What is a Pre-existing Condition?

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There has been a lot of talk about pre-existing conditions, what they are and if people who have them can be denied health insurance, or be made to pay more for health insurance.  A pre-existing condition is anything medical that happened before a person’s health care policy went into effect.   In the bad old days, before the ACA, health insurance companies could refuse to sell policies to people who were sick, or who had been sick.  There were companies who did sell policies to these people, however the cost was much too high for the average person to pay.  With the ACA, these people were able to buy policies for about the same price that the average “healthy” person could.  With the advent of TrumpCare, these pre-existing conditions don’t need to be covered by insurance companies.  Here is a list of some of these conditions that no longer will be covered.

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As you can see, a lot of people have these conditions.  For example, I was born of with a heart murmur and I have had asthma in the past.  Heart murmurs, as I understand it, can be a crap-shoot.  It’s a 50/50 chance of needing a medical intervention.  I never even knew I had one until I was pregnant, then I was told that I’d had it all my life – go figure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMNOvVX8e4I

What do you think about these pre-existing conditions?  Are you in danger of losing your health care?  If you do lose it what will you do about it?  Let me know in the comments below.

A Story – The Life of an 87-Year-old Woman

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My name is Agnes, and I was born 87 years ago, in an area known as Jamaica Plains, N.Y.  I was raised in a shack with an outhouse in the backyard.  My “home” was the only shack in the neighborhood and we were the poorest family around.  My mother ran off when I was five, and my older brothers raised me because my father was a drunk.  At fourteen I got a job working full-time at the local Five and Dime, so I quit school to make money.  At 17 I got pregnant and married Charles.  I had always wanted to work as a secretary and live in NYC, but that was one dream that didn’t come true. Once I had the baby I became a stay-at-home mother, and soon we had four children.

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Charles worked hard, but he was only a “helper” for a carpet-installer and the money wasn’t there.  So, he went out and started his own business.  We ended up living all over the Midwest, and life was pretty good.  Once the children were in school, I took a typing course so that I could become a Secretary, just like I’d planned.  However, somewhere in there Charles’ started gambling his pay away, and then he took up drinking, too.  I never knew if and when he would come home, or what kind of a mood he’d be in when he did come home.  Thankfully, no matter where we lived, I managed to get a Secretarial job.

Our children moved out and began their own lives, so we moved to New England to be closer to Charles’ family.  This was a mistake, since they were all big drinkers, too.  I kept working, but my pay as a secretary never really went up, and Charles’ pay never went up, either.  Eventually we retired and collected Social Security, but that was all we got since none of the jobs either one of us had ever provided a pension plan.

Charles died from his many illnesses, and I had to move out of our two-bedroom apartment into a smaller one-bedroom.  I had to part with most of my furniture that I’d been able to keep over the years because it didn’t fit into a smaller apartment.  They also only gave me one week to leave my apartment due to “regulations”, so I had to plan a funeral and pack to move at the same time. This is because I am on housing assistance (funded by the federal government) because my Social Security payments fall below the federal poverty level.

It makes me sad when I see people in our government who want to take these programs away from people like me.  I not only get help with my rent, but I’m on heat assistance, I use food stamps and I get Meals on Wheels.  If I can’t have any Meals on Wheels, I don’t know what I’ll have to eat because I only get $75.00 a month on Food Stamps.  After I pay my rent which is a set price, my heating bill – which is also set at $75.00 per month, so I can’t pay less because if I do, they’ll take away my assistance, I don’t know how I will eat on what I have left-over plus the &75.00 food stamps.  Usually at the end of the month all I have left over is enough to pay for my telephone and my very limited cable service.

My family doesn’t usually help me out since they all have children and payments of their own.  I’m very worried about this new budget that’s been proposed.  Charles and I worked all our lives, but now I’m being made to feel like I am a drain on society.  I would like to try to enjoy my remaining years, but mostly I sit at home by myself with my heat turned down as low as I can tolerate it and watch Turner Movie Classics.

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*Just a note, I paraphrased some of this story, and changed the names of the people, but it’s pretty accurate.  Most of the seniors that I work with have small lives that consist of going grocery shopping and watching movies on t.v.  They don’t have money left-over at the end of the month.  Also, they get government assistance for the following: heat, housing, food stamps, and the notorious “help I’ve fallen and can’t get up” button.  For the seniors who qualify, they also get either a homemaker or companion for a few hours a week so that they can stay in their apartments, as that is a cheaper solution than sending them all to nursing homes.  Most of them see their families very infrequently, in fact, their closest relationship is usually with their homemaker.  It’s very sad to see people who have worked hard all their lives reduced to such circumstances.  These are the people who will be hurt by these deep cuts to social welfare programs.

 

Signs

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This is one of those signs that everyone should think about and reflect on.  States are drug testing welfare recipients.  While this testing costs a lot of money, few people have been found to have taken drugs.  That money could have been used for other social welfare projects.  Also, there are a few bills in both state and federal legislatures to stop the free lunch and breakfast programs.  Wrap your head around that…a lot of people want children to go hungry.

Standing Rock is just one example of an oil companies’ profits outweighing the right to clean water and air.  Money over people.  The head of the EPA wants to dismantle it.  Does anyone remember why there was a movie about Erin Brockovich?

Refugees are now leaving the U.S. and walking into Canada.  I never thought that people would need to leave the U.S. in order to be safe.  My question, and it should be your question also, who is next?  The LBGTQ+ community?  The reporters who report the truth?  The Jewish community?  Minorities, any minority take your pick.  People who blog about these issues?  The potential list could go on and on.

Lastly, but not least, health care supposedly is not a right.  The U.S. in one of a few countries (and none of them are considered “first world” countries), that do not have universal health care.  We also spend more, by far, on the health care that we do have.  So, what your rights include is,  the right to die from not enough money to pay for health care.  Yes, that’s right.  Death is your right.  That’s what freedom is – apparently.

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I’m Just a “Little Bit” Broken

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For years, I’ve been having heart attacks on a pretty regular basis.  Of course, I’m not speaking about actual heart attacks, but I’ve been upset on many occasions by the state of the world, the environment and the actions of a few people with a lot of power.  I spend probably a few hours a week signing petitions against this or that; or even for this or that.  Things that really have integral value such as clean air and water, wars and poverty.  That kind of thing.

However, as time has gone on, my stress level has skyrocketed to the point where after the election on last Tuesday I was afraid that I would have an actual heart attack. When I calmly, nicely and quietly questioned some people I know who voted for Trump, they didn’t really actually like (or even know) what he was running on, they simply liked the things that he said.  When asked specifically what things it was that they liked, the response was invariably the hateful things that he said.  Sadly, my experience didn’t seem to be much different from the videos and articles I’ve seen and read regarding the reasons people voted this way.  The most upsetting part of this exercise in futility was in regard to the sad realization that none of the people I spoke with had a clue as to exactly what would be the out-come of a Trump presidency.  They had no idea of what he was going to do – other than “build a big beautiful wall.”    So, I’ve had to ask myself is this the America that I thought it was?  I have to say that I had no idea that so many of my neighbors and acquaintances felt the way they do in regard to race, religion and gender.

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In the end, after all the hand wringing, wondering, and intense depression, there is one question that I feel I must ask myself.  What do I do, knowing what I now know?  There are a lot of people, who, because they feel they have been short-changed (and I do agree, working people have been short-changed – I should know, I’m one of them), have decided to blame those who are just as powerless as they are.  A large segment of our society has blamed the blameless.  What about the banks that caused the 2008 financial crisis?  What about the corporations whose greed has broken down much of our society?  The CEO’s who have finagled ways out of paying any taxes, received many tax breaks and even receive subsidies from us, the working class, paying all our taxes (and then some).  Why have they not been held accountable?  Bernie Sanders, who tried to bring this knowledge to light, was right.

So, again, where do I as a person go from here?  What is the way forward and how do I find it?   My reaction has been the realization that I’ve got to learn how to deal with stress in a much better way.  I’ve got to keep myself busy working on creating a better world around myself.  I’m making a list of some of the things I can do just in my little world.  Of course, I’ll keep signing petitions, writing letters to the editor and voting with my dollar.  I intend to work with the marginalized (whom I feel will become even more marginalized); volunteer work is a great way to start.  However, another one of my goals will be to make my own house a shelter, a peaceful place to retreat from the craziness that those of us who did indeed read the Republican Platform know is coming.  Keep safe, find peace somewhere in your own lives and keep fighting the good fight.  Love each other and have courage!

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http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/trumps-america-racism?akid=14867.302291.KMX_93&rd=1&src=newsletter1066971&t=18

Imagine

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Imagine if we really loved each other.

Imagine if we believed in each other.

Imagine if we cared for each other.

Imagine if we understood that we are all the same.

What a wonderful world that would be.

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The 2016 Republican Platform

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Since election time is nearly here, I thought that I’d give some information regarding the Republican Party Platform today.    At first I thought that I’d give you some bullet points, but when I realized that the platform is 66 pages long, I simply despaired even attempting that task.  For one thing, I simply don’t have the time to slog through such a read while taking notes.  I did attempt to do this, however to tell you the truth, I couldn’t keep going.  The actual first article on the list of promises was the repeal of the 16th Amendment.  That’s the one where we all (well those of us who aren’t insanely rich), pay the Federal Tax.  After I read that, I thought, well, if they don’t collect taxes how is there even going to be a government?

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So, I thought, well the rest of this is completely moot anyway.  If you don’t have any money, you can’t pay to even heat Congress, so the rest of this has simply got to be “pie-in-the-sky”, since how many of our elected officials will continue to go to a job where the government will not be paying them, since it has no money, not to mention that they will have no way to enforce anything else.  Notwithstanding this fact, another nugget of the platform is that the U.S. will only enter into trade agreements where the U.S. gets privileged business positions. Again, I don’t know how many foreign nations would agree to any trade agreements that would put them into a subordinate position.  Another promise is to repeal Dodd-Frank.  This is in order to ensure that there will be little to no oversight of financial institutions.  Dodd Frank had been passed to keep in check the practices that caused the 2008 crash.

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The platform document goes on and on, promising to repeal one thing and another.  Some nuggets include repeal of “Obamacare”, leaving approximately 20 million citizens without health insurance with no policy in place to find them any.  Another includes no federal money for public transit, claiming that the states can actually finance their own.  Another policy promise is another “right to work” idea.  Here are some links that illustrate how well that has worked in the states that are now considered “right to work” states.  http://www.epi.org/publication/right-to-work-states-have-lower-wages/http://www.nea.org/home/52880.htm

Again, the platform promises to protect marriage as being only between a woman and a man.  No more same sex marriage – that will once again be illegal.  There is also a promise to defend religion, (only the Judeo/Christian religion), allow the display of Christian paraphernalia on government property; and allow discrimination against anything that is deemed offensive to a person’s religion (again, only the Christian religion).

This is the last promise of the Republican platform that I will include in this post.  This promise is that there will be the repeal of Roe v. Wade.  This is also the promise that an abortion will be illegal for any reason; including rape, incest, and the mother’s own health.

Again, I urge you to read the 2016 Republican Platform for yourself.  I agree that it’s a long read, but you can skip the rhetoric and just go right to the paragraphs that set out the actual agenda.  The link below is the actual platform.  Enjoy!

https://prod-static-ngop-pbl.s3.amazonaws.com/media/documents/DRAFT_12_FINAL[1]-ben_1468872234.pdf

The link below is the NY Times editorial reaction to it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/19/opinion/the-most-extreme-republican-platform-in-memory.html