Wednesday, February 2, 2011

in praise of medicaid

Hi.  It has been a few month s since I have posted anything here, and I feel terribly remiss.  I would love to say that something wonderful has occurred to spur me into writing again, but that would not be the truth.  In fact, it is something pretty tragic (in the colloquial usage of the term).  Let me explain:
My 25-year-old son was married at age 18 in a gay/bisexual/transsexual/pagan/backyard ceremony presided over by a Unitarian minister.  It is not in any way recognized by the state, but he and my son-in-law recognize it, so I do; what else matters?  Both young people have had multiple personal issues and emotional problems; for years neither had a steady job, and currently (for about the fifth time) they live in my basement.  My son, Rory, is finally working steadily at a Build-a-Bear and enjoying it.  His husband, who goes by Echo, is studying for a master's degree online.  
Two weeks ago, Echo--who has had numerous physical ailments over the years--started vomiting a lot.  He also began feeling dizzy, and then started slurring his speech.  Rory rushed him over to the hospital emergency room, knowing that, though Echo has no insurance, they have to accept him there.  Fourteen hours of preliminary testing later, they admitted him: there was something wrong, they said, with his brain.  It might be minor--an infection, perhaps.  Or it might be significant: a tumor.  
Echo could not speak for himself; Rory explained that he had no insurance.  They filled out forms for Medicaid and were admitted.  The care they received was nothing short of amazing.  Five nights and days in a private room on the oncology floor.  Rory was allowed to sleep there on a fold-down couch so they could remain together.  Echo had visits from at least five different doctors and round the clock care.  He had two CAT scans and two MRIs.  They did a biopsy of what they had by then determined was in fact a tumor.
It turned out--worst diagnosis possible--to be the most aggressive kind of malignant brain tumor.  The doctor, with whom they have an appointment tomorrow, wants to treat it with chemo and radiation combined.  They will learn more about the prognosis at that session.  But all of that, and all of the hospitalization and testing, has been covered by Medicaid with no question.  These indigent 20-somethings with no insurance are getting exactly the kind of health care that everyone in this country deserves, exactly the kind that the GOP does not want us all to have.

So this is what the jackasses on the other side want to cut back?  This is a thing that is too expensive?  Another one of those "entitlements" that we cannot afford because we spend too much on unnecessary wars and tax cuts for the ├╝ber-rich?
This has been my initial experience with Medicaid, and I am here to sing its praises.  I would climb up to the rooftops and shout them to the world, but for the risk that all of the snow up there would result in a fall that would cause yet another hospitalization for my family at a time that already has produced enough trauma.
The irony of course is that, had they actually had the insurance, their carriers might have fought them tooth and nail about each and every one of these tests: further evidence for a single-payer, non-profit based system.  But this is the dream.  What we have right now, thanks to President Obama's successful push for reform, is a first step toward care for everyone.  If Medicare and Medicaid are gutted or diminished, we will be taking a giant step backwards.  
Someone on Daily Kos suggested that the Democrats roll out the slogan "Democrats Care."  He (she?) was roundly criticized.  For naivete, I suppose.  But I don't care (in a small moment of personal irony) who calls me naive.  I think that could be the basis of a very strong bit of differentiation between the left and the right.  We need to find a way to do this somehow.  At this point, they have been allowed to define the game.  We have two years to redefine it.
My son-in-law is 26 years old.  I fear for him.  His deeply entwined, symbiotic relationship with my son makes me fear for him too: I honestly do not know if one can survive should the other die.  But at least I know that, thanks to a system that the government has funded, he is getting the best care he can get.  I take some solace in that, and keep reminding them to do so as well.
And to say a prayer or two.  I'm not sure what I believe in regarding a deity, but it can't hurt.

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it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

  • The Wizard Of Oz
  • Amelie
  • The Princess Bride
  • Casablanca
  • Annie Hall
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • All That Jazz
  • Citizen Kane
  • Love Actually
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Big Fish
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Almost Famous
  • Bull Durham
  • Notting Hill
  • Apocalypse Now (Redux)
  • Magnolia

All-Time Favorite TV Shows

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • M*A*S*H
  • The West Wing
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show
  • Ally McBeal
  • Picket Fences
  • All In The Family
  • Seinfeld
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • Wonderfalls
  • Northern Exposure
  • Get Smart
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Larry Sanders Show
  • Monk
  • Felicity
  • St. Elsewhere

Current TV Shows I Enjoy (in no particular order)

  • Perception
  • Major Crimes
  • American Horror Story
  • Louie
  • Suits
  • The Newsroom
  • Falling Skies
  • Franklin and Bash
  • Veep
  • Scandal
  • Fairly Legal
  • Girls
  • Don't Trust the B---
  • Justified
  • Portlandia
  • Psych
  • The Middle
  • Person of Interest
  • Happy Endings
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Nikita
  • Raising Hope
  • Castle
  • Drop Dead Diva
  • Covert Affairs
  • Elementary
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Revolution
  • The Last Resort
  • Alphas
  • SNL
  • Revenge
  • Community
  • Suburgatory
  • New Girl
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Grimm
  • Nashville
  • Downton Abbey
  • Smash
  • Homeland
  • Fringe
  • Glee
  • Haven
  • Community
  • Warehouse 13
  • Modern Family
  • Vampire Diaries
  • The Daily Show
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Colbert Report
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Leverage
  • Rachel Maddow Show

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