What’s going on?

We listen to the stories every day on the radio, in the news, we read the blogs, newspapers and magazines.  And yet we turn to our friends and colleagues, loved ones and lovers, shaking our heads. What is it that has driven our Nation to this point? Every voice cries out that this day in our Nation’s history is one not to be taken lightly.

Children and seniors, mothers and daughters, veterans and teachers in Michigan cannot drink water without fearing the ongoing and already devastating affects of being poisoned by the drink of life, today and always. Water, they cannot drink water.

There is ongoing gun violence in this Nation like no other.  Gun violence in this Nation is literally like no other.  Our mothers and daughters, sons and neighbors continue to be victimized and to die in vain. And we still, as a Nation, refuse to acknowledge that a “Constitutional” right to bear arms is less valuable than the right to live free of fear from senseless and tragic violence.

And much of this violence disproportionately affects people of color, the brown and black folks, wrongly pulled over, or verbally or physically abused, killed, by people in authority who have gone too far.

Our Muslim brothers and sisters are wrongly profiled as well and bear the brunt of the fear running through our Nation which refuses to be quieted through communication and discourse.

A man who wants to lead this Nation of ours, claims that all Mexicans are drug dealers and rapists; he refuses to disavow support from leaders of the KKK, one of the ugliest terrorist groups this Nation has ever seen and screams about building walls, reducing access to healthcare for people with low income and shakes his fist at every nation of the globe who dares to act in any way contrary to his ignorant rants.

This ignorant hate speech and these ramblings have actually drawn people–our neighbors and friends some of them I imagine,  from the rural and urban nooks and crannies of our country, folks from small towns and big cities alike have voted for hatred.

People, I ask you, what’s going on?

Yesterday I met with a disabled client who is so disabled that he chose not to sit down in my office during the entire meeting. He was afraid that he might not be able to get back up. That was really hard for me to handle, to continue to do what I needed to do, all the while wanting to cry for him. I see a lot of vulnerable people but this angered me and hurt me to see, because I knew his appointment in my office was one based purely on government error which had caused him grave and serious consequences that are life-altering.

I met with him to discuss his Medicaid, including his Medicaid covered home health care benefits.  Medicaid provides this low income senior a personal care aide who can assist him in maneuvering in and out of the hospital bed in his apartment which he spends much of his day in.  These Medicaid home health care and other services keep him from living in a nursing home isolated from his friends, family and community that he loves. When he is seated, he has to keep one foot elevated for most of the day due to a medical condition which causes him greater pain otherwise.

He continues to be eligible for Medicaid but his coverage lapsed two months ago due to an administrative error.  Due to this government error and negligence, he is now without access to medical treatment, for example he has been denied physical therapy and medical appointments that are critical to his continued health. He found his way to our office after a referral from a dedicated community social worker.  This client is a victim of government inefficiencies brought on by, among other things, in my opinion, the WAR ON POVERTY in this country. 

The War on Poverty, I mean to say, the WAR ON POOR PEOPLE.  Programs that support and serve the most vulnerable among us are constantly under attack and they leave people like my client at risk for less opportunities to live healthy and fulfilling lives.  My client has never not been eligible for Medicaid these last few months.  He in fact continues to be physically and financially eligible for Medicaid.  And because he is a senior, his Medicaid coverage helps pay costs (like co-pays and monthly premiums) for health care services paid for by Medicare.

The problem with my client is purely technical on paper: his Medicaid was not timely “recertified” so the coverage ended.  But it doesn’t feel technical to him. It feels devastating.

He complied with the government requirement to submit his Medicaid recertification paperwork. The government agency has however not processed it timely, so the coverage lapses in a computer somewhere in oblivion and the results in reality are devastating.

An inadequate number of government staff to READ, PROCESS and APPROVE Medicaid cases affects people in real time. When you think about government spending and reducing waste, yes there is always room for improvement, there is always room for more efficiencies, but don’t forget about the seniors and the single moms, the children without food or medicine or medical treatment.

These are our friends, neighbors, retired teachers living on limited retirements, the elderly veteran living on nominal amount of VA benefits, the survivor of domestic violence and her children, these are the folks who are affected like no other when budget crunches and funding cuts cause critical government services to be cut in half.

This is not a post about how government workers do not care to do the right thing.  It’s not about that.  It’s about an inadequate number of people dedicated to do those things that we consider absolutely critical to keeping the myth alive that this is the greatest Nation on Earth.  I mean, that’s what they say, and in so many ways it is.  But oh people, “you have some explaining to do”.

What’s going on?

 

 

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