When one person hurts, we all hurt

Maybe I’m not as nice as I used to be. Because when I read this, I’m not so happy:

Which brings me to my apology. I was pretty mad at Obama before I learned about this new insurance plan. I had changed my registration from Democrat to Independent, and I had blacked out the top of the “h” on my Obama bumper sticker, so that it read, “Got nope” instead of “got hope.” I felt like he had let down the struggling middle class. My son and I had campaigned for him, but since he took office, we felt he had let us down.

So this is my public apology. I’m sorry I didn’t do enough of my own research to find out what promises the president has made good on. I’m sorry I didn’t realize that he really has stood up for me and my family, and for so many others like us. I’m getting a new bumper sticker to cover the one that says “Got nope.” It will say “ObamaCares.”

As you already know, I frequently criticize President Obama’s policies. And the mere fact that I will get to make use of the Affordable Health Care Act’s preexisting condition plan to get the surgery I desperately need doesn’t do a damned thing to help all the other people who aren’t eligible, or who can’t afford it. (I couldn’t afford it if not for a tiny nest egg left to me by my mother – one I was counting on for car repairs.)

Spike Dolomite Ward sounds like a nice middle-class lady — one who can afford to make a small monthly payment, even if it’s a stretch. I, on the other hand, know far too many people my age who are now members of the long-term unemployed, people hanging by a thread. For various reasons, they’re not eligible for programs like Medicaid – but there’s no way in hell they can afford a monthly premium.

Good for Ms. Ward that she can afford it. But her story annoyed me because it sounds like her disillusion with Obama’s policies (and her subsequent reconversion experience after she got finally the help she needed) was rooted only in her own middle class experience. That bugs me.

Don’t get me wrong: The preexisting condition option is an absolute lifesaver for those who can afford it. It’s subsidized by the federal government to keep premiums low (mine will run slightly under $300 a month, as opposed to the $600+ a month I paid into COBRA while I was still on unemployment). The original version required you to prove you’d been turned down by an insurer, or to show documentation that the premium was so high, you couldn’t afford it. When the enrollment numbers turned out to be rather low, they loosened those strict requirements. (In Pennsylvania, I only had to list which pre-existing conditions I had.)

The numbers are still low, and the original reason I wanted to write about this was to urge readers to look into their own state’s program. (Some are run by the state, others by the feds. Ask Mr. Google how to apply where you live.)

As some of you know, I’ve been suffering with gall bladder disease since July, and last month was also diagnosed with a nasty case of diverticulitis. The latter was treated with major-league antibiotics and a liquid diet; the former hasn’t been treated because, well, I don’t have insurance.

It hasn’t been fun, these late-night cab rides to the ER. (911 takes me to the local Medicaid mill, which misdiagnosed me the first time around. I’m not going back for more.) Rolling around on the floor for hours because you’re in excruciating pain is never fun; knowing a simple outpatient surgery could fix the whole thing is just plain infuriating.

No, the hospital doesn’t have to perform surgery – unless your condition is life-threatening.

Hospitals have a weird subset of the definition. There’s “life threatening” as in “we’re going to fix it even if you don’t have the money” kind of life threatening (the kind I don’t have – yet), and then there’s “life threatening” as in the GI specialist frowning, patting your hand (never a good sign) and saying, “Your attacks are accelerating, you really need to take care of this now, this is a life-threatening condition. If anything changes or it gets worse, you must go to the ER.”

You know, as if I’m stubbornly refusing to get the surgery because I don’t take it seriously enough.

Having an inflamed gall bladder is like having an inflamed appendix. If it ruptures, the infection can kill you. I know that.

So when I found out about this plan, I was just plain thrilled. Not so thrilled when they told me if accepted, it would start Feb. 1st. I called my local (Republican) state representative’s office and talked to the constituent services lady, who’d never heard of the program but promised to see if it could be expedited. I wasn’t hopeful, but the next day she called me back with a contact number. I spoke to the caseworker, who got my start date moved up to January instead.

When I hung up, I sat there and cried tears of relief.

Now all I have to do is wait. Wait for the official acceptance letter (hoping there’s no screw-up in the paperwork), and wait for Christmas to be over, because I can’t go to any Christmas parties this year. I might eat something that could send me back to the ER, and I don’t want to risk it. (Although if any of you want to send me Christmas cookies in January, I could always celebrate later.)

If everything works out, this very useful government program will solve my individual medical problem. But it won’t solve everyone’s, and if there’s someone else writhing around on the floor late at night because they can’t afford insurance, that’s one too many and I do feel their pain.

And so should our president, and the politicians who cobbled together this Frankenstein’s monster of medical “reform”. We’re the richest country in the world. People shouldn’t have to beg for the help they need. As I said to every single person who dealt with me in the hospital, “This system is insane.” Every last one of them agreed with me.

I’m glad I’m getting the help I need. But I won’t stop pushing them until they fix it for everyone else.

10 thoughts on “When one person hurts, we all hurt

  1. The worst ‘performing’ high level Obama appointees have all been Clinton(ites) (the guy whose wife was put in charge of getting a universal health care bill enacted and failed.) There are 31 of them in all. Rahm Emanuel (who helped to destroy the momentum for a single-payer health care plan), Eric Holder, Susan Rice, Jim Messina (who hated the public option), Greg Craig, Dennis Ross (who has sidetracked an Israel/Palestinian Peace agreement for 20 years), Larry Summers (wo helped engineer the demise of Glass-Steagal), and let’s not forget Hillary who is possibly the worst Secretary of State in US history. This can’t be a coincidence. It smells nore like sabatoge. Let’s hope that once Obama is reelected he fires all of these worthless clowns.

  2. This system is insane. And people are oblivious to how bad it is until it involves them or their family. I’m glad that you will be able to get this taken care of in January. And I’m sorry that you have had to go through so much pain.

  3. “…excruciating pain…” and yet you continue to write objective, cogent, informed analysis of the health-care system “reforms.” Amazing.

    Unlike Barry, who just exploited his daughters to justify his decision to overturn the medical experts at FDA on Plan B.

    Lesson: Public policy is separate from your personal situation and even your agony.

  4. That’s exactly where I am too. Whatever benefits are offered will only help those who are still moderately well off. As for me it will require a yearly tax for nothing I can use. As for the promised expansion of Medicaid, you can forget that. He has done nothing to help me, and in fact made life worse.

    Plus I will not vote for a war criminal no matter who is opposite him on the ballot.

    But I am already hearing a few starting to say after this last speech at Osawatomie, “Well if he really means to stand behind this speech, I guess I will help him in the election”

    Does anybody know what happened in Osawatomie in 1856 ? How does the first black President not know about John Brown?

  5. I just learned that the extended coverage for kids over 22 DOESN’T apply to dental or vision insurance. One step forward, one back.

  6. I work at a hospital. Have you checked into filling out a financial assistance application? Many people don’t know this option is available to them. The hospital writes off the entire bill and you get the needed service. I have seen many people helped with this option.

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