Saturday, September 12, 2009

Part#3: "White Man's Adventures Through The Welfare System"

With all of media hype regarding healthcare reform, the perils of socialized medicine and the pending legislation in the House being such a hot topic, I decided to break out some of my old blogs describing my trip through the healthcare and welfare system. After finding myself with health issues, I wrote an eight part series that described the process I was forced to navigate and endure. I have been there and done that. I’m hopeful that somebody might find some of the information and experiences helpful in their quest for answers or search for assistance.

January 12, 2008:
My little social experiment is well into it’s second month. One of the conditions of collecting unemployment benefits is that I actively seek employment. I applied for positions as an officer with the Pinal County Adult Probation Department, constable for my local Justice of the Peace and at Geek Squad. Don’t laugh, I’m not kidding. I am required to keep a job search log in the event The D.E.S. wants to see it for verification purposes. I probably won’t get the county job because I might be a bad influence on the probationers.

Being a hearing impaired white man will also be a big mark against me in a primarily Hispanic community.

Taxes are being deducted from my weekly benefits so I’m still contributing to the system. This is not a free ride although I’m not paying nearly as much. My routine has changed little since leaving gainful employment except I have a lot more free time on my hands. The job searches I’ve conducted online using Career Builder and Yahoo Hot Jobs don’t look all that promising. The want ads in the local newspaper looked worse. I am not all that surprised as a failing economy reduces opportunities.

On January 11, 2008, I received notification that my food stamp and AHCCCS medical benefits applications have been approved. This is probably the best medical coverage in the world. There is no deductible and they provide transportation to and from appointments. My former employer’s insurance carrier offered me coverage under Cobra, but they wanted $400/month with a $500 deductible plus 10 percent. There is no way that a person drawing unemployment could afford premiums like that. The maximum unemployment benefit before tax deductions is only $240/week in Arizona. Once your accepted, things happen fast. I already received my AHCCCS ID card and set up an account on their website.

My former “working man’s” insurance carrier was not nearly as efficient. I am still waiting for them to cover bills from the end of October. That means that the healthcare providers are sending me the bills that are in the thousands of dollars. Oddly enough, they received my premium payments directly from my payroll on time every payday. Where are they when it’s their turn to pay up?

Hopefully my next installment will bring news of my workers’ compensation claim. Sentry had 21 days to respond with a decision and they are overdue. Is anyone surprised?
My AHCCCS coverage was ultimately terminated after only a month because my unemployment benefits paid too much money. My former employer’s carrier offered me coverage under Cobra for $400.00/month. Shortly after talking with them, I received a letter stating they would be willing to cover me for $440/month. Obviously, I couldn’t afford it. In an effort to conserve funds, I canceled by satellite TV service and quit doing almost all of the things I enjoyed doing.
I did take up a new hobby. I found myself getting involved in political activism. I was no longer satisfied with just writing letters to the editor and to my elected representatives. I became a protester. Not just any protester. I became an “armed protester”. I really look forward to strapping on my firearm and heading out to the town hall meetings, immigration marches and protests.

My health issues prevented me from engaging in the extreme sports I once lived for. To my surprise, facing an angry mob at demonstrations was more exciting than rock climbing, mountain biking or kayaking. You never know when a protest can erupt into a full blown riot. European soccer hooligans would even enjoy this activity.
I also thought is was cool being able to show up with a gun and be surrounded by police officers that had no objections to me being armed. Try doing that in California!

When I think of ObamaCare, I think of this quote: "In any country there must be people who have to die. They are the sacrifices any nation has to make to achieve law and order.'' --Idi Amin Dada

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