Friday, March 02, 2007

Working-Class Dilemmas

Today over at The Gimp Parade, Blue wrote about the run-around "Madicare" is giving her right now. Because of her tracheostomy, she has to use suction kits to keep her from drowning on the fluid her lungs build up. The kits are on the list of equipment that Medicare will pay for but according to their rules, they'll only pay for her to have three kits per day despite the fact that she requires an average of five kits a day (and sometimes as many as nine) in order to stay alive. Of course, the government has decided to make her jump through ridiculous hoops just to get them to pay for these extra kits. Oh, did I mention that the kits are only five bucks apiece? In her post, Blue linked to the devastating story of one working class family in Maryland that I'll mention at the end of this post.

One of my brothers and his pregnant wife and their baby daughter (Le Petite Acadienne) relocated to Maryland after Hurricane Katrina. My brother immediately went out and got a job in order to try and provide for his family. However, all he could get was part-time work that didn't provide health insurance at all. After two months of trying to get prenatal care for his wife, they finally had to accept that it just wasn't going to happen. As a result, they had to scrape together enough money to catch the greyhound bus back to Louisiana so that she could use her state Medicaid coverage.

My brother and sister-in-law were among the lucky ones. At least they had Medicaid coverage and they had family members who could house them when they got back to Louisiana. Still, it was an awful situation and it still is. My brother had to move his pregnant wife down to the swamps where his wife had family with homes weren't completely destroyed, swamps that they'd have to evacuate from if another hurricane came. The nearest hospital was almost forty-five minutes away but at least if they had transportation, his wife and daughter would be able to be seen once they got there--he was ineligible for Medicaid so the nearest hospital where he could go to and receive care was over an hour away.

When it got close to her due-date, her obstetrician decided to induce the birth because if my sister-in-law went into labor and they couldn't make it all the way to the hospital, there were no ambulances that could come to their rescue. Instead of the minimal assistance she'd have required otherwise, the state wound up having to pay for her longer stay in the hospital and the extra expenses resulting from the services required to induce her labor. Unfortunately, there are no healthcare services in her area.

They don't even have a community clinic. That means there are over a couple thousand people in this census-designated place (i.e. unincorporated territory) in the same situation as my brother and his family. In fact, this is the situation for the people in most parts of Louisiana. Something as simple as not having a car means that there is a very good chance that you will not receive healthcare until it is too late to do you much good.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what life is like for the working class in the United States of America. But like I said, my brother and his family are among the lucky ones. Do you want to know what happens to the not-so-lucky people?

Well, you could end up like this mother that just buried her twelve year old child who died from a toothache that would have cost less than a hundred dollars to fix:

For Want of a Dentist


sokari said...

Thanks for your lovely comment and appreciation. I will drop by more often.

Foofa said...

tHat is incredibly sad and yet so true. So many of the people I know and love are without insurance. It seems every other "progressive" country (meaning the US is not as progressive as we would like to think) has a state sponsored health care plan. Would it be so much to ask?

belledame222 said...

that story makes my stomach hurt.

Anonymous said...

A preschool classmate of my son's died about five years ago. She was sick, her parents got a presciption in the ER for an antibiotic, but when they got to the pharmacy it wasn't covered and they couldn't pay for it and it was Saturday so there was no one to call, and maybe there were language issues and what Monday morning, she was gone. She was three, and she lived in California her whole short life. I went to her funeral. The ER doc and the pharmacist should have been there too.

Anonymous said...

My son's preschool classmate died about five years ago. She was three and had lived in California her whole short life. She fell sick, so her parents took her to the ER; they got a prescription for antibiotics, but the pharmacist said it wasn't covered by their benefits, and they couldn't afford it, and it was Saturday so there was no one to call, and maybe there were language issues... by Monday morning, she was gone. I went to her funeral. The ER doc and the pharmacist should have been there too.