Poor People Only Have HELLthcare: Part of a PNN series on the real situation for poor people needing healthcare in Amerikkka

POOR correspondent - Posted on 18 June 2010

Marlon Crump and Laure McElroy/PNN poverty scholars in residence
Sunday, October 11, 2009

“I have cataracts in both eyes, diabetic feet, advanced periodontal disease and PTSD, “ says Mesha Monge-Irizary,a local organizer, powerful woman, and the founder of ISARC (Idriss Stelley Action Resource Center). Mesha continued, “Now that medi-Cal cut off othamology, podiatry, dentistry, and long-term mental healthcare I may be forced to die blind, with amputated feel, toothless and crazy!"

Mesha is also one of the millions of seniors who will suffer under the lack of an affordable, comprehensive national system of healthcare combined with massive budget cuts in health services at the state and local level. “This is nothing less than an early death sentence, a genocide for us elder diabetics in the United States."Mesha concluded.

"I never could accept the idea that healthcare is not free and is really a business. Cutting healthcare to me, as a pregnant mom with a six year old causes me a lot of anxiety," says June Hall, a.k.a Jewnbug, single mom, co-founder of Family Project of POOR Magazine. "These new cuts have affected my access to dental care, eye care, and even certain medications.”

Last week I had to ask myself, “Who is disposable?” as I looked through the letter informing me of changes for the worse to my medicare and state disability benefits.

The truth is, those of us without finances are prevented from accessing the healthcare we desperately need because budget cuts enacted at the federal, state and local levels keep defunding our services. Every single day, anyone who is anyone that has little or no finances are having their pockets prevented from accessing affordable health and medical care. Every single year, all government officials at the city, state, and especially at the federal jurisdiction “propose budget cuts” that relate to health and medical services

We are not silent about it.. We who are impacted take to the streets, we wave picket signs and banners. We sound horns, we march and we petition. It’s a dance of protest that is all too familiar these days. But is it really fair to make any sick person fight like a dog for their own chance at health?

"The Republicans have a new healthcare proposal: Just say NO to illness!” says Mark Russell, stand up comedian and political satirist. Does his comic art imitate life for the near future? Is this what we have to look forward to?

In 2006, Bush the Younger signed into effect the Medicare part D prescription benefit, which required the elderly and the disabled to pay a $295 deductible on medication coverage, and 25% of medication costs until the costs reach $2700. After that, patients participating in the program are required to pay for all of their meds. In November of 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger collaborated with federal social security officials to cut medicare bart b, which covers doctor’s visits, treatments, diagnostic tests, among other things.

Every single red cent subtracted from poor and working class individuals is catastrophic for them, somewhere down these lines. In July of this year, California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger called the budget cuts “tough” but necessary.” Of course these cuts included healthcare, welfare benefits and programs.

At the same time, recipients of state disability benefits also received drastic cuts. Apparently the only cuts worse than a wound is getting slashed while receiving such vital health care services, and not having enough to even pay remaining costs and coverage.

“My net monthly income is $300 after I pay my rent.” says Bruce Allison, senior elder scholar, and staff writer of POOR. “If I have to pay $60 for my medicine and hospital care, I will leave the state!”

“Medi-Cal has affected my not having access to getting my rotting teeth fixed!” sharply explained statement by Vivian Hain, single mom,poverty scholar and co-teacher at POOR Magazine.

Although the San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted the Health Care Security Ordinance, following the 2006 establishment of “Healthy San Francisco” (a program providing health care services to uninsured residents) Mayor Gavin Newsom constantly proposes budget cuts that affected the poor and working class of a “Healthy San Francisco.” .

In a recently published study on how documented and undocumented latina women access healthcare at San Francisco General Hosital, results suggested that uninsured women were less likely to access preventative, dental or even urgent health care services (Immigration Status and Use of Health Services among Latina Women in the San Francisco Bay Area, Elena Fuentes-Afflick, M.D., M.P.H. and Nancy A. Hessol, MSPH, Journal of Women’s Health Volume 8, 2009).

“Immigrant communities are wrongfully blamed for their own lack of initiative concerning health care.” Angel Garcia, staff writer, Race Poverty, and Disability Scholar and a POOR Press Author explained in detail in his 2007 POOR Press Article. “But the real reasons behind higher percentages of preventable disease among immigrant communities, is not because of a lack of understanding or self-care, but because of this country’s denial to provide access to health care for all.”

President Barack Obama has received major criticism this past year predominately from Republicans, regarding his plan of “Health care Reform” and what the costs of his program will be in the future. 

President Obama answered the criticisms with this clarification: “Opponents of health care reform warn that this is all some big plot for socialized medicine or government-run health care with long lines and rationed care. That’s not true either. I don’t believe that government can or should run health care. But I also don’t think insurance companies should have free reign to do as they please.”

Politically-condemned, death row inmate and award winning journalist, Mumia Abu Jamal recently wrote an article regarding the whole healthcare system and the politics that continue to surround it.

“And yes, a bill will pass, and Obama will sign it, but it'll mean less, not more health care. It'll mean higher co-pays (really prepays, or deductibles), less services, and more profits for their campaign contributors. There will be celebrations and TV PR people will praise it like American Idol but it'll be a sell-out, pure and simple.Unless people really raise hell and demand single payer and universal health care……….before the door slams shut.”

The hospitals and rest care facilities are overwhelmed with lack of humanity for the sick, the disease affected, and seniors who are unable to balance the bill.The voices of those of us in poverty go unheard and/or ignored , ” Welfare Queens/Super Baby Mamas, undocumented, migrant families, workers, and the disabled, eyes filled with too much sorrow to even clearly see the bill. Long lines of poor and working class people continue in an ill-fated mission to locate the medical care stolen from their lives.


Sign-up for POOR email!