Archive for June, 2012

I am a problem.

I’d like to begin this post with a disclaimer: I’m not 100% sure about the whole “Obamacare” bill, and what it will mean to America. I’m pretty sure that the Supreme Court is in position not just to agree with what I believe (or don’t believe) and that since many of them have been there many more years than the 3 our current President has been in office, I don’t think they are there simply to do the will of our current president. That being said, I’d like to tell you what I do know.

I know that our family has not been able to afford health care for the last few years. Fortunately, my kids have benefited from a plan provided for Michigan children, and they have had good coverage throughout the years. We are blessed that we are a relatively healthy family. We practice good health habits, and when we are sick, I’m a big believer that extra rest, extra fluids, and extra love from your mommy takes care of a lot of “regular” sicknesses.

For years, we felt like we could not afford health care. The one that was “provided” by my husbands employer was very expensive, and at that time, he didn’t make enough money to have health care and for us to make the family choices we thought important. We did the budget numbers, and we could not make it work. So we chose.

Now, he is working a job where it’s possible. He works full-time (more than full time, if truth be told), and I work part-time. We have two children in college who are also working to help themselves get through. We budget, we menu-plan, we shop thrift. Garage sales are a treat for us, and while we do spend money on travel, we overall are savers.

I know that, for the last two years, my husband and I have tried diligently to get health care. We have researched many sources. We have saved money to help pay for it. We have applied at least 3 times and have been told:

1. I had a “pre-existing” heart condition, and wasn’t eligible. Well, one time, two years ago, I went to the emergency room at my local hospital with chest pains. I had multiple echo-cardiograms, an ultrasound, multiple blood tests, and a stress test. I was told my heart was fine — it was most likely stress (due to a recent move and other activities). My doctor and the hospital gave me an all-clear. What the insurance read was one doctor who glanced at my chart while doing rounds on the hospital didn’t write something specific on my chart they were looking for. So, I had a “heart” issue. After going to the hospital multiple times, sending at least 3 separate copies of my records to the insurance, after getting my family doctor to sign off … then the insurance would consider our charts. Amazingly, I no longer had a heart issue with them. However …

2. My weight/blood pressure ratio wasn’t acceptable. When I asked what that meant, and what the numbers should be (as a goal), I was told they weren’t at liberty to tell me those numbers — they were just not acceptable. Understand that my blood pressure is totally under control, and has been for 5 years with a simply diuretic. So, I lost some weight. I started running regularly. My bp now runs on the low side of normal. So, I applied again.

3. The last time, they told me I was anemic. I said, “That’s interesting. I’ve never, ever been told that before in my life.” They said the test that was taken two years ago when I went into the hospital with chest pains showed two of the however many indicators they have were low, and since the doctor in the emergency room didn’t say on the chart it might be because I was stressed, they have to assume I’m anemic “until I get another blood test.” Oh, and by the way, since we just heard from them (after my husband repeatedly calling them for two months), our 3 month “period” of application was almost out, so we’d have to start the ENTIRE process all over again … complete with new blood tests.

We are healthy. Both my husband and I have high blood pressure, which is controlled by medicine, and has been for years. Aside from them, we have NO medical problems.

We are fortunate! We have a doctor who will let us pay on a sliding scale. We use generic meds. We take vitamins, eat “fairly” healthy … and yes, we will continue to bang away attempting to get insurance, regardless of what the Supreme Court or anyone else says. And we will pay for it ourselves.

I’m a problem because I don’t view myself as “sucking off society.” I am a problem because the health system is broken for us, and while we continually try to “do the right thing,” we are still uninsured. 

I’m a problem because I don’t want anyone to “take care of me,” and I don’t want to “depend on the government” or anyone else, for that matter. But the way things are now, it’s not working for our family, and for many other families I know.

Sorry to be a problem to those of you who have everything figured out. Again, I’m NOT saying what’s happening right now is the answer to it all. But before we start grouping everyone under a heading or label just because the system works for us, think about compassion and love first, OK? Throwing stones — especially when they are heaved with what feels like a bit of self-righteous indignation — you might hit people you don’t intend to injure.

One more time: Not sure what’s happening right now is going to be any better — or worse.  Not saying I have the answers. But I am asking for love and grace first.