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October 18, 2007
What's All This Then?

You might have noticed the button I've put up on the site.

And surely you're asking yourself, "why, in this day and age, would a person not have medical insurance to cover those costs?"

Long, convoluted story. Or maybe not so convoluted.

I'm a contract employee with no benefits; in the tech industry, this isn't altogether unusual. When my current medical crisis began, though, we all thought it was related to an old Army back injury, which would be covered by the Veterans Administration. Then last autumn, I was informed by my management that my employment status would be upgraded and converted to regular (benefitted) at the start of 2007.

In short, I had no need to buy insurance. I was covered for this. Then, two things happened.

First, the doctors changed their assessment of the cause of my medical problems. No longer could it be attributed to my VA-coverable injury, so naturally the VA will not cover my medical care. I don't begrudge them this at all; that's just the way things are. I checked this every which way; the only way I could receive treatment from the VA would be if I were unemployed and homeless, which isn't about to happen.

Second — and this is the irksome bit — someone at the VP level at my place of employment decided that the best way to make his budget numbers look good to his boss was to freeze all personnel actions. I'm not the only person who has been waiting since January to receive an overdue promotion or even conversion to "regular" status.

This, mind you, in an organization and at a company that professes to believe that its people are its most important asset. They sure have a funny way of showing it.

Me and a dozen of my coworkers have had our careers put on hold, just so a VP can maximize his annual bonus. I hope he chokes on it.

I'd have walked out the door to a new employer months ago, except for the inconvenient fact that I can't actually walk. As soon as I can walk, though, I will walk. But not before I visit the VP and leave him my crutches as a reminder that "personnel actions" have a human cost.

So that's where things stand. I'm at a job I can't afford to leave and at which I cannot afford to stay, and I can't get new employment until I can actually walk into a job interview.

Of course, I can't now get insurance to cover this now-preexisting condition. This is what is known as "slipping through the cracks." Or "bad luck." So be it. As I have noted before, if we had a Hillarycare-style system, I'd still be waiting to see a neurologist; indeed, it probably would have been illegal for me to get this far by paying cash.

In the meantime, I've run up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, all paid out of pocket. The total is likely to double before all this is over, however — especially if they're going to do this to me. My pockets only go so deep... and I've already reached the lint.

And that is why I've put the tipjar/begging bowl front and center, and right here:

If you can contribute a few bucks, I will surely appreciate it. Baby needs a new pair of shoes. Or brain surgery.

Probably the brain surgery.

Posted by Russ at 11:52 AM, October 18, 2007 in Health & Personal Stuff

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Russ: The VA is acting under the orders of the Bush Administration. The doctors changed their assesment to save money. They are cutting benefits across the board, even to those who served honorably for our country. Republicans do not support the troops. You are just another example of that.

Posted by: Christian Wright at October 20, 2007 11:44 AM

No, the VA is acting under their longstanding policy regarding service-related injuries. It was not even a VA doctor who changed the assessment, it was my own GP.

Republicans demonstrably support the troops.

You are just another example of someone who knows little about the military, and cares less.

Posted by: Russ at October 20, 2007 02:22 PM

Your GP betrayed you. You need to get a second opinion.

Posted by: Christian Wright at October 20, 2007 08:54 PM

Best of luck on that. You're looking at the area on the graph where your need for medical insurance impacts someone else's profit margin. And in fact that manager at your company is doing his job - maximizing profits for the company and shareholders (and getting a bonus for it, apparently). As long as our health care is mixed together with responsibility of corporations to be profitable, there will be the 'crack' (currently inhabited by millions in this country) and people like you will fall into it - not accidentally, that's just the cost/benefit conclusion. You can gripe about the manager, but I dare say there's several people higher up the food chain that deserve your ire more.

So again, good luck.

And keep repeating, "It's all Hillary's fault..."

Posted by: jayhay [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 22, 2007 12:53 PM

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