Friday, February 06, 2009

An Explanation -of Sorts

In the middle of the night last night (I generally do my best, most thought-provoking thinking in the wee hours of the morning) I posted a rant -two posts below this one now -pertaining basically to my irritation with government in general and my lack of understanding WTF is happening with respect to the Stimulus package.

Although I do feel immeasurably better from having cleared a tiny bit of the anger, disgust, general disgruntlement I've been feeling for some time now about Washington, politicians, Wall Street, greedy CEOS and such, I've been thinking a bit about what really transpired yesterday that brought all this to at least, a partial head last night.

Six years ago this spring, I was diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer. At the time, I was my usual (constant state) broke, but even more so then as I was also unemployed. Unemployed carries with it too -much of the time -no hospitalization insurance too.

Needless to say, being told I would need first radiation and chemo treatments, then surgery, then more chemo treatments -all of which cost an arm and a leg along with your children -selling them one -by-one if you can to just stem the bankruptcy tide -I was in a bit of a panic.

On my unemployment alone, I could not afford to live in this luxurious (but old) house. The mortgage here -which, trust me is actually reasonable compared to what many others pay but then too, the value of my property on which the mortgage is based is also considerably smaller than what other people owe too. You do the math on a 30 year mortgage for $33,500 at almost 11 percent interest and you'll agree, I'm sure, it is relatively cheap. Anyway, on my unemployment, I could not afford the mortgage, utilities, gas for all the trips for the doctor visits, treatments, yadda yadda, car insurance, life insurance and food too.

A year before this disaster struck, my younger daughter, her husband and his oldest daughter by a previous relationship had moved in with me when I was in the midst of an earlier job loss to avoid the possibility of my losing -our losing -this old house.

But even so, how in blazes would I ever deal with what the medical bills would run, ya know. My doctor told me, in no uncertain terms, to get myself down to the Welfare office, that day, and apply for a state-issued medical card.

Now, I knew from past forays with the welfare system when I was trying to raise three kids on waitress wages and child support -with no health insurance -that getting one of those coveted medical cards was as difficult to do as was pulling hen's teeth but I followed his instruction that day and away I went.

To my surprise, the case worker was actually able to qualify me for a medical card which then in turn covered the costs for my chemo -both times, the radiation, physical therapy I had to have after the surgery when my back went south on me (two herniated discs) along with all the many prescriptions I was handed then too.

That ended though when about 18 months later I received notification from Social Security that my application for disability had been approved. So for the next year, I would again be uninsured until the medicare part of social security would kick in for me.

There were some really scary times in that year as a recovering cancer patient with no medical coverage at all but good fortune shined on me for a while -no major-major problems.

But once the medicare Part B kicked in, my case worker at the Assistance Office told me because of the amount of my social security benefits -being actually below poverty level, that the $96.40 required from me for those lovely Part B medical benefits from SS would be paid through the generosity of the state. This then afforded me the opportunity to purchase supplemental insurance then too. Whoopie! I was in fine fettle!

Well, all that came to an abrupt halt yesterday when I received notice from the Assistance Office that due to the increase this past January in my social security payment -a raise of $62 a month -I was no longer considered eligible by the state to have them pay that $96.40 for my Part B coverage through Social Security.

The net result of this then is simply that after getting a $62 a month increase, next month, my social security check will actually be $36 lighter than it was before said raise in January went into effect.

And that, dear friends and readers, could be construed as the straw that broke my "back" last night as I did my moaning, groaning, mumbling and grumbling about here -in general, I was bitching big time!

Now don't get me wrong. I do understand -I think -that there has to be ceilings, caps, to all these various benefits but damn, why ME? Do you follow me there?

This, on top of all the anger and frustration I've been feeling, seeing in the news about this stinking "Stimulus" package, this bailout -with little to no conditions, little to no oversight, to it either and yes, it sent me a bit ballistic.

If I could have snuck out of the house it was the kind of feeling that was making me think a couple cold mugs of Coors Draft would make me feel a bit happier. Except that I know now that those mugs of Draft beer might taste good going down, might give me a tad of euphoria at the time, but would come back and bite me in the butt in the morning. Not necessarily in the form of a hangover -as I don't indulge to the point of being drunk on the rare occasions when I do enjoy a brew these days (Yes, somethings, sometime do change!). But I know more so that reveling in a couple brews would bring about a depressed state of mind and that, I can very much do without.

I did however learn last night that we should be eligible, based on the family's monthly income, for the fuel assistance and I am also eligible for a rebate on my property taxes too. That won't come my way till after September but hey, something to look forward to, isn't it?

I'd still like someone to explain the logic to me behind this whole bailout thing though. I'll try to remain at least semi-calm while someone gives me the details to that.

And you know, even though I am still somewhat ticked off over the general progression of things, I do think I am going to label this post as my "Only the Good Friday" post since as you can see, I am seeing some good come back to me with the tax rebate and fuel assistance.

Hey, every little bit helps, doesn't it?

And now, to kind of paraphrase the way my blogger buddy, Suldog, closes his posts -I'm moving on to better or at least nicer thoughts and I'll return later. Maybe today -maybe tomorrow -maybe not for a couple of days. Who knows!

Well, that's easy. "The Shadow Knows!"



Toni Lee said...

Keep smiling, better days are ahead. There is a doctor in our area that helps cancer patiens with financial difficulties, everything from gas bills to house payments, but not med. costs. Maybe you have someone there that does the same. I'll keep you in my thoughts.

... Paige said...

I heard that If they were to give every American Family one million dollars it would be cheaper then the package.

We are buying our into that handbasket and carrying ourselfs head first into hell. And we are slapping the folks that lead us on the back saying thanks for the change.

Mary said...


It irritates the heck out of my knowing that the Wall Street CEOs gave themselves millions in bonuses while some people can't even afford the basic necessities of life.

I saw President Obama on TV shaming those same CEOs for taking such a large bonus out of the money that was given to bailout Wall Street. I don't think they should have gotten a penny. Yes, it would have put the economy into even more of a slump, but those rich guys have to learn that they can't have a thousands in bonuses while others starve. It just isn't right that any of that money would go for bonuses and there should have been stipulations with the money that forbade it. Live and learn, as they say, and in the meantime the taxpayers are footing the bill.

I know that when my mother gets a raise, they take it off somewhere else. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Some here have to chose between paying their rent and eating. It's just not right. But isn't fair.

Have a great weekend, my friend.

Kanani said...

I'm really sorry about the Med Part B snafu. Why we could afford to give Wall Street Billionaires their bonus money and not give people in your situation the extra $95. to maintain your insurance is beyond me.

Raven said...

I'm working my way down the page to your first rant. Like you, I'm officially poor. Like you, I pay $96.40/month for Medicare Part B. I imagine that you (like me) are about $5 over the cut-off for having the government pick that cost up. I'm really grateful for the coverage, but the insanity of the payment system is mind boggling. That $96 is 17% of my stipend. Someone getting $80,000/year (as opposed to my $14 plus) pays THE SAME AMOUNT - or 2% of their stipend. Someone getting $500,000 pays less than 2 tenths of a percent of their stipend... about $715 more per year than you or I do. THAT is insane. I've written to my Congress persons and to the Obama administration talking about this and suggesting that they change to a straight out percentage system which would be more fair and probably also glean them more money.

But I rant and ramble. Hope you get your HEAP. I don't know how I would have made it through the past two winters without it. As it is, I live most of my days with the thermostat at 60 degrees... and when I'm feeling like living grandly at 64....

Anyway... I'm off to read your original rant. The government gives and takes away in totally illogical, counter-intuitive ways and spends enormous amounts of money trying to save money. It's totally insane. One of my hopes for the current administration is that they will clean some of this kind of waste up so that the money there is will actually help people instead of just being burned up in wasted paper and time. Oops. second rant in one comment. Sorry.

Thanks for your comment at Raven's Nest.