Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A thought... What do you think?

I'm curious as to what you readers, being in various different countries and different areas within those countries, will have to say here... Different points of view can shed light on things that you wouldn't expect.

In the US, it seems the only way to get health care is to pay out the ass for it. Seriously, just the office visit can run between $75 and $100, and that goes much higher if it's a specialist you're seeing. Then whatever testing- Xray, CT, bloodwork.. all that is expensive. Then, once you've paid for all that, you have followups. More money.

So yes, the obvious answer would be to buy health insurance. My husband's employer (Walmart) does offer it. But paying for it would take more than 50% of each paycheck, and then you have high deductibles and copays to look at, plus non-covered services and everything else. Buying insurance is not feasible for us right now. We live paycheck to paycheck, we can't do it. Even if we could cover the cost of the insurance itself, we couldn't even begin to meet deductibles and copays.

We make too much for Medicaid. We make too much for the free clinics, but not enough to pay to go to one of the "sliding scale" clinics. Where do you go from this point?

I've had memory loss and dizziness, getting worse and worse over the last 2 years. I've ignored it until now, but when we're at the point I cannot remember if I gave Jaymes his meds, or fed them breakfast, don't you think it's time to take it seriously? I went to the ER, because that's the only place they don't expect money up front. They charged me just over $1000 to tell me I needed to see a neurologist. They got me set up for next month with one, and all I have to do is pay $20 up front and they'll add the rest of the bill to my "tab" so to speak.

The hospital billing people suggested that I get in as many doctor appointments as I can before the 90 day cutoff on Medicaid applications to cover past medical costs. They said this because right now, we make too much and our bill isn't high enough to bypass the income limit to qualify.

Somehow, I have to be able to get the care I need, to be here for Jaymes. If I'm a veggie, sitting in a chair muttering to myself, what good can I be to him? In all honesty, despite having a few people who do love and care for Jaymes very much, and who would care for him if something happened to me, he would not recieve the standard of care he gets with me. I get him every service possible, I fight for him, I spend all my time with him. Jaymes and I have a special bond that not even Jason or my mom have with him, and I shudder to think of how anything happening to me would affect both his emotional wellbeing and his care.

Anyway- fastforeward to now. I have had a horrible eye infection (pink eye probably) for a week now. It's miserable, it hurts, and I can hardly see. I've been using antibiotic stuff my mom gave me, but it doesn't seem to be doing a lot, and now my other eye is beginning to itch and burn too. Ideally, I'd love to go to the doctor. Realistically, I can't afford to. My only option (that I see) is to go to the ER again, and let them add that to my visit. I get eye medicine, I meet the previously mentioned Medicaid deductible, and I qualify for Medicaid. Then I can get the neuro exam and stuff done, and everything else.

I know that going to the ER for pink eye is a waste of their time and a waste of money and resources. I know that it's tax payers who pay for Medicaid. I know we're drains on society, and that it's basically defining us as White Trash. What can I do though? I can continue to ignore my health problems as I have been- I need glasses, my back hurts, I'm always sick, my eye hurts and I need to be on meds for depression. I do ok, ignoring things, but it makes for a lot of stress. But what happens when that starts to affect Jaymes' care? When is it ok for me to put myself in higher regard than the taxpayers, for the sake of being here for Jaymes?

We're not welfare cases. Jason works hard. We don't blow money. Yes, we have a horse, and yes, feeding him costs a ridiculous amount of money. But the horse is one thing that is special and fun for Jaymes and I. Having the horse gets Jaymes talking and enjoying, and keeps me active. It gives us both an outlet. I don't have a lot. I've sold most everything I own, right down to my Ipod, to pay bills. Yes, we'd be slightly better off without the horse to feed, but then Jaymes and I lose something that has become such a major piece of our lives.

I could get a job. I don't want to, but I could. I have horrible social anxiety, I've never held a job more than a year because of it. I have trouble talking to people, trouble with making phone calls, and if the boss comes near me I'm a twitchy, stammering mess. I have trouble learning things that other people learn in no time, I forget things constantly... It's hard for me. There's also the child care issue- when I worked at Toys R Us, I didn't even make enough money to cover the cost of daycare, and that was for one child. Not to mention the fact that the last time Jaymes was in daycare, I walked in to see him being slapped across the face so hard he fell over backward, by his "teacher." Excuse me if I say I don't feel safe putting a child like Jaymes in daycare, I have valid reasons.

I think people misunderstand the whole draw of Medicaid. They think we like it, because it's free and easy and we get whatever we want. Not true. Medicaid recipients get bottom of the barrel care in most cases. The places we have to go to the doctor tend to be dirty, and in bad parts of town. We're treated like trash. I'd much rather have good insurance than Medicaid, trust me.

And another thing I've noticed... Why is it when it's me wanting Medicaid so I can go to the doctor, I'm a drain, but when it's the millions that have been spend on Jaymes, who also has Medicaid, it's ok? It's ok for Jaymes to rack up bills the taxpayers have to pay, but not for the person responsible for caring for him? why do we even have a Medicaid system, if it's such a terrible thing?

So my question is this... Is there any option other than the ones I've told you all about? I don't see any, but maybe I'm just too close to the situation not to be blinded by it. I don't want to be a drain on anyone. I hate taking money from my mother and Jasons. I hate being on food stamps. I hate not being able to pay my bills. It's humiliating, it really is. I hate filling out the applications, standing in line beside the druggies and poor old homeless people. But I do what I feel I have to do. Until Jason gets a better paying job (he has an interview tomorrow, wish us luck!), this is where we're at. What do you think? What are you feelings on Medicaid, in general?


Tara Nicole said...

Amber - First a Foremost our health care system is JACKED up! I'm a Nurse and I can not even afford health care....what does that tell you! I'm a 22 y/o white woman with NO kids and married and either one of us can afford to PREVENT getting terribly ill! That's SAD! The truth of the matter, NEVER feel ashamed to do what you HAVE to do to keep yourself and your babies safe and healthy! You NEED to stay healthy for them!

FUCK the government and their "solutions" they are not solutions at ALL they are mearly pacifiers used to shut people (the public) up when they (the government) are asked WHAT they are doing to protect and/or help people that ACTUALLY need the assistance and that are not using the system to up-hold their "special needs" such as crack, coke, booze or whatever else shit they decide to inject and digest on a daily basis!

And mostly FUCK our health system or lack there of! NEVER feel that you own anybody an explanation and/or apologize to do what you need to, to get through from day to day! There are ALWAYS going to be social parasites that abuse the system....YOU are not one of them so don't EVER feel guilty!

I've been there in food stamp lines as a kid and soup kitchens/shelters at church's standing in long horrible lines with the "devil's rejects" trying to survive!!! I hated it and despised my mother for making me go along with her....but she was doing what she HAD to do to keep our family going and keep food in our tummy's and I respect her today for it!

The GOAL of all of this is for you to get the health care YOU need and deserve...hell the health care that EVERYONE deserves and SHOULD be entitled to! If going to the ER is what it takes to get you healthy and keep you healthy then go to that freaking ER and screw anyone that looks down on you for doing so!

Even if that means racking up large amount of medical bills to ensure that you are "OK" and then file for bankruptcy so be it! TAKE CARE of YOU baby-girl! You're all that matters in the eyes of your children!

The long and sad truth is that America (being the Government) does not give a shit about any of us....Their only concern is the money that they stuff their pockets with called our Tax Dollars.

colorisnteverything said...

Squishy, you NEED to go.

I completely understand where you are coming from. I am currently covered by my mother's insurance which is really, really excellent. It makes everything cheap and when your medications are normally $400.00 a month sans insurance, you don't get off easily without healthcare.

I have chronic asthma and a day without meds and monitoring is a day I could die. However, when I graduate in a little over a year and a half, I am screwed. I am looking at leaving the country for grad school because I CANNOT afford health care. I could afford student loans, but not health care.

You need to go! Medicaid SUCKS. It is not acceptable, but it is all you have. You aren't a leech. I am more than happy to pay for you and your family. The people I have trouble paying for are people who waste their lives away smoking and drinking themselves to death like my late uncle. You, though, are a productive person and not a leech.

You mean too much to your family to loose your vision over something as stupid as pink eye.

I am soooo sorry this is happening. It's pathetic.

This is why I am writing my thesis on healthcare. I can't sit back and hold a party line, ignoring all the hard working people like you and your husband who can manage healthcare. It's just sad.

I had a clinic visit in 'O7 for strep throat at Promptcare. They billed our insurance for $600.00 to see me and run a strep test. I know what you are up against. I paid $20.00.

Amber DBTD said...

Point taken, ladies ( :

I'm hoping that I will qualify for the Medicaid, even if only for one month.. Enough time to get my neurologist thing done, my eye meds, and glasses.

Puh-leeze said...

Squishy dear, listen to your big sister and Get Thee to a Health Professional.

Am I correct in saying that if this condition was affecting Jaymes or Sienna, they would be at the doctor, STAT? Who will take care of them, and Buddy, and the ratties, if you are unable to drive due to no vision?

Ok, end rant about that. Sorry.

I agree with Tara Nicole. You are not a mooch or a leach. I will be honored to help pay for your healthcare. And, since I think that Medicare and Social Security will be busted (broke, no cash) by the time it's my turn to collect, I would rather you get the money than someone else.

Now, about husband's job. I am lucky in that I have a Union job with outstanding benefits. When I left the horse world ten years ago, I wanted a job where I would just be a number instead of the "go-to" person for every darn thing that went wrong in the barn. The fact that I get *all* of my healthcare paid for by my employer is an added bonus.

Your hubbins will NEVER be able to afford health insurance from Walmart. Walmart is the devil; the Evil Union Busting Company from hell who won't pay their employees a living wage (and thereby encouraging a steady stream of customers, who absolutely must watch every penny.) Until workers are treated fairly (read: Unions!) or there is a single payer system in which everyone gets healthcare as a matter of right, then things look great for Big Pharma but not so great for Joe People.


Puh-leeze said...

I meant "Sierra" not "Sienna." Sorry.

rf said...

I live in Canada. Our tax system pays our health care. If one of my 3 kids or myself get sick, I take them to the doctor with no worries about the bill, cause there won't be one. I do pay for dentist, optomitrist and chiropratic visits. As well as prescription drugs. But not x-rays, casts, other tests or exams. I'd almost tell you to pack up and move up here, but then you'd lose your base of support. Alot of Americans seem to think we have an almost communist system for health care, which is bullshit. Say if I got hurt and was in a coma, it wouldn't matter that my family had run out of money (that wouldn't happen, because we don't pay out of pocket in the first place), the only person who could ok pulling my plug would be my next of kin. NOT my doctor or the hospital administrator if they thought I was wasting money and space.
Watch "Sicko", it's by Michael Moore and tells about the US health care system and compairs it to places like Canada, England and even Cuba. By the way, Cuba has a better system than you.

Amber DBTD said...

Believe me, I wish I could move to Canada. There are times I'm truly ashamed to be part of this country.

In our "great nation" people who work their asses off can go hungry, and without health care, while drug addicts and welfare cases sit on their butts and get paid for it.

Erin said...

I hope your husband can stop working for Walmart ASAP. Like another person said, their healthcare was designed not to be attainable for the employees who work for the wages they set.

You could move to Indiana and get HIP.

Wish that was realistic. Wish I didn't feel like suggesting you need a fake IN address...

all-canadian said...

Social welfare programs like Medicaid are MEANT for people like you. People who are working and doing what they can to get by, but for whatever reason aren't able to make ends meet... people who can't work because of kids, or health problems, or whatever.

Don't feel guilty. Take what is available to you... thousands of people who are less deserving do it every day. It makes me feel better to know that there is actually a point to these programs, that not everyone is out there abusing them.