Our take on ObamaCare: Roll the dice

As a caregiver, what’s your take so far? In the interest of full disclosure, here’s mine:

  • Conceptually I’m all for it. My out-of-pocket, all-in medical cost for my wife and me totals $50,000 per year, WITH insurance. Incidentally, I have this “better” insurance only because of  COBRA at the moment, at an annual cost–just for premiums–of $19,000 annually even before a single dollar of copays. And they call this a government-mandated support program for the needy.
  • I have ZERO FAITH in Congress to do the right thing, and my thoughts about whether the Executive Branch can get it right aren’t much better!
  • So it’s a toss-up at best, but for me…
  • It’s worth rolling the dice. That’s because, right now, the deck is stacked completely against my family, and those of most caregivers (and the chronically ill).

I respect your opinion, but here’s one feature I most want to see succeed: the recently added federal “teeth” requiring insurers to give equal treatment to coverage limits for mental health.

The statistics show that you and/or your loved one likely suffer from at least some signs of depression or related “mental illness.” (Don’t get me started on how narrow society’s view is on what is “normal” mental health!)

Those who suffer from “physical disease” may have insurance with some coverage for depression and related conditions that further the damage to their quality of life. If they’re that “lucky,” chances are the insurance is riddled with escape hatches for the insurance companies.

Frankly, when it comes to mental health coverage for “chronic caregivers,” the vast majority  are screwed–three times!

  1. Exceptionally few family caregivers are paid for that work. (Paid caregivers are, but not on a livable wage.) Neither group, left to their own resources can typically afford insurance.
  2. Family caregivers struggle to juggle a j-o-b with benefits, that is if working outside the home is even possible for them to do.
  3. And you can just forget about any support to care for ourselves, mentally. I temper that with a slight tip of the cap for modest, insurance-funded respite care.

Don’t think for a second that this rant — my first published political outburst in 25 years — comes from any anger or resentment at providing care to my loved ones — even though those emotions burst forth on occasions, especially when I’m fatigued or exhausted. After all, I believe most of us choose to care for our loved ones out of a sense that our “second jobs” are a family responsibility first. Til death do us part!

That said, I truly would appreciate at least some help with this growing societal and very personal issue from some resource beyond my own. How many “extended families” — if you have one — ever find a way to provide caregiving collectively since our “families” now live all over the planet?

Thanks for listening. Now what’s your take?

What if they want what Congress gets instead?

What if they want what Congress gets instead?

 

Jay Kraker

About Jay Kraker

* Author, speaker, marketing and communication professional, Reiki practitioner * Primary family caregiver since 1992 * Interests include great friends, tennis, jazz, Internet marketing, reading, movies * Lives in Houston, Texas

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