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A while back, I published a diary with my idea on how to help victims of mass shootings and terrorist attacks.  While I was unsuccessful, I am trying again after seeing a story in ThinkProgress about brothers who lost limbs in the Boston bombings.[ Some of the commenters on my last diary suggested that any Massachusetts resident would be fine because between Romneycare and charitable contributions the victims should have all their expenses covered. Well, if the ThinkProgress story is accurate, while many victims are doing fine, these brothers are facing a difficult choice:

Paul and J.P. Norden, two brothers who lost legs when the second bomb went off, are both still struggling to recover. And they haven’t cashed their $1.2 million checks from the One Fund charity — a fund set up specifically to aid bombing victims — because they’re currently dependent on Massachusetts’ public health insurance program for the poor. Although the charity donations are tax free, once they claim them, they may not qualify for that type of state assistance anymore.
That wouldn’t be an issue if they could access health care through an employer, or if the funds were enough to cover all of their expected medical costs. But the Norden brothers’ recovery process has been slow, and they’re not sure when they will be able to work again. They also worry that the high cost of prosthetics will quickly eat up the $1.2 million sum, leaving them with nothing.
My idea remains unchanged and it's relatively simple. I would like Congress to negotiate with the Congressional health plan provider to insert a new type of claimable dependent, namely a special citizen dependent, into the plan to allow these victims access to health coverage in the same way a Congressional family member could gain coverage. This way these brothers, and other survivors in similar circumstances, could have access to quality care and maximize their charitable donation dollars.

Some commenters on my previous diary said they'd prefer the country get universal health care, I do not disagree. I'd be more than happy for my proposed measure to become wholly unnecessary, but we do not live in a country of universal care and we have victims of horrific violence that need a real solution right now. If you agree, please click on the link below and sign my new petition. Thank you.

Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 6:53 PM PT: Only need 5 more signatures to go to a broader MoveOn audience. Please sign!!!!!!!!!!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Signed. Thank you for your dedication and your (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


  •  Sure (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA

    and reinforce the idea that health care is only for the 'worthy'.

    •  Thank you for your comment (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you for commenting, but I'm not sure I understand your meaning. How does being a victim of a horrible crime mean that you are getting something because you are "special"? Right now, we have citizens who are paying the price for our societal problems with violence. I think this is a national shame and that the related costs should be borne nationally, that we should make this type of coverage automatic  so that these fellow citizens can recover.

      I also hope that if we can get coverage started for some, that we might get the program expanded.

  •  There are ways to resolve this (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not an expert on the Mass. plan, but for Medicaid, if someone pays your expenses directly, or if you receive a large sum of money and spend it immediately, it doesn't disqualify you. It shouldn't be hard for someone to figure out how to funnel the aid to these two brothers directly to prosthesis manufacturer or retailer, or to set up a trust that someone else controls that can pay their uninsured medical and living expenses.

    Estate planning lawyers do this regularly for middle-class or upper-class families with a special needs child, so that child continues to qualify for SSI and Medicaid.

    That's easier than asking Congress to agree that today is Thursday, much less a complicated new program.

    •  Thank you for your comment (0+ / 0-)

      If you know of anyone who can help these brothers, I hope that you will ask them to reach out to them and offer assistance.

      But, I think there is a bigger issue here. For me, the brothers' story is only part of the problem. If we as a society are unable to deal with our problem with violence, I think we have a national responsibility to care for those we put in harms way. I think there are some civic duties we owe each other and since these are more "American" violence incidents, we owe these victims quality health coverage so they. Can recover and live the fullest lives possible.

      I also think by shifting all the risk to individuals, it permits the NRA and the Right to continue to minimize the effects of these violent incidents on our society. This strategy of minimization is why we have a huge societal disconnect between the military and the general public. We support our troops when they go to war, but let them languish when they get home. Similarly, after these events, the public reaches out to help. But, once that fades, the victims have long term issues and we stop paying attention because we've just created all new victims. The more incidents we have, the less charitable funds and attention each will receive.

      I'm hoping this might be a first step toward getting this country back to one that does the right thing.

  •  I don't think the federal budget can support... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the health care costs of all of our mass shooting victims.  Let's start with something small, like cancer or heart failure, and work our way up.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 06:16:33 AM PDT

    •  Thank you for your comment (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you for the comment. I do support universal health coverage and I'd like for no American to have to face personal bankruptcy for any health need. I do not think I'm working against that goal.

      The reason I think we need to provide health coverage is because we as a society have not figured out an effective way to deal with our violence problem. I believe this means we own a civic duty of health coverage to our victims of these horrible events.

      Or, I hoping with enough signatures and attention we might get our society talking about the long term health issues these victims suffer and how we should address it as a nation.

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