Friday, January 13, 2017

It's Friday the 13th, and there's nothing scarier than politics


If you’ve been paying attention to US politics, you know the US is currently pretty strongly divided. I don’t think it’s a controversial statement to say that our marginalized people—the artists, the LGBT, the disabled, the children, the freelancers and entrepreneurs—are going to suffer under this administration.

I am a very lucky person. I currently have my health and a full time job. My full time job is something I don’t talk about because most of it is confidential in nature, so it doesn’t come up. My job is largely underpaid, but it comes with my favorite feature: healthcare. It comes with healthcare for myself and my family (to the tune of ~500 a month out of my pocket). Until I meet my deductable (500!) I have to pay everything out of pocket. I went to the doctor for pink eye (that I got from my job, no less), and it cost me $100 to speak to the physician for 5 minutes before he gave me a prescription and sent me on my way.

I don’t tell this story because I think people want to know the perks of my job. I’m telling this story because that’s what it costs to treat pink eye. Conjunctivitis. This was at the local, rural health clinic. When a kid goes to school and they have pink eye, they get sent home.

Right now, with the ACA is still going (they have voted to repeal it, but it will still take time to trickle down to the home front as it were; besides, people already paid their January premiums), so many people have coverage, specifically the working poor. I’m talking about your nearly full time employees of Walmart, McDonalds, Taco Bell, etc. These people are supporting their families, their sick spouses, their three kids from a traditional marriage. Very soon, when their kids get sick, they won’t have health insurance. Very soon, when their kid gets sent home with pink eye, they will be looking at a $100 doctor’s visit plus the $35 dollars to get the drops (and the time off work to take care of their kid who can’t go to day care because they have a highly contagious disease).

A bit of math, if you’ll hear me out. So this person makes minimum wage and works, oh, let’s say 30 hours a week (because 32 hours and their employer would have to provide health coverage), so they are making 300 dollars a week. If this is in my home town and they have a one bedroom apartment, that means 800 dollars is going just to rent. Let’s say this person is super frugal and is able to feed their family on 200 dollars a month. That means there’s only 200 dollars left for EVERYTHING ELSE: electricity, car, gasoline, clothes, toilet paper, diapers if there’s a baby, babysitting/child care costs. And they have to come up with $100 to take the kid to the doctor and the school won’t let the kid come back to school until they’ve been to the doctor.

Before anyone tells me these people, these working poor, don’t exist, let me assure you all that they do. My entire job is going through the earnings of people who have applied for medical aid, temporary aid for needy families, and food stamps. Yes, I am an eligibility worker, and I have yet to meet a welfare queen, but I’ve met plenty of people working multiple jobs who don’t have coverage for themselves or their children through their work. And before anyone tells me “but wait, they qualify for food stamps!” that’s not how it works. Food stamps is a supplemental program based on income, which means, the more they earn, the less food stamps they get. I picked a 1200 a month job on purpose. If this person has one kid and 1200 a month in income, they are going to qualify for roughly 50 bucks of foodstamps. Sure, it’ll help, but not much. With the repeal of the ACA, those margins for people receiving medical assistance gets even smaller. Fewer people will qualify, including people making about 1200 a month. For real, if you are making minimum wage and not quite working full time, you do not qualify for state based medical assistance.

Or my personal favorite, you have two part time jobs and you work a total of 50 hours a week. Neither job provides you with health coverage, and you now make enough money that No One in your family qualifies for medical assistance from the state.

These are the people who will not be covered now that the ACA is gone. People who are working their butts off. People who are crushed between just trying to make ends meet, doing the right thing and being told on every side that they are the lazy ones destroying the system.

Without health coverage, more children will be sent home from school for contagious diseases and not go to the doctor. The parents will wait a couple days and send the kid back to school, infection still raging and still contagious.

Children will not be treated because it is too expensive. Children will die.

Children.

They didn’t ask to be born into a poor family. Literally, their only crime is that they came from a family who was too poor. That’s it.

We, the citizens of the United States live in an oligarchy, and we are too stupid to realize it. The insurance companies wanted out of the ACA because they weren’t making enough profit. Not that they weren’t making profit, but that they weren’t making ENOUGH profit.

And children will die from this because their parents can’t afford to take them to the doctor.

Children.


I am so upset, I don’t even have words. More on that soon.

3 comments:

  1. And this is why I love living in Australia. We might be "the country down under" but we certainly do health care better than you guys. Everyone who works pays 1.25% of their earning to the government to cover our health care system. The system is then free for EVERYONE.

    There are, of course, things people complain about:
    - if you are a high income earner you have to pay a higher percentage, or take out private health insurance
    - if you chose to go to your own doctor the system only reimburses you a certain amount for a consultation, which usually leaves you out of pocket. BUT, there are clinics you can attend that cost you nothing.

    When I look at your system we really shouldn't be complaining about anything! It makes me sad to think of the people who already suffer and those who are about to be impacted. It must be difficult working in an area where you see the hurt it causes people ... and the children ... heartbreaking.

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    1. I'm staggered by 1.25%, that's tiny. With the ACA we are required to be offered affordable health coverage when we work full time, and the definition of affordable is that it cost no more than 11% of our gross income. So yeah, my family literally pays thousands of dollars a year for health coverage that only covers 80% of the cost of procedures. So like a mamogram? that's $400 out of pocket. Our system is insane.

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  2. I've seen things like this over and over and over again over the past few weeks, and it never gets easier to deal with, though you've spelled it out even more clearly than I usually see. It's a heartless thing the GOP is doing, and their attitude that the ACA is somehow hurting people is baseless and ridiculous. I've seen so many people talking about how they are going to die without the ACA. >_<

    Remember how, in 2010, the GOP swore that the ACA would have "death panels"? And now, years later, they are the death panel.

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