Sunday, November 7, 2010

it's a shame and a sin

My sister's 63 yr old husband has two vertebra in his neck that are collapsing and he is in so much pain he can hardly move.  He has the complication of vascular disease (stents in his heart and femoral arteries) and he hasn't worked since he got laid off three years ago.  My sister, also 63, who had a heart attack at 50, works two part time jobs in this small town. Needless to say they have no health insurance.

This started up about 9 months ago with a pain in his shoulder and arm. In recent weeks the pain has spread down his back. The doctor thinks maybe the damage actually occurred 30 years ago when they were in a terrible car wreck, hit by a drunk driver, and my sister nearly died. What felt like whiplash then was actually damage to the vertebra. Right now, surgery is my bil's only option and if he doesn't get it soon his condition will be too far gone to repair and none of us want to contemplate what that will mean. They are having to go through all the hoops and the mountain of paperwork at UTMB (University of Texas Medical Branch and 100 miles away) and even though he has already been accepted as a patient they won't schedule his appointment until the finance department has given the go.

They both worked full time jobs, payed in insurance premiums month after month, year after year until he was laid off. My sister had quit her high pressure job after her heart attack and her husband supplied the health insurance for both of them. When he was laid off, they kept their insurance as long as they could, given their medical histories, because once uninsured, they would not be able to get coverage again due to pre-existing conditions. But, of course, eventually they had to give it up. Now they live on social security and her income. They have a mortgage. My sister does have a retirement account from when she had her high pressure job but two stock market crashes later it's not worth a whole lot now.

It's a sin that this is happening, that this happens every day all over this country. It is shameful that this is not a unique happenstance. It is shameful that people who played by the rules are reduced to this situation. It is shameful that every healthcare reform proposal offered has been met with vehement opposition and one was barely forced through congress. And it is shameful that the first thing government 'reformers' want to do is to deny people like my sister and her husband any kind of aid.

These government reformers with their undeserved salary, with their exclusive government retirement and health insurance plans, these reformers intent on undoing the health care reform bill who will be immune to what they wreak on the public, to these people I say...

Take care of your karma.


  1. I heard one of your newly elected congressmen say this country is founded on capitalism and not socialism. Soon 'this country' will be a third world country in comparison to Sweden, Denmark, Canada, etc. who consider it the government's duty to protect and preserve the lives of their citizens.

    This is simply unbelievable and outrageous!

    (I was in hospital for 2 days waiting for operating room to have pins inserted in broken bones in my arm. Not once did we have to give any proof of financial viability, visit an accounts office, or worry how much this little accident might set us back. My daughter had major thoracic surgery for cancer 2 years ago and we calculate that we probably would have had to pay over $250,000 if we weren't covered by our horrible, socialistic government!)

  2. This situation is so sad and represents how we are all, most of us, the majority of Americans, one salary away from disaster. We need universal health care, for such emergencies, for situations that will bankrupt us. If the new congress is pushing to repeal the health care act that was passed, they will have a true revolution on their hands.

  3. Bonnie - I couldn't agree more. Here it's the ones that have that are so intent on making sure the have nots never get. What kind of moral imperative is that?

    lakeviewer - maybe that's what it is going to take.

  4. This makes my problems seem very small in comparison. And it's one of my worst fears. Makes me so angry I could spit. Please let us know how things go.

  5. That's nothing but a damn shame. Karma indeed. Too bad it isn't the instant kind.

  6. This reminds me of the incident where the Teabaggers harassed a guy with Parkinson's who presented himself as a living example of healthcare needs.

    I'm perhaps a bit more direct than you guys. I'd not wait for karma. I'd have to do some serious nad kicking on these fat soft bags of crap.

  7. Ellen,
    Universal health coverage isn't a political issue, it's a moral issue. It's unimaginable that your bil has to wonder if he can get care for a debilitating, painful condition. How can the U.S. hold itself out to be an advanced nation when only the rich can afford health care?

  8. This Canadian can only echo, Bonnie's sentiment. Illness and injury is always frightening and stressful. I can't imagine if we had to consider financial strains on top of that.

    I'm sorry for your sister and her husband's situation, Ellen.

  9. I'm so sorry this has happened to your sister and her husband.

    I don't really care who is in office as long as they get an ins coverage available for all.

    I was happy when there was finally one past. You can always change it here and there but get one going.

    Our last ins was great but our new ins (h got a different job) is terrible. Thus, I don't go to a Dr. unless it's an er situation. And, what we are currently paying for is really expensive.

  10. Tears are in my eyes. Remember I said you were my BFF - well at a couple more forevers because I don't know what to say.

    I go to the doctor tomorrow and try and figure out how to afford the oxygen, and breathing treatments I need. We paid and paid and now that I am sick - while my husband is still working [33 years, same job] - we can afford nothing.

    My best, heartfelt, thoughts are with your Aunt and Uncle. It isn't fair, but I hope those that don't have to think about this are happy.

  11. Oh dear! This is such a sad and heart wrenching story. I am so sorry and wish I could offer some real help. I sure will be praying for them and I hope this health care reform will actually go help those who need...desperately!
    I am so sorry hun...sorry for all who are stuck in limbo...waiting for assistance.

  12. This drives me crazy. They will not be happy until the people have nothing, and the ones our politicians are taking their orders from, have everything. I was never a big conspiracy theorist, but now I'm starting to see things a little bit differently. We are being taken back to the turn of the century. We now live in a plutocracy.

  13. Yes, it is a shame and an outrage, and repeated so many times each and every day. If one were not ill to begin with, it is enough to make one sick. And to think that even mild moderate attempts to address the problem, with solutions that have been tried and proven in advanced countries as capitalistic as our own, are met with charges of socialism, government control of our lives and all that bunk...

    I thought that outrage was already a pre-existing condition on my part, but every day it gets stoked anew.

  14. This is quite unbelievable for a West European.
    We have free access to health care whenever we need it and as we are getting older, we need it a lot more than up to now. We have paid into the state scheme during our working lives, we therefore expect to be taken care of as a reward.

    Beloved's recent skin cancer diagnosis, for instance; there is no question at all, that it will be dealt with speedily.

    I simply can't understand a mentality that agitates against healthcare for all.

  15. that is just a tragedy. i'm so sorry for your sister's and BIL's problems. my husband had a similar condition with his neck from an on-the-job injury, so thankfully his was covered by them. he ended up having 4 surgeries on his neck before it was all said and done. we're very thankful that we still have insurance but even with that, we still spend 10s of thousands of dollars each year out-of-pocket for his care.

  16. We currently have no insurance and can't afford to get the bare minimum of coverage and still be able to afford RX and food. Of course it is little comfort to know that you are not alone when you are in pain or hungry. We grew up thinking that if we paid our taxes and social security all would be well in our "retirement" years.......

    Everyone is expecting big changes following this last election. I expect nothing and sometimes wonder why I bothered to vote. I think all our current politicians should be fired (or laid off, if you prefer). They should lose all their retirement benefits and health insurance ..... just like the people they represent. Put the money into the social security system and health care for the average Americans, the ones who fed the system year after year with their tax dollars. I doubt the founders of our constitution maent for "public service" to be the road to riches. I think that is why we had a revolution. Term limits need to be imposed. Sorry, I can get carried away.

  17. It's heart breaking. It shouldn't be happenihg to anybody. Anywhere. Sorry to hear about your problems.

    BTW: People over there should stop talking about socialism. You're mixing everything up.

  18. SUCKS! If I were to find out that I had a serious illness I think that I would pack my bags and high tail it out of this country- providing I could still travel. I am not beholden' to this dysfunctional corporate pharmacy owned system...

  19. Sing it! We all need to march on Washington and just kick them out especially if the Republicans we just voted in don't do their jobs. I could go on forever with stories very similar to this. Who exactly is going to have health care provided for them from this "reform"? No one I know.

  20. So sorry about your sister and bil. Working in the medical field, I see it all, every day, and you're right, it IS a shame and a sin! Makes you wonder where it's all going to end up!

  21. Yep, it's a sin. My thoughts and good energy are with your bil and sister.


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