Shouts And Mallomars

Bonnie Bernstein

bonnie bernstein

bonnie bernstein
Location
New York, New York,
Birthday
November 02
Title
Starving Writer
Bio
Quirky, Edgy Authoress, Phanatically Baseball Lite. Writing the great American smutty memoir. Bonnie's words can be found in places like TheFix, YourTango, Modern Love Rejects, Salon, Petside, Babble, Perils of Divorced Pauline, Newsday and NYResident. Lisa Belkin wrote about Bonnie in Motherlode and Anderson Cooper interviewed her. Follow Bonnie on Twitter: bonnieb_writer

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 26, 2011 11:59PM

Even With Obamacare, It's As If I Don't Exist

Rate: 14 Flag
I voted for President Obama because I wanted change.  In retrospect it sounds pretty stupid, doesn’t it?  But I believed that with a pull of a lever on Election Day, poof, I would see an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an improvement in the economy and medical insurance being made available for people like myself.  None of this happened.  I regret my decision.  Now I must deal with thinking about two of my twenty three year old son’s friends fighting in a third war, gas back up at $4.45 a gallon and hoping money falls from the sky to pay for doctor appointments.

I’m an bespectacled, educated forty something divorced woman who knows better than to really believe that the dollars just appear.  I can list my employment interchangeably as either a writer or unemployed after a television fell on my wrist on the job moments before I was to leave it.  I’m not lucky enough to have the possibility of medical insurance through an employer.  And I’ve found out that I’m not considered sufficiently lacking in resources to qualify for Medicaid or any other government assisted program.  

I guess I shouldn’t whine because I’m fortunate for one thing.  Although I‘ve slipped through the social service cracks, “Obamacare” has helped my adult child.  He works as an independent contractor and gets medical insurance through his father’s coverage that his dad pays extra for.  .

I found out that I couldn’t be approved for Medicaid because I have no lease for the apartment I rent.  My landlord wanted it that way.  At the time, I didn’t think anything wrong with that.  He, also, asked that I get a post office box for my mail.  He said he had many tenants through the years and that it would be better that way.  Again, I had no problem with that.  Anyway, a post office box gave me privacy.  The other renters on the property wouldn’t see my bills.  But I soon found out without proof of a street address, no Medicaid.  It’s like I don’t exist. 

I struggle without medical insurance.  At the same time, I’ve been lucky.  One hospital was nice enough to offer me financial assistance from the institution when I needed a mammography and breast surgery.  I received favorable news.  I’ll be all right.  This same facility continues to cover emergency room visits for me.  One such time, as I was coughing up post nasal drip I was told, “Honey, don’t worry about the bill.  You’re a charity case.“  But that does not replace a primary care physician (remember when those were called internists?) or a specialist for a chronic pre existing condition, asthma.  Nor does it substitute for the dermatologist the breast surgeon said I need to see for a spot on my back next to my Tinkerbelle tattoo.

Again, I attempted to get Medicaid.  This time I found out that it wouldn’t matter if I could show a street address because my income is too high.  From what paychecks I asked?  The economic assistance I receive from relatives who, themselves, are struggling is added up by the government.  My “rent is too damn high” to qualify.

So I asked a clinic what could be done.  Their dermatologist was one hour away from me.  I worried about the price of gas for my eighteen year old car with a failing transmission and a limping starter.  I didn’t want the clunker to die on the road.  The mini medical center said I would need to see a primary care physician closer to my home.  In just one phone call, they believed that the breast surgeon may  have been too obsessed with an unnecessary surgery.  I thought ok, fine.  Except, although with only a couple of postage stamps in my wallet, I was told I would have to pay for the office visit.  They said they bill everyone, “even the undocumented.”

I was stunned into believing I would have to go to the emergency room for health care.  They would’ve referred me to a dermatologist, anyway.  At that point, a bookkeeper at the hospital sent me to someone who would direct me to a social worker who helped me get an appointment with a private doctor, for free.

Two and a half years later, I’m waiting for the American involvement in these now three wars to end, the economy to pick up and for me, along with so many others, to have the ability, either through being employed or by a government program to get medical insurance.

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I wish Obama would have made jobs his number one priority; he got distracted.
How can anyone think that we should not have national healthcare?
In Canada there has been free health care since 1967. There is no reason it cannot be done here. It makes me so sad to read this.
Rated with hugs
It is such a tough old world. My heart goes out to you. Somehow it will all work out. Obama tries and he is smart. That is my hope.
What can be said? That this kind of social stratification exists in a country where "all men are created equal" is atrocious. No one should have to avoid doctors when they're sick because they can't afford them, or spend time worrying about what would happen if they got truly sick. I'm so sorry, and I'm wishing for a job with paid insurance to come your wya.
Unlike you, when I cast my ballot for Obama, I did not for a minute think that he would be able to accomplish all he promised. Oh, I hoped--but I did not believe. What I did NOT foresee was the sheer wall of opposition every single thing he has attempted has been met with. And he's caved--in an effort to bend over backward to prove he can work in a bipartisan manner, he caved--and lost anyway. When there was the opportunity to push through single payer healthcare--he took it off the table. We could have had it. He would be no less maligned than he is now..just for different reasons. But there is no retrospective crystal ball. However, if we were without him, in the near future there would BE no health care reform of ANY kind. There will be no medicaid..no medicare..there will be privatisation of Social security. There will be vouchers for schools, for health care, for anything else the far right can think of. Talk about pulling the plug on granny.
I am so sorry you got caught in the cracks..and are slipping. My brother is as well. But the cracks are not nearly as wide now as they could be in the future. So now my hope is different--it is placed on different shoulders for different reasons. Now my hope rests on those who need to vote once more--to keep what we DO have and to hopefully give this country ONE MORE chance to turn around. The nation needs to look to the state of Vermont. THERE is an example of change we can believe in!.
Sorry, didn't mean to blog in your comment box.
i appreciate everyones comments and satori1 never fear blog away you had so much to add thank you
You CAN get medical insurance if you've been uninsured for 6 months and have a denial from a health insurance company. The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) is part of the Affordable Care Act enacted last year and is meant for people like yourself. The website is PCIP.gov.

I signed up for it as soon as it became available and I have nothing but praise for it.
thanks late again -- i ll check that out
Thank you for this post. All I could think was, "There, but for the grace of God...for now...go I..." I think a lot about inequity and wonder why. You've captured the inequities and the traps very well. Best of luck! Rated.
It is such a tough old world.
Thanks Erdek
The sad part of this is that EVERYONE over 40 has a pre-existing condition of some sort that would exclude them from being able to buy coverage. I saw an article a while back from a wealthy person, a former CEO of a company who sold it, was living on the proceeds for a few years before looking for work again. Sorry, I can't find the link. She, her husband, and their teen daughter couldn't BUY insurance for any price. They are mid-forties, relatively fit, with the usual amount of life wear-and-tear on their bodies. They are uninsurable without an employer plan.

It's not just you. It's anyone. It's everyone.

Good luck to you. Congrats on the EP and I hope your story is read far and wide.
Why should the US support health insurance for Americans, when we can continue shoveling trillions of American dollars into a bottomless pit in the Mideast instead?
Bonnie, I am so sorry to hear of this situation. I hope there is someway you could get the medical care you need.
As for Obama, I do think he was left with quite a bit of mess to clean up after the horrible Bush years. Two of the three wars were started then to quench America's thirst for oil. I can't wait for an end to these wars, and for the administration to get back to doing what's needed in our homeland. But whenever that may be, I would vote again for Obama over anyone else from the Republican party.
i knew better than to expect anything from obama. but that's the choice you are offered.

so i invented a third choice, organized non-voting. you'd be surprised to learn that almost every american who has read it will not join a plan that might bring democracy to america, and with it a better share of justice.

actually, you wouldn't be surprised at all. almost everyone hopes for nothing but a kinder master. they, and you, will be disappointed. your fairy godmother doesn't get involved with politics. the people who do are not in the mercy business.

i despise american society. i pity the people caught in it, many like you struggling to stay afloat. but i wonder why no one will take the first step to change things.
The insurance-via-employer system is a misguided one; you make that so clear in this post. It's just ludicrous and criminal that people in this country are not covered, automatically. The strain on the health care system is ten times as much when we force people to go to the emergency room in order to get standard care! Good that you're writing this story; people need to hear it, and you're certainly not the only one. Keep writing!
My heart goes out to you. I have been through the system with my I'll, indigent mom and it's a nightmare. Stay strong; I wish you the very best. Hugs, Erica
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Bonnie,
I am so sorry to hear of your situation. I am not a supporter of ObamaCare, however; I do believe there is a need for healthcare reform in this country, I do not believe Universal Healthcare is the answer. What is unfortunate is the people who truly need help, can't get it and there are many others who take advantage of the system. I've been in healthcare over 15 yrs. and it is disheartening. A patient was recently dismissed from our clinic due to non-compliance. She has been in the emergency room 60+ times in 8 months for unexplainable issues but her demand, as soon as she walks in the door, is narcotics. Drug tests have revealed a myriad of drugs in her system. She is able to abuse the system and Medicaid continues to pick up the tab. Patients take residence in ICU's across the country but refuse to make lifestyle changes that put them there in the first place. They continue to show up and Medicaid/Medicare continues to pay. My concern with Universal Healthcare is it will give people an excuse to continue with unhealthy lifestyles and this overshadows those who are truly in need.
I live in Kansas City and there are free clinics, throughout the city. Doctors and nurses volunteer there time to help those who are in similar situations. Perhaps, there such services in your community?
My prayers are with you. Sincerely, Chelle
I know your situation only I will reach medicare age soon.
I have not had medical insurance for 12 years because I am no longer working and I have a pre-existing condition.

You are lucky to have a hospital work with you as I have had a certain hospital here in Texas send my less than $500. balance to a collector.
It's humilating.

The health care situation will take years to restructure and it is not a simple task and there are no simple answers.

I have filled out medicare, medicaid forms for my mother and feel like I have gone to hell and back doing so. Mom is 89 and thankfully was approved for Medicaid assisted living last week.

People have been going to emergency rooms for health care for years and years. I know as I am a former health care worker. Total health care I fear will be a hard sell to the younger generation now paying taxes.
Thank you for sharing your experience and best of health.
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I'm (sadly) not a bit surprised. Your story is exactly the one which I have worried about for 20 years. The most crazy-making thing? The for-profit insurance industry is still allowed to decide who, and how much care anyone gets. Why doesn't anyone see this fox guarding the henhouse?! Oh wait: they do, but the lobbying money is great!
My husband lost his job and his health insurance was, by contract, supposed to cover us until August, then, we thought we'd be eligible for COBRA, and we'd make it through to the start date of Obamacare covered. But, because the company didn't renew the insurance policy and because there aren't enough COBRA participants, our insurance will be cancelled at the end of May and we can't get COBRA.

So, we're scrambling around for some kind of health insurance, which is going to be impossible in the US, since we're pushing 50. We live overseas, so we can probably get foreign insurance. The catch is, most of these policies exclude the US, unless there is an expensive additional clause, because the costs of healthcare in the US are so screwy.

The funny thing is, we're wealthy. The people that all the rest of you seem to think are insulated from this kind of problem. However, one bit of bad luck, the development of one expensive and chronic disease and we could be bankrupted -- just the thing insurance is supposed to prevent.

Oh yes, in our great health care system, healthy adults can't get insurance, get their insurance cancelled and the cost of care is so high every other developed and underdeveloped country puts an expensive rider on their policy to deal with care in the US.

I voted for Obama, too. The war, healthcare, and Guantanamo being my chief criteria in the election.
Whenever I read one of these posts, my blood pressure goes up. Actually, yesterday I was at my doctor's office and had my BP checked and had my spots looked at plus a number of other minor things. And if I needed any treatment, no prob. No pay. It comes out of my taxes, according to my income, and is distributed to the health system on the basis of what they do. But, EEEEEEK, it's socialism, and better American bodies suffer than they lose their immortal souls to a sinful system...
No health care reform bill that declines to address the basics can do much good. Starting with the fact that health insurance involves pooling money collected in premiums then a large chunk of what they have is used on profits, advertisements, lobbying and other non-health care expenses. without acknowledging this there can be no good reform; the plans that do acknowledge this don't get attention from the Mass Media or the politicians.
"I voted for President Obama because I wanted change. In retrospect it sounds pretty stupid, doesn’t it?"... I never had any delusions about Obama... I voted for him because I knew that the McCain-Palin ticket was the last gasp of a bankrupt Republican regime.

With the financial collapse and a marginal majority in congress I knew he wouldn't be able to accomplish much in the first two years of his administration and I knew that the "dog whistle" racist backlash of the Tea Party wingnuts would bring us a Republican House majority after the 2010 mid-term election.

I've got my own Obamacare story not that dissimilar to yours; but I also know that Obamacare is doomed not just because it is an inadequate compromise, but because the mandate and other elements of the legislation are unconstitutional on their face.

When he was elected in 2000, I told my Republican brother that I felt kind of sorry for Bush because I knew that the dot.com bubble was about to burst. I voted for Obama in 2008 despite the fact that I knew he was walking into a hall of knives. Still I hope he survives to serve a second term.
So sad. The mixed up bag of the ACA is no solution, and even the few good things are now going to be eliminated by SCOTUS. We needed a single payer Medicare for All program NOT tied to employment. RRRR