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?
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