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...these days, I don't feel tough enough to engage my conservative relations directly.  I hereby give permission, if anyone is discussing Medicaid with their conservative relatives and friends (Since the Supremes decision to make it optional brings it back into the news a bit) to use the following personal story to underscore the fact that 1. Medicaid is not "free" healthcare, and 2. Does not cover everything.

More below the Orange Door Decoration.

In Ohio, if you are on Medicaid, there is a portion of that called a "spenddown."
You have to either incur your spenddown each month,(as in some vast hospital bill you could never hope to pay, in full) or pay your spenddown each month before benefits from Medicaid kick in.

Mine is 204.00.  I can't get by with just incurring that because I now need personal care inside my home  So I pay 204.00 each month as my share of that care.

Neither Medicare nor Medicaid will  cover lymphedema supplies. (I'm on both)  Socks, compression stockings, velcro compression materials are an ongoing expense of about 50.00 every month.

Repairs and batteries for my powerchair are questioned because of an ambiguity in the Medicaid change (the creation of a bidding process on repairs to save $$$ at the beginning of 2011. Long story short, the company that made my chair can't bill Medicaid to fix my chair, ("our bid wasn't the lowest" ) and the ones that could bill them don't want to repair the chair..."It's custom, we don't have to..."

But, I couldn't live independently in the community without Medicaid. Because of Medicaid I have transportation to medical care...covered prescriptions are discounted, and I'm finally on some physical therapy to try to combat muscle atrophy/rigidity that happens to some sedentary folks with cerebral palsy as they age.

I'm not listing all this out to ask for funds.  Not. Not. Not.

I'm listing all this out because it is  concrete proof that Medicaid, the thing I have that keeps me out of some human warehouse at age 50, the thing I'm quite grateful to have, is not free.
Not by a long shot.

(It's important to note, legislators, that this kind of help costs the state about half as much as warehousing me, which they were darn near ready to do in February...when I said, "Um no, I'm not going into a nursing home because only skilled staff can put on two bandages no matter how important this bandaging is to my lymphedema. Just no." And eventually got some outpatient patchwork solutions going.

Medicaid Beneficiaries are not lazy.  

Keeping my care going, making it to the appointments, making necessary lifestyle changes monitoring my lymphedema daily, carving time out to do home therapy.....etc, while trying to take care of a rather feisty little LexiTheMiniatureSchnauzer...
...Takes at leas as much mental effort as a part time job, and often a full time one.

The optional Medicaid expansion offered by the ACA  will be a vital benefit to the lower income people it would serve...But it's not some license to sit on the couch and order up expensive medical tests.  It's a flawed, nutty bureaucratic nightmare that nonetheless is better than going without.

And I'm sick to death of libertarian philosophies, being applied on the ground in such a way as to obscure and mischaracterize the necessity of these services.

I was quite encouraged watching Laurence O'Donnell and Howard Dean subbing on Morning Joe this am,discussing forces within the medical community that might just force governors who are presently ideologically opposed to the Medicaid expansion to go ahead and take the money in 2014.  

Push back when you can...when they start ranting about socialism and entitlements.

Originally posted to imfunnytoo on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 12:53 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Per your edema: You can get your tubigrips (11+ / 0-)

    Directly from the manufacturer.  About 50 bucks for a whole roll.  That was enough to set me up for a while.  I used a triple layer for maximum compression.

    I much prefer those to the socks. I was lucky in that I didn't have to have custom fit socks, but could get a standard size.  $85 for a pair beats $200 a sock any day.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 01:05:44 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for sharing your story (5+ / 0-)

    I suspect Medicaid rules and expenses differ state to state, but this is important info.

    "Rick should scat. Mitt Romney needs to be left alone to limp across the finish line, so he can devote his full time and attention to losing to President Obama." -- Maureen Dowd, NYT, 2/29/12

    by wide eyed lib on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 03:16:59 PM PDT

  •  My wife has lymphodema (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, Ice Blue, Egalitare, weck

    Though I hope by the time she reaches retirement age, we're on a single payer system and everything is covered.

    I sympathize with what a royal pain in the ass it is, believe me.

    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

    by Whimsical on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 04:41:52 PM PDT

  •  Wow. You described it very well, what a (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimene, weck, FloridaSNMOM, wasatch

    shame, what a bad system.

    It's a flawed, nutty bureacratic nightmare that nonetheless is better than going without.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 05:03:00 PM PDT

    •  yes, on the nose (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, Gorette

      My experience getting a friend approved for SSI/Medicaid was a bureaucratic nightmare (it typically takes 2-3 tries, 6 months waiting for a decision each time, with lots of hoops to jump through each time). Finding providers who would accept Medicaid is no picnic either.

      That said, it was a lifesaver, and allowed critical medical care that made his last couple years less painful.

      It makes a huge difference, but it can be a real pain to deal with. Medicaid really cannot sustain any more cuts than it's already gotten, if it is to survive. It's the more easily forgotten red-headed stepchild compared to Medicare, and it's important that we who can do so fight for it. The people who rely on it may not be able to.

      48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

      by wasatch on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 10:46:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It took me two tries over about a year. In FL. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wasatch, FloridaSNMOM

        Medicaid is vital. Now that I'm on Medicare I get Medicaid to cover anything a certain amount in a given month which means when I need xrays or surgery they cover it all, and I get my meds covered but for a small co-pay. Without this I would not make it.

        Importantly, it is the only care millions of children have had.

        "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

        by Gorette on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:16:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  glad you got approved (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          It's easy for me to bitch about the red tape, but the more important thing is that this program really does save lives.
          I'l take the red tape over the alternative of nothing.

          48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

          by wasatch on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:43:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, really it was hell waiting. Not knowing (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wasatch, FloridaSNMOM

            if there would be any help at all for me. I would not go through all that again for anything. I'd had four total joint replacements in five years and major depression with some other things thrown in for good measure! Lost home and business. This was after going through divorce and having my son in jail and hospitals! I'm glad I survived and am happier today.(And my son is doing great.)

            Hope you are okay now. Best wishes!

            "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

            by Gorette on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 02:23:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I worked my ass off, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    imfunnytoo, Thornrose, weck, FloridaSNMOM

    paid for it and am "entitled" too the things I paid for.  Frank Luntz and Karl Rove are sociopaths.  I want to see a bill in Congress providing free Mandatory mental health care for their ilk.

    •  Earned service (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We pay for our entitlements.  That's why we are entitled to them if we need them.  

      Society is not perfect, so we make provision for those who cannot be part of the standard pattern.  

      Monoculture is folly in farming, but even more destructive in social structures..

      •  Society, yes. (0+ / 0-)

        Unfortunately, it seems to me, there are too many who feel they can create some kind of cave and exclude the world from their lives.  That some kind of Darwinian world is ideal. It confuses me.  These people actually function in life.  I meet them every day and they have their own little communities that give their realities validity.  I fear the "destructive" part in our seemingly fragile "social structure" if they gain control.
        Yup, "standard pattern", that's what I've tried for, however assisting those who don't, I believe, is what makes us a society, otherwise I call it tribes.
        Thanks for the comment.

  •  Thanks to all (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck, FloridaSNMOM, wasatch

    and yes wide eyed lib, Medicaid has quite wide variance state to state in what they cover..  

    My Schnauzer has more sense than the Republican field.

    by imfunnytoo on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 05:40:19 PM PDT

  •  Get rid of "entitlement" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that's a right wing word--never use it

    •  "Earned Benefits"... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weck, FloridaSNMOM

      is the phrase we need to counter with.  The right would like to portray anyone who gets any earned benefits as a lazy good for nuttin' bum.  In their fantasy world people are living high on the hog off of their unemployment benefits and dining in style on their food stamps.  I find it hard to believe that they haven't invested in bootstrap manufacturing, as they clearly see a strong demand for them these days.  Now that I think of it, you can't even get bootstraps at Walmart?  It's a confusing world.

      Back on point, these aren't entitlements, they are benefits that have been earned.


      "What is being noticed is only an indication of what is being done." Albert Einstein 1954

      by tundraman on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 06:23:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Entitlement is a word in need of a redefine. (0+ / 0-)

    Tax breaks for the wealthy, subsidies to fossil fuel producers, cozy regulations for the financial industry,...those are entitlements.
    Wind to your sails, imfunnytoo.

    •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

      because I don't think those groups are entitled to the buckets of tax dollars they claim, at all.

      48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

      by wasatch on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 10:49:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wasn't clear, obviously. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Such giveaways to those who do not need them are never called entitlements.
        Entitlement is now used as though it was a dirty word. I doubt that GOPers and their pals in the uber moneyed/corporate crowd would like their cash cows to be referred to as entitlements (even though they are, indeed, dripping with a 'sense' of entitlement). If they were called what they actually believe them to be, they'd have to reconsider the verbal framing of the social net programs we all contribute to. The dog whistle message would have to change.

  •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for posting this. My medicaid doesn't have a buy back, but it's still something I paid into for years while I was able to work, my parents are both still working and paying into it, my grandparents, my many many aunts and uncles, etc. Same with the foodstamps we get now. This is why I object so strongly when people try to frame us as "people who don't want to work".  Of course then many come back with "oh, I don't mean you I mean those people over there" but unless they have lived in these people's shoes they have no clue what they do and do not want.

    My other half has spastic CP, he doesn't have lymphodema though. At least if he did he wouldn't have to worry about bandaging, I managed to become a certified OTA before my lungs went kaput, and I did part of my externship working under an OTR who specialized in lymphodema. I'm no expert, but I can do the bandages and set up the machine. I'm glad you were able to arrange home care, making you go into a facility for that is ridiculous, and yes, expensive.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 10:30:17 AM PDT

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