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I haven't cried reading the Asbury Park Press in years.  Not since that dark day 22 years ago when I opened the front page to see that Bruce Springsteen had married that totally-wrong-for-him girl from Oregon (before he came to his senses and married the girl next door).  

I cried this morning.  

NJ is extending children's health benefits to all children, regardless of family income, on January 1.  

I have been uninsured since July.  I diaried about whether or not to let go of my coverage: it didn't cover what I needed covered, and it was horrendously expensive.  It was either buy the useless insurance or get medical care.  I am a single parent.  I have a good job, I earn a decent living, but my firm doesn't provide health insurance.  They give me a few hundred bucks a month to pay for insurance, roughly 1/4 of what I would need to buy crappy HMO coverage.  And even then it wouldn't cover the mental health care one of my kids needs.  

Since July 1, I have gone around in fear of needing an ER or a doctor.  Nobody knows I am uninsured, least of all the kids.  Every month I take my insurance money and I spend it on actual health care instead of junk insurance: I pay the therapist, I buy the overpriced medications, I watch my kid struggle on the second rate, old psychotropics because I can't afford to buy the flashy new ones that work better.  I've been lucky: I've had none of those trips to the ER that every parent can count on, no broken bones, no sinus infections, nothing.  I have not let myself dwell too much on not having had a pap smear in a year, or whether my daughter's cramps are just cramps or something that needs attention.   I still don't sleep well.  

But come January 1, New Jersey is going to have health insurance for all children:

I will be able to buy my kids into NJ Familycare, which is the S-Chip program, for which I have always been just overincome.  The premium, $137 per child, I can do.  I will be able to get some kind of basic coverage for myself on the side.

I don't delude myself that this will cover all our expenses.  I'll still be out of pocket on mental health care.  But at least I won't have to hope that any other medical care we need comes about from a car accident, for which I am covered.  At least if someone breaks an arm doing some idiotic kid stunt, I can take them to the ER.  

Nor do I think universal coverage for just kids is the best way to go about what we all know we need, universal care - not coverage, care - for everbody.  I have never been able to see the justification for covering everybody under 18 and everybody over 65 and leaving everybody in between hanging out to dry.  But I'll take it.  I believe in single payer, I will push for it until it happens.  Until then I'll take what I can get.  

And maybe now sleep at night too.  

Originally posted to Fungible Chattel on Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 07:14 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yay NJ! (6+ / 0-)

    Let's hope the Bush Admin doesn't declare the coverage null and void and anti-American terrorist communism.

  •  NJ is rockin!!! (6+ / 0-)


  •  Happy New Year. (11+ / 0-)

    2008 is already shaping up to be a better year.  What's NJ trying to do, lately?  First abolishing the death penalty and, now, this.  Makes you want to move to NJ, almost. ^_^
    I agree with you, completely, about the unfairness of not covering 18-65 adults. Hopefully, the Presidential election will take care of that donut hole.

    "The angels left this nation, Salvation, caught the last train out tonight. He lost one Hell of a fight." - Bon Jovi.

    by rainmanjr on Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 07:46:28 AM PST

  •  Say what you want (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jkb246, ChaosMouse, john07801, Newzie

    Corzine and the Democratic Legislature get it--first ending the death penalty and now this.

    If only they could do something meaningful about property taxes and car insurance.

    •  I would imagine you will be required (0+ / 0-)

      to use the Governors hand picked insurance company.

      Goldman Insurance Inc. This is NJ we have to rip you off some how.

    •  Car Insurance Has Gotten Worse (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jkb246, ChaosMouse, M Sullivan

      Now that they can use credit scores to rate us.  At least two out of every three credit reports has an error, most of them significant enough to deny you credit.  

      Makes total sense to base premiums on that instead of, oh, how a person actually drives.  

    •  When I moved to California (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Predictor, Fungible Chattel

      from New Jersey, I was happy to hear that I would be paying much less for car insurance.  (New Jersey's rates are the highest in the country.)

      I called an agent who quoted me an even higher rate.  I said, "Wha?  I paid less in New Jersey!" to which the agent replied, "And let me tell you how New Jersey has managed to keep their rates down."

      I said, "You know, pal, that's one fairy tale I'm not going to listen to."


      (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

      by john07801 on Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 08:43:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Awesome (4+ / 0-)

    Everything helps!

    Here is part of a letter I will be sending to the candidates about health care needs unique to older children graduating from H.S.  I haven't heard candidates address this unique age group except to assume that they are health and will not opt for insurance.  No mention of those who can't get it and really need it.  If anyone has info about candidates addressing this age group I would love to hear it.

    EXAMPLES OF DIFFICULT SITUATIONS OF YOUNG PEOPLE (AFTER HIGH SCHOOL) WHO’S PARENTS DO HAVE INSURANCE:Parents whose children had/have cancer, liver disease or any number of complicated medical conditions may have not thrived in high school and may certainly not be ready to go to college.  Employment that insures the individual is generally out of the question.  

    Here are examples of how complicated this can get:
    • A family that continued to register the child for college classes as she died of brain cancer so that she could be insured.
    • A family that sent their child to college after finding that she had a mass on her pituitary gland.  The watch and wait period included a medication that could result in severe side effects.  The child could not wait a semester while the diagnoses and medication side effects were evaluated or her insurance may discontinue.
    • A family whose child was injured in a serious car accident ...they feared they might have to sign him up for on-line classes while he recovered.  
    • A family whose daughter had chronic back pain through high school that required many doctor visits before determining the summer after her senior year that surgery was needed.

    • Many parents of children with ADD or other such challenges live in great fear that the child will or may not be able to continue on to school and will lose all health insurance while they navigate the first years of adulthood.

    • Many serious mental health issues surface in this age group.  However, treatment is limited if the insurance is contingent on the ability to go and remain in college.

    COBRA has it's limitations due to expense and time.  In addition, if the COBRA co. changes it's coverage a person (even at $600 monthly) may not be able to see the doctors their current doctors.

    • A student with asthma whose emergency room visit did not stabilize her asthma but the costs of the visit and the disease resulted in withdrawing from college
    • A football player with shoulder injuries who cannot continue playing football as the parents do not have the insurance for the necessary surgery
    • A student dropped from parents insurance because of childhood depression, struggling through college while not adequately treated for depression and ADD and the like.
    • A student who cannot afford antibiotics for sinus infections losing energy and enthusiasm for their education.
    • A student with long standing ear problems that haven’t been helped by primary treatment but cannot afford to see an ENT.

    •  Great Letter (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alizard, cfk, astoundedstill

      I posted from a totally personal point of view, but you have summed up the broad policy issue I should have addressed (and would have when I've calmed down).  I don't know how we can run overseas waving our flag in the faces of the civilized countries when we tolerate this at home.  No wonder they are laughing at us.  

      The situations you describe have to be shoved in the face of every candidate at every opportunity.  The only thing of equal importance is the war - and there are people out there joining the military because of the insurance.  

      Mental health treatment is essential.  People who can't get treatment tend to self medicate.  The public health problem this causes is immeasurable.  

      •  So true (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exNYinTX, alizard, cfk, Fungible Chattel, mayim

        It doesn't make sense to me that insurance and health care is dependent on employment status.  No wonder people between 20 and 30 are the most underinsured group.  This is probably the largest group of people with employment that doesn't have insurance options.

        Also, this type of policy stunts the talent in the country as people are afraid to change jobs, go back to school, or leave a job that isn't a good match as health care is so necessary.

        In addition, we are in a new world.  People don't work for the same employer for 30 years anymore.  This results in employment gaps and consequently health care gaps.

        It is really scary.

  •  Krugman, Springsteen, and now this? (0+ / 0-)

    Wow. I hope it spreads like a virus. The deal we have here in Mass. is a sham intended only to boost Willard Romney's chances of becoming president.

    Edwards '08 -6.88/-5.54

    by DrReason on Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 09:33:43 PM PST

  •  Breast/Cervical cancer screening (0+ / 0-)

    Breast Cancer Screening and Treatment Information  

    Do you qualify for a free breast exam and mammogram? You may if you:

    are 40 years old or older
    have low income*
    have medical insurance that does not cover these services
    have a high insurance deductible or co-payment
    are not getting these services through Medi-Cal or another government-sponsored program
    live in California

    *Click here for the 2007-2008 Poverty Level Income Guidelines.

    Call 1-800-511-2300 Monday - Friday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM.

    We speak English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Vietnamese. If you qualify, you will be referred to participating doctors in your neighborhood.

    If you don't qualify, the Regional Contractor in your area may know of other low-cost screening programs.

    Whether or not you qualify, breast cancer and breast health information is available. Contact your Regional Contractor.

    If you are diagnosed with breast cancer:
    Free treatment is available to all Californians who qualify through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program. Information on this program is available on Medi‑Cal's website or call 1-800-824-0088 to speak with an eligibility specialist.

    Remember FREE is for cancer DETECTED THROUGH the program.

    At the national level:

    On October 24, 2000, President William Clinton signed into law the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-354). (PDF-115KB) This Act gives states the option to provide medical assistance through Medicaid to eligible women who were screened for and found to have breast or cervical cancer, including precancerous conditions, through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP).

    Here is the state and tribal government contact list link:

    Remember that radiologists can best detect breast cancer by a comparison with the previous mammograms.

  •  HRSA health clinics (0+ / 0-)

    HRSA-supported health centers care for you, even if you have no health insurance. You pay what you can afford, based on your income.

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