A Tale for the One-Year Anniversary of the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Affordable Care Act:
So Dallas Wiens was working when it happened in 2008. He was standing in a cherry picker, painting a Fort Worth church. That detail seems kind of important, considering. His head hit a high-voltage power line, and it pretty much incinerated his entire face off. A series of miraculous operations got Wiens to a point where he had skin on his face, but no nose or lips. He went blind in one eye, and a skin graft covered the other eye. He pretty quickly started seeking out how to go about getting a face transplant just so, as he says, he could smile and feel his now 4 year-old daughter's touch on his face. Also, so he doesn't look so godawfully disfigured (let's be brutally honest here).
Now here's where we veer into the lesson: Medicaid paid for his hospital care and other expenses until his disability payments got too high for him to qualify. His parents set up a fund to take contributions for the incredibly expensive operation and recovery (not to mention the six months of being in Boston for treatment). But in two years, the guy who had his face burned off while painting a church did not collect enough money for the operation from people who might, you know, follow the teachings of one church or another (or, truly, from any of us).
And that might be the end of the story, except for one thing. See, the president when Wiens got injured was George W. Bush, and George W. Bush couldn't have given a jolly rat fuck about anyone's medical care unless it involved bizarre pharmaceutical donuts. However, Barack Obama became president, and that situation changed.
Now, you can say what you want about the Affordable Care Act on its one-year anniversary, which happens to be today, and virtually all of your criticism from the left would be correct. It is a massive giveaway to private insurance companies. It doesn't do enough to rein in costs. It doesn't guarantee 100% of Americans will be covered. And on and on, in so very many ways a massive disappointment (and not, as the nutzoid conservatives would have you believe, a government takeover of anything or a violation of the Constitution).
But here's the deal: Dallas Wiens got a face transplant because of it, not because good, conservative, church-going folk stepped up and had cookie sales, not because the myriad organizations that have "family" in their name gave a goddamn. No, Wiens received the first full face transplant in U.S. history because of the government. The operation itself was paid for by a grant from the Defense Department, which is looking for ways to help soldiers who get horrible scars from combat. And the $1300-$2000 a month in drugs that he will need to take for the rest of his life to prevent his body from rejecting the transplant will be paid for by his father's insurance. That's because Wiens is 25. And that inhuman law mockingly called "Obamacare" raised the age that a child can stay on a parent's insurance to 26. Wiens will turn 26 in May. In June, again, because of changes in the law, he will qualify for Medicare as a disabled person.
Yeah, the left should be trying to improve the act, constantly, until we actually get universal health care (or "single payer," if you want). And, of course, the douchebag right, led by d-bag kings John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, will continue their Neanderthal drumbeat of repeal because, really, they have nothing else to talk about except how to harm and repress people (how's that jobs bill coming, eh, motherfuckers?).
But at the end of the day, there's a fuck of a lot of people, in cases not nearly as extreme as Dallas Wiens, who have been helped. It's at least a baby step on the road to a compassionate, sane future. Would that we take more instead of veering off the path as quickly as possible.