There's been a lot of talk about health care and Medicare and Medicaid -- rightfully so given it's importance and the struggles in Congress. Yesterday I had discussions about it with various sources and I am at my wits' end. Life in Kay's World is never simple at the best of times and this is definitely not the best of times. Here is my story.
I have been struggling since last summer with dental issues. I have mentioned it here as a source of discomfort and embarrassment and how it's interfered with the quality of my life. I have also mentioned that I get little Social Security because I spent most of my life staying home to raise my children. Yesterday it all came to a turning point and I am throwing up my hands in despair and defeat. I am embarrassed to write this post and as I type, I am in tears as I have been for the last twenty-four hours and and probably will continue to be for a long time.
I am assuming that each State's department of human services work differently. Here in Ohio it's handled by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS --aka welfare). I deal with these idiots a lot because my income is so low I have no choice. The only programs I qualify for are food assistance and Medicaid. Don't get me wrong -- I really appreciate the help -- but I get very little of the former and Medicaid is, in my not so humble opinion, basically useless.
Yesterday I had my annual review with the sanctimonious bitch who is my caseworker. For years I was spoiled -- Miss Rosa was my caseworker and we had a good relationship because we could communicate and worked together. This one is nasty and I hope she rots in hell. I do realize that these people are overloaded given the situation in our county. We are all hurting but I digress.
My caseworker called promptly at the appointed time and went through the drill. I learned quickly that having one's paperwork in order was key so that was no problem and she rattled off what the various amounts of assistance I would receive -- no increase in food assistance despite the increase in grocery prices and my "spend down" is $218. WHOA!!!!!!! I went ballistic.
What is "spend down" you ask? It's the amount I have to pay if I wish to use Medicaid in any given month. My spend down was $115 and I couldn't afford that either but this is ridiculous. And it happened because my ex-husband retired and, as a result, my Social Security increased $106. In short, they are taking away 25% of my income if I use Medicaid. To be perfectly blunt, I never have $200 left after paying my rent, utilities, food (because try as I might, no one can eat on what they give me for that) and all the essentials like gas, paper products and cleaning and personal hygiene products, prescriptions, and car insurance, there isn't $200 left. The biggest things I have learned about the so-called welfare system is that it is neither well nor fair and is designed to keep people in its thrall.
Needless to say, I was a wreck when the review ended and had started having a panic attack for which I thanked the idiot profusely -- NOT! After I took my medication and calmed down to a semi-rational state, I started I called my Congressman's office to see if they could help. I was told that because Medicaid is a state program, it was illegal for them to talk to me. So I called my young punk state representative (a Democrat) and as usual, got his answering machine and so I left a message -- and as usual, he didn't return my call. (Guess who will never get my vote again -- he missed his chance to redeem himself.) I then called my state senator and he actually answers his phone himself. I explained my problem and he was properly sympathetic and listened to my problem/dilemma carefully. He gave me the name of the Doctor who founded a dental clinic -- which I didn't know existed -- at a local hospital and told me to call them and talk to the dentist and that he would call, too. He also took my name, address and number and said he will be in touch. I believe him as I've dealt with him before and he's been around a long time for that reason. He and I joked about his long career in state government and that we had more or less grown up together. Scott always gets my vote because he actually works for his constituents -- an interesting, albeit rare, concept.
I called the clinic and explained my problem and who referred me to the pleasant young lady there and learned that the dentist was not available at the present time (he spends a couple months working in South America in the underdeveloped areas) but said she would see what she could do for me and call me back. She hasn't called so I suppose I will have to call her back.
The bottom line is that until I can find a way that I can smile again, I am not going anywhere. Tomorrow -- my brother's Homecoming celebration -- will be my last public appearance except for necessary trips for subsistence reasons and frankly am wondering why I should bother with that. I think I am going to cancel my proposed move -- my caseworker was a bit taken aback at my mention of that -- and I won't be going home for a visit or anywhere else. I am tired and heartsick and wonder if I'll ever laugh or smile again. I am done. I can't fight anymore. I am too damned old and too damned sick to contend with all this. And I'm disgusted with petty bureaucrats and with a country that doesn't care. I can't help but wonder how many people have died from the issues I'm dealing with or any other health issues due to this alleged system and I wonder if I'm next.
I hope y'all are more fortunate than I am and are having a great day!!!!