Social Securty Disability System and Chronic Pain Sufferers: Healthcare 2008
While I truly believe our U.S. form of government is the best yet devised by man, it's not without its flaws. There are cracks in the system. And – at least when it comes to health issues – I seem to have a knack for falling into them.
The first crack is in the Social Security Disability system. It can easily take more than two years from the time you first file for SSDI until you get a final determination. And of course you can’t work during that time, because that only proves you’re not disabled. So how is someone who has no one else who can support them for two years supposed to get disability? Where do you live and how do you eat for the two years you’re waiting for the Social Security Administration to get through its backlog of disability cases? No one has been able to answer that for me. (Thankfully, when faced with that dilemma, I was able to find a way to work from home so I could continue to support myself.)
For me, the second crack came at the state level and involves health insurance. When I was no longer able to work full-time, I lost my group health insurance. I soon discovered that no insurance company would cover me. Fortunately at the time, my state had a plan that covered people like me who were considered uninsurable. I had to pay for it but the premiums were based on income, so it was reasonable. Unfortunately, the state badly mismanaged the program and two years ago we uninsurables were dropped. So now I’m left with no health insurance, praying nothing serious happens until I’m old enough to get Medicare.
Now, as I study the healthcare proposals of the various presidential candidates, I see another potential crack. When their plans address covering the uninsured, the only consideration seems to be making health insurance affordable for those who can’t currently afford it. Only one candidate – Hillary Clinton – even mentions those of us the insurance companies refuse to cover. (She would require everyone to have some kind of health insurance and insurance companies would not be allowed to refuse coverage due to pre-existing conditions.) Of course, I presume any of the universal health care proposals would cover everyone, but I have serious reservations about universal healthcare on a whole different level. (I’ll go into more detail about that another time.) I wonder if it has even occurred to the other candidates that there are many of us unable to get health insurance at any price.
I don’t foresee these cracks being filled in anytime soon. The first two were created by bureaucracies, which by their very nature are inefficient. The proposals put forth by the Democratic candidates all lean toward government driven health care. While some of the ideas sound good on the surface, given the track record of most government programs I fail to see how turning health care into another inefficient bureaucracy will help anyone in the long run. Having said that, the Republican candidates’ proposals also give me serious cause for concern. While they tend to be more market driven without much government intervention, there is little to suggest that those of us who are uninsured now would see any change in our current status.
There are no easy answers. But as I ponder the various candidates' proposals, I'm also scanning the horizon for other potential cracks that may be developing. I'd like to avoid tripping over or falling through another one.
Visit Healthcare ’08 to learn more about where each presidential candidate stands on healthcare issues.