How Idaho Law Is Affecting My Life
I am writing this blog post to help the Idaho elected officials know how Idaho law is affecting my life and the lives of Idahoans.
I have tried to do everything you are supposed to do in life. Worked in law enforcement, security, and information technology fields to help people. Volunteered many hours with organizations to help others. Continuously moved into positions that paid more to be able to support my family better. Saved in retirement accounts and had health coverage. Tried to eat the best I could.
The sad part? Even though I tried to do all the right things, I still became disabled. Nothing I could have done about that. I had a head injury at 5 years old, followed by several others throughout my life. Obtained a recurring form of viral meningitis at age 21 that is chronic and keeps getting worse year by year. Obtained mental health problems including PTSD, depression, and anxiety that I was probably made more susceptible to because of the early head injury.
Since becoming disabled, I have had to fight hard to get the benefits that I paid for and believed would be there for me if something like this happened. Fortunately it only took me about a year to get approved for social security disability. Most people take years and years of fighting social security with lawyers to try to get their benefits. I am still fighting with my long-term disability insurance company to be approved even though it was a benefit I worked for and was part of my benefit package at my job. The problem there is the ERISA law, that lets them act in any way they want without any penalties for not acting in good faith. Their doctors even made false statements, but there is no recourse unless you sue and most lawyers won’t take the case because it isn’t financially worth it for them to spend years fighting it in court.
Lack of Healthcare Access and Options
But this post is about how after all of this, I probably won’t be able to have healthcare anymore in 2017. The Affordable Care Act had a provision in it for Medicaid expansion but the states got to decide to participate or not. Idaho decided not to. What this means, is that I can’t get payment assistance to get health care. If I made a little bit less on social security I would bet Medicaid. If I made a little bit more, I would qualify for the tax credit. But because I make a little too much and not enough at the same time, I am in a spot to only get full cost healthcare.
Because of my disability and having to fight to get my benefits, I have had to cash out all of the retirement accounts and use all my savings just to try to allow my family to live. We even have had to spend time living with family because we couldn’t afford rent on our own while fighting to get benefits. We are almost out of savings to supplement the disability payments. I even applied for, and receive, social security for my kids, but Idaho won’t include that as our household income to be able to get us into that place where we could get the tax credit.
Healthcare is a Human Right
All I want is my human right to receive health care and have the best possible life I can. I should not have to worry about possibly becoming bankrupt and homeless because I became chronically ill. I shouldn’t have to worry about dying too early because I can’t afford the proper care for my illnesses.
The United States is the only major country that does not provide health care for its citizens.
Please Help Us
I understand that people worry about too much money being taken from them to pay for others, but sometimes we need to work together to help others. I am not lazy, but am someone with a chronic illness that makes it so I can’t work. I’m one of the people in this country who are considered vulnerable. I need help, and it isn’t because I didn’t plan better. I did all the things you are supposed to do and still am having a hard time living.
For those Idaho legislators reading this post, please expand Medicaid so people like me don’t have to worry about dying due to lack of access to health care. We aren’t asking for help because we are lazy, or just want a free hand out. We are asking for help because we need it.
Life’s Hard; Be Kind