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Donna Smith

Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation

October 9th, 2013 5:59 PM

Waiting and Waiting Some More -- But Keeping Up Anyway Until We Cannot Any More

Cancer tests, waiting for Obamacare, Medicare for all for life, single-payer, Healthcare-NOW!

We're waiting for my cancer test results. Since last week. I expect someone has the results. But I expect they're just too busy to call me or post to the "patient portal" where I could look for myself and then interpret via web search.

We've been waiting for a while for the post-flood issues to be addressed in our living space. It has been almost a month, and the fellow who owns the house in which we rent our 300 square feet has been very busy, I am sure. We decided that we cannot live this way indefinitely -- with sleeping disrupted and our junk everywhere. But even after we move out, the flood issues should be addressed so nobody else gets ill or injured. We're making do with much more than many other flooded folks have left, and we're prepping to move again. Packing up what we have and deciding what can be thrown away is a chore and a little sad. My husband mentioned today that it makes him sad when he packs boxes with stuff that belonged to our grown kids when they were younger. Some of those same grown kids just grew up, up and away from us. But we do not throw their things away. We keep waiting to hear from them.

Over this past weekend, I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days in Nashville at the Healthcare-NOW! national strategy conference. I laughed with old friends and new about the chain of natural disasters Larry and I have lived through. Hurricane Andrew in Miami. The Grizzly Gulch Fire and rhe mudslides that followed in Deadwood and Lead, South Dakota. Snowmageddon, the earthquake and Hurricane Sandy in Maryland and now the floods in Colorado in September 2013. We've certainly seen our share.

I also joked that I might go back to an old income generating plan I had a few years ago to write every Chamber of Commerce in the U.S. and promise NOT to move to their communities if they sent us $500. Folks have laughed with me about that plan. I am only half kidding. If I thought it would work, I might try it.

Then, I thought I might at least find out about my insurance costs on the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare's Connect for Health Colorado exchange. But no such luck. It turns out that even though I am pretty sure we will not qualify for Medicaid, and I do want to apply for the tax credits/subsidies, I had to fill out the entire Medicaid application anyway. Then I have to wait for that denial of benefits to come in, call back the customer service/navigator folks and have then enter the denial number, and then I can look at what insurance might be available to me. So, I wait. The Medicaid/PEAK site said they can take up to 45 days to process those applications.

Waiting. Uncertainty. Worry. But smile and laugh and lift ourselves up in every way we possibly can. Do I have active cancer again? Where will we end up living this time and for how long? Will my health insurance be any more affordable?

I do know one thing for sure. If we had an improved and expanded Medicare for all for life health care system in this state or nationally, lots of my worry would be lifted forever. That would be great -- beyond great. So, if your U.S. Congressional member hasn't or isn't working on HR676 or other single-payer legislation, tell them you have some good friends who have waited long enough who promise not to move to their districts if they get busy and get it done.

October 9, 2013 -- Today's count of the health care dead and broke for profit in the U.S.:

The 2013, to date, U.S. medical-financial-
industrial -complex system dead: 35,073
The 2013, to date, U.S. health care system bankrupt: 552,908** These figures are calculated based on the Harvard University studies on excess deaths in the U.S. due to lack of insurance coverage or the ability to pay for needed health care, and the Harvard University study that calculated the high percentage of personal bankruptcies attributable to medical crisis and debt in the U.S. 123 people die daily due to lack of coverage or cash to pay for care; 1,978 go bankrupt every day due to medical crisis and debt though the majority had insurance at the time their illness or injury occurred. This statistic is also based on the 1.2 million bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2012, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and calculating those medically-related bankruptcies from that number.

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