Reese Takes On Washington, D.C.

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By Emily Fay Reese

Life is a different beast in Washington, D.C. It has always been on my bucket list to visit our nation’s capitol and it seems that my life’s circumstances have brought me here to fight for myself and others. There is very little that is a vacation for me.

As I write this, sitting in my friend’s D.C. apartment, recuperating from my long day in the Congressional office buildings yesterday, the Senate and House leaders are meeting behind closed doors to continue to ram through their combined version of a tax relief bill.

As people have just begun to learn about its contents and potential affects for citizens and businesses, there has been little time for Americans like you and me to understand the ramifications of what is in it.

When I say ram, I mean that the speed at which this bill has moved is unprecedented in history. The whataboutisms flying around as an argument to distract from reality is like comparing my pinky toe to the cosmos. If you feel the same way about how the ACA was put into place, compared to how this tax bill has been introduced, you haven’t really done your homework with that timeline.

My focus while I am here is to do all I can by using my story to try to put legs on the reality of how this tax bill will affect people on Medicaid in Nevada and around the country. As I was watching the “debate” on the Senate floor last week, I was jarred into action when GOP Senators skirted around the idea of Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security being negatively affected by using those funds to help pay for debt created in the confines of the bill. Their thinly disguised argument that those items “weren’t mentioned” was brought to light by several Democratic Senators who revealed that “entitlements” are indeed on the chopping block.

So here I am, using my terminal cancer story to try to bring the humanity back into their decisions. I am not disillusioned to think that I will change their minds. To the contrary, I am excited to be able to use my life to help the future of healthcare. This single mom on Medicaid and SSI—while I fight to stay healthy and alive for as long as possible—is grateful for this opportunity to feel useful to others. My life is not just my own; it belongs to the world.

Everyone has a story. I encourage you to use your life to affect positive changes right now and in the future. I am not afraid to die; I have come to terms with the very thing we all must face. I am blessed that I get to have some time to use what’s left of life to spend it with my three beautiful children and to fight for the things that make this country great. This includes kindness and compassion through programs that help others who have fallen on difficult times.

Senator Heller clearly stated to me in our meeting yesterday at his D.C. office that Medicaid is indeed an “entitlement.” This is a a dog whistle for Medicaid being on the chopping block at some point. So, what is going to happen to people like me? What can you do to keep this from happening?

Be a voice. Get out and vote. Educate yourselves about the issues as best as you can. Don’t make assumptions about people on programs that help them during a time of need. Life can change in an instant; you may find yourself needing a little help someday, too.

Thanks for all of your support of my Three Little Birds and me. If you’d like to follow my journey, you can find me on Facebook at Emily Fay Reese or on Twitter @mlereese.

Live Life, Love Life, Impact Others,
Emily Reese

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