Medicare and Medicaid Idiocy in NC

(the below is based on my understanding of how this all works)

[rant]

Medicare is a federal thing, granted to people over 65 (or 67?) and to the disabled (and some others). To receive Medicare as a person with a disability (PWD), one must be declared “disabled” by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA determines the declaration on the person’s ability to obtain and maintain “gainful employment”. SSA is completely employment based. PWDs who gain the declaration from SSA receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). The amount paid is based on how much the person paid into the program while working. If a person was self-employed and did not pay into the program, they are not eligible for SSDI nor Medicare.

Medicaid is a state thing. Most states base the eligibility on income although there are other criteria.

A person can have one and not the other or they can have both. I have both. I have Medicare because I applied for and was granted SSDI about ten years ago. Since I cannot be on Lorna’s insurance even if we were married (DOMA), I have both medical and prescription coverage under Medicare. I have Medicaid since they only consider my income and, including royalties and SSDI, I only earn about 11K a year. Because Lorna and I are not married, she is seen as a housemate. Even though we support each other financially, her income is not taken into account.

Like most states, North Carolina is losing money. And like most state governments the first place they discuss cutting is Medicaid. NC has a new Republican governor, Pat McCrory who from the beginning is proving to have his head up his ass, one hand on the Bible, and the other hand doing a circle jerk with the other Republicans and the corporations who own them. One of his first moves was to threaten closing several liberal art state college programs, primarily any gender studies. Even though hundreds if not thousands of businesses (including rape crisis and victim advocates) use these educational programs, McCrory believes they are wasting tax money.

Now McCrory wants to “privatize” Medicaid. His idea is to have 3-4 groups hand out the money in the form of physicians having only X amount of dollars to spend on each Medicaid patient.

Let that sink in a minute.

Several years ago, Medicaid tried to limit how many physical therapy visits a patient could have. I can’t remember the amount but it was ridiculously low. So low that many patients with chronic conditions would have run out of their yearly allotment in less than 6 months. I was one of those people. I could probably go to PT twice a week and have something legitimate to work on. We had to teach me the steps, have me do it at home, then come back in two weeks to discuss and learn the next. It was tricky because I had to make sure I was doing it right, had to make up materials and equipment, etc etc etc. It was a pain in the ass for me and the PTist. She actually used me as a case study to present to the state board as she and other PTist began their “Are you fucking nuts?!” discussions. Other problems were because I didn’t fit into any single box in terms of medical definitions. I didn’t have paraplegia so I wasn’t eligible for certain things even though I needed it. I didn’t have MS so I wasn’t eligible for other things. We did a lot of headbanging for about two years until it was “fixed”.

And what McCrory wants to do is worse. This would limit not just my PT, but everything from blood work to equipment to tests to surgery. What happens if my doc runs out of my funds and I get ill? Or what if I am healthy and don’t use my allotment? Do I then have less the next year?

Hey, McCrory, you want to save the state money? How about taking a pay cut like everyone else has? No? How about looking at the money the state pays each year for those idiots to build their big houses on sand and expect the state to rescue their asses year after year when hurricanes come? No? Still stuck on chasing pennies while hundreds blow in the wind? Okay, then take a look at how much the state is paying for medical equipment. The 24v gel cell deep cycle batteries for my chair cost the state $500 each. My chair uses 2 of them. The state “rents” my CPAP for 13 months then buys it for me. In that 13 months, you could have bought me about 3 machines of much better quality than the dumb doorstop I got. You won’t pay for my $50 a year dental check up but you will pay the $14K dentures I will soon need. Shall I go on?

Better yet, allow Lorna and I to marry so I am no longer eligible for Medicaid! Wouldn’t that be so simple? Wouldn’t that save the state a ton of money since I’m sure we’re not the only lesbian/gay couple with this situation?

[/rant] (for now)

http://www.mountainx.com/article/49611/State-officials-to-visit-Asheville-will-discuss-Gov.-McCrorys-Medicaid-proposal

Migraine Mania

“Ah, a good day,” she said as she slumped in her seat, eyes closed, her hand rubbing her temple.

I got up this morning with a slight headache. Usual stuff. I was intent on eating a good breakfast and getting some work done. Ha.

I have headaches and migraines. Yay. Today I first tried drinking a Coke and took Tylenol and ibruprfen (my “cocktail”). Often, that’s all I need to nip it before it grows but it didn’t work and I ‘sploded. I also took a cool shower (needed one anyway, ya know?). The sensation of the water on my head feels sooo good during a migraine.

Fun fact: touch sensation travels faster to the brain than pain sensation. It is why we rub our elbow or knee or whatever when we bump against something. So the pounding of the water on my head drowns out the pain. Neat, huh?

After that, I went straight for the Big Gun (Relpax), ate some Ritz, drank water, and tried another Coke. It didn’t stop it. By this time, Lorna was home and we discussed options. I took Bacolfen and Skelaxin (muscle stuff since it is definitely neck related) and some more of the cocktail (minus the Coke). Two hours later, I took a second Relpax. Then I tried a decongestant as my eyeballs are sore. The second Relpax made me goofy (well, worse than usual). I tilted back in my chair, put on some Robin Bullock music, and chilled out.

Finally, after umpteen pills, 12hrs after it started, it is finally backing off. My eyes hurt like someone is pressing in with their thumbs and it feels like someone else is behind me pressing against the base of my skull. And a third person (getting crowded in here) is squeezing my head in a vise. Yeah, need some schizophrenia meds, too, eh?

I see the Headache Doc in a few weeks. I take amitriptyline to prevent the every day just because I am Me headaches. It seemed to be working at first but the last several months they are coming back. We added Baclofen to try and get my neck (and the rest of me) to loosen up. Then we added the Relpax to stop the Big Kahuna ones (yes, I name everything. Have to. Else it gets too heavy).

And that was just today.

I’ve tried some homeopathic remedies in the past but could never seem to find the right one. The headaches are related to my neck issues. They won’t do surgery because my arms don’t have any loss of sensation. I have several neck braces but I hate them all for vanity reasons mostly. The Headmaster Collar is the one I go to the most. Still hate it though.

So…if anyone has any ideas, I am open to suggestions. And no, Lorna won’t let me cut my head off. I’ve asked. She’s so picky.

Bullies

I visit a website/blog called “Crumbs from the Communion Table“. It is an awesome source of inspiration and demonstrates that there is a middle ground where we can all meet and discuss each others side of the story.

Today he posted a video featuring a news anchor somewhere. Doesn’t matter where she is, but what does matter is the message she has to give.

It is so true. Kids repeat what they see and hear.

When my niece and nephew visit us, what they see and hear are some road rage ranting (use your turn signal, gas is on the right, and get off the damn phone); some parking rules (stupidity is not a disability entitling you to that handicap parking spot nor does ‘I’m only going in for a minute’ mean you can park in the hash marks); and how two lesbians’ lives are not that much different from any one else (I don’t know, hon, what do you want to do?). I hope that I do not teach them that calling people names (other than idiot, hang up the damn phone and drive) is a good thing.

No One Can Answer

No one can answer the question I posed the other day. I’m still waiting.

I found myself questioning my faith but I believe I have pulled my self out of that. I was deeply depressed. I respected Mr. Graham tremendously and considered him very knowledgeable on the Bible. Not any more. If he believes, as he says, that the Bible actually defines marriage at all, then he must be losing his mind. I had briefly hoped that it was Franklin Graham who was releasing the statement in his father’s name (oh how ironic that line is) but others say it cannot be due to the way it is worded.

“Watching the moral decline of our country causes me great concern,” said Graham, 93, who lives near Asheville. “I believe the home and marriage is the foundation of our society and must be protected.”

You’re right, sir, the home and marriage is one of the foundations of our society. Yet, you wish to deny me both. Why? You honestly believe that keeping me and others like me from marrying will automatically strengthen others? Please, sir, I wish to know. I can’t marry in this state anyway. The failing of this amendment won’t change that. So what is its purpose? Why are you so for it that you step outside of your long policy of staying out of politics? Why put down the people you say are such sinners? You aren’t bringing us closer to God by doing this. Instead, you are pushing us further away. If your God–I often wonder if I worship a different deity than you and others like you worship–considers me a sinner simply because who I choose to love, then I do not want to follow that god. Thank you, sir, for pointing this out to me. Thank you, sir, for tossing another stone.

****

Some news linkages about Mr. Billy Graham (I have decided to drop his Reverend title).

BibliFact Brief: Billy Graham and Marriage in the Biblical Sense

With all due respect to Reverend Graham, who has tended to avoid engaging in political debates about homosexuality and gay marriage, the Bible does not clearly define marriage. Nor is the Bible clear that God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. Nor is the Bible straightforwardly applicable to any of the current policy debates about gay marriage, civil unions, and homosexuality.

Billy Graham and Amendment 1: A Tarnished Legacy

The fact that the 93-year-old Graham, who was born during the final days of World War I, supports marriage discrimination is not, in and of itself, surprising, when one considers both his age and his evangelicalism. What is rather surprising, however, is the fact that he’s made such a public anti-gay pronouncement at all. After all, the man has been essentially in retirement since 2007. Since that time, he’s left most of the right-wing craziness to his son, Franklin “President Obama may or may not be a ‘son of Islam'” Graham, and his daughter, Anne “9/11 was God’s way of getting back into the government and our schools” Graham Lotz.

Billy Graham backs North Carolina amendment to ban gay marriage

Graham’s newspaper ad will say: “The Bible is clear–God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. I want to urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote for the marriage amendment on Tuesday, May 8. God bless you as you vote.”

The bill proposing the amendment says only a simple majority of votes is needed for the amendment to pass.

Supporters of the amendment hailed Graham’s endorsement.

“Reverend Graham understands that we as North Carolinians have a duty to preserve God’s first institution–marriage,” said Tami Fitzgerald, Chairwoman of Vote FOR Marriage NC, a group supporting the measure, in a statement. “We cannot be silent as activists work to radically redefine marriage–an institution that has been fundamental to our civilization for thousands of years.”

Opponents of the amendment lamented the move.

“While we were disappointed to see his endorsement it doesn’t change much,” said Paul Guequierre a spokesman for the Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families. The coalition, which includes pastors from across the theological spectrum, opposes the amendment. “We have respect for (Graham) but we will continue to work with our clergy on this.”

Amendment One

This will probably be the shortest post I have ever written. Or the longest depending on if I get wound up.

Will someone please tell me, without using religion, how my 22 yr relationship with the same woman in any way, shape, or form causes anyone else’s relationship to falter, fail, or not even happen?

Because if the only reason you have is that God Said So, then keep the law off the books. God also said don’t wear mixed textiles and to not eat pork. Yet there’s no law on the books forbidding either of these or the umpteen hundreds of laws also in Leviticus.

Rev. Billy Graham, you have fallen from grace today. I am very disappointed and I think God is too.

Something to Think About

Sometimes I find a blog post or article that says something I so desperately want to say. And they say it much better than I could ever do.

First, go read this post:
I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.

Check this out, and feel free to correct me if I get this wrong…

According to Christians, Jesus taught a couple of interesting things. First, “love one another.” Second, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (“Her” being a woman who cheated on her man.)

According to Buddhists, Buddha taught a couple of thought-provoking things. First, “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” Second, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

According to Hindus, a couple of fascinating teachings come to mind. First, “Do not get angry or harm any living creature, but be compassionate and gentle; show good will to all.” (Krishna) Second, “Love means giving selflessly, excluding none and including all.” (Rama)

According to Muslims, Muhammad taught a couple interesting things as well. First, “A true Muslim is the one who does not defame or abuse others; but the truly righteous becomes a refuge for humankind, their lives and their properties.” Second, “Do you love your creator? Love your fellow-beings first.”

According to Judaism, their scriptures teach a couple remarkable things. First, “Love your neighbor like yourself.” Second, “Examine the contents, not the bottle.”

The greatest spiritual leaders in history have all preached love for others as the basis for all happiness, and never did they accompany such mandates with a list of unlovable actions or deeds. They never said, love everybody except for the gays. Love everybody except for the homeless. Love everybody except for the drug users. Love everybody except for the gang members, or those covered in ink, or the spouse abusers. They didn’t tell us it was okay to love everybody with the exception of the “trailer trash,” those living in poverty, or the illegal immigrants. They didn’t tell us it was okay to love everybody except for our ex-lovers, our lovers’ ex lovers, or our ex-lovers’ lovers. The mandate was pretty damn clear, wasn’t it?

Then go read this one:
A Teen’s Brave Response to “I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay”

I am the Christian mother of a 15 year old teenage boy and about a month ago he came home from school with a copy of your article “I’m Christian, unless you’re gay”. The teacher gave his class a homework assignment to read it and write a 500 word essay about “what it meant to them”.

He came home and showed me your article and asked me what I thought about it. I read just the title and became furious at his teacher and at you (even though I know you had nothing to do with her handing out the assignment). Anyway, I confiscated it from him and told him he wasn’t to do anything with it till I had a chance to read it first.

And then I got madder and madder as I read it as I felt like it was a direct attack against our beliefs and our Christian religion and that it was promoting homosexuality, a practice that around here is a huge “sin”.

I gave my son an earful about homosexuality and God and told him that he could tell his teacher that he would not be participating and if she had a problem, she could come talk to me and then I threw the article in the trash. My son didn’t say anything just walked into his room and shut the door.

Both posts are rather long. But bear through them to the end.

Now, sit back and THINK. Really really hard. THINK. Not just now, this moment, but always. Before you open your mouth, THINK. Before you gossip, THINK. Before you put down, speak against, say angry things, say bad things, say jokes that put down someone. THINK.

#ToMyUnbornChild

As I have said numerous times, I don’t Tweet. I wouldn’t know how if I wanted to. I have no desire to tweet and probably never will.

The number one reason is it would cause me pain to write in such horrible short hand. I rarely ever use it with cell phone texts. We are dumb enough as a nation without us purposely doing it. Did you know that college students continually hand in papers that have txtspk or tweet type of writing??

The second reason is it seems to draw in the stupids. Just like AOL seemed to attract them like moths to a flame, so does Twitter. High ranking politicians tweeting a mostly naked photo of themselves. Influential athletes saying stupid shit and surprised people took offense.

From what I understand, you send a message to someone by putting @ then their username. And you keep something on topic by using # then the topic name. Anyone subscribed/following to that topic name will get it. I think that is how it goes. There’s one called #ToMyUnbornChild where folks are pretending the tweet is going to their unborn offspring. How sweet, right? Well, for most it is. For others, they use it as a platform to show their stupidness or perhaps to prove they ought to be spayed or neutered before they truly do give birth.

I found out about this via a blog called “Raising My Rainbow“. This super strong and patient yet human woman is blogging about her youngest son who is ‘gender creative’. It has been wonderful being reminded that not all parents are wonky idiots and are capable of adapting to suit their child, not the other way around. Anyway, she had a new entry where she writes a letter to the unborn children of some of the people using the hash-tag #ToMyUnbornChild. It is wonderful.

I’m sorry that your parents, though they have not been blessed with you yet, have already threatened to beat you, kill you, burn you, make you sleep in the oven, hang you from a bridge, step on your throat, drown you, stab you and/or shoot you. Your parents don’t represent the goodness that can be found in humanity, they represent the worst.

It doesn’t mean that you are fated to be like them. It means that you don’t have to do much to be better than them. So start there…then soar.

Not being a follower of Tweets, I didn’t know what she was talking about so I followed her link to here: 100 Real Tweets from Homophobes Who Would Murder Their Gay Child. I only got so far before the depression got too strong. Hopefully, these people (and the others who were not listed) were showing off for their friends. Hopefully, they don’t really mean it. Hopefully they won’t reproduce.

I recently finished a novel where the Religious Right has replaced the Republican party (all it would be is a name change at this point) and they have turned the US and other nations into something worse than the al-Qaida could ever be. Things like this prove to me that fiction is not that far off from reality. That this nation and others are slowly choking the citizens into compliance. I would think and hope that the more technologically advanced a society gets, the less fanatic it is in terms of religion. But it seems to be the opposite. Instead of embracing technology as a way to spread their message of a loving God, they use it to spread how much their god hates everyone else. Fit this mold or die.

Even if you are a newborn, fresh and new and totally clueless as to what being homosexual is, you fit this mold or die.