My Dad Can’t Breathe – James Finn

Mr. Trump, this can’t go on, used with permission

My dad wakes up gasping for breath each morning.

He’s suffering from end-stage COPD. Until we got him an oxygen generator, he was chronically sleep deprived and dreaded going to bed. With oxygen, he manages to sleep and be functional during the day.

Without supplemental oxygen, he’s barely alive.

The trouble is, he’s chained to the heavy generator. It’s far too bulky to travel with, so leaving the house for more than a hour or two is out of the question. I want to get him a portable oxygen generator, and he’s entitled to one under Medicare regulations. But that isn’t going to happen for him right now.

Trump’s government shutdown is preventing it —

I spent hours on the phone yesterday with reps from two different medical supply companies. Both of them tell me that Dad qualifies to have most or all of a portable machine paid for. Both of them tell me not to hold my breath waiting for Medicare to approve payment.

Approval of new applications for “noncritical” medical devices has slowed to a crawl. You wouldn’t guess this looking at news reports about the shutdown. Medicare itself hasn’t been touched yet, though it will suffer automatic cuts soon if the shutdown doesn’t end.

Medicare staffing levels haven’t even been affected. The trouble is that with large parts of the rest of the government shut down, Medicare workers aren’t able to effectively gather and verify information they need to approve new benefits.

So my dad will sit at home, chained to a machine —

We can’t afford the 3 to 4 thousand dollars necessary to pay for a portable generator, and Medicare is paralyzed. I wonder what other unanticipated problems are hurting people right now?

I wonder why President Trump is holding the entire government hostage. Congress exists to appropriate funds. That’s their Constitutional role. If Congress doesn’t want to fund a wall or a fence on our southern border, then we need to move on.

President Trump needs to move on. My dad can’t breathe, and that’s got nothing to do with border security. It must have nothing to do with border security.

Enough is enough. Open our government back up for us, Mr. Trump.

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