Where Did I Go Wrong? An open letter to Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL)

May 2, 2017

[After I posted this, I went to Rep. Brooks’ website so I could send it to him directly. Unfortunately, his office refuses to accept emails from anybody who isn’t in his district. Seriously? Because emails take up so much room in your office? Anyway, if anyone in Alabama who lives in his district is inclined to share this with him, I’d be grateful. Thx!]

Honorable Representative Brooks:

I read with great interest about your interview on CNN where you claim that people who live right don’t have pre-existing conditions to worry about, and so nothing to worry about if you vote up the new GOP-sponsored healthcare bill.

I hope you can help me understand, then, how I wound up as somebody who could be severely harmed by the current proposal, which weakens the guaranteed protections for those of us with pre-existing conditions. You seem very confident in your judgment of our lives, so maybe you can help me see where I went wrong.

Here’s my story: I’m 48 years old. I’d always been in good health internally up to age 40;  the only health problems I ever had were broken bones and some joint injuries I suffered because I was too klutzy to be the athlete I insisted on trying to be. Yes, I’m married a second time, but the first one ended amicably, and both people I’ve been married to have been at least as dedicated to fitness if not more as I am.

Just before I turned 40, I was diagnosed as a type-2 diabetic–not a pre-diabetic who could fix everything if I ate better and got a little more exercise, not so serious that I had to start insulin shots, but serious enough that I’ve been on a steady medication regimen and have overhauled my diet and exercise habits completely. I had never been a very careful eater, but I never had any problems that were related to diet. I smoked cigarettes for years, but there’s no evidence that smoking increases the risk of diabetes (it does amplify the harms, so I quit within a couple of months of my original diagnosis). I drank a lot in college but very occasionally and lightly since then. I don’t use any illegal drugs.

So why do I deserve to risk losing my health insurance if I have to change jobs (G*d forbid)? Is because I’m Jewish? No? Maybe because I’ve always voted Democratic? Nope! Or even worse, because I’m a liberal wacko college professor? Or because I’m a University of Georgia football fan? What is it, Rep. Brooks? I’m really at a loss here.

Since you’re so willing to put my life at increased risk based on your personal judgment of how good a person I am, the least you can do is help me be a better person by telling me what I’m doing so wrong. That seems fair, doesn’t it?

Sincerely,

Seth Kahn, West Chester, PA