Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Health Insurance for All A Story About Everyday Struggle Without It
This is a story of a real person who deals everyday with no insurance. She doesn't want free services. This young woman has a Ph.D. and is 29 years old. A few years ago, she had the world by the tail. She is young, she is beautiful and she is well-spoken. She is mentally-ill.
This girl had it all. A great family, a sister and a brother and parents who loved her. She went to college and had a place of her own. She had a great job where she was an on-the-air radio personality and things looked great for her. But her life began to change. Her family began to see a change in her personality and she began to see them less and less. Her friends began to change; or better put, she changed friends. She CHANGED. At times her speech seemed disjointed and she would jump from one subject to another. She would become angry very easily. She didn't seem to be the same person.
Within a couple of years, she had a boyfriend and things seemed to be better. There were a few bumps in the road but she had lost her job and couldn't seem to hold down a job. Her personality had completely changed and her mother suggested that she see a psychiatrist. She wouldn't hear of that. She didn't have health insurance and didn't see the need for it and besides that, she "seemed" healthy.
A few years passed and a big breakup happened with her boyfriend. She began seeing another guy, someone her family never met. She packed her things and said she was moving to Michigan with him. Her family was upset about this sudden change of events and tried to talk her out of this because it was so far from home. But, she wouldn't hear of it and off she went.
Within two months, a telephone call came and her boyfriend had died. No details, nothing. She was stranded in Michigan with her car, her dog and all her things. She put her belongings in storage and came back home. Her family was afraid to ask about the boyfriend but by now suspected it was drug-related and hoped she wasn't involved in drug use. She stayed with an old friend she had worked with at the radio station but by now, she had been gone too long from there and bridges had been burned. She was waiting tables at restaurants to support herself. She saw little of her family.
It was becoming very evident to her family that she had problems but she wasn't around long enough to determine if they were drugs or something else.
Then, one spring her mother decided to invite her on a trip that was kind of a work/play trip and several of her mother's friends were going along. It was just the "girls" and would be on an island and her mother thought it would be a great time. This would turn out to be a nightmare for all of them. The daughter was like jeckel and hyde. Her moods changed rapidly and she scared all of the women. The two friends had never been around the daughter and were at a loss as to what to do, as was the mother. The daughter screamed at the mother's friends, the mother just regretted inviting her and hated exposing her friends to that behavior. She had no way of knowing that was going to happen.
That was the last time she spent any time at all with her daughter and finally last August, 2008 she got a telephone call from her daughter's ex-boyfriend to tell her that her daughter had been picked up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and charged with public intoxication. Evidently, she had been waiting for some friends after a concert (the "designated driver") and the police thought she was just some drunk making up a story about waiting for friends, cuffed her and put her in the back of a crusier. Well, there was another person in the back as well who evidently was violent and began to kick the daughter. The daughter, in turn, was scared to death and kicked the back windshield out of the police car in an attempt to crawl out to get away from the other person who she thought was going to kill her.
The daughter's boyfriend posted bond for her and she was out within hours. So, the daughter was able to drive back home to the city where she lived. And so within a couple of days, she was having problems again. She had not been drinking or anything but wanted something to eat in the middle of the night, her boyfriend was driving and they took off looking for a Sonic. Somehow, the daughter got mad made the boyfriend stop the car in a church parking lot and get out. At that point, they were out of the car. The police showed up and asked what was going on but the daughter was incoherent. They thought she had been drinking. They asked her to take an alcohol test which she refused. The boyfriend told them what happened and that she had not been drinking. They charged the daughter with DUI (she wasn't driving) and took her to jail.
So, the mother gets another telephone call (this is just a week later) telling her that her daughter is in jail again. This time, the mother leaves her in jail a week then goes to get her. The daughter comes out and asks her what she's doing there.
To make a very long story, even longer. The daughter is diagnosed with something like "explosive personality disorder" and Bipolar disorder. This is what had been "brewing" for years. It explained a lot. The daughter had no insurance so the family gets together and buys a health insurance policy. (This is before she even goes to the doctor to begin with). She had been having other health problems so she goes to the doctor for that as well.
She finds a doctor (psychiatrist) who can treat her, begins the process of finding the right medications (which can be a long process of trial and error) and also finds out she has a pre-invasive form of cancer. Oh yay. So, she begins treatment for that. And, she's also seeing an attorney for all of the court cases she's racked up in the meantime, which are eventually dropped because of her mental "state".
In the meantime, Blue Cross Blue Shield, does a "recission" on her insurance because they find where a few months prior, she had fallen down her steps and had seen a doctor because she hurt her ankle and had "failed to report it in her application." So they drop her insurance.
At this point, she doesn't know if that's legal, she doesn't think it is but is trying to deal with her world falling apart so that is the least of her problems. Now she is trying to figure out how she's going to keep seeing her doctor so she can continue to stay on her medications so she can stay sane enough to work.
She was working out of her home (she cannot do public work for obvious reasons). And was doing pretty good until she had all of the money for her expenses in her wallet last week and stopped at a place to eat, decided she needed to go to the restroom and left her wallet at the table, went to the restroom and realized that she left her money and it was all gone. So now she doesn't have the money to keep her electricity on, her internet on (her job is via the internet), her car payment paid, her doctor's fee and her car insurance, and her prescription and who knows what else. The girl is mentally ill.
This girl is my daughter. She is smart, has an IQ of 187. We have done everything we can possibly do for her. We are AGAINST government-run health care. She is, as well. She would qualify for disability but can't live on the $700 she would get a month. Her rent is $1K a month and her prescriptions are $400 a month and blah blah blah blah.
We can't pay her bills and our bills and our college-age daughter's bills and our disabled son's bills.
We have written to our Senators to tell them OUR STORY about our health and what in the world will happen to us if we lose OUR insurance we have through OUR employer? I'm a three-time cancer survivor. My doctors are in another city, and I've been seeing them for 15 years.
I'm writing this today in my blog because we've had three days of back and forth calls from our daughter that just don't quit. If there's an answer for this, someone please give it to me. She's off her medication and she has me so upset that I don't know whether I'm coming or going.
It's about her, though. There are a lot of people in her situation. Sure, they need health insurance. But not at the expense of the rest of the Americans who do. If we have a less than quality health care system, how are we going to live in order to take care of our disabled son and daughter? And, our government doesn't care. This is not government's job to provide health care. They are saying they need to have a public option to make private insurance more EFFICIENT. PLEASE! When did the government ever do anything efficient? Remember $70 toilet seats and $40 hammers? I do. The public option WILL FORCE PRIVATE INSURERS OUT OF BUSINESS because the government option will be paying doctors at such a low rate that doctors will have to make their losses up somewhere and that will be with their private subscribers. The federal government knows this and has all the time in the world to sit and wait for us to all sign up for Uncle Sam's Plantation.
May God help our daughter. We just don't know what is going to happen to her. She can't help herself. She doesn't make sense and we're so scared something is going to happen that she can't get herself out of.
Anyone who reads this, just remember to be grateful for the blessing you have. The smallest things in life can be the biggest blessings. I look at her photograph and I see a totally different person. All I can do is put her in God's care.