I sent this letter to both "my" senators, and my "representative", today:
"I am 39 years old. Almost 20 years ago, I had a wreck…broke my right hip, left ankle messed up my knees and my left eye. I had insurance at the time, and was rebuilt. I learned how to walk again and returned to work and attended college.
The insurance company soon “dropped” me and I haven’t had insurance since. With “preexisting conditions”; it is either too expensive, or simply unavailable.
I have known for almost two decades that I would need certain procedures at this time in my life. However, I could find no way of preparing for this eventuality, myself.
Now, the time has finally arrived. I am disabled.
A new hip is needed…as well as an ankle fusion, laser surgery on my eyelid to remove eyelashes that “grow the wrong way”, and (my doctor tells me) a new knee in the near future.
The nearest hospital informs me, cheerfully, that the “estimated” cost is somewhere north of $80,000…not including the cost of a hospital stay, the anesthesiologist, and all manner of “incidental” fees that no one seems to be able to predict.
Physical therapy, to help me learn to walk (a third time) was never mentioned…I assume that I’m on my own, there, as well.
I have been out of work for 3.5 years now…I was a chef/cook, and could no longer handle the job. The pain was too great.
Since then, I’ve been a marginally effective house-husband and stay-at-home dad.
This is not without its rewards, but they are intangible…and the welfare of my family suffers with me out of commission.
I applied for Disability 3.5 years ago, when it became clear that this was not a temporary condition, and that the long awaited date of reckoning had arrived.
I have been denied, repeatedly, in this process. Sent to a psychiatrist (?), and “their” orthopedic doctor, who took x-rays of my back and left knee, and pronounced me healthy. My back, left knee and mind have never been at issue.
I borrowed money, and went to another “bone doctor”, who said I was, in his words, “screwed” and in need of a hip and ankle-fusion immediately.
This was more than a year ago.
In November of ’08, I had a hearing with a Judge, by video. I received the decision, in April,’09…denied.
This Judge, obviously harried…overworked, understaffed…spent two out of nine pages denying that I was “mentally disabled”, (due to my honesty on a form.I am depressed but this was never at issue..) and denying the rest…based on “their” bone guy, and a whole host of non-doctor “bureaucrats”.
My doctors, with the exception of a guy I saw in ’05, were dismissed.
Also, it seems that since a doctor never “ordered” me to use a cane, or the various braces and supports I use every day, or to elevate my legs, that I am somehow not genuine.
From the beginning of this process, I have been made to feel, by turns, as if I were a liar, a cheat, a traitor and a bad person, in general.
There has been no compassion, no sympathy given me. Just interminable waiting and procedures unrelated to the conditions I allege make me “disabled”.
The system is broken.
For profit healthcare is a colossal failure.
The disability system is a catastrophe…as a direct result of budget cuts and the resultant staff reductions.
I will lie here, disintegrating, while you people argue about “socialism” and “bootstraps” and “rationing” and the poor, poor corporations who designed this horrid system having to “compete” with a public system.
Meanwhile, I am expected to pay, even if my “share” is negligible, for your’ own excellent healthcare.
My “bootstraps” were boiled and eaten years ago.
If/when my final appeal fails, I will be left with no alternative but to try to borrow more money and go to Cuba…where the same procedures cost less than one third of what I was quoted here.
You can be certain that should that come to pass, my entire experience will end up on You-Tube, for all to see.
Please, try to remember who you supposedly work for.
I am not a corporation.
I am not rich.
I don’t “contribute” to anyone’s campaign.
I am an American, a fifth generation Texan.
And I need a hand up.
I expect nothing to come from this...unless I end up in Cuba.Then they'll be REALLY interested.
Ya hafta be a Fetus to get these folks to care about your health.
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