OR, BECOMING PART OF THE EMERGING DEMOCRATIC RESISTANCE
If you have asthma or any kind of chronic medical problem that requires continuing care and medication, that’s the message you are getting. We have had a brief interruption during which almost everyone had access to at least basic medical resources. You could go to a doctor, get some medicine. Have your cancer removed, your broken leg treated. Now … well … who knows what lies ahead.
If you’re on Medicare, that’s the message you’ve been getting for several years. They’ve been chipping away at the benefits. Fewer dollars for medication. Fewer covered medications. Deeper deductibles for tests of all kinds. The out-of-pocket costs for an MRI or CAT-scan are beyond us. Garry hasn’t had any big medical issues, but I’ve had enough for both of us. Yet, I turned down a cancer CAT-scan last year because I didn’t have the $450 co-pay … and I’ve had cancer twice, so it wasn’t a decision made lightly.
Medicare doesn’t cover eyeglasses, dentures, dental care of any kind … or asthma daily inhalers. Those are the inhalers that keep you from needing emergency treatment. In the 1990s, when my asthma finally got bad enough to require treatment, a daily inhaler cost (without insurance) about $75. Not cheap, but doable. One day, about two or three years ago, the same Advair inhaler shot up to more than $500 a month. Medicare will only pay for about $12 of the total price. Although they are not paying for it, they will charge the entire price of the medication against my annual drug benefit of about $2800.
Let me repeat that because you probably think it doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s true. If a drug costs $535 per month and Medicare contributes $12, they charge all $535 against the annual drug benefit. The amount of that benefit has been dropping each year while medication prices have soared. This makes sense only if the real goal is to kill older generation as quickly as possible.
In another bizarre but real piece of anti-intuitive reasoning, if you are prescribed a medication, towards the cost of which Medicare pays not a penny, and you pay for it out-of-pocket, Medicare still charges the entire price of the prescription against your total benefit.
It’s a lose-lose-lose. If you don’t get any medication, you will have trouble breathing. If you do get the medication, it’ll break your bank and will burn through your benefits, even though Medicare isn’t contributing anything towards the cost.
It’s true. Absurd, but true.
I am not cost-effective. I have not the slightest doubt that my compassionate government would prefer I cast off my mortal coil and stop costing them money. Never mind that over a lifetime of work, Garry and I paid enough taxes to fund a small country. Our contribution vastly exceeded any amount we will get back. And we aren’t exactly free-loaders now. We continue to pay income taxes, excise taxes, as well as some hefty property taxes. And Medicare, while not expensive, is not free.
Ever since I turned 65, it’s been downhill.
The day I turned 65, I was dumped by MassHealth (Medicaid). I hoped I’d be protected by my disabled status. I’d been on disability for years which was why I was entitled to MassHealth.
No problem getting around that. Social Security simply reclassified me, eliminating my disabled status. Poof — I’m just old, not disabled. They switched me to standard Social Security, so I get the same monthly check — but without the extra medical protection conferred by disability. They also lowered the poverty guideline so we no longer qualify for any extra help on anything — not fuel, medication, electricity, nothing. Because apparently when you turn 65, your costs go down … or anyway, that’s the reasoning.
We’ve outlived our usefulness, so how come we aren’t dead? Why do we stubbornly cling to life? Obviously if we cared about our fellow humans, we’d get out of the way.
Meanwhile, my doctor found some samples of asthma medication that if I’m lucky, will keep me breathing for another 6 months. I expect it will get much worse. As of today, we have a president — if you want to dignify him with that title — dedicated to making the lives of everyone whose life is already difficult, worse. Compassion, common decency, basic fairness? What? Huh?
Today was the first time, I learned being a Democrat is now being part of “the emerging Democratic resistance.”
I have to admit being part of an emerging Democratic resistance sounds much better — far more romantic — than merely being old, sick, poor — and not Republican. Maybe they’ll write books about us. Sing ballads. Talk about how brave we were right up until the moment when they put us up against the wall and shot us.
Where is Earnest Hemingway when we need him?