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View Diary: SOB cancelled our health ins (241 comments)

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    •  Learning to hibernate (55+ / 0-)

      I'm 68 retired to Maine where I have my healthcare through Medicare and the VA. We are somewhere between rich and poor scraping by with a house and land in which our savings have been invested looking for a future housing boom that never seems to come despite the price of everything we buy going up.

      That said despite we aren't seeing much work in our professions, we have managed up till now.

      Whats troubling is where do we go from here. Are we dependent on a well functioning government to save us?

      Up till now I just took it for granted that once poor people get elderly or sick in Maine they have been expected  to learn to hibernate. We said that and thought it was a joke.

      We trust there is a recovery looming on the horizon but Its been four years since I designed a building and I'm getting to where working construction, or as a laborer I can't keep up the pace that is expected.

      That leaves me still optimistic and healthy but with a status of retired/unemployed that is not likely to change and becoming aware that we can't live on Social Security and healthcare here is just a myth.

      Four years ago we decided that if we wanted something done right we had to do it ourselves, but now that option is closing out. Back then most of us living south of the cold in New England might  have taken for granted we could tough it out until we experienced Sandy or realized the streets of Boston are now full of homeless veterans.

      With the wife working at a minimum wage job we have been able to scrape by much longer than we ever expected but have no idea how people who are truly poor managed to survive the last four years.

      Even for us healthcare is no more affordable than groceries and heating oil so we garden and forage, burn wood, and try to work hard enough to stay healthy.

      Right now we aren't sure but hope we can stand it in Gov. LePage's Maine 2 more yrs. If we can then hopefully he will be gone and things will surely change. We already have the Senate and the House back and have begun undoing some of the damage.

      All that "hopey changy stuff" works for us as long as we work for it.

      Two years from now we expect Eliot Cutler to run as an independent again and so need a really good Democrat to throw her hat in the ring so we can put an end to this Angus King independent republican light crap.

      Anyway, despite LePage we were beginning to comply with the affordable care provisions when the SCOTUS found the law constitutional but allowed the states to either create their own exchanges or let the federal government do it.

      The decision found that the coverage had to be maintained but LePage decided on his own that coverage should be maintained at the level they it was at when the law took effect not the level of compliance that had been reached when the SCOTUS decision was heard.

      Skipping lightly over everything else LePage has done...

      Le Page has decided that Maine will be among the states which let the Federal Government create the exchanges even though the Federal money would have reimbursed the State almost 100%.

      Chellie Pingree the Representative from District 1 wrote to Katherine Sebillius asking for a decision which infuriated LePage. We hope to live to see the changes.

      My wife who is 64 and still working needs to make it through until May to qualify for Medicare. I think she needs affordable healthcare now.

      I rely on the same phenomenology that tells me climate change is here now for my diagnosis. I can see things changing right before my eyes.

      Until she gets a checkup all I have to go on is the fact that she is rapidly losing weight, gets tired easily and must be kind of scared herself by these changes.

      That is evidenced because she is getting serious about quitting smoking and drinking, two habits she has faithfully maintained for half a century. That plus she is teaching me how to do all the things she has done up to now like cooking, and going shopping for groceries.

      She gets no insurance from her employer, but might qualify to get insurance through Dirigo Blue if she has applied by Dec 7. She hasn't received her application yet even though she asked for it back around October 27. If she can get that then she might be able to get a wellness checkup in January.

      Maybe with climate change winter just won't come this year and one day it will be spring and all will be fine.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 05:12:16 AM PST

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      •  I feel your pain. Best wishes in your wife's (8+ / 0-)

        finding the health care she needs.

        I too am in Maine and have hopes for change too.

        I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

        by DamselleFly on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 07:02:39 AM PST

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      •  I want to scare you and your wife. (36+ / 0-)

        Those are radical health changes. Get her to a doctor now. I had similar, but waited until I qualified for insurance at at new job. By then, I had Stage IV Melanoma. I was lucky - one of the luckiest people in the world. I was in a study with twelve people for six months. At the end of six months there were four of us and two weren't doing well. Here's a link to free health clinics in Maine. Go, despite long waits, and let us know she's okay. Sometimes it's better to panic for nothing than to wait. I've lost several friends who waited.

        "Until death it is all life." Don Quixote

        by cv lurking gf on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 07:12:21 AM PST

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        •  My brother has Stage IV melanoma. (4+ / 0-)

          He's in South Carolina and is getting treatment through the VA. He waited too long to see a doc about a 'thing' behind his ear that itched and he scratched it until it bled. (His words). That was over a year ago. Now he's terminal, spread to the liver and other places, despite him being on interferon since last Jan. or so.

          BTW, he's the 3rd person in the last two years that I've heard of -- who had the initial site of melanoma behind his ear.... warning to all -- use sunscreen behind and on your ears! Two of those people are dead already. Melanoma is gruesome, other than surgical removal at the original site, there are no good confirmed treatments.

          To cv lurking gf -- what was the drug and how did you get in to the study? And I'm happy to read that you're doing OK. And your advice to Bugsydarlin is appropriate.

          We'd like to get my brother in to a study, choice being in Soth Carolina or in the Baltimore/DC area.


          •  So sorry about your brother. A couple of (0+ / 0-)

            years after I finished, I heard Duke decided it was ineffective. It was a vaccine of sorts, initially a mix of the TB vaccine and radiated melanoma cells, one a month for 3 months, then straight radiated melanoma cells for the last 4 months. You may already know the top research is in Australia, due to the large amount of Irish descendents (Ireland has 5-7 times the rate of melanoma as England: sounds genetic to me), and the sub-tropical environment, so more sun exposure. Duke was at the forefront of melanoma studies; don't know if that's still true. I had it twenty-four years ago and had lymph nodes removal. It had not moved into organs. It is one of the most aggressive cancers, but it can just go away. My uncle had a case in the military of a soldier's wife who had it in much of her organs. He and another surgeon operated on her and removed as much as they could without destroying her body's ability to function. He figured she had less than six months, but was transferred so he couldn't follow the case (this was in the early fifties). He ran into the other surgeon at a conference in the late sixties and asked about her, because she stuck in his mind. The other doctor told him the melanoma disappeared, and that she had recently died of leukemia, a quite different disease, though still a cancer (I think he said he was told 1968). Of course, this woman was incredibly lucky.

            Check Duke. Also, another friend with aggressive breast cancer went to Europe after being given less than six months here. (We raised money for her trips and treatment.) She had some combination of heat and chemo. The premise was that by heating her whole body - she had it in organs and her bones - the juvenile blood vessels put out by the cancer, feeding it, would collapse. Then she'd be hit with chemo to further weaken the cancer. It did regress and she lived another two and a half years, long enough to marry her longtime boyfriend and live by the ocean. I found some information on it at this link.

            I try to look for the positive and be hopeful, while realizing life happens, as does death. I wish the best of luck to you and your brother. My thoughts are with you and your family.

            "Until death it is all life." Don Quixote

            by cv lurking gf on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:40:57 AM PST

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      •  My best friends want to move to Maine, that is (6+ / 0-)

        their long term goal and dream. But they were both offered jobs with about the same pay as their jobs in PA. But both jobs offered little in the way of health insurance and most of it was to be paid by the employee. It was so expensive. Then the husband was offered a job with the same pay in PA but with excellent benefits where the employer pays for the entire premium and also pays for all the out of pocket but funding the HSA completely for the employees.  It turns out this employer is from Canada and believes the company should pay for all healthcare the employee needs since we do not have single payer in this country.

        Due to this fact, they are staying in PA because it is very hard for them to find employers who pay at least half the premium for health insurance or even offered health insurance.  We are all shocked as most jobs in PA they have had or we have had, offer health insurance that is not that shabby actually.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 07:21:40 AM PST

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      •  I want to scare you and your wife. (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jw1, CJB, murrayewv, Truedelphi, Eileen B, ladybug53

        Those are extreme symptoms. I had similar, but waited until I qualified for insurance at a new job. By then, I had Stage IV Melanoma. I am one of the luckiest people alive, truly, but the others in a study group I was in were not. Out of twelve, by the end of six months there were only four of us, and two weren't doing well. I repeat, I am lucky; few are. Get her to a clinic now. Here's a link to free clinics in Maine. Better to panic unnecessarily than to wait until it's too late. I've lost several friends who waited, and was too close myself. Please, rktect, take her this week, and let us know she's okay.

        "Until death it is all life." Don Quixote

        by cv lurking gf on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 07:41:02 AM PST

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      •  Friend, (10+ / 0-)

        your wife needs to see a doctor, even if that is very difficult for you to manage. If she's losing weight rapidly, 6 months is much too long to wait. Sorry... The system is horrible. I wish there were an easy solution for you. But please don't wait.

        "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

        by flitedocnm on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 08:36:31 AM PST

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      •  Don't wait. (11+ / 0-)

        Get your wife to a clinic. What's causing her low energy and weight loss could be as simple as low thyroid function, which is easily fixable with just one pill a day. Ignoring those exact symptoms nearly killed my mother earlier this year, and it didn't have to happen that way.

        "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

        by commanda on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 08:40:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Please, she needs to see a doctor (11+ / 0-)

        You know well that your wife has symptoms that should be taken seriously.  Yes, it will cost money to see a doctor, but it will cost more in the long run not to.  Whatever the diagnosis, earlier is better and having the time to deal with whatever the consequences will be better for both of you.  

        I too live in Maine, and I share your disgust with our Governor.  He will pass into history, hopefully with only one term, but his legacy will live for a while.  I am remembering James Longley, who wore a different label by was cut from the same cloth.  Three or four years and millions of dollars were required to fix some of his stupider decisions.  I remember learning that Longley had stopped regular oil changes in the State Police vehicles six months before the end of his term so as to pass on to his successor significant cost increases.  He blocked repairs to a State Prison near here for the same reason.  Needless to say fixing the damage was far more expensive than just fixing the roof would have been.  Even then, the media preferred to look forward instead of holding nuts like that accountable.  Longley thought he would look good by comparison - what a jerk.  You won't know specifics about LePage for years, although you do know what direction he will take us while he still can.

        Outside of the Portland area, and perhaps some waterfront property, I don't see a revival of property values anytime soon.  I too put most of my retirement assets into property instead of various Wall Street vehicles.  Even with the loss of value in that property, I think I did better than friends who took the opposite tack.  Anyway, I will be testing the real estate market this Spring because carrying the property appears to be costing more than the increase in value will be over the next several years.  We have to do what we have to do.  Life is short.

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