Continued from ‘I worked hard, paid my taxes and got laid off: Why don’t I deserve healthcare?’
…Sadly, there have been many days when I have had to fight the horrific feelings of despair, anger and even resentment at times when I have looked at them with tears streaming down my face and asking, “Why do you deserve healthcare and I don’t?“
Here in Colorado, the government managed to ‘under-estimate,’ the demand for Medicaid services (similar to the way they ‘under-estimate’ the number of people exhausting UI benefits, the number of ‘hidden’ homeless persons, etc?) when the program was modified a few years ago to allow for single individuals with no children to become eligible for Medicaid. (Note: I wrote extensively about Adults without Dependent Children – AwDC – in my articles titled, ‘What the unemployed need to know about food stamps and ‘Employment First’ and ‘More questions than answers about ‘Employment First’ and S.N.A.P. (part 2)’.
Now, like many states across the country, the costs have far outweighed estimates and the legislators and others are looking for ways to contain these ‘costs’ to taxpayers which ‘drain the budget’ – (‘costs’, which, in laymans terms are simply doctors visits and prescription drugs needed by people such as myself and others who have no employer-based health insurance and/or other resources available to them until they are forced to visit the ER room – and often never get the necessary follow up treatment prescribed by ER doctors for reasons already mentioned).
In their Jaunary article titled ‘Medicaid rolls in Colorado at “all-time historical high” in November’ the Denver Post quoted Colorado resident Dolores Rodriguez [whose husband has been out of work for two years] as saying, “There are just so many people who have lost their jobs — even those in my family who had really good jobs.” Also from the article:
Nearly 615,000 Coloradans were on Medicaid in November, by far a record high, officials said Wednesday, attributing the vast bulk of the growth to economic hard times rather than recent eligibility expansions.
The expansion covered parents who were at 100 percent of the federal poverty level and added coverage for children at 250 percent of the poverty level. It also covered childless adults at up to 100 percent of the poverty level, although state officials are planning to cap that program at 10,000 people because of unexpectedly higher costs.
The solution in Colorado: officials are going to do a ‘lottery’ – and the first 10,000 applicants whose names are lucky enough to be drawn from the pool will receive Medicaid.
I kid you not. Check out this online publication dated January 27, 2012 titled, ‘Updates on the Medicaid Expansion to Adults Without Dependent Children (AwDC)’:
…to address stakeholder concerns and to develop a more fair process, HCPF is proposing a revised approach to enroll people into the AwDC program. Rather than fill 10,000 slots on a first come, first served basis, the revised approach will use a randomized selection process (akin to a “lottery”) to fill the initial 10,000 slots. After the initial 10,000 slots are filled, all other applicants will be put into a wait pool and there will be a monthly randomized selection process to enroll people into open positions as they become available.
AwDC Advisory Committee
The AwDC Advisory Committee meets on the first Wednesday of the month from 1:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at 225 16th St in Denver. Conference calling is available.
If you’re one of the lucky 10,000 you’ll get the healthcare you need. If you’re among the tens of thousands whose names are not pulled out of the hat, well….as Alan Grayson said, “Hurry up and die” – or so it would seem.
What has happened in my life over the last 3-4 years and the public & private debate about healthcare is nothing short of unbelievable. I have an uncle who was diagnosed with cancer at age 26 and now received SSDI and Medicaid. My sister suffered a brain aneurysm (and was one of the few to survive and without paralysis) and now receives SSDI and Medicaid.
In the past I gladly paid my taxes – which helped to fund the programs from this they recieve assistance – and would have (did in the case of my sister) fight for her to receive such assistance. Now, sadly, there have been many days when I have had to fight the horrific feelings of despair, anger and even resentment at times when I have looked at them with tears streaming down my face and asking, “Why do you deserve healthcare and I don’t?” To be sure, I put myself through college as a night student while working full time and have earned a great deal more (many times over) what my sister, uncle and many members of my immediate family ever dreamed of earning – and as a result, paid much more in taxes and therefore, much more towards funding the very programs for which I and now denied. I was being torn apart inside at the prospect of literally begging for elusive healthcare while they got whatever they need and more. It’s brutal and it weighs heavily on one’s soul.
For just a little more perspective, this ‘debate’ has also ruined some lifetime family friendships, at least from my perspective. A friend of my mom’s who worked as a hairdresser on one day a week (on Saturdays) for a period of about ten years has openly ridiculed the length of unemployment benefits, the ‘welfare’ society we live in and has claimed her ‘libertarian’ views that include abolishing the death tax, keeping capital gains tax rates at a meager 15% and ending the ‘never ending cycle of unemployment and welfare’.
Here’s the rub: this woman now receives Social Security and Medicare — and doesn’t think a thing about it: she deserves it; she is entitled. She has a daughter who was laid off at least 18 months ago and by her own admission has never even started looking for work – but is collecting uemployment benefits. This friend didn’t have to work hardly a day in her life. Her husband was an engineer and worked hard (was in a union) & retired early with a good pension and I assume, now also received Social Security and Medicare. They have been left with ‘enough money that they won’t run out’ – money inherited from parents and other members of their family.
Simply put, this woman inherited a great deal of money, hardly worked a day in her life and now collects Social Security, Medicare and wants to abolish death taxes, keep the capital gains tax at 15% (money she lives more than comfortably on now and will for the rest of her life) and thinks that she is entitled to Social Security and Medicare (which she paid very little into) – while also proclaiming that extended unemployment insurance is ‘welfare’ (except in the case of her daughter apparently) – and accessiblity to healthcare programs such as Medicaid for uninsured (and unemployed) people such as myself (who, by the way, DID pay much more into the system) – make up what she calls the ‘welfare society’. Hypocrisy at its best. What’s more, this ‘debate’ is tearing apart families and communities across America.
Policies like the one Colorado has put forth to do a ‘lottery’ for single adults ‘without dependent children’ do not belong in what is supposedly the richest, most democratic (moral/ethical?) country that proclaims to fight for the rights of all individuals and their ability to achieve God-given alienable rights preserved by our Constituion: ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’.
What people, including myself want is a job – and typically that meant I’d also have the health insurance and financial means necessary to obtain access to that care I once took for granted. The Republicans (and some Democrats) at all levels – and many in the community, have made it all too clear that they are more concerned with the rights of corporations than they are about the rights of workers as evidenced by their party line votes against bills that would prevent discrimination against unemployed job seekers, etc. Unless and until I (and tens of millions just like me) find work, I am forced to look for help through public and private institutions. Denying that help is not only costly it begs the question, “Why don’t I deserve healthcare?”
If you think I’m alone in this debacle, think again. The GAO estimates that there are now an existing 5.5 million who have exhausted all unemployment insurance and another 4 million are expected to do so this year. This doesn’t even begin to include the tens of millions who are now working part time and likely have limited or no health insurance. It would seem obvious that this is in fact an expensive and expansive debacle – and that not only does the healthcare debacle need to be resolved, the costs of helping the unemployed get back to work, is in fact, an obvious solution in the meantime (until the ACA is fully enacted, assuming it prevails in the upcoming Supreme Court Decisions). If only lawmakers – particularly those on the right – would think in laymans terms it would seem obvious to them as well.
Be sure to check out the short video above, from an article titled, ‘Affordable Care Act is Saving Lives, Plain and Simple’ in which Justin McAfee writes,
One thing is certain…the Affordable Care Act is saving lives. If there were ever really any “death panels,” it would be the insurance companies that routinely deny coverage to people who have been paying their insurance with their hard earned pay for years. Most Americans are one illness away from bankruptcy. The old system was certainly not working. Why anyone would be against these needed changes to our health care industry is beyond me. Thank you President Obama for standing up for regular Americans.
There are efforts being made around the country to address these issues. Here in Colorado a group is working on an initiative to form a ‘healthcare cooperative’ whereby all Colorado residents will have access to healthcare. This work is being formed around legislation introduced by State Senator Irene Aguilar and is being formed on the basis that the Affordable Care Act remains fully intact. For more information please visit the website: http://www.healthcareforallforless.org/