Congrats GOP, You Still Screwed People Out of Healthcare

I’m rejoicing along with everyone else that the GOP “lost” tonight and the government will reopen tomorrow. But before we go back to our regularly scheduled lives talking about Miley Cyrus, let’s consider that the cost of this shutdown will have lasting effects.

Yes, I myself couldn’t get to a play. My friend’s brewery ran into some hangups. But there are people out there who have been denied critical health services during these past 16 days. Just what the GOP wanted. So congrats, Boehner. In some fucked up way you won.

I helped my friend Mandi write this during the height of the shutdown. Even though the switch has been “flipped” she’s got to reschedule her surgery and hopefully there’s no treatment that will bump up into another potential shutdown.

Bottom line: This shit has to end before we continue to potentially kill some of our most vulnerable citizens.

In tragic reenactment of Cowboys & Indians, shutdown denies Natives critical health services

The “Wild West” behavior of Tea Party Republicans may make for an entertaining media circus, but once again the real effects of the U.S. government’s antics on America’s native peoples has been terribly underreported.

The GOP actually has succeeded in stopping healthcare access through their tantrum throwing. But being that its for America’s disappearing minority, the voices that should be raised aren’t loud enough. And they’re sick, without potentially live-saving care on the horizon.

This time, instead of smallpox-laden blankets, the government shutdown has caused a default on treaty obligations with native populations, ceasing critical services like healthcare for people in the midst of treatment.

Take for instance, the case of Mandi Lindner, of Shawano, Wisconsin, and a member of the Oneida Nation. A normally healthy and active early-thirtysomething Mandi received the terribly news recently that a football-sized tumor had taken up residence in her abdomen. As big of a Packers fan as she is, Mandi wasn’t thrilled to have a pigskin inside her.

Up until late September, Mandi was confident that the whole mess would be behind her soon, with a removal and biopsy scheduled for mid-October. And unlike the majority of Americans, she had access to free healthcare.

Instead of cutting a check from the casino profits each month to each member of the tribe (which, according to Mandi, some tribes actually do), Oneida invests that money into the reservation and community (i.e. education, social services, development, culture, and a shiny new health center). They also receive treaty-guaranteed funds from the U.S. federal government to supplement the tribal health care that’s provided on the reservation. These funds are used for procedures that cannot be done at their small clinic because they do not have the personnel, facilities, nor equipment.

For example, the surgery to remove Mandi’s tumor is “referred” out through “contract health,” which acts like insurance. Instead of being paid by an insurance company, however, it’s paid for her tribe.

Until the shutdown.

As of October 1, the funds for Mandi’s tribal health care were frozen and the surgery that was scheduled to remove her tumor is now in jeopardy until the shutdown ends.

“Contract health told me they are reviewing referrals on a case-by-case basis and only emergent, life-threatening cases are being accepted (we’re using local, tribal…i.e. limited…funds to replace federal funds until the shutdown is over),” explains Mandi. “The problem? The doctors don’t really know how serious my case is because the biopsy was/is going to be done AFTER the tumor was/is removed.”

All Mandi could do was wait until John Boehner held his vote. Ironically, a party so staunchly against immigration is made up of immigrants threatening the well-being of Native Americans.

“I may or may not have cancer,” Mandi resigns. “I definitely have a huge tumor inside of me that needs to be removed. But because of the government shutdown I can’t get the surgery I need to have it removed. Instead I get to live with the possibility of cancer and the reality of being 22 weeks tumor pregnant until this whole debacle ends.”

More on Mandi’s story here:

About Meghan A.

creative & professional creative professional | communications, content & community | nasty woman | adventurer & inspiration seeker | bicyclist & feminist | walk san francisco board | current: Adobe Typekit Product Marketing Manager, former: TYPO SF magic maker
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