Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Monday, February 05, 2007

MA politicians just don't get it

When the MA universal health care intiative passed last year, there were kudos heard around the blogosphere, as well as the country. MA became the first state in the country to require that every citizen in the commonwealth have health insurance. Sounds fabulous, no?

Well, no. It isn't so fabulous for the majority of people that do not get insurance coverage from their employer, the working poor. The stiffs that wait on you in restaurants, the people that ring up your purchases at Walmart, the people that serve your burgers at MickyDs, the people that clean your house and wash your car. These people can't afford to pay $300/month for health insurance, which is why they don't have any. And yet the commonwealth has required that they do just that.

When people are not insured, they can recieve free care at many hospitals in the state. I know this, because for the two years that I have recieved SSDI, I was not able to be insured. Not able to, because the state deems me too wealthy to be on Medicaid. Which is the biggest frigging joke ever, but that's another rant.

Because I'm disabled and absolutely MUST HAVE health care regularly, I registered for free care at the Brigham, and have recieved outstanding care absolutely free of charge for the past 2 years. Free care that covered my myriad of prescriptions. Oh, I had to go to the hospital to pick them up, which was unbelievably inconvenient and costly, but I figured a way around paying for parking, and just made the once a month trip part of my pennance for being on free care.

I was extremely appreciative of free care. I still am. It made a world of difference in my health and every doctor and health care professional I saw made no reference to me being on free care at all. None. It was extremely respectful and I appreciated that.

But had free care cost $300/month, there is no way I could have paid for it. None. And I believe I'm not alone in this. The state declares that the poor would still get Medicaid coverage for free or at cost, but remember, I'm not eligible for Medicaid because I'm too wealthy. Ha! What a joke that is.

Once again, it's time to rail against the ridiculous federal poverty guidelines that the federal government insists is a good guideline to define poverty. It does not work. A family like mine would have to gross under $22,080/year to get health insurance. Just how many families in the greater Boston area can live on that. Pretty much none. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

These. Guidelines. Are. Ridiculous.

And yet they determine who can get free health care, and who has to pay $300/month by law. So far, we don't really know what the penalty will be for those that don't pay, but we do know that the penalty for employers that refuse to offer health coverage to their employees is... a whopping $260 a year. Yeah, that ought to push those cheapo employers to rush right out and get their employees a health care policy.

Guess who is complaining. Small businesses. They can't AFFORD the big penalty. Wah wah wah. What a sob story. The poor, once again, are being victimized by the politicians, who just DO NOT GET IT. Poor means you don't have money. Poor means you can't stretch another $300 out of your already diminished paycheck. Poor means that you can't afford to pay any more than you already do for your monthly expenses. Never mind $300.

This is moot for me. I finally have Medicare Parts A, B, and D. What really crackes me up about all this is that the Federal Government, aka Social Security, deems me poor enough to get free part D (prescription) coverage, but the state...nope. The Federal Government only looks at MY income, the State looks at the income of the entire family. Hmmmm.

What a total cock-up the whole health care initiative is. If the Commonwealth is trying to retain population, they have got to think of how this affects people's pocketbooks. People are not willing to pay for health care over food and heat. There is only so much money in that pocketbook, and another $300 isn't going to come out of thin air.

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Blogger Kate said...

Wow, that is a lot of money - I live in the UK so it's about £150 a month. It is worrying to hear things like this, because although we have a health service that is free, regardless of income, our government seems intent on changing it to the sort you have in the US. They have mentioned the idea of everyone having health insurance on a number of occasions - along with everyone having private pension plans, so I suspect the state pension will soon be a thing of the past too.

Coming back to your situation - this is lunacy. How can a low income family afford that much? Obviously, they can't. Food, bills and other everyday essentials will come first. It's about time our elected representatives remembered that they work for us, not the other way around.

5/2/07 6:34 PM  
Blogger Becky68 said...

Wow, that sure brings back memories, when my oldest was born & for the 3 years after when we lived in MA we had Masshealth, They convinced me sometime in the second year to go on an hmo with Harvard Community Health, I went in to find out about it (Per their order) & was sold on it thru the suggestion that there would be less stigma attatched with the HCH card over the MassHealth card. So I went for it & The first time I went to the doctors after it the receptionist took the card to copy & said 'what's this card, the number doesn't look right' annother person came over & full voice in earshot of the entire room said: 'oh, that's one of those new welfare cards for the HMO' yeah, very subtle & SO much less stigma!
I'm uninsured & feel like I'll stay that way at least until I'm old enough to retire & get Medicare, (that's assuming I get in no accidents & don't get any serious illnesses in the next 27 years!)
Still sending good thoughts for you & your daughter.

5/2/07 11:50 PM  

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