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If you believe the lies that Romney has told, he will make sure that everyone has health insurance for their pre-existing conditions without having to pay for it. He has assured us that the nation’s emergency rooms can keep us all alive and healthy----never talking about the cost. His surrogates promise that no woman, no matter how bad her health, will die while pregnant under their watch, even if she cannot get a medical necessity abortion. He tells us that too much is being spent to pay for health care for the poor, for seniors, for mothers and their children.  These vulnerable groups can get by on a lot less---and they will have to, if Romney/Ryan get elected.

I. Mothers

The safety net for the nation’s poor mothers is Medicaid.  Romney/Ryan want to change Medicaid into a block grant program. Meaning that if the governor and legislature of your state is in the pocket of the nursing home industry and nursing homes want to collect more money from Medicaid, you may find that prenatal care is now under-covered---or, not covered at all. This will be especially hard on young, unwed mothers living in states which choose not to spend Medicaid for birth control, too. The number of high risk pregnancies will rise, while access to obstetric care will drop.

Imagine that Terry, your 16 year old daughter is pregnant with her first child. Unable to afford on obstetrician, she stays at home, takes prenatal vitamins and keeps her fingers crossed. Your great grandmother delivered all her babies at home. What’s the worst that can happen? Since Terry cannot afford a doctor, she does not know that her blood pressure is rising. Her first clue that she has eclampsia is when she has a seizure. She bleeds into her brain and dies on the operating room table as they try to save the life of her premature baby. The infant’s Neonatal ICU stay will cost half a million dollars, but Medicaid will cover that, because hospitals have powerful lobbies, too. That’s half a million dollars that could have paid for prenatal care for several hundred young women like your daughter, Terry.

If Medicaid is turned into a block grant program, it will be very easy for state officials to ignore actual medical need and use the funds the way they already use highway funds---to reimburse their donors. And since Romney/Ryan plan to reduce the amount of money the federal government gives to states for Medicaid, the fight for those dollars will intensify over time, and those without the money to hire lobbyists---like young mothers---will be left out in the cold.

Mothers with preexisting medical conditions will be in an even worse bind. With Roe v. Wade overturned, there will be nothing to stop your state from outlawing abortion, even to save the life of the mother. If they want, they can pass a law making it illegal to go to another state to abort that “unborn citizen.” So, if your uninsured, married sister Kelly, who has been managing her own diabetes with over the counter insulin has a broken condom and gets pregnant, she will have few choices. Unable to afford high risk obstetric care, she will almost certainly run into severe complications during her pregnancy that could kill her and her unborn child. While she would love to have a second child, she knows that it is impossible for her in her present financial situation. So, she decides to have an abortion. Since abortion is illegal in her state, she gets what used to be called a back alley abortion. If she dies, her other child will be orphaned. If she survives but has complications and has to go to the hospital for treatment, she will face jail time for murder.

2. Children

Over the past decade, this country has made tremendous strides in providing health care for our most vulnerable citizens---children, who through no fault of their own, are uninsured. Republicans had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table when programs like SCHIP were created, but now it is hard to imagine a world in which any politician would say of a child “He does not deserve health care.”

Unfortunately, Romney/Ryan do not give people what they deserve. They do what is politically advantageous for them. And Romney/Ryan see an advantage in eliminating SCHIP, the most democratic health care program in the country, designed to give all children an equal start in life. Why? Presumably because they and their elite backers like having their own kids start off with the advantage of good health while other children suffer the lifelong effects of preventable childhood illness. Romney/Ryan want to eliminate food stamps, too. Why? Presumably because they and their elite backers like having their own kids start off life well fed while other children go hungry.

Imagine a world in which you cannot afford to see a doctor to get your eight year old son, Tommy a prescription for an asthma inhaler. Every two months or so, you have to take him to the emergency room for rescue treatment. Once or twice a year, he is admitted for up to a week. Each time, you are given a prescription for one inhaler and told to see a doctor. But the doctor demands cash up front that you do not have.  Meanwhile, debt collectors are all over you trying to recoup the thousands of dollars that you owe the local hospital. And Tommy is going to fail third grade, because he has missed so much school due to all those asthma attacks---attacks that could have been prevented if there was some place you could take him for regular care. After ten years of this, one of two things can happen. Your son, Tommy can die on the way to the emergency room. Or he can survive to become an adult and outgrow his asthma---and suddenly, he finds that he has no skills, no education, and he is stuck in a low wage, dead end job for the rest of his life, which is a real shame, because he was a bright kid. Some employer—a Romney donor, no doubt, is going to be lucky to get a bright, hard-working young man like your Tommy to slave for him for minimum wage.

Terry’s daughter Emily, the baby who was born two months premature because her mother could not afford prenatal care has made it out of the Neonatal ICU. Emily’s grandparents take her home. Having learned their lesson watching their daughter die, they vow to do everything possible to keep their granddaughter healthy. However, with their states Medicaid program increasingly strapped for cash,  it has created a form of Voucher-care for children. There are plenty of private insurers lining up to accept vouchers for healthy babies, but none of them want to cover a special needs child like Emily, with her heart, lung and eye disease.  Emily’s grandparents ask the state for help. They are told that they make too much money. But, if they cancel their plans to adopt the baby and instead  give her up for foster care, the state will cover Emily’s medical bills. No state is callous enough to let an orphan die from lack of health care.

3. Elderly

The nation’s seniors are going to be hit hard when Romney/Ryan tear a hole in the safety net, because with age comes sickness. Right now, if you can make it to 65 without dying of a treatable disease like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, you have a fighting chance. That means folks whose jobs have been outsourced to China and who no longer have insurance still have hope.  Romney and Ryan are determined to crush that hope. They will do this in the sneakiest way possible, by underinsuring the nation’s elderly.

Young folks know all about being underinsured. Most elderly folks don’t. But they will learn. For William, it will mean that the private insurance plan which he purchases with his voucher has a “no preexisting conditions” clause. Shortly after turning 65, he will go to the hospital with chest pain. It will turn out to be a minor heart attack. Unfortunately, last year, he saw a doctor for something unrelated and mentioned that he occasionally has chest pain. When his private insurer discovers this, they will refuse to pay for his hospitalization.  He will find himself owing tens of thousands of dollars to the hospital. Worse, he will have no way to pay for the medication which was prescribed. When the chest pain comes back, he will have a choice. Go back to the hospital and get stuck with another bill he cannot pay---or stay at home to tough it out. This is a choice that Americans under the age of 65 make every day. Under Romney/Ryan our seniors will have make those kinds of tough decisions, too.

Sarah, who just turned 65 and who has used her voucher to buy the cheapest insurance she could find, will face tough choices, too. Because she has high blood pressure, she is “high risk”, so she could only afford a plan that had a sky high deductible. She will have to pay $2000 out of her own pocket for health care, before her insurer will kick in anything. She notices a lump in her breast. There is a Women’s Health Fair, and she is able to get a free mammogram. The mammogram comes back normal, but the tech tells her that a lump still needs to be checked---cancer sometimes does not show up on a mammogram. Sarah calls around. It will cost several hundred dollars up front to see a surgeon and several thousand more just to get a  biopsy. Unfortunately, she is living on a fixed income---her Social Security----and she cannot come up with the cash.  So, she does what many Americans in their 30’s-50’s do---she crosses her fingers and hopes that the lump will go away. It doesn’t. It grows. It eats through the skin. By the time he family convinces her to see a doctor, her cancer has spread to her bones.

Brad, 72, suffered  kidney failure shortly after he signed up for his “Voucher-care.” Since it was not a preexisting condition, they had to cover it. He went on dialysis. His insurance plan only covers a dialysis center forty-five miles away from his home, so his wife had to quit work to take him back and forth for his treatments which he gets three times a week. The deductibles and copayments for his medications, tests and doctor visits have used up their savings, and they had to mortgage their home to pay for his continued care. When they defaulted on the mortgage, they had to give up their house. Luckily, his grown son lives nearby, so they were able to move in with him.  Brad hoped to get a transplant, but no matching donor could be found. So, he continues his dialysis. Except for his kidneys, he is in good shape. He enjoys playing with his grandchildren, and he loves his wife, who has given up so much to take care of him. When he imagined his golden years, he did not expect to be on dialysis, but life could be worse---

And then, Brad gets a call. He is about to use up the lifetime limit on his Voucher-care. His insurer will no longer pay for his dialysis.  When he signed up for Voucher-care, he was told that Medicare would be there for him if he ever needed it. But Medicare has gone bankrupt, because too little money was going in and too much was being paid out for the handful of extremely old, frail and sick seniors who continued to rely upon it for their care while everyone else was steered towards private plans. Brad is out of time and out of options.

Brad dies when he can no longer afford his dialysis treatments. His wife, June is devastated. She suffers a stroke and can no longer talk, walk or feed herself. Doctors say that she will never get better. Reluctantly, her kids decide to put her in a nursing home. But, her Voucher-care does not cover nursing home care. Since she is now destitute after years of paying Brad’s medical bills, her family hopes that Medicaid can help. Medicaid in their state used to cover nursing homes pretty well. However, that was before the federal government slashed their contribution, and people got progressively older and sicker. June’s family discovers that there is now a waiting list for Medicaid nursing home beds. So, they take her home. She develops a bedsore, because the family does not really know how to take care of someone as sick as her. Adult protective services steps in and declares that she must be put in a nursing home. Since there are no Medicaid nursing home beds available, and since her insurance does not cover such care, her adult children will have to pay $75,000 a year out of their own pockets. The kids are devastated. They don’t have that kind of money. Surely, the state can’t force them to provide custodial care to an adult parent! They consult an attorney and discover that their state is one of many that requires adult children to pay the bills of their parents. As long as the elderly had Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to help them out, no one tied to enforce that law. But now, faced with the prospect of watching seniors die in the streets, the state has no other option. June’s kids have to cut back on nonessentials---including their health care premiums. And so the cycle of sickness and poverty continues….

Originally posted to McCamy Taylor on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 04:35 PM PDT.

Also republished by Pink Clubhouse and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  they don't want to tear a 'hole' in the safety net (16+ / 0-)

    ... they want to cut it down completely.

    Every (Rich, White) Man For Himself.

  •  i was born with cerebral palsey (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    my parents raised me without taking a penny from the government.

  •  For republican voters (9+ / 0-)

    and the puppets they elect, who knowingly will enact legislation that will result in the deaths of American, why shoulldn't they they be charged w/murder?  Are they truly crazy?

  •  So true.... (7+ / 0-)
    And so the cycle of sickness and poverty continues….
    Thank you for this important diary.

    It is nice to see you!


    "the Devil made me buy this dress!" Flip Wilson as Geraldine Jones

    by BlueJessamine on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 07:44:57 PM PDT

  •  Excellent and timely diary, McCT (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Onomastic, Mike08, Pinto Pony

    I wish all the "undecided" could read it.

    Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

    by RJDixon74135 on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 10:21:43 PM PDT

  •  Things in this country will not get better (9+ / 0-)

    until we start having an honest discussion about the cold hard facts.  Mitt and especially what Ryan proposed yesterday will not work.  My guess is that the block grants will never reach those in need of the funds for healthcare.  Many states are having financial trouble.  I live close to Illinois where many higher ups in government have outlandish pensions.  (I'm talking about those individuals getting a yearly pension of $106,000.00 after working a job that paid maybe $46,000.00).  The corruption at the top as in many other things is destroying the balance that once provided for all.

    And about the vouchers, it will never work, because it isn't just about the medical treatment people need, it is also about those of us that are disabled and are trying to keep a roof over our head and heat our homes and put food on the table.  Our homes, cars, as well as our bodies also take extra money for roofs, property taxes, brake repair, engine repairs, tire replacement, etc.  

    Being disabled in my late fifties with little to no family to help if things go wrong has me stressed and I know I'm not alone.

    And another thing to really worry about is if Medicaid goes to a block grant will it get to the nursing homes to care for those who can't care for themselves?

    Here we have a robot on Mars, but we still can't figure out how to provide for humans from birth to death.  

    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

    by zaka1 on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 10:56:03 PM PDT

    •  you know Illinois will be a black hole (0+ / 0-)

      I also live in Illinois and I worry so much about this issue. Some friends I know who are disabled and live in their own home are able to do so because of Medicaid, which covers the cost of the home care they need. If this funding is cut, the likelihood that they will be forced into nursing homes is very real. These are people who work, and contribute culturally as well as economically.
      They deserve to be able to continue to live in a home of their own, near friends and family, with their freedom to live as they choose.
      I really fear for them, that they will lose all of this if the election goes the wrong direction. And the state being what it is, and nursing homes what they are, I worry that my friends will not get the care that they need and their health will decline. I have vowed to barricade myself inside their apartment if it comes down to it! In all seriousness, to the extent that we can, we all need to fight for medical care for all- ideally single payer healthcare like in other civilized countries.

      •  I totally agree with you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I think there are people out there that are aware that things are really out of whack.  Our voting in this election is essential.  Here in my state we have individuals like Moudock running and there is simply no way I would sit at home and give him power over our state.  It is my deepest hope we find balance again for all people.  Throughout history cultures and societies have fought this battle over and over again, but one thing for sure is that change is constant and I truly believe things will change for better. . . well at least that is what I hope for.  

        Maybe I'm simple, and I know part of me is, but if you have a whole healthcare system that is so expensive that it has to develop another system in order to pay for its services, there perhaps there is where the problem is.  It has gone beyond what the average person can pay for basics and that is why it needs to change, and not the people paying for.  I'm old and remember being able to pay the doctor or the dentist with one or two payments out of pocket and I still had money left over.  Where it changed was toward the 1980s with specialists and individuals willing to spend any amount of money to fix flaws they were born with in order to avoid a lifetime of judgment.  Trouble is we've forgotten that not everything can be fixed and some of us have to live with flaws and illnesses and chronic pain.  

        I wish I had answers, but I think all we can do is hope this is just a phase and America is just going through it's terrible twos.

        "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

        by zaka1 on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 03:30:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Worse than you think (0+ / 0-)

    Read Obama's Interview with the Des Moines Register (Iowa).  WH asked that it be kept "off the record" until we vote.  Editors shamed WH into releasing it.  When POTUS said he agreed with Mitt on Social Security in first debate, he did mean what He said...

    •  DDay, Digby, & Lambert Strether (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Sketching Grand Bargain

      Des Moines Register (via Digby)

      Lambert Strether:

      Grand Bargain™-brand Catfood Watch. Interview: “Initially, the White House had asked that the conversation [with the Des Moines Register] be considered off-the-record and its details not shared with readers. … Interview: “[OBAMA:] I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I’ve been offering to the Republicans for a very long time, which is $2.50 worth of cuts for every dollar in spending, and work to reduce the costs of our health care programs. And we can easily meet — “easily” is the wrong word — we can credibly [to whom?] meet the target that the Bowles-Simpson Commission established of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, and even more in the out-years, and we can stabilize our deficit-to-GDP ratio in a way that is really going to be a good foundation for long-term growth [yeah, like FDR in 1937]. Now, once we get that done, that takes a huge piece of business off the table.” … The deal (2011): “But the major elements of a bargain seemed to be falling into place: $1.2 trillion in agency cuts, smaller cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients, nearly $250 billion in Medicare savings achieved in part by raising the eligibility age. And $800 billion in new taxes” (via Digby). … Interview: “After paging it through it, one question is obvious: Why would the White House seek to suppress something so innocuous? It’s little more than boilerplate stump speech yada-yada-yada.” Well, only if throwing elders and the sick under the bus for the sake of arbitrary financial ratios that having nothing to do with the real economy is “innocuous.” … Betrayal: “Major labor unions and dozens of liberal groups working to elect Obama are worried he could ‘betray’ them in the lame-duck session by agreeing to a deal to cut safety-net programs. The liberal groups are planning to launch an aggressive campaign immediately after Election Day to pressure Obama and Senate Ds not to endorse any deal that cuts Medicare and/or Social Security benefits.” Typical liberals. Try for leverage only when you don’t have it. The gays and hispanics did better, earlier.
      Pick your poison.  Or not.
  •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Onomastic on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 04:02:11 AM PDT

  •  White people are the end (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of time.

  •  speaking of birth certificates (0+ / 0-)

    white people don't even belong here.  Lets just let Romney and Ryan show them!

  •  Fetuses are God's gift... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    but fuck 'em and their mothers after they are born.

    ---the GOP

    Mitt Romney treats people like things. And he treats things - corporations - like people.

    by richardak on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 06:00:39 AM PDT

  •  No safety net for childfree women (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zaka1, greengemini, Calamity Jean

    nor men.  I just ordered  250 gallons of fuel oil. Over a thousand bucks, that I need for other things, a full two weeks paycheck.  I've applied for HEAP in the past but because I don't have brats I don't qualify. I was livid. I told them I have pets lol. Like social workers give a damn about pets,animals, adults or anyone who is NOT a mother.  I have a friend in California who has had the same issue with Social Services: my age, no brats and she cannot get food stamps.   I"m for a social net that includes EVERYONE, not just a select few.  
    Flame away I don't care.

    I'm so sorry if I'm alienating some of you/ YOUR WHOLE FUCKING CULTURE ALIENATES ME. Bikini Kill

    by pitbullgirl65 on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 07:40:35 AM PDT

    •  Single women and men (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pitbullgirl65, Calamity Jean

      without children are constantly overlooked in this society.  Yet, for the many years I worked thousands of dollars in taxes were taken out of my paycheck while I was paid less and less than my male coworkers.  I only received a small yearly refund at the end of the year.  An example is one year there was almost $9,000.00 in taxes taken out of my pay check, and at the end of year I got back maybe $400.00 especially since I didn't have children or property.  

      We have been taken advantage of.  Seriously, all the men in my graduating class got a job paying $10,000.00 more a year than the women.  Over a ten year period that is $100,000.00 and a big advantage over women.  If politicians could just do the math!

      I think there is a crisis coming of single individuals who don't have children and have worked, but have never got ahead due to the cost of living going beyond a single person's income and stagnant wages.  Most places I worked the cost of living raises were stopped or you only got like five cent an hour raise yearly.  Moreover, in many work places your salary could go only so high and you stopped getting raises because you hit the ceciling.  So every year when health insurance went up you got that much farther behind.  

      I totally agree with you we all need the social safety nets in one way or the other.  It isn't like people are out here just living free, it is costing more and more just to have a roof over your head.  

      "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

      by zaka1 on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 09:13:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hear you sister (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zaka1, radical simplicity

        I do own my house BUT: it is cheaper for me to take the standard deduction, rather then itemize. So I lose out on writing off my morgage or whatever the hell it is.
        Singletons are invisible in society: the politicians, the mass media, laws, everything. We aren't even erased: we aren't even acknowledged in the first place.
        I think the politicains have done the math and don't care, esp. Republicans! All of them voted no on a Pay Equality bill, including that horrid Olympia Snowe.

        I'm so sorry if I'm alienating some of you/ YOUR WHOLE FUCKING CULTURE ALIENATES ME. Bikini Kill

        by pitbullgirl65 on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 11:45:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Us Singletons (0+ / 0-)

          make up almost half of the courtry's population.  I can't tell you where I read that, but I can fact check it and your right we don't exist in the bigger picture.  But, if Medicare and Social Security get cut, they will have additional problems to face in Washington since so many of us have no pensions, lost a lot in in our 401Ks in the crash of 2008, or have faced umeployment for a period and are only finding part time, if that.  

          I agree that the politicians have looked at the math and don't care.  The problem is how much more can they squeeze out of their citizens.  If I invest money into a system or a product I expect to get something in return.  I didn't spend forty some years working and paying taxes all those years to be told I'm on my own.  Obviously with all the taxes we pay on everything from gas to homes to purchases, etc., the states and our country couldn't survive on their own either without us.  So, something has to give.

          "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

          by zaka1 on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 01:52:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  hey Pit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      here in Illinois,the elderly and disabled are facing massive cuts.but not 1 cut for programs for unwed mothers.that's not fair

  •  I implore you to add to your title!!! (4+ / 0-)


    Many people who are disabled and cannot work are on Medicaid as the backup form MEdicare

    those who cannot work at very often make so little money that without Medicaid they are screwed

    many of these people are by definition NOT In health they USE these services and some NEED THEM TO LIVE>

    With all the talk about Medicare and the elderly, the DISABLED (many of whom worked for years when the could) were never mentioned

    SImilarly, here you talk about Medicaid and again, in the title the Disabled are not mentioned.

    People with chronic illnesses can die without medical care. I know disabled people absolutely DEPENDANT on both Medicare and Medicaid who MAY DIE if ANY services are cut.

    I am sure there are thousands if not millions

    Myself, If I loose medicaid i loose my secondary insurance after Medicare's 80%. I have weekly appointements with doctors and physical therapists, trying to get better. I loose that 20% and I CANNOT GO AT ALL. I simply DO NO T HAVE THE MONEY.

    And that is just me. SOmeone who may recover if I get the healthcare I need NOW and return to work.

    If I had cancer or MS or Parkinson's or LUpus I might not recover ever. I might be too sick to work and need my MEdicaid to survive.

    PEOPLE WILL DIE>..the SICKEST PEOPLE FIRST> Please mention ill and disabled people as well when you mention Medicaid. Thank you

  •  You mean "the takers" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    Well, until those mothers, children and elderly actually produce something for our great nation, then they are going to have to stop suckling at the powerful teat of Uncle Sam.

    As Homer Simpson once said: moochin' war widows!

    God it's so painful that something that's so close, is still so far out of reach. Tom Petty/Al Gore

    by Velvet Revolution on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 08:06:28 AM PDT

  •  The United States really is "exceptional" (0+ / 0-)

    In some ways good, in other ways not so good.

    In health-care delivery to the less fortunate - We are horrible.

    As long as the divide between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots' continues to grow don't expect a miracle-cure.

    Perhaps one day the Fourth Estate will take their jobs seriously. Or not..

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 09:23:05 AM PDT

  •  Romney/Ryan simply understand that there are (0+ / 0-)

    worse things than being dead.  For example, being "dependent" on government.  Can't you understand this is for their own good?

  •  That's Not a Bug (3+ / 0-)

    That's a Design Feature.

    It is the tired Old concept of "Social Darwinism" dressed
    up in a New Bullshit Package.

    The Problem Isn't the Plan.

    The Problem is People that are Smart Enough to
    Figure out what THEY are trying to Do.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 03:50:58 PM PDT

  •  What just happened here? (0+ / 0-)

    I thought I was at DKos.

    Vertigo or normal Friday night?

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