Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Government Intelligence - A Proven Oxymoron

That headline caught your attention, didn't it? I thought so.

Today, I would like to talk with you about our delightful new health care reform.

I have medical power of attorney for my 21-year-old step-daughter, so that I can negotiate her bills, etc., and make calls for her treatment. We set this up after she was released from a very extended stay in the hospital. 28 days in ICU, a total of 34 days in the hospital. The long and short of it: Gall stones and sludge led to Severe Acute Necrotizing Pancreatitis with sepsis and respiratory failure. It was a very touch and go time. During the entire duration of her treatment, I was legally unable to authorize anything. Her biological mother and father were the persons authorized, because the medical POA was not signed before she ended up sedated and intubated. Despite the fact that both persons called me and asked me what they should do in regards to the latest emergency that had developed during her rapid downhill slide, it still had to be one of those two who actually said yes or no to the doctors. The only reason the doctors or nurses could tell me anything was because I had been told what the PIN number was (the hospital assigns PIN numbers to patients. If the caller has the PIN, they had to have received it from an authorized source, therefore, they are allowed to speak about the case).

I'm rambling. Back on target.

I take my responsibilities seriously. Regardless of the fact that E is now conscious and able to make these decisions, and she has the ability to research and make arrangements, I am doing those things. Why? Because 1-if I leave it to her, it won't get done (she's young--what else is new?), and 2-if she actually *did* research, I would still have to look it all over to explain it to her. Let's face it, folks. Kids today are just not prepared for reality. No matter how much we have worked on trying to make sure they understand all the steps they need to take, how we train them to visualize a goal, and then follow each step to reach that goal, I still find myself being constantly questioned by my 3 adult step-children because they are just clueless.

So, since we are currently looking at $330,000 (and counting) in medical bills, and it does not look as if Medicaid is going to come through for E, I started looking into inexpensive insurance policies. After all, since she isn't working, the only way the girl is going to stay out of the hospital is if *someone* (cough-me-cough) ends up paying out of pocket for all of her diabetic supplies. Now, if she had gotten sick before she turned 21, we wouldn't still be waiting for Medicaid to respond. Coverage under age 21 is pretty much a given. But after 21, if the sickness does not disable you, and Diabetes Type 1 is not disabling unless it is uncontrolled, then Medicaid is not likely to come through.

Rambling again. I tend to do that. I'm sure you've figured that out by now.

So, in the delightful state of Michigan, there are some public policies available. I looked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, which has a nice "Young Adult" plan. Prices start at around $50 a month. That's a heck of a lot more doable than the over $200 a month for supplies, right? Sure... except in looking at what is covered, the list is practically NOTHING! Regular doctor appointments? Not covered. Preventive medicine, like annual exams? Not covered. Prescriptions? Reduced price.

I'm sorry. What is the point of having 'insurance' for which you still have to pay out of pocket for everything? How is that 'insurance'?

And our intellectuals whom we elected into office have now passed regulations that, by 2014, will make it illegal to live without health insurance. Illegal, folks. Starting with a $95 fine, and working up to around $200 fine every time you are found to not having insurance.

How is this going to help? It is illegal to drive without insurance. People do it all the time, as is evidenced by our court records. My own brother drove on a suspended license enough that he has now had his license revoked.

First off, this is just one more step to criminalizing the poor. People don't go without health insurance because they WANT to. People go without health insurance because they cannot afford the costs. Making it illegal to go without insurance is only going to serve to make those costs that much more, because the public will no longer have a choice. They will HAVE to buy it, despite the cost.

What happens when it comes down to being able to pay their rent, or buy food, or pay for their legally required insurance. Because of the way Medicaid rules are written, if the person is of age and physically able to work, even if they have applied to every job in every business, and still not hired, they still have to buy their own insurance. What if they are working part time, making minimum wage? They'll end up insured, just to stay out of court, but they'll end up homeless.

At least, until Congress makes it illegal to be homeless.

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