Can you Kick me out in the Cold?

We are your neighbors, your friends, your compatriots. We suffer from chronic illnesses. Most of our illnesses are hidden, and not readily apparent to those who don't know us well. We suffer in silence from either preventable illnesses or exacerbations of chronic diseases due to lack of, or insufficient, medical care. We are not lazy, most of us had successful careers before we became too sick to work. We are not spendthrifts or criminals, most of us paid into 401k's for many years before we lost everything due to astronomical medical bills that we couldn't possibly pay. Many of us, like most of you, had insurance when we became sick, that either completely denied payment (and therefore medical treatment) or didn't pay even a fraction of our medical bills. Now we become sicker with each passing day, because no doctor will treat us without payment, and no pharmacy will fill our prescriptions if we can't pay for them.

Can you really kick us out in the cold with no medical care in our hour of need? Look into my eyes and tell me that I deserve to have to choose today between buying food and buying the medicine I need. Are you truly that cruel and cold-hearted? We exist as prisoners in a purgatory of pain and illness where we wait for deliverance each day, either by death or through the miracle of somehow obtaining the medical care we need to relieve our pain and suffering.

Please, look into your heart and find the compassion to care for those who are no longer able to care for themselves. You never know, If we receive the care we need, we just might become working, tax-paying, healthy human beings again.

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Dear Sick.
Beautifully said!
These are the things that I've thought, and tried to share with my family, especially my parents. Surprisingly enough, they don't seem to care. Their political leanings have made them completely unable to comprehend the impact that chronic illness has on my life. My mother actually said that I should just shut up and wait until I was 65 if I wanted the government to get involved in health care. Yet, they're living on SS and medicare. I worked all my life before I was fired for being sick, and I can't fully express my resentment toward people who have never had this issue, yet continue to express and unfounded opinion

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Thx Snuffle. This issue has really gotten to me since Obama took office and has been trying to enact health-care reform. I knew that the attitude of most Americans was cold and uncaring in this arena but I just didn't fathom exactly how cold and uncaring it was until the political debate began.

I can't understand how one human being can be so cruel to another to say, "I don't care how sick you are or how much you are suffering, I'm too selfish to help you."

I can't imagine, for example, passing a burning house with a family still inside, and saying, "I'll call a fire truck if you can show me that you can pay 100% of the cost of both the fire truck and the firemen, up front.

And the arguments over cost. We have the most expensive health care system in the world, but, according to the World Health Organization, we fall behind many third-world countries on many vital health indices (http://www.who.int/whosis/whostat/2009/en/index.html). The next most expensive healthcare system in the world costs half of what our system costs here in the US.

Don't people realize that the way our system is set up costs us billions of dollars in wasted money each year? The billing horrors, the subrogation (arguing over who is going to pay), the duplicate lab tests, the costs of all those insurance doctors whose sole purpose is to restrict the amount of health care dollars the insurance company has to pay, the costs of extra tests to "prove" a diagnosis to the insurance company to get treatment, having to make multiple visits to the doctor because the shorter your visit, the more money the doctor makes, the exorbitant costs of lack of treatment which results in even much higher cost later?

I used to work for an insurance company, in a previous lifetime. I was astounded when I learned that almost 100% of the first one to two years of premiums from sale of an insurance policy go to the insurance agent and the insurance agent's boss. We pay billions of dollars of our healthcare budget to pay for things that bring no added value.

This is how first the US, then later much of the world, got into fiscal trouble to begin with. Too many people worried about things like "residual income" (where I don't have to work, other people do the work for me and I just watch the dollars roll in), or making money from investment speculation or refinancing mortgages that were perfectly fine to begin with, etc. etc. Instead of focusing on making money by doing something that adds value to other people or to society, people became focused on greed, the almighty dollar, and how much money they could make with the least amount of effort.

All of this makes me sick (pun accidental, but appropriate). It makes me want to leave this country and has become a huge moral dilemma for me.

As sick as I am and with no money, I don't know how I can get out of this country, though. I also don't want to be away from my newborn grandson, although I'm not seeing him right now anyway, because he lives in a different state and I'm too sick and have no money to travel.

This issue has become huge for me and I really don't know what to do about it. The little bit of political activism that I can manage helps, but isn't the solution for me. I don't know what is. My heart is heavy with grief that never ends over this issue and the knowledge that people can be that greedy, cruel and cold-hearted.

Is the saying at the base of the Statue of Liberty that says, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!", nothing more than shallow, hollow, meaningless rhetoric?

Where is freedom if one is too sick to get out of bed? A person who is sick due to lack of health care, in a country which has the means to provide that care, is nothing more than a prisoner of a gross miscarriage of medical care.

What good is an education, if one is too sick to work? A person who has a diploma but can't work due to medical neglect might as well have no diploma at all. Their skills are being flushed down the mismanaged-healthcare productivity drain.

What good is our excellent technology, medical training and pharmaceuticals if only a few can actually obtain care with them? Those who are denied life-saving or basic, crucial medical care while other people in the same society easily obtain botox injections, are victims of medical discrimination.

What good is hard work, thriftiness and saving money if astronomical health care bills wipe out all of your savings and any money you earn? People with exorbitant health care bills or those who are denied treatments that their insurance policy says are covered, are victims of health-care theft and fraud and the theft of their hopes and dreams.

What is the meaning of freedom if "freedom of choice" means choosing between purchasing vital medications and buying food? Individuals forced to fight for survival every day in this manner are victims of abuse by way of medical neglect.

How can one have a healthy self-image, if one is regularly accused of being lazy, unmotivated, a criminal or a scumbag scamming the system simply because they are ill and in need of assistance? This constant barrage of abuse by moral degradation destroys souls and is the emotional equivalent of being a battered spouse.

So, look into my eyes and see me as a person; in pain, suffering, trying to get well, looking for any work I am able to perform, wishing with all my heart to be well enough to care for my family, and doing my best to succeed in life, before you deny me aid and call me lazy and unworthy of medical care.

Cathy

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Oh geez, sometimes I think I am the only one with some of these problems. How selfish. I am sorry, but I forget because I am brain damaged, and no one gets it! I forget other people are out at dinners and dancing with their spouses, or seeing their kids. My husband died 12 years ago this 28th and his birthday is the 29th and my son Joe’s is the 25th. I am better now. I am a sensitive person, at least I think I am. I raised a very kind and caring son. 

As for insurance, if there was none, we would all "eventually" be shopping for medical procedures if the procedure was not an emergency. The insurance companies and red tape are gone, we shop just like we would for a car or appliance, with information on affordability and reviews, and things reach equilibrium. Maybe??? I never really think I might be right, but sometimes I am. I do like Obama, and know he is trying something very hard to do. Try talking to redneck, extremely religious, well and healthy, know-it-alls, who do not know it all, plus they still hate everyone who is not them. And they love guns. Too political. Take care.

beans

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DeR sICK,
i'M ON THE oBAMA MAILING LIST, AND I GET A LOT OF EMAIL FROM THEM REQUESTING ACTUAL MEDICAL STORIES AND SITUATIONS WHERE HIS HEALTH CARE PLAN MAY HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE. YOU WRITE SO BEAUTIFULLY AND KNOWLEDGEABLY, DUE TO THE INS. BACKGROUND, HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED SENDING THEM YOUR STORY? I BELIEVE THAT QUITE A FEW OF US FEEL THIS WAY, AND SIMPLY CAN'T GET IT DOWN IN WORDS THE WAY YOU CAN
CHERYL

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I understand how all of you feel.
We're 70 and 76. Back in 2003 we went bankrupt after my illness plus loss of income and jobs.
We've never been able to recover. Thanks to my son and his in-laws we now live comfortably in a little house in Montana. We no longer own anything having sold our house and car to come. We never will and have so little life insurance ( we borrowed all we could and can't repay it) I worry how we'll be buried.
We have good Medicare better than we had in NY and an excellent medical establishment with caring drs.
How does one get on Obama's mailing list? I'm sure it would irritate my family but, if our story would help I'd be willing.
I too am afraid of what will happen but, something has to be done. I feel sorry for the President as he has taken on a behemoth but, I can't imagine what we will have in the end. I pray it's better but, fear it will be like Canada's and those over 65 might as well go to the desert and die. We lost a good friend to their system, she simply couldn't get the care she needed.
I send you all loving thoughts and prayers for you.
spiritlove

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AMEN AND AMEN, right there with you and been denied 3 x already and still fighting. What is wrong in this country now that we live here our whole life, law abiding citizens, pay taxes, vote, struggle and now when we need insurance for a disease that we never chose and because of the recession it was house note, or insurance? That choice was a no brainer. How can I live in the streets today with my disease? Impossible. I can't barely get out of bed? I'm on my son's lap top because my computer won't even let me log in here anymore and needs to go to the computer nursing home but my name is Diane Spencer and my email is celeste532696@aol.com. Would love to have an update on your fight with the system and chat.

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I am going to post that wonderful note to my fb page. It says beautifully what I try to tell people every day. They don't get it or really care unless it happens to them. They fight and fight the system but when the time comes and they become ill they will all want it in place and will be mortified to find out just how hard it is. Most people are just one accident, just one illness, or illness of a loved one away from going threw what we are going threw. I have to wait 5 months before I can even apply for SSDI. I can barely get out of bed and walk along the walls with a cane in my hand. My insurance is expensive and wants me to pay for 20% of everything plus co-pays. How can that be done with no income. Credit card companies and home loan people call to no end even though I've told them I can't do anything and have no money at all I can't even get on SSDI yet. They all call at least 2 a week or more. If feels so uncaring and cold. How can this country just ignore us like this. I think everyone in here that has had do deal with insurance and loss of income understands and people that are healthy and have money just don't get it. I can't stand watching them fight against what I need just to try to stay alive because they are greedy and brain washed into believing that this is the best system in the world.

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Hi Barbara,

I'm sorry to hear you are going through the same hardship that so many of us are (have been). You are welcome to post my writing wherever you would like.

Yes, Americans have been brain-washed and have swallowed many, many lines of propaganda. To me, the discrimination I have experienced has been worse than the pain and hardship I have gone through from the more direct effects of my illness.

Unless we Americans have been there ourselves, we believe people who are sick or economically-disadvantaged who try to get help from the system are:

1. drug addicts
2. lazy
3. abusing the system to get benefits they don't deserve
4. criminals
5. frauds and liers
6. have an "entitlement" or "welfare" mentality

I personally don't understand that last one, "entitlement" or "welfare mentality". I was accused of that one just recently. There is a food stamps program out there to help people like me, whose income from work plus Social Security Disability is not even enough to pay for shelter + utilities + transportation + food without ANY medical expenses thrown in.

However, I am some kind of scam artist and fraud for thinking I should actually get benefits from the program when I qualify for it? How does that work? (Been trying unsuccessfully for 6 years to get food stamp benefits I qualify for). What is the program there for, if not for people to benefit from it when in dire circumstances and going hungry? Just for show?

How is it "entitlement" or "welfare" mentality when I would much rather just receive treatment for my very treatable illness and go back to work full time in the career I had to give up? I would rather work full-time in the career I worked so hard to develop than have to deal with abject poverty and crisis and discrimination every single day of my life because of illness and lack of the necessities for life. I don't know of anyone who WANTS to be on these programs, contrary to the popular American myth and urban legend.

I am a conscientious objector to America's "War on Drugs". I am a conscientious objector to America's "War against Fraud". Both are nothing more than a sad, sad civil war against her own people; a war that is killing and maiming disadvantaged Americans.

I recently attempted (I say "attempted" because I didn't do a very good job of it) to help a disabled friend who was dying, literally, from lack of food.

I used to be proud to be an American. I thought we took care of each other, I thought we stood for ideals like opportunity and liberty. Now I am ashamed to be an American. Ashamed to be a part of any society that would treat their sick, poor and disadvantaged the way this country does.

And proud to be fighting every single day through political, social and legal action for the dignity and respect of ALL Americans.

Cathy

"You can judge a society by how it treats its weakest members" - Mahatma Ghandi

"We do not have a resource problem. We have a priority problem that is ultimately a moral problem." - Jesse Jackson

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To Barbara and anyone else fighting with endless harassing calls from creditors -

I was getting collections phone calls literally every 10 to 15 minutes of every single day. Some of these sharks would call me 5 times a day, every day, even after I had made payment arrangements with them. It was making me distraught to the point of contemplating suicide.

One 0.03 cent overdraft to my back account cost me 6,400,000% interest, calculating just a small portion of the overdraft fees I was charged. Yes, you read correctly. That's 6 million, 4 hundred thousand percent interest because I bounced a check by 3 cents (Interest = Principal x rate x time). Usury, thievery and predation.

The day I got about 7 phone calls in the middle of while I was having a serious medication reaction and waiting for a phone call from the doctor (which means I had to answer phone calls from "unknown") was the LAST STRAW!!!

The way I dealt with this was to get an inexpensive second phone number through Skype or MagicJack. I can't afford it, but it has been well worth it. MagicJack only costs about $3.33 per month (http://magicjack.com), Skype (http://skype.com) a little bit more.

I always give out this second phone number to any medical provider, utility company, lender or anyone who might start harassing me by phone. I have another number that I use for friends and family that I zealously guard. I still sometimes get collections phone calls on the "private" number if I call one of these sharks from that number. They will start calling me back at that number even though I never gave it to them and never gave them permission to call it.

Needless to say, I have the second phone number set up to NOT RING and I check messages infrequently. Rarely, maybe once per month, there will be a message on the second line that I want to hear or need to respond to.

Well worth the money, even if it does cost me a several days' worth of food each month. I would rather go hungry that be preyed on by sharks and those with no morals or scruples.

Cathy

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Diane,

I hear you. What is being done in this country is cruel and inhumane. Several of my friends spent about a year homeless before they hired a lawyer and got Social Security Disability benefits. It's sick that people have to hire an attorney to get disability benefits and Medicare so that they can have a roof over their heads, food to eat and money to go to the doctor!

Hang in there! When the legal battles die down, maybe I will post my story about that. Right now I have no time, I'm in the middle of writing a legal brief after educating myself in Texas state law.

I truly appreciate the support I have received here and especially people's stories. They give me the courage to keep fighting.

Thx,
Cathy

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Very interesting and sad what you are all going through, I live in Candad where insurance is governed by the government, by employees of the government, they get a paycheque and benefits just like every other working person, no bonus or kick backs etc. almost everything is covered, if you need something really special the doctor has to make a request to the provincal agency that governs that province, so like one of your states. I pay $108 a month for a family of four, I have Stiff Person Syndrome so I am at the doctors all the time, my medication is usually about 45 cents and that covers me for a month. So unless you all vote that you want your insurance plans governed by the government employees and not insurance companies I don't see how you will ever get out of this mess. Some of those people are living in mansions, this should make you very angry, I would be outside their homes, and protesting. Our government employees are our neighboors, and friends and they work like every one else they show up at 8:30 and to home at 4:30 p.m. it's a normal day. I feel truly sorry for all of you who are suffering needlessly to decide between food and medication or a roof over your head is in humane, you have the right to breath fresh air, drink clean water and eat good food. Are you not 'THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY" I have taken the time to write to your white house, and the surgeon general . They have all been up here and seen how we operate, yes we have some flaws, like having to wait a little longer than normal for some surgeries, but I can walk into the hospital anytime, and they have to see me and treat me and I don't pay any extra for this. If a country with 33 million people can cover all of this with only $108 per month, then think about what a country like yours could do with the same premiums, not every body gets sick, right? so only the few who need it would use the system and that's exactly what it's for. the other problem I see, is that hospitals over charge for items a Q tip is not worth $25.00 I would refuse to pay this or bring my own. A kleenex is not worth $10.00 I could by a case of kleenex for this amount. I know you are all sick and tired, and weary, but I think you all need to band together and let the white know what you really want. Private health care is not the answer it's what is killing you. it's what is saying no to your treatment. Call your state reprsentatives , get every one you know to call them, write the white house , they are on face book and twitter and evey where else but until you send a loud and clear message that you don't want private insurance it will never stop. Even our auto insurance is run by the government, I pay $43 per month. fully insured. so there you have it, I hope this motivates you, if you look at other countries you will also see how different things are run, Your country is run by very greedy selfish people who don't care or don't know who you are, you are just a number, so change that and show them who you are and what you look like. when you face book them show them your picture and your family. You are all real people who count, who matter, who pay and have paid, it's okay to be taken care of, that's suppose to be how it works.

God Bless America Ingrid/Cranbrook, B.C. CANADA

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Very interesting and sad what you are all going through, I live in Candad where insurance is governed by the government, by employees of the government, they get a paycheque and benefits just like every other working person, no bonus or kick backs etc. almost everything is covered, if you need something really special the doctor has to make a request to the provincal agency that governs that province, so like one of your states. I pay $108 a month for a family of four, I have Stiff Person Syndrome so I am at the doctors all the time, my medication is usually about 45 cents and that covers me for a month. So unless you all vote that you want your insurance plans governed by the government employees and not insurance companies I don't see how you will ever get out of this mess. Some of those people are living in mansions, this should make you very angry, I would be outside their homes, and protesting. Our government employees are our neighboors, and friends and they work like every one else they show up at 8:30 and to home at 4:30 p.m. it's a normal day. I feel truly sorry for all of you who are suffering needlessly to decide between food and medication or a roof over your head is in humane, you have the right to breath fresh air, drink clean water and eat good food. Are you not 'THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY" I have taken the time to write to your white house, and the surgeon general . They have all been up here and seen how we operate, yes we have some flaws, like having to wait a little longer than normal for some surgeries, but I can walk into the hospital anytime, and they have to see me and treat me and I don't pay any extra for this. If a country with 33 million people can cover all of this with only $108 per month, then think about what a country like yours could do with the same premiums, not every body gets sick, right? so only the few who need it would use the system and that's exactly what it's for. the other problem I see, is that hospitals over charge for items a Q tip is not worth $25.00 I would refuse to pay this or bring my own. A kleenex is not worth $10.00 I could by a case of kleenex for this amount. I know you are all sick and tired, and weary, but I think you all need to band together and let the white know what you really want. Private health care is not the answer it's what is killing you. it's what is saying no to your treatment. Call your state reprsentatives , get every one you know to call them, write the white house , they are on face book and twitter and evey where else but until you send a loud and clear message that you don't want private insurance it will never stop. Even our auto insurance is run by the government, I pay $43 per month. fully insured. so there you have it, I hope this motivates you, if you look at other countries you will also see how different things are run, Your country is run by very greedy selfish people who don't care or don't know who you are, you are just a number, so change that and show them who you are and what you look like. when you face book them show them your picture and your family. You are all real people who count, who matter, who pay and have paid, it's okay to be taken care of, that's suppose to be how it works.

God Bless America Ingrid/Cranbrook, B.C. CANADA

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