Thursday, January 17, 2013

Les Miserables Lives On- Part IV

We live in a rare state that not only provides health insurance for low-income parents, but even provides medical assistance for non-parent adults who cannot afford their own health insurance.

Plus, we have mental health parity--we require insurance to pay for mental health services.

Even so, the state makes the annual application process extremely difficult. The waiting time between applying and notification of approval is long. I have met people with bronchitis and walking pneumonia who were waiting for approval and could not afford the doctor.

Now, I have learned of another friend who had to call 911 and an ambulance for mental health hospitalization after two years of gaining and then losing, applying again, gaining, then losing, etc. her medical insurance.

Okay--so rather than provide her with medication for depression and anxiety and provide her with therapy for same, we now have to pay for a week of hospitalization, a month of ongoing outpatient hospitalization and ongoing therapy. The hospital took care of the application for disability and medical insurance and now this friend is back among the mentally living, an active and  valuable parent and participant in society.

But what harm has been done to the elasticity of her brain cells in the meantime? Not to mention those of her children?

Keep in mind: I am a middle-class white person. We own a house. My children go to a fabulous public school. I do not hang out at the local homeless shelter. The people that I am discussing here are friends made from among all classes, races, religions and incomes via this public school.

And yes, I have friends in the arts and writing community, which tends to be less stable than, say, the financial world. Still, those friends have, until recently, been steady wage earners, home owners, apartment renters, teachers, child-care-givers, valuable people to any society for more than their creativity. But after losing job, house, etc., some people find they need mental health assistance including stabilizing mental health meds. How does it makes sense that we are not providing the backup to these people? I do not understand.

I repeat: Our family values MUST include making sure that people can get the medical support they need. 
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