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 - Kafkaesque


Lawyer, Fragrance Critic, GSD Obsessive, Progressive.

Healthcare, Elder Care, And The Uncaring Cracks

America's gawping healthcare chasms, inequities, absurd financial costs, and limited (affordable) resources for chronic illnesses and for elder and hospice care in particular are going to make me collapse one day. Very soon.

I'm not being hyperbolic. For the last 4 hours, I haven't been able to get enough air in my lungs and have been perpetually dizzy, compliments of a major anxiety attack that never fully tips into the total collapse of a panic attack but which also seems to be currently impervious to all my usual anti-anxiety meds.

The issue, however, is not me but the care of my elderly, ailing parents who now need more help than I or my sister can provide.

They don't qualify for Medicaid.

Medicare will do little to nothing, per multiple programs that we've looked at, not unless the government gets récompensed by eating into everything you've left behind in your will for others after your death, including potentially your home.

Even then, they barely cover anything but a handful of hours per week in terms of at-home hospice care for the dying -- assuming that is, that you can get through the months-long paperwork and wait. (By which time, my father will have passed.)

My sister and I met with a healthcare social worker together and she basically admitted that there were NO real or really affordable, substantive options in our state unless one turned to hospice volunteers (usually untrained, minimum wage, non-professionnals) to come a few hours a week.

Which brings me to my seething, yet exhausted and oxygen-deprived, diatribe about the American health-care system.

There are BOUNDLESS things wrong with America's stark raving loony, practically prehistoric system. Boundless.

  • I can't think of any justification for any of it. Nor for the absolutely outrageous, infuriating fact that the #1 genre/cause of GoFundMes are for Americans seeking help with medical bills, with trying to stay off the streets after a merely moderate illness and short hospital stay, for trying to avoid bankruptcy and still frequently failing nonetheless.

  • Cancer regardless of age or type being an almost insurmountable financial cost that can often rip apart families and their most fundamental or basic protections;

  • Americans being one major health care crisis away from bankruptcy, homelessness, or living out of their car;

  • the elderly or dying having either a limited or no extra safety net for their care, most of which entails such intentionally laborious, bureaucratic hurdles and obstacles that it is overwhelming and/or too difficult to get approved;

  • insane financial markups for everything from a Band-aid to an aspirin;

  • bills over a MILLION dollars for any chronic or fatal condition (or 4 months in the hospital after Covid) that you need to have really good insurance coverage (at high monthly rates) to be protected against it. This even though, alas, a large portion of the US has NO insurance at all even after Obamacare, won't get it, or can't afford it;

  • and even mind-bogglingly high bills for a mere, basic ambulance call/ride (up to $12,000 or $15,000 in a few cases that I've read about). (I had a $2,225 bill back in bloody 1998 in the Bay Area that I had to pay fully despite COBRA due to endless technicaliris about the ambulance e service being out of network, and that bill was almost 24 years ago!)

I'm beyond angry, stressed, frustrated, and at a total loss to know how to manage to make my father's last month or two as dignified, pain-free, and comfortable as possible without constant, daily assistance.

AND I KNOW THERE ARE MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS OF OTHERS IN MY SHOES, whether for a parent, child, partner, or friend.

All of us, sufferers or caretakers, deserve so much better in the wealthiest country in human history, a country that routinely spends and/or loses billions on failed military planes, toilet seats, wrenches, or even mystery vanishing of 230 BILLION DOLLAR loss (that is still unaccounted for years after Rumsfeld).

Don't even get me fucking started in the tax code and tax cheats.

Or the hunger and poverty rates in the US, particularly for children.

I apologize for the seething rant. But days like today -- after the exhausting last 18-months trying to save and care for my Stage 4 Terminal cancer dad and my mother with Alzheimer's -- the stress, fury, and disbelief are hitting me more than usual.

I still can't get enough air in my lungs right now. I still feel dizzy. I still have a steel band constricting my heart and lungs. And it will still reoccur tomorrow, and probably the day after, or Friday, half of next week, and probably the entirety of my father's final weeks.

Medicare4All that covers elder and full, substantive hospice care wouldn't prevent all of that, but I know it would minimize the toll on both the suffering and their catetakers by 25% to 50%.

It wouldn't even have to be the proper, full, real European system of treatment like what there is in France. Just SOMETHING that makes a real difference even SOME of the time without needing to declare bankruptcy after trying to pay for it, goddamn it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to take a second Klonepin for my continued strained breathing and then give each of my parents their evening meds.

#Healthcare #HealthInsurance #Hospice #M4All #Medicare #ElderCare #cancer #CancerCare #InsuranceCosts #UShealthcare #MedicalCosts #MedicalBills

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