It is with my sister’s permission that I write this story.
Monday, she called me, upset. She had opened her mail to discover that the Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurance that she was paying about $12 a month for had gone up in January to $1,500 per month – more than her house payment and far more than her $8 per hour CNA job allows.
She was confounded and I was angry. This is a result of the instability of the insurance market due to Donald Trump’s “maybe I will, maybe I won’t” make payments to health insurance companies as required by law under the Affordable Care Act.
This leaves companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield “projecting” its needs – more than likely based on the presumption Trump won’t pay, as he is deliberately dismantling the ACA using every tool he and the Republican Party can come up with to deny healthcare to the poor and working class in the United States. Somehow, this will make us all “great” again. I am still working on figuring the “how” of that one out.
Her problem is compounded by the fact that she lives in Texas, a “gray” state that did not take the Medicaid expansion option when it had the opportunity to do so and help people like my sister, who cares for three people in her household: my quadriplegic niece, who was head injured in an automobile accident when she was 15; my half-sister Jackie, who became brain damaged after a high fever caused by viral encephalitis when she was 29; and my 11 year-old grand-nephew, who lives full-time in her custody.
She is one of the people Paul Ryan’s “Post Card” tax dream has hurt, not helped. She is hardly the “welfare to work” candidate the GOP thinks is so misusing the Medicaid system (again, she can’t get it). She is the person the GOP claims it is working for.
Instead, she found out just how far they are willing to leave her behind. She did not vote in the last election, but vows to vote in the upcoming one. I will be holding her to that promise.
She asked me to do an Internet search for her and was lucky to find a policy for about $250 per month that sounds as if it will afford her the protections she needs and enough doctors in her zone to have a good choice on who to care for her. Still, that is roughly 25 times higher than her current rate. And it will make a tight budget that much tighter.
I am proud of her for keeping up her insurance; you see, before the ACA, she was one of those people who didn’t carry insurance, because she isn’t much on going to the doctor. She is one of those “plow on” people, no matter how much it hurts.
But, because she “had” to, she took out an ACA policy and over the past couple of years has had the much needed “wellness” check-ups every woman should have. It also helped when a rabid raccoon attacked her in her driveway, although she still has co-insurance and deductibles she is paying on for that accident, which was no fault of her own. The raccoon just came out of nowhere while she was enjoying a few moments of sunset on the patio of her carport.
Which is why everyone should have health insurance. Because who could predict a rabid raccoon would bite you?
And because the rabid raccoon in the White House and his like-minded GOP buddies will not care about our health care needs going forward. They have already shown us that.
My sister is their example. And Medicaid is next on their chopping block. Our Medicare and Social Security won’t be far behind.