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From left to right: Me, T., K., and T.’s husband at an Irish pub in Montmartre, Paris, France during the incredibly hot summer of 2003.
T. was in the midst of her fight against breast cancer and decided to join our school trip through parts of Europe. While the rest of us traveled by bus from Barcelona to Nice, T. and her husband took a train to Lourdes to pray for a cure. K. went with them because he speaks fluent French and they could not make the trip without him. They all caught up with us by the time we made it to Nice.
T.’s husband is a CPA which is a good thing because he handled the mountains of paperwork and endless battles with T.’s HMO and employer so that she could concentrate on fighting the big C. Her fight lasted 5 years before she succumbed to the disease. T.’s husband had to battle for her the entire time (and even after her death).
Later, K. was diagnosed with cancer of the left vocal cord in late 2006. He went through radiation and had to have his vocal cords removed when the radiation failed. He has a stoma now and speaks through a device that he holds up to his throat. The latest scan to see if the cancer is still there was “inconclusive.”
At no time over the last 2 1/2 years has he not found himself in a battle with his employer or HMO. The last couple of emails we have exchanged:
“Now that the State of RI has declared me totally disabled to carry out any job for which I am qualified, they granted me Ordinary Disability Retirement. Taking into account just my "take home" pay from working, versus my "take home" pay from Disability Retirement, I am down quite a bit. Then, subtracting from Disability Retirement the $700+/mo I pay in COBRA to keep some health insurance - which will end by this time next year when I will become "uninsurable" unless the State lets me pay even more for even less on their policy, or I die first, I am WAY down the economic ladder now. Medicaid will not be an option unless and until I am flat, flat broke. Neither is any form of Social Security Disablility an option because I had not paid into SS Disability within the past three years. The Social Security Administration outright told me not to even bother applying for ANY SS option. I did anyhow, and was turned down due to income, assets, etc.
So, without getting into specifics of dollars and cents, because it is all relative, I will tell you that I have as spendable income, to cover all my out of pocket living expenses each month, some 37% of what I had when I was working. That alone is 13% less than the minimum retirement I could have had if I had been eligible for "normal retirement". Unfortunately for me, even buying some years, I still fell short.
So, as you worry about your own retirement, the continuing changes to the State's Plan, and whether or not to "buy in those years", keep in mind that you are only one disease away from the "37% Solution" to your worries.”
“I image you are watching "the health care show" or what passes for a show at these "town hall meetings." Is there anything they are thinking about doing that would help you out?”
“Don't EVEN get me started on "The Heath Care Show". I have NEVER seen such abilities to knowingly lie with a straight face - even after teaching all those years - that some of these people are displaying. They act as if adolescence is a permanent, viable way of life to deal with social issues. Pouting, stomping their feet, spouting vitriol, shouting as if Jerry Springer were running the show, how much younger can they get? I get the impression that everyone, on either side, is being paid to attend by someone, and show up as if they were Disney Cast Members to bring the rest of the nation into their own Fantasyland.
Everyone knew this freak show was going to happen in August, it is why the Democratic strategists wanted the bill before now, and why the Republicans insisted on stalling it so that they could whip it enough to kill it. It didn't take much intelligence to see that. They whine about "government rationing". Having been a patient now for 2 1/2 straight years, I have never heard such rationing horror stories as the private HMO's dole out already. If you had seen the paperwork I had to do and have others do for me, as well as all the phone calls made for me in order to get a measly $100/mo from R. Ins. Company that WPSchools uses as their short and long-term disability insurer, you'd have a great idea as to how health care will go under only private insurance companies. They had us duplicate every document and test from every doctor and hospital I had visited over the past 2 years - no small task in itself; so they could review it and come to a determination as to my ability to work or not. This, mind you, even after that were assured by the independent review doctor hired by the State in order to make the State's determination that I was totally disabled and dying from metastatic cancer. The STATE's determination wasn't good enough for them! There were thousands of dollars and many man hours spent for a benefit that will last at the maximum $100/mo for 10 years - and I will be dead before then. That's thousands of dollars spent against a maximum loss payout of $12,000..even when the State tells them I am dying.
I loved the guy who was so irate that the government might get into the health care business and screw it up for him. And he is on Medicare/Medicaid. Where do they pluck these people from?...
Does that about sum my views up for ya?”
My link below is a song for the HMO CEO’s to dance to while they rake in even more profits and bonuses now that their plan to scare America into not making any changes that might limit their good life seems to have worked…yet again. I have to hand it to them. They know how to get what they want.
Sony CyberShot DSC-S50 camera
picnik resize and Lomo-ish effect
Also by John Linton
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