A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the WNY Lupus Walk 2017, joining people with lupus and their loved ones in raising awareness and funds for treatment programs. Lupus is a disease that affects mostly women, and a high percentage of those women are from communities of color. Without regular medical management, including daily medication and in some cases access to transfusion drugs, lupus can be debilitating and even fatal. But with regular access to quality care, a lupus diagnosis needn't be a death sentence.
Other than their bravery and incredible strength, these women have another thing in common. Under every single version of the Republican health care bill introduced thus far, they would lose straightforward and fair access to coverage. Indeed, it's also hard to believe that just eight years ago they would have had difficulty accessing health care at all. This illuminates the fact that this is a very precarious situation with incredibly high stakes. It is so important that we fight with all of our might to keep any version of this harmful Republican health care bill from passing.
On its surface, it may seem that the Comptroller race has very little to do with national healthcare policy. But because the incumbent has used his position as a pulpit for all manner of partisan grandstanding, this issue is now very much on the docket this November. Stefan has vocally, repeatedly supported Republican health care plans. While he has remained mostly silent on this issue since the AHCA was struck down, we can’t forget that just a few weeks ago he stood next to Chris Collins and vowed an Obamacare repeal that removed protection from those with pre-existing conditions, among other blows, would serve Erie County's budget.
There are so many troubling things about Stefan’s campaign. He is meddling in areas well outside of his expertise, he frequently exaggerates his role to garner headlines, and he has placed his alignment with Collins over the interests of Eric County voters. But the most disturbing thing to me about all of this is that I've shaken the hands of so many community members who benefit from the Affordable Care Act. Their lives will be irreversibly harmed or even cut short if they lose the access they currently have to affordable health care. And though Stefan has also shaken these hands and looked these community members full in the face, he has chosen partisan politics and personal gain over people.
That's a dirty game, Erie County, and I refuse to play it.