House Speaker Paul Ryan says the American Health Care Act “achieves our mission: lowering premiums and lowering the deficit.” However, a public option would achieve these aims without also lowering life expectancy or health outcomes.

Life expectancy is a big topic in our household. Our daughter Ali has cystic fibrosis, a life-shortening condition caused by a tiny genetic alteration. She’s a normal, healthy 29-year-old who works hard, plans to be married and have a family soon, and happens to have a condition that wreaks havoc on her lungs. The median age of survival for people with cystic fibrosis has risen from 18 to 41 since Ali’s birth.

Ali’s good health and CF patients’ longer lives are due to effort, great clinical care and novel medications. The latter are the result of research funded largely by CF families’ efforts.

I’m sure Paul Ryan and, with the AHCA now in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have worked late nights toward their mission of lowering the deficit. So perhaps they can understand what it feels like as a CF parent, working night after night to support research in hopes that our kids might outlive their parents.

Yet these gentlemen’s proposals threaten to place our hard-earned treatments on a high shelf, within view but just out of reach. Some mission.

I propose a better mission: lower costs, increase innovation and promote good health for every American regardless of the genetic card they draw. Merely adding a public option to Obamacare might accomplish this mission, as indicated by the Congressional Budget Office in 2013. This one step could also cut the deficit more than all the AHCA provisions cooked up late at night by Mr. Ryan and Mr. McConnell.

Please call Sen. Susan Collins at 780-3575. Urge her to stand strong for enhanced, accessible health care at better cost for all.

Patty Morris

Cape Elizabeth