Saturday, May 14, 2005

Disability Payments in Jeopardy



Culture of Life News had this a month ago:
I didn't see this headline. But there it is: Medicaid is going to be cut again, this time a huge whack of $10 billion. This means people will die or be much unhealthier. I once took care of a man who was released from the hospital after losing his job. He had no health insurance and his teeth were rotting so badly, he was literally dying from it. Rotting teeth is what shortened the lives of many humans in ancient times like about 100 years ago. I got him Medicaid help. He couldn't get his teeth fixed but he could get them pulled so he at least wasn't running a high fever and dying.

This is what is going to be cut. Rob is alive and well and working today and paying taxes. In the New World Order of the GOP, there would be no help and Rob would be dead and his little girl begging on the streets.

This editor's husband is prematurely retired on SS disability/workman's comp benefits because his boss shut off the air supply to an airtight room where he was working with toxic chemicals as a professional photographer at a prestigious museum. He can't work now nor can I since he can't be left alone for more than a few hours a week at best. Because of this, we watch the news closely when it concerns benefits for those unfortunate people who lose their health prematurely.

Recently, the GOP strove to cut Medicaid to the poor by $10 billion even as they unanimously gave the Pentagon another $81 billion for the neverending war in Iraq. This editor was sufficiently outraged to post this:

Frist and DeLay as seen by a agnostia brain damaged person.

The entire "Culture of Life" broohaha the Republicans ran that ended with Frist and DeLay calling for the murder of judges and Bush flying to DC for an emergency passing of a bill to give Terri's parents unprecedented access to the highest courts in the land to overturn court is reality:

Medicare Patients MAY NOT go before a judge to get treatment

A new federal policy will make it significantly more difficult for Medicare beneficiaries to obtain hearings in person before a judge when the government denies their claims for home care, nursing home services, prescription drugs and other treatments.

Or in another article here at Culture of Life News:



Everyone thinks, if you play nice, you won't get gored by an angry bull or ants won't crawl up your pants but in the real world anyone who isn't careful about these sorts of things learns the hard way. You don't play golf when you hear thunder. You don't swim in a rip tide. You don't go out in a blizzard in a bikini.

Krugman talks about medical reform and ends with this gem:

O.K., let's not turn this into a Bush-bashing session. President Bush didn't cause the crisis in American health care. His health care policies have made things only a little bit worse.

The point, instead, is that even though all the evidence suggests that we would be much better off under a system of universal coverage, any such move will be fiercely opposed, on principle, by conservatives who want us to move in the opposite direction.

Our rulers are using every sneaky tricky con game they can devise to prevent us from accessing medical care. They succeeded in stampeding us away from the more common and saner "single payer plan" such as 90% of the civilized world uses. Now they work like rats in the sewer trying to gnaw away at every level of our social safety net, despite the "Culture of Life" propaganda they spew we all know they want us dead and gone. If one isn't a cog serving their machine, one is Solyent Green, to be devoured or incinerated.

We posted here the sad story of the last Schickelgruber in Hitler's family who he murdered because she was mentally ill. Unlike him, of course, ahem. She was in a mental hospital and he had her gassed and burned after she was starved for a while, just to give it to her a tad more forceably.

Even as the right wing screams about Darwin they apply the concept of Nature red in tooth and claw upon the rest of humanity. This is why none of them were particularily moved by the Boxing Day Tsumami.

Now there is more bad news, courtesy of Buzz

“For the second day in a row, the Bush administration has admitted that despite past assurances, they never intended to protect Social Security disability and survivor benefits,” said DNC spokesman Josh Earnest. “From steep benefit cuts for the middle class, to risky private accounts, and now no protections for disability or survivor benefits, it’s becoming clearer every day that Bush’s real plan is to dismantle Social Security.”

Bush: Disability Benefits Won’t Be Cut. “[Bush] said he has no plans to cut benefits for the approximately 40 percent of Social Security recipients who collect monthly disability and survivor payments as he prepares his plan for partial privatization.” [Washington Post, 1/16/05]

Bush Administration Won’t Protect Disability Benefits. “Future Social Security retirement benefits for disabled workers is a matter for negotiations with Congress as it drafts solvency legislation, the Bush administration said Thursday, declining to say whether they should be raised, lowered or left unchanged. ‘Any plan that maintains current disability benefits will need to address the transition to retirement, and those details will be worked out through the legislative process,’ said White House spokesman Trent Duffy.” [AP, 5/13/05]

When a girl in the Bush family was born disabled and sickly, when she died, her parents went out to play golf the same day and never mentioned her name again, we don't know it and Bush never utters it, either.

The men and women being destroyed in the Iraqi grinder are treated no kinder:

On good days, Cpl. Richard Twohig doesn't throw up or have to spend 12 to 14 hours hiding in bed with the shades drawn. The bad days come about once a week. The headaches are so bad, his knees buckle from the pain. Sometimes, his wife, Sang, has to help him into bed.
Twohig is a former Ranger and paratrooper who used to hunt, fish and play sports. He would dive under the hood of his car and make repairs or chase his 2-year-old son, Damon, or 5-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, around the yard.

Now, even on good days, too much noise or light brings on the headaches. Just the clanking of the weights at a fitness center on Fort Bragg makes him nauseated. His short-term memory constantly fails him, forcing him to have simple questions repeated. He has a constant ringing in his ears.

"I don't feel like a man anymore. I can't do normal stuff," Twohig said.

This is my husband. He is the same. Our lives have been greatly constricted by this mess. There is no money that can "fix" it. Ever. At least to keep the poor men alive and with a semi reasonable life is certainly required if we want to "support the troops" for example.

My husband and I noted today the fact that the magnet ribbons are missing from nearly all the cars now. Maybe people just want tax cuts and cut out the injured and let them die fast so they can have more tax cuts? No one ever knows when they might end up disabled. My husband was extremely fit when he ended up in the hospital, a wreck for the rest of his life. You never know.

This is why society protects people. It protects me and you. God bless if one never needs it ever. But god forfend if one does need help! You never ever know. The fickle finger of fate.

Twohig's mother, Marine Maj. Belinda Twohig, said what happened to him is an injustice. "It is sad to see that soldiers have to fight an uphill battle against the disability board," she said.

She is a Naval ROTC instructor at Florida A&M and sat on a Naval disability board.

"I was appalled. Being a Marine and having been in the military for 26 years, when young men and women are injured, especially in combat, they should be taken care of," she said.

Lt. Col. Nick Gnemi, the third member of Twohig's board, believes that he is entitled to 30 percent disability. He said that there is objective evidence that Twohig has headaches because of the accident, according to his minority opinion.

It is rare that there is a minority opinion in these cases, Waple said.

"The process is not arbitrary or capricious, but is run by a strict set of written rules and procedures for the review, documentation and rating of soldier's impairments," Garvey said.

Twohig said the Army told him when he joined that they would take care of him, and taking care of his family is part of that.

"I didn't expect them to mistreat me or anybody, even if I didn't go to Iraq," he said. "I think they are shafting everybody."

The Pentagon refused to recognize the danger of Agent Orange but were, after many years of litagation and hard work by vets eductating people, acknowledged even as we still refuse to help Vietnam's sick, the courts striking down war reparations yet again...with Desert Storm, the same story and now with this latest war, once again, the bean counters count out our heroes and send them into the gutter to die.

Useless. Get rid of them. So much for "support our troops". And anyone else, for that matter.