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Why Is Your Name On This Bill? Open Letter to Lindsey Graham


During a conversation about the Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill with my older sister Cathy this week, I learned that because of her family’s current financial situation, she recently attempted to go without the insulin medication she needs to control her diabetes. It was a devastating confession to hear.

Ironically, Lindsey Graham, the co-sponsor of the disastrous GOP bill--which would render millions of Americans without medical coverage--is a former associate (and friend) of my sister’s. They were both attorneys in the Air Force together in 1980’s and although she has always spoken highly of him, she hasn’t seen him since July 2009.

Doubly ironic is that when they last saw one another, it was the very day Minority Leader (D) Nancy Pelosi (then Speaker Of The House) invited me to speak on Capitol Hill about the Affordable Care Act before the ACA vote. As a Stage IV cancer patient, I was facing financial devastation without a healthcare program that would cover pre-existing conditions. While I was busy addressing a room full of journalists, my sister was introducing her adopted daughter, Laura to the man partially responsible for helping complete her adoption—Lindsey Graham.

For years I’ve heard what a great person Lindsey Graham is from my sister and when I asked her, if given the opportunity, what she would say to Graham now, this was her response:

Open Letter to Senator Lindsey Graham:

Dear Lindsey,

Well, my old friend, I have to say you have really confused me. For some reason, you have put your name on a bill that serves only to satisfy a campaign promise that no one wants - with the exception of some fairly wealthy folks looking for tax breaks. I know that is not who you are or ever have been. You have been employed in public service since you graduated from law school. You weren’t after the big bucks.

So why is your name on this bill?

My Smartphone calculator tells me that we have known each other for 33 years - since 1984 when you were assigned as a Circuit Prosecutor at the base where I was the Area Defense Counsel (Rhein-Main AB, Germany). We were part of a cadre of criminal lawyers who had lots of fun off duty and fought vigorously against each other in the courtroom. You were always the funniest guy at our Officer's Club lunch table and the most aggravatingly effective foe in the courtroom. Every social invitation would include the words: “Lindsey is in town!” Then we knew it would be a fun night - and you didn’t even drink. You were everyone’s brother who teased you and made you like it. And one on one, you would tell the heart-breaking story of the loss of your parents and how you cared for your little sister that you cared for so much.

So why is your name on this bill?

You could use the force of your personality to convince jurors that our clients were guilty, no matter how much doubt we injected into the proceedings. You have always been a pretty persuasive guy. You unknowingly convinced me to marry my husband of 30 years before I ever dated him when you talked about what a great guy that Air Force defense attorney down in Spain was. You even convinced me to drive your buddy from Frankfurt to Berlin through communist territory in a snowstorm - with two hours-notice. That's why when the INS agent refused to give us a green card for the baby we had adopted in Mexico, we called you. We knew you would not stop trying until our Laura properly received her green card and came home with her family. And you made it happen. And for that we will always be grateful. We knew we could depend on you because you were an incredibly determined and a loyal friend.

So why is your name on this bill?

We have been so proud of your career in the House and Senate and have dined often on amusing Lindsey stories. But now, I am confused. Do you know that there are so many people like Bob and I who do not have employer-provided health insurance? We lived the good life while Bob was a telecom executive but corporations can be greedy and leave a lot of people with broken dreams. Cobra doesn’t mean much if you can’t afford the premiums. And then, there was no Cobra and no one would insure me due to pre-existing conditions. I am a diabetic with a history of a stroke. For several months before the ACA went into effect, I had no insurance. I actually tried to go without my insulin and didn’t tell my family because I knew we couldn't afford it. That was a horrible and dangerous experience. We ended up borrowing money from friends to buy my medication. That is not a good long-term plan for one's healthcare. The ACA came along, and as flawed as it was, it was a heck of a lot better than no health insurance.

So why is your name on this bill?

Do we find that the ACA lives up to its name - affordable? No. But there have not been any better alternatives proposed by your party - including the one with your name on it. Despite my complicated health issues, I work 3 jobs - mostly to pay for health premiums. The GOP plans this year--which do not guarantee care for pre-existing conditions--have caused a lot of anxiety for millions of citizens. In my case, it has aggravated my health issues enormously.

Why is your name on this bill?

I really thought you could be the one to work out a truly bipartisan plan that would not just eliminate the ACA but improve it. But that will take a lot of work and a lot of compromises. I am deeply disappointed that the bill with your name on it is so short-sighted and frankly, cruel. How many of your own constituents will be hurt by this ill-conceived plan? I hope you can reconsider this and come up with something that truly would make America great. And someday there will be a law with your name on it that deserves that honor.

Your old (and aging) friend,

Cathy Secours-Lacy

Molly Secours is a writer/filmmaker/speaker who is currently directing and co-producing a feature documentary film with actor, Bill Murray and Hall Of Famer, Wade Boggs titled: “Scouting For Diamonds:The Invisible Heroes Of Baseball." www.mollysecours.com

And if you are wanting to reach her sister Cathy Secours-Lacy visit www.mollysecours.com and send email. She’ll give her the message.


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