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Falling Through the Cracks

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From my years of work in providing care for disabled people. I am well aware of the number of people who "fall through the cracks" of our vaunted welfare system.

When one is disabled and cannot work, for whatever reason, it is "the Christian thing to do" for society to help them avoid the inevitable ruin for them and their families. However, for many, the system as it currently exists falls far short of that target.

One family man of my acquaintance has fallen through that proverbial crack and, as a result, his very life and the continuation of his whole family is endangered. As the result of construction work injuries that broke his back, coupled with the extreme hard physical effort expended in working as a roustabout in the gas fields, he could no longer do that kind of work and had to give it up.

As a man who was only in his thirties, he was determined to make a living by doing odd jobs, which he did for a period of years as his health continued to decline. As the recession crept up, it was harder to make enough money to support his family. His wife of 20 years began working in the office of a provider of services for the disabled and, for a few years, made enough money to sustain the family while he played "Mr. Mom" for their two sons and worked part time at any odd job he could get.

They managed quite well for a few years but, eventually, the strain began its own vengeance and he developed ulcers which sometimes caused him intense pain. The recession deepened and his odd jobs became harder to find and then ceased. His wife's employer, a contractor for the state, began to be squeezed by state budget cuts until they were forced to cut the salaries of their employees.

She helped her husband apply for his Social Security disabilty benefits. Unfortunately, his application was denied because he had not been working under "covered" employment for too long. Then application was made through the Social and Rehabiliation offices. There they were told that the wife's income alone would only allow them to receive food stamps.

Their oldest son turned 18; he graduated from high school and then left home. With one less person in the house, the food stamps disappeared! This year, the younger son turned 18, and graduated from high school. Now, however, he can't even qualify as a dependent for tax purposes unless he goes to college, which he would love to do. However, in the process of evaluation, it was learned that this proud graduate of the special education classes of our school system failed the entrance examinations because of a "reading comprehension problem." Sorry, but the scholarships and additional fees paid by his parents are non-refundable!

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As problems are wont to do, they keep getting worse. Two days after the father finally received a diagnosis of duodenal ulcers -- the kind that are prone to rupture and cause one to bleed to death internally -- he was moving a very heavy object in his own yard, which caused a groin rupture.

So, here they are with no medical insurance coverage, a gross family income which cannot pay all their expenses, and the threat of death hanging over them. Unless they take the option offered by the Republican politicians by showing up in a hospital emergency room and "free-loading" the necessary treatment, proving that it is no answer at all, the man is simply living on borrowed time.

They know that the collection agency will hound them until hell freezes over in their efforts to collect every single dime. The irony of this situation is that, except for the fact that our Governor has stated that he would not accept the offer made by "Obomneycare" to increase the levels of poverty in Medicaid adjudications, they could, at least, receive the needed medical care under its provisions.

Is it the prevailing theory of the Republicans that this is the way our America should be run? Should we give tax breaks to the filthy rich and let the poor just die because they are not able to do sufficient work to maintain life? Is this what the many generations of my family, including five of my brothers, fought and many died for -- to preserve for posterity? Is this the society we want to leave for our own descendents?

If this is not a nightmare, I never want to wake up.

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This writer is eighty years old and has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own workung-class family. She spends her "Sunset Years" in writing and struggling with The (more...)

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Single payer health, medicare for all?Absolutely. ... by Daniel Geery on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 7:53:12 PM
which is why I have always hoped for a single-paye... by Mary Pitt on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 10:42:00 PM
I am disabled, now on medicare but I still can't a... by Kathy Stuart on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 11:29:18 AM
Our state does, or did) have a program that allowe... by Mary Pitt on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 12:24:55 PM
Notice how the Gov takes care of itself? Congres... by Vincent Guarisco on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 8:02:17 PM
I'm sure they are not the only people in this pred... by Mary Pitt on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 8:43:58 PM
there are millions of people who are scamming the ... by Doc McCoy on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 9:26:24 PM
but these people are not among them. While he has... by Mary Pitt on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 10:36:30 PM
when they look in the mirror see the literal defin... by Paul Repstock on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 12:28:25 AM
I was, basically, a bookkeeper in my younger worki... by Mary Pitt on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 7:04:05 AM
The forces of government and finace, blithley thro... by Paul Repstock on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 9:11:59 AM
The wealth of a Romney or a Trump is simply obscen... by Mary Pitt on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 11:17:36 AM
here is an explanation of why more and more people... by Lois Gagnon on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 9:56:29 AM
There is no ' system'. The country has laws a regu... by Mark Sashine on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 1:45:37 PM
I have been on this old earth too long and have ra... by Mary Pitt on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 2:47:14 PM
If a Nation's leaders establish and fund a minimum... by Paul Repstock on Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 10:24:34 AM