Monday, October 17

TB's Tooth and Health Insurance

Today TB's got an appointment with the dentist he used to see before we lost our insurance. Except for the dental schools, of all the places we called, this dentist had the least expensive cost for extracting a tooth. TB prayed that the dentist would be compassionate and let us have a payment plan so that maybe he could save the tooth but I don't have a good feeling about it. Maybe we should have gone to the dental school instead, I don't know. Maybe it's better to go locally because of the cost of gas.

All this plus the fact that my kids are uninsured or under-insured reminded me of another cause I got involved with after Rich had heart failure and needed surgery in the 1990s. At that time, Bill Clinton was in office and his wife Hillary Clinton was working with a group of people to put together a comprehensive plan to help people with little or no insurance. It was an uphill battle.

I marched around on union picket lines in a couple of places. They were picketing not for wages but because management wanted to cut benefits. While on one of these lines, I happened to get interviewed by a radio reporter and told him our story. The next thing we knew, we were part of a story for U.S. News and World Report and we got interviewed for a segment of the David Brinkley Hour.

So here's my feeling about health insurance--in a country as wealthy as ours, there is no reason anyone working should be uninsured. If a person is disabled or very poor, they're covered by Medicaid. The working poor and lower middle class and others aren't always covered by insurance and don't make enough to afford insurance premiums. There should be a program for these people to get decent health insurance. Insurance is cheaper when people are grouped. So there should be a large pool of college students and of part-time employees. But they're stuck with expensive individual policies.

I supported Mrs. Clinton's plan. It failed.

I supported President Obama's plan, especially the public option. That would have gotten insurance for my kids. It failed. What passed is, in my opinion, not particularly helpful to anyone.

Why can't we get reform for health insurance? I think it's because we people have no power. I think to get anything positive done you need lobbyists and they cost money. Otherwise, the drug companies and insurance companies will just continue to heavily influence Congress.

I feel pretty jaded about trying to get changes to make life better for us. But I continue to try because I can't sit by and do nothing.

Later: Well...that was nice. It cost $60 of the money scraped together for the visit to pull the tooth for the dentist to look at an Xray he brought and decide not to do anything because the tooth is still infected. Their idea of "working with us" and "payment plan" involves getting a credit card. Ha! First of all, our credit is virtually destroyed and second of all we either might not get the amount we need OR the monthly payments might be too high for us.

TB is depressed and upset. He's been praying and praying for relief from the pain and to get his tooth fixed or extracted. I'm just mad. This is one of those days I think God is with the 1% or He's the CEO of Bank of America.

I've heard from other people so I know we're not alone suffering like this. I feel like the downtrodden people in the movie Network who got sick of it all and opened the windows to yell, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." A futile thing to do, but it helps with the anger.

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