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Stephen King's Movie "It" and The Bill to Repeal the Affordable Care Act

written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Sunday, 24th September ,2017

My husband and I had not gone to see a movie for a long time until last weekend.  I was going to propose a romantic movie such as “Tulip Fever,” but we were told it didn’t have a good review.  I have always liked horror movies so I quickly urged my husband to take me to see Stephen King’s “It.”  I don’t know why I like horror movies.  Maybe they help confirm how safe or stable my life has been. 

This movie “It” is about a town haunted by a clown who emerges every 27 years to kidnap and kill children.  He seems to bother only children, those with their own set of problems and fear.  The movie started out with a beautiful little boy who was chasing his paper boat in a rain puddle.  This paper boat, made by his loving older brother, was swept into a sewer where “the Clown” lived.  This clown sweet talked the little boy into coming closer to the sewer to get his boat back.  Within a few seconds, as typically shown in a horror movie, this beautiful boy was grabbed by the clown and his arm was chewed off as he was pulled into the sewer by the clown and disappeared forever from his family.  Needless to say, It was my first scream in the movie theater.

At the end of the movie, the group of five heroic children together “killed” the Clown by conquering their personal fear.  They promised to each other that they will come back to the town 27 years later from wherever they are to protect the town’s children from the cruel Clown.  Even these children knew there would be a sequel to this horror movie!

I guess I am getting too old for horror movies.  I screamed so loud every time the Clown suddenly appeared in a child ’s bedroom, at the door of an abandoned house, in the library or in the basement of the heroic brother whose little brother lost his life chasing after his paper boat.  I found myself screaming at the movie screen “ DON’T OPEN THAT DOOR!”  Or turning and complaining bitterly to David how “stupid” it was when certain character would venture down a dark basement or a spooky room. 


When the movie ended and the lights were back on in the theater, I realized my husband and I were among the only five or six adults in that theater! We were surrounded by laughing and giggling teenagers who saw the movie in groups.  How could they have laughed at such a scary movie? Did they feel sorry for the little beautiful boy who was eaten by the Clown? Where was humanity in these giggling teenagers?

It was obvious that the Clown was going to be BACK before the 27th year anniversary, because I heard how “It” broke the box office in record the first weekend it was released, making much more than the cost of making the movie.

This week, Republican Senators Graham and Cassidy tried to bring back the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  Didn’t we witness this chaos before, twice?

In real life, a group of scary clowns has been trying to take away 33 million Americans ‘ healthcare coverage including the elderly, children, disabled people and those with serious medical conditions.  It’s truly terrifying to imagine a healthcare system where having a cesarean section would be considered a pre-existing condition where insurance companies are permitted to charge the client more, although they are not allowed to “exclude” patients with pre-existing conditions.  The Kaiser foundation showed that long list of pre-existing conditions and anybody above forty years old is likely to be in that list.

The Clowns in the Affordable Care Act Repeal Saga tried to emerge again to eat up as many victims as they can get, but the hero emerged again to stop this hideous act.  I am sure someone would say his brain cancer must have affected his judgment.  Frankly, in my opinion, even with aggressive treatment for glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer, Senator McCain still has enough functional neurons to act “in his conscience” to refuse to go along with the clowns.   Senator McCain, like the children in Stephen King’s movie, probably had to overcome his own fear of being rejected by his president, his political party, and his friends Graham and Cassidy.  He had to tap into his conscience to do “the right thing.”  It takes courage to do so, but sometime in life, we have to take that courage to sleep better at night knowing we didn't deny a cancer patient his much needed care, a poor woman her contraception to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, a child his vaccines to prevent deadly infections. 

I hope the “Repeal of the Affordable Care Act” show will stop for good soon and without a sequel.  As Senator McCain said, it is time for the two political parties to sit down and debate on what would be best for the country’s healthcare system.  Let the Clowns of political nightmares die for good and not emerge every few months to terrorize not a small town, but 33 million people whose lives depend on their insurance.  I would rather not be forced to see this Repeal of the Affordable Care Act movie again.  I would rather bring popcorn to watch something more pleasant, like “The Exorcise.”  At least, the devil in that movie was destroyed for good, so the little girl could have her normal life back forever. Horror movies seem to mimic real life events, but in movies, children and adults do not really get killed.  

I think Paul Krugman, the economist and Nobel winner, is a genius.  You probably would agree dummies do not win Nobel prizes.  He has been watching in horror the effort of the Republican Party to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  Krugman is a man with deep knowledge and logic.  He, unlike the Republican senators who were about to vote for the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, read the data and policies of the ACA in detail.  How can they vote for something that seems to be beyond their level of comprehension, not knowing how much they will hurt those who put them in office?  Krugman  wrote how most of these legislators did not know or care about policy substance, and how their answers to the press about the policy they were about to vote for ranged from “incoherence” to “belligerence” to “belligerent incoherence.”  His New York Times article “Cruelty, Incompetence and Lies” is one you must read this week since he summarized nicely the problems Americans will face if the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act  is passed.  He also explained why the Republican lawmakers have been desperately trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act without thinking about the consequences.  It shows me how politics can kill citizens.  It is time for these law makers to reflect on why so many organizations such as the AMA, The American Pediatrics Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Blue Cross Blue Shield, to name a few, have been against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  To call the Affordable Care Act the “Obamacare,” in itself, was a political move to have many Americans oppose it without even understanding how it can help them.  It’s time to let compassion trumps politics. 


Dr. Robert Beshear, a pediatrician from Alabama, described how the Affordable Care Act has helped children and adults in Alabama have access to healthcare, and how there will be many unnecessary  deaths with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act:


Dr. Beshear’s last sentence in his letter to the New York Times Editorials about the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act:

“I would remind each senator: We are better people than this! Vote this heinous bill down and find another way.”

Don’t you wonder how many people who showed up for President Trump’s campaign rally the other night in Alabama were the benefactors of the Affordable Care Act?  Did they understand their president has been desperately trying to strip off their healthcare access?  I am not so sure they would still clap their hands at every word he spoke if they had the knowledge like their pediatrician Dr. Beshear and economist Paul Krugman.  They would have rather seen the rerun of “The Exorcist” like me.  It would have been less scary.

Tags: Repeal of the Affordable Care Act

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