Republicans Don’t Know Anything About Being Sick

joe lhota

The other night I woke up hours before I had to. “I’m not awake, I’m not asleep, I’m that other thing…” I kept thinking to myself, not making any sense, slipping in and out of consciousness, unable to fall asleep, unwilling to move, feeling accutely, frighteningly aware of my own unquietable consciousness, which had lost its reason. Had I been drugged into insanity and buried alive? No such luck: it was merely run-of-the-mill low blood sugar, I finally managed to realize, common scourge of the diabetic, coming on gradually and striking decisively in the middle of the night.

Over the last several days, managing my blood sugar has been more difficult than usual: I ran out of blood-sugar testing strips at the same time I did cash, so I haven’t been testing. I’ve gone rogue, figuring (with a bit of pride and arrogance) I’d just wait until payday instead of driving up my credit-card debt any farther; being sick is expensive, even with health insurance: $20 for this insulin, $20 for that, $20 for strips, more money for lancets and sugar tablets and vitamins. Plus food, fucking food, all my money goes to food. Sometimes you get sick of paying for sickness. Imagine, though, if it were worse: if you were working a low-paying job and also needed to pay for your own health insurance, plus the copays and everything else? Imagine you had no job?

Well, only one mayoral candidate can. Republican Joe Lhota doesn’t agree with his national political counterparts who shut down the government, but he does believe in their goal: delaying implementation of Obama’s healthcare law, whose purpose is to help people who don’t have it or can’t afford it get access to healthcare. “I’m unemployed now,” Lhota said. “I know what it’s like to go out and pay for one’s own health care.”

Joe Lhota don’t know jack shit. Joe Lhota is worth $13 million: he owns a five-bedroom vacation house in Nantucket and lives in a three-bedroom penthouse co-op in Brooklyn Heights. He bought a one-bedroom apartment in Washington, DC, that his daughter could live in while she was in college at Georgetown. (Know what my parents bought me when I was at CUNY? A Metrocard, for which I was thankful because it was more than a lot of other people had.) Lhota attributes his financial success to his diligence in saving, to “not leading an extravagant lifestyle.”

That would be in contrast to me. I take my disposable income and do things like take my girlfriend to the movies instead of, you know, investing it. Just kidding: Joe Lhota’s not talking to me, because he has no fucking clue what it means not to be a millionaire, to know what it means to be sick and have to pay for healthcare you can’t afford. Even though he was born “the son of a cop,” he was an executive on Wall Street for decades, stealing America’s money for his own prosperity. He’s just in his own bubble like so many other well-off people.

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart

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