Monday, September 14, 2009

Part#5: “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.

February 6, 2008:

I’m making good use of my free medical coverage from AHCCCS. Instead of toiling at some meaningless job for months to pay for treatment, the State of Arizona is picking up the tab. Not to sound selfish, but It’s about time I saw some of my tax dollars being used on me. I am going to get some lab work done including an MRI to see if there’s anything wrong with my brain.

Brain injuries associated with hearing loss are not uncommon. Many soldiers returning from Iraq know this all too well. Apparently the military doesn’t like paying for hearing protection any more than my former employer did. Hearing loss is the most common occupational disease in the United States with noise serving as the presumed causative agent in most instances. Noise is identified as a prominent factor in approximately 10 million individuals in the United States with hearing impairments.

On the evening of January 31,2008, I received a telephone call from a representative from Sentry Insurance, my former employer’s workers’ compensation carrier (a.k.a. the “Borg“ of the insurance industry). He said that he wanted to meet with me and discuss my injury claim. Our meeting took place the following morning at Harrah’s Ak Chin Casino south of Maricopa. I sure wasn’t going to drive all the way to Phoenix. Sentry claimed to have no clue as to what my medical status was except it was supposedly not work related. They really dropped the ball on this. I informed him that the clock was running. This means that Sentry should accept my claim before I retain an attorney. Since the Sentry representative didn’t buy me breakfast, I did my best impression of an asshole. We sat in the hotel lobby as I chewed him and his employer out. Luckily, the security guards didn’t ask me to leave.

I left the casino without spending as much as a dime. I do not support Indian gaming. If the White Man isn’t permitted to build a casino in Arizona, neither should any other ethnic group be permitted to do so. In the eyes of the law, we are not equal.

On February 5, 2008, I got word that Sentry denied my workers’ compensation claim. The claim status letter was dated January 31,2008. My claim was sent to the Industrial Commission a week before Thanksgiving. I was sitting in my attorney’s office at the time and received the notice via fax. I was supposed to receive notification in the mail within 21 days. I believe a financial penalty should be assessed on Sentry Insurance. Now that I have retained a lawyer I have nothing to say about my case until it’s settled.

My food stamp EBT card gets recharged on the fourth of each month. I still have a nice balance left from January as well as a kitchen full of food. I can understand why I almost never see underweight people using food stamps at the grocery store. I’ve been keeping it simple, primarily eating soups and sides. The prices at the meat counter are pricey on any budget so I limit my meat consumption to “manager’s special” or “reduced” items.

I received acceptance letters from the D.E.S. for the Qwest Lifeline Discount Program and the Arizona Public Service Energy Support Program. These programs reduce the amount I pay for my telephone and electric service. I am eligible for these discounts for the next 12 months.

I’m still looking for a job although I have a lot of unemployment left to collect. My next installment will sum up my welfare experiences. I found that getting public assistance was a lot easier than I thought it would be.
Health Choice Arizona, my AHCCCS provider informed me that they weren’t going to cover the MRI my doctor wanted me to have. To this day, I do not know if I have a brain injury or not. MRI’s are very expensive diagnostic tools. Insurance companies would rather let the insured patient die rather than pay for a test.

Make no mistake about it. Rationed healthcare is already a reality! Anyone that says different, is either misinformed or a liar. I also tried to get emergency dental help and Health Choice blew me off. My medical coverage was terminated on March 1, 2008, because I made more than $867/month.

Fortunately, AHCCCS did manage to take care some of my healthcare needs during the time I was covered.

I have renewed my Qwest Lifeline and APS Energy Support program for another year. I’m eligible for these discount programs as long as my income remains what it is.
"There is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so." -- Nobel Prize winner Dr. James Watson

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