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Compassion and Politics, an Unhealthy Break-up

By Dominque Warren
The Truth Contributor

As I sat and watched the roll call for the U.S. Senate to open debate on the repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act, I reflected on how much different our government is from a year ago and whether the public servants who have been elected understand their role and the decisions they make.

My understanding public service and compassion began when I was 16, working in the office of Mayor Jack Ford. There I learned that those with the ability and power to do so must protect the most vulnerable of our communities. The political is personal and as leaders govern they must be compassionate of individuals and recognize people’s humanity.

Dominque Warren

In 2002, Jack Ford brought together service providers and leaders to establish CareNet, created to give health access to poor and uninsured residents of Lucas County.

Working in his office as a teenager, I didn’t quite understand lack of access for many individuals in the county and the role Medicaid has in these communities. It was with CareNet that Ford and other leaders in the public and private sector showed that public service was about compassion for people who needed to live healthy and pain-free lives. With CareNet, the elderly, impoverished and addicted could get assistance to live normal lives. A compassionate view of politics saved the lives of many. 

My daughter, Lois Marie, was born in 2015 at 25 weeks weighing less than two pounds and unable to breathe or eat on her own. I was to be laid off two week later and my insurance coverage would be cancelled.

Before the passage of The Patient and Affordability Act of 2010, better known as Obamacare, premature birth was a pre-existing condition that would have denied my child insurance or charged enormous rates for her right to exist. As a father, I cannot imagine what health insurance and life outcomes for my child would be like without Obamacare.

Like CareNet, Obamacare provided access to quality healthcare to my daughter and millions of families. When politics contain compassion, lives can be improved for the better and progress can be made.

As we watched last week’s debate in Congress and kept our ears to the ground to the Ohio General Assembly, we must ask if the public servants that we elected are governing with compassion.

Almost 50 percent of births in the United States are paid for by Medicaid. Individuals suffering with opioid addiction depend on this funding for treatment, and low-income families would be at risk for lost coverage with these budgetary cuts.

The funding for school nurses and special-needs students depends on Obamacare. Outside of Medicaid, we are debating the protection of women’s health provisions, mental health services and cancer treatment with the insurance coverage mandates. If the policy surrounding healthcare does not show compassion, we can expect that it will fall short of protecting individuals that require it the most.

We expect our elected leaders to govern with compassion and an open heart on all levels of government. It is not just for the people to petition their Congressional representatives to act, but state and local leaders must be vocal and amplify these voices.

We see advocacy groups such as Indivisible on the forefront of this activism and local elected officials such as Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson speaking out on the important of healthcare. If our leaders in Washington and Columbus show compassion, it will be felt in Toledo. If they don’t show compassion, local communities will be overwhelmed and will need to come together to soften the blow and initiatives like CareNet will be needed even more.

We must choose to protect existing mandates as well as reform the Affordable Care Act to make sure insurance is more accessible and affordable for the consumer. We cannot choose to have politics without compassion for the sake of our community.

Dominque Warren is a former first grade teacher turned legislative staffer on Capitol Hill. A graduate of Scott High School and Morehouse College with graduate studies in public policy from the University of Michigan, Dominque focuses on education, criminal justice and the 21st Century Economy. Follow him on twitter @DomoWarren.



Copyright © 2017 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/10/17 21:23:04 -0700.

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