“The Pre-Existents: Number 2,” by scifiguy3553. Shakespir. Copyright @ 2017.
The old, brick structure was a hold-over from the early-1800s, as was the entire historic swath of downtown San Antonio. But this particular structure actually had loose bricks and long-time faded, painted ads from the late-1800s and early-1900s that were still barely legible!
Alice Akermann was a Jewish widow at 60 and had three middle-aged children that would, soon, get purged in several years from the insurance industry’s ledger as well! Given her age, Alice made a smart move by volunteering at the reception desk of Our Lady hospital of San Antonio. She blended right in with the other volunteer-elders.
Shawn White, at 50, was one of the younger ones of the group. She was African-American, married, and had one teenaged daughter that lived with she and her husband. Shawn’s cover was at the regional carrier AmCare. She was one of the insurance agency’s best claims-processors… AmCare, Shawn’s husband, nor her daughter had any idea that Shawn was part of the Awakened movement!
Liddya Garza was the “old man” of the cell, at 70! A Latina, she had several grandkids by three adult children, and she was a divorcee. She was one of those old-school, work-‘til-you-drop people. She was already employed at Texas’ health and human services department before even joining the movement.
Jaimie silently noticed within himself, when you added David—a divorcee with no kids at 51—all five of the activists had three things in common: They were all 50 years old, or older; they were all working-middle class; and they were all among the approximately 130 million Pre-Existent Americans!
“Ok,” David said as he looked around the small circle of friends; all seated around a large coffee table, “any news we need to know about? Local or otherwise?”
Shawn held her hand up and responded after David gave a silent nod. “US Senator Rick Parks of Illinois just introduced a bill to make it mandatory for dependents on any insurance plans to go through community education on debt!”
“Why, what’s wrong with that,” Alice countered the complaints. She and Anita were the two Republicans in this particular group of the Awakened. Conservatives loved to tout the virtues of a debt-free life!
“Well,” Liddya, a moderate-Independent, disputed, “I’d agree with you Republicans on the issue of fiscal conservativism if it weren’t for the fact that you guys always make the exception when it comes to the military! For them, the Republicans say, The sky’s the limit!”
“Yeah, well, I’d rather have the nation’s debt go toward someone doing some constitutionally-sanctioned things like protect us,” Alice threw back at Liddya. “Not some tree-hugging shit like what those Commies love to do!”
“Hey, now,” Jaimie said; not being able to resist getting into his first factional in-fighting of the group!
“Socialist…look, I know I’m new here, but I totally agree with Liddya on her point. Reagan and GW Bush both blew a hole right through our nation’s purse with the military! I find it funny that the Conservatives were pretty quiet about that!”
“Shawn,” David said after the room fell silent, “so is there any relevance to Senator Parks’ bill to our mission?”
“Ok,” David said with some satisfaction. “That’s actually good to know…it shows that the Republicans are willing to use government, after all, when it suits their agenda, right? With all this talk of getting government out of our lives, one would’ve thought having the federal government force kids to take classes on debt would’ve been one of those things they would been against! Plus, that would cost public money to pay for it. Unless they force the kids’ parents to pay for that as well!”
“Look, what I’m getting at is it’s just more of the hypocrisy that we see from the alliance of the insurance industry and those in government…and I don’t care if they’re Republicans or Democrats! Can we agree on that point?”
“Good…Ok, what else? And please keep it germane to our Pre-Existent sisters and brothers!”
“So, I’m assuming it’s type-2,” Liddya guessed.
“Yep,” Anita said with a nod.
“How old is she,” Jaimie asked.
It was with that question when Anita made a hopeless face. “She just turned 50!”
“Damn it,” Jaimie responded; understanding the implications.
“Was she diagnosed before or after she turned 50,” Shawn asked with some hope.
“Just five days after her birthday,” Anita confirmed; a sympathetic tone and posture on her person.
“That magical number,” Shawn bit out sardonically.
“Quite honestly,” Jaimie interjected, “I don’t think it matters when a civilian turns 50 anymore…all the same to the insurers; either way, your friend still has diabetes and the industry will still have Congress’ and the White House’s blessings to chuck her to the side. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but—“
“No, Jaimie,” Anita assured, “you’re actually right. That’s exactly what she told me, just yesterday! Bastards in Congress won’t even try to grandfather in Pre-Existents for insurance!”
Now there were voices of unity around the coffee table!
“What can we do for her, David,” Jaimie asked. That got everyone’s attention.
David thought for a while. His eyes, then, darted toward Anita; then he looked around the whole group. “Everyone here is old enough to remember how, back in the 90s, it was popular for middle class Americans to cross over into Canada and buy cheaper meds. Or down to South America. What if we took the patient over to Canada or South America instead?”
“Now, hear me out…nothing happens in a vacuum. And what I mean by that is, it’s not just the issue of purging the Pre-Existents from coverage. The current Congress and White House are, also, cracking down on immigration into America, right? We also know that the same government will search civilians coming from these other countries for any medicine not covered by their allies in the insurance industry. Very different from the 90s…
“Look, the one thing some of us Pre-Existents have working for us is being middle class. We gather some donations from out network—cash only, so it can’t be tracked by the government!—deposit it into Krista’s account sporadically, so it doesn’t draw attention; shop around the Americas and see who’s got the best deals on treatments for type-2 diabetes and send Krista there!”
“I’m already thinking Mexico or South America, since it’s a cheaper living standard than Canada…have Krista play the tourist—make sure she withdraws the exact amount of cash for the treatment while over there, and keep the rest in her account for regular spending –”
“That way the US government can’t track where and what she’s spending her medical needs on,” Anita, now, interjected.
“And since we’re talking about a very treatable disease,” David came back in, “—some exercising and getting the right food with the cheaper meds down there, you can basically reverse type-2 diabetes in months! Just have your friend take out some kind of loan, and our group can raise some to help out, and Krista can conceivably do this!”
“I did tell you all before that Krista made decent money as a manager in retail,” Anita clarified. “But I didn’t say she was rich! As much as I appreciate you trying to help my buddy, David, I just don’t see how that can work… Sure, she could get enough money on her own, to the point, for a flight to South America and even for a few nights at a cheap hotel. But what we’re talking about takes months, David!”
“Yeah, I didn’t want to say anything negative,” Alice came in, “but I read on Web MD that you can do something like reverse type-2, but that can take up to a full year! Who’s going to pay for her mortgage, here, in America while she’s cleansing out, man?”
“It would be cheaper if she just stayed here and work through it, than jumping through all those whoops,” Jaimie said, dejectedly.
Anita scoffed at that! “Jaimie, I heard it costs something like fifteen-thousand dollars a year just for basic diabetic meds, without insurance! That’s half of some people’s entire annual wage!”
“Well, then,” Jaimie said, before anyone else could jump back in, “there’s an uncomfortable truth that your friend may have to face, Anita…she may have to move down to South America! Because given the political climate we’re currently in, I don’t foresee these changes in America’s healthcare purges of Pre-Existents reversing for, maybe, another eight or ten years!”
“If it will ever reverse at all,” David softly said after a long zone of silence.
Jaimie winced; upset with himself. On his first meeting! “Look, guys—”
“You’re just saying what a lot of Americans are beginning to conclude, Jaimie,” Shawn said, almost absent-mindedly. All eyes were on her, now. “And to think, we’re just talking about a manageable disease! And someone who’s middle class…what about all those poor Pre-Existents who don’t have Krista’s money? Or with a more threatening disease—”
“Or both,” Alice poignantly stated.
“Are we really talking about the potential of an exodus of Pre-Existents from America,” Liddya put to the group; tears, now, running down her face.
“We’ve tried electing the people who share our values on healthcare, and we weren’t successful…some tried coops years ago, but those are only as strong as the investors’ economic standing. Kind of hard to contribute money when your jobs are only paying out a fraction of what they used to be before the Great Recession! Look, I’m new to this cause. I wish I had joined years ago…but I just don’t see any other way for the Pre-Existents to, literally, survive in America if they stay her under these political conditions!”
“So, what do we do,” Anita asked.
“The Awakened network leaders use a cryptic means of communications that, so far, the authorities have not been able to hack into…I’m going to send a recommendation that we start drawing up plans to pull our collective resources together and establish a new home for the Pre-Existents.”