but upon showing our tickets which we received from Congressman Dave Brat’s office, we were given hand written tags and shown in. Upon entering, we were quiet and respectful and I even chatted with a man that I had encountered on Facebook.
Within minutes, we were accosted by one of Mr. Brat’s staff who asked us to “talk to her outside”. I knew they were asking us to leave and suggested that I would do so, but that I wanted 30 seconds to simply tell Dave the story I related above. Another woman met us and told us to go and pointed to a security badge on her belt. We told them we had been invited and ticketed and had made absolutely no trouble. What was the problem? Was Dave incapable of hearing from constituents who would be hurt by his policies?
They then proceeded to call in the police who were outside the door. We explained to them as well we had been invited and ticketed but they told us they would be required to arrest us if we didn’t voluntarily leave. Since it was not our intention to cause trouble, we left. The police were very nice, letting us know that they did not agree with the stand that had been taken but they were required to do so “as the owner of the building could rescind an invitation at any time”.
It appears our congressman is too frightened to talk to his constituents. It appears he does not want to talk with anyone who disagrees with him. As he has not held a town hall in over 400 days, it is clear he doesn’t want to represent all of his district, but only those that agree with his stands. The 7th district is turning blue. My husband and my votes have cancelled each other’s out for years.
Because of his actions last night, there will now be a plus 2 for Abigail Spanberger this fall!
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