By Steven Lupo
I called Senators Schumer and Gillibrand’s office yesterday. I spoke to Jason at Schumer’s office and Saj (her nickname) at Gillibrand’s office.
I stated I heard that 13 Republican men were hiding behind closed doors, trying to come up with a bill that was abominable enough for the Republican caucus to support. That bill would destroy the ACA, gut Medicaid and give huge tax cuts to the rich.
I asked them both to urge the senators to do everything in their power — procedurally — to stall this legislation at least until the summer recess. This way the Republican senators will get an ear full from their constituents when they return home to their states.
I told them my personal story, of my autistic brother. I informed them that my brother is not a lazy person looking for “free stuff”. My brother is disabled. My family has relied on Medicaid for his care most of his life. My family would’ve been devastated without Medicaid. And now the Republicans are trying to take that away — to give tax cuts to their rich donor class?!?
This is where I found a stark contrast.
Both staffers seemed genuinely concerned. They asked me questions about my brother.
You can pay a staffer to take down comments from a constituent but you cannot make a staffer compassionate or empathetic. Those traits come from the person. When I called Zeldin’s office and repeated the same story, I just get an unemotional, “I’ll pass that on to the congressman” line. No one in Zeldin’s office could care less about my brothers situation. No one!
Both tried to ease my anxiety by stating the senators are going to do everything in their power to prevent the Republicans from destroying the ACA.
Jason tried to ease my anxiety by stating he personally did not believe the Senate would find consensus to destroy the ACA. I politely reminded him that many of my friends kept telling me not to worry, that Donald Trump would not win. I simply cannot find comfort in hopeful thinking. I informed him that although I believe Republicans destroying the ACA will be a political disaster for them, I do not want to see Americans suffer in order to have another reason to bash the Republican Party.