Our Primary Concern - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1725358

Our Primary Concern

O, sir! you are old;

Nature in you stands on the very verge

Of her confine: you should be rul’d and led

By some discretion that discerns your state

Better than you yourself.

— King Lear II, iv, 144-148

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, justice of the Supreme Court for the last 27 years, passed away last Friday, and even as I write this is being laid to rest, leaving the balance of the Supreme Court supremely askew: five conservatives against three liberals. A ninth, ultra-conservative nominee, as Donald Trump is sure to select, would make it 6-3 against the liberals.

For us elderlies, this might quite literally be the death blow.

Obamacare might be repealed just at a time when COVID-19 has wreaked havoc. According to Johns Hopkins University, people above 65 years of age account for 80 percent of the deaths from COVID-19. That is more than 160,000!

Now, more than ever, the American people need easier access to health care, without restrictions, so that our nation heals quickly.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is renowned for championing women’s rights, but she has also protected affordable health care each time President Trump has tried to harm the law, or even entirely repeal it. We senior citizens of Suffolk County should not forget that.

We thus raise our voices, feeble as they may be, to all the senators in Washington, D.C., to ensure that whoever comes to the Supreme Court will protect affordable health care. To this end, we wish that the Senate does not confirm Trump’s nominee during this lame duck session. Let us wait till we have a new president. It was also Justice Ginsburg’s dying wish!

My wife and I are both cancer patients. I am in remission, but she is in relapse, going in and out of the hospital. She’s on a drug, to be taken indefinitely, that’s costing us $145 a month. Together, we are living on Social Security, already struggling to make ends meet. Any change to the Affordable Care Act will almost definitely shut us old folks away.

I appeal to every senior citizen in Suffolk County, Republican or Democrat: Please, please make health care our primary concern this election. Do not let politicians determine how long we should live, or, as Shakespeare put it so aptly, “be ruled and led by … discretions discerning our state.”

Shivaji Sengupta



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