Sam was a volunteer first responder. I had just been rescued from a 30 vehicle pile-up near Sam’s home. Farming was Sam’s main occupation; being a volunteer first responder didn’t help get Sam health insurance. Like so many farmers, Sam depended on help from the state to get health insurance. That help was going away.
A few days earlier I met Mary. She was hoping for help from the state to get health insurance. She’d traveled in zero-degree weather across two counties to find me. She relied on the goodwill of a neighbor to bring her to an event her neighbor knew I would attend.
“Please help me,” Mary asked. “They are almost doubling my insurance rates. It’s already over $600 a month.”
“Mary has only social security to live on,” her neighbor said. “She’s at 95 percent of poverty level — which should mean she will get on BadgerCare. But the governor is not letting this happen. She won’t be eligible for federal subsidies. She makes too little.” (The Affordable Care Act provides coverage for people like Mary under the federal Medicaid expansion; however the governor must accept the federal dollars.)
Our political press likes to talk about maneuvering and posturing as if it’s just peacocks strutting around, as if the decisions politicians make are entirely about them and the show they’re giving and getting.
Forgotten in this type of coverage are the people affected by those decisions, who have to get up and go to work every day doing trivial things like volunteering to save people’s lives.