Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How much do you know about the uninsured?

I saw this quiz this morning, and I had to share! It tests your knowledge about the uninsured. I very, very rarely speak on this blog about my own political views. I do this intentionally because, while this is my PERSONAL blog, I don't want anyone to ever be confused about what's my personal view of the world, and what is the HPS Network's policy. We need to be in this fight for the cure with a unified voice, and so I forgo voicing my own politics in an effort to keep readers focused on the goal - the cure. 

That being said, for many of us living with HPS, HUGE medical bills are a way of life. One thing that makes living with a chronic illness like HPS different than many other types of illness is that for many of us with HPS, the "sick tax" never ends. I'm not going to get better than I am now. If anything, I'm going to get worse. Since the age of 19 I've had monthly medical bills that at their best, and with employer coverage, were never once less than $200. Now, my medical bills are even more than they were in my 20s. 

I do have Medicare, and a Medicare Part D plan, (which by the way I pay $223 a month for between the two). My disability check alone is too much income to qualify for any assistance from Medicaid etc. in Kansas. Sometimes, when I'm able to earn income in addition to my disability, I qualify for a program for people on disability who are able to work in Kansas. But, this program doesn't begin to kick in until my out of pocket expenses in a six month span exceed $6,000. Given my average income (income varies depending on how much I'm able to do in any given stretch) - that's about 60 percent of my income in a six-month period. Got to say, that's almost useless help. I used to have insurance that covered what Medicare doesn't - but once I entered the drug donut hole, I could no longer afford both the insurance and my medications. Now, I owe KUMed $600 for bills from the 20 percent I'm supposed to pay under Medicare. 

I say all of this (and could say so much more) because when and if you take this quiz, I want you to understand this quiz isn't even talking about me. I do have some coverage! That's how big this problem is. 

A while ago I heard a man call into a talk radio show. I'd blow him off if it weren't a comment I've now heard several times. He argued that no one in America dies because they can't access health care. If anyone is truly in need, they can go to an emergency room and be treated. 

There is SOO much wrong with that argument. If anyone wants me to spell it all out for them, I'd be happy to blog about that one - but let me tell you, people DO die in America due to lack of health coverage. The problem is it's usually a chronic lack of access and when it comes to the death certificate "lack of money" is never listed as a cause of death. 


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