I’m grateful when Stellar’s youthful senses of hearing and smell perk up at something wild, alerting me to potential delight or danger.

I’m grateful that just about the time I had depleted my savings account after paying over $500 a month on premiums for a health insurance policy with a six thousand dollar deductible, which I frequently met, the Affordable Healthcare Act was passed, and I became eligible for Medicaid. After paying my taxes into the system for forty years (and many tens of thousands of dollars in premiums and deductibles during that time), I felt no qualms or shame in taking advantage of the opportunity to sign up for Medicaid. One remarkable aspect of having accessible healthcare that I wasn’t expecting was the sense of relief: no more weighing dollars and sense when I needed medical attention, I was able to just go get it. Such a load off!

And, like many rural healthcare systems, ours in Delta County relies heavily on patients with public assistance such as Medicaid, Medicare, and the VA to keep its hospital and clinics afloat. Perhaps because of this, or because of their big hearts, I’ve never felt any stigma or shame at any of the facilities where I’ve been treated while on Medicaid, and I kind of thought I would. Furthermore, I’ve consistently received the best quality healthcare of my life during this time. And, I never could have afforded physical therapy in the past–I tried a few times, and just couldn’t pay $100-$200 for each half hour of PT, so never pursued it. And PT over the past five years has literally saved my life, or at least my quality of life.

I’m once again embarking on a course of PT to address the unpleasant limitations of degenerative spinal arthritis, in this case in my neck, which is causing nerve impingement that results in numbness and pain variously in my neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers, and which is beginning to seriously infringe on my daily activities, including working at the computer. Not to mention gardening, knitting, reading, sleeping, and more… So I’m really grateful for the TLC and help that I benefit from as a Medicaid recipient.

Sometimes I hear people (including my own family and friends) condemning perfectly decent people like me as freeloaders and leeches, and I know they have no idea that I’m one of those ‘losers’ who ‘take advantage of,’ or worse ‘steal,’ their tax dollars. I don’t respond, because let’s face it, there still is a stigma attached to government assistance. But we all get government assistance in some way, whether it’s public education, or highways, or police and fire protection; we are all interdependent upon each other, we all pay in to the system to the best of our ability, and we all deserve quality, affordable healthcare. As long as Big Pharma, Big Insurance, and Big Medicine continue to operate with profit as their highest value and motivation, there will continue to be people just like me who find themselves in need of a little compassion from our government. Let there be Medicare for All!

And let there be mushroom sandwiches for all, as well. First time ever eating a Lions’ Mane mushroom, and realized today that I needed to eat it asap before it went mushy; looked up recipes, and first thing saw a ‘recipe’ for a sandwich. So simple, so delicious!

3 thoughts on “Medicaid

  1. I am a firm believer in Medicare for all. No one should have to forego healthcare because they can’t afford it. I was a nursing professor and saw students taking welfare, Medicaid, food stamps grants and anything else available to make it through school so they could get a decent job and support themselves and their families. Some had to drop out because they couldn’t afford it. Many were working 40 hours a week while taking care of kids and going to school full time. But all people can talk about are the deadbeats who take advantage of the system. Illness reduces a person’s ability to go to school or go to work. Medicare for all is essential to the well being of our country. Insurance companies are making big profits. If we cut them out healthcare just might be affordable.

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