This is an open letter to U.S. Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) and Mimi Walters (R-Irvine). I am your constituent, Rep. Rohrabacher, and I study medicine at UC Irvine in your district, Rep. Walters.
You both just ignored my voice and the voices of my family, my neighbors, my classmates and the entire medical community by voting for millions of Americans to lose health insurance with the passage of the AHCA, the American Health Care Act.
If you think by doing so you are improving your chances of being re-elected in 2018, you are sorely mistaken.
Rep. Walters, in Irvine, Hillary Clinton received 88% of the vote compared with Donald Trump’s measly 7%.
Rep. Rohrabacher, although the race was closer in our district, Clinton still beat Trump (a huge statement coming from a county that has voted Republican for the past eight decades).
Why do you think siding with President Trump with your AHCA vote rather than with the people you are supposed to represent will get you re-elected?
It will not. You need to listen to your constituents and actually represent us and our wishes.
You both represent highly educated electorates who can see past political jargon. Despite the platitudes that by passing the AHCA you are restoring robust competition in health insurance markets that will improve consumer choices, we know otherwise.
The truth is that the AHCA will strip millions of Americans of their health insurance. The tax credits the AHCA purports to offer to people to purchase health insurance will not be available to Californians because the AHCA bars use of those tax credits for insurance that includes abortion coverage, which all health insurance policies are legally required to provide in California.
The truth is that states can now opt out of covering pre-existing conditions (which most people have), returning us to the horrific old days when, at the whims of insurers, people could be un-insurable or be forced to pay exorbitant premiums for policies which excluded necessary coverage and imposed lifetime benefit caps. The truth is that thousands may die because of your votes.
The hypocrisy of your position is manifest. While voting for the AHCA, you also voted for a stipulation that it will not impact your own health insurance.
Why? Because you know the insurance the AHCA will foist on the rest of us is not good enough for you. How can you justify that?
If the AHCA passes the Senate, you will have to live with the fact that the majority of my patients at the UC Irvine Family Health Center in Santa Ana and many patients at the UC Irvine Medical Center will be unable to receive primary care because Medicaid funding will be slashed. You will be responsible for my patients losing health insurance and the hospitals at which I train losing funding.
We will remember how you voted. We expect better. We expect our representatives to formulate policies and enact laws that improve access to healthcare and the quality of our healthcare, not revert back to the bad old days. If you want our votes in 2018, you need to do better. You need to put the interests of your constituents ahead of your party or its president.
KARA PERCIVAL is medical student at UC Irvine.