A Rant From the 47%: Alzheimer, Medicare, & Medicaid

After another phone call by a local home medical supply company to harass my mother into trying to find a way to BUY a hospital bed for her 100 year old mother I am way beyond pissed off and truly need to vent. The latest in this saga has them now calling and telling her that Medicare will not pay for the bed railings that currently are on the bed to prevent an ALZHEIMERS patient from falling out of the bed an injuring herself.  And since Medicare has not PAID them yet she offered the opportunity to BUY the bed outright. REALLY?

Listening to the oblivious idiots running for office this election blithely express their desire to deconstruct medicare and medicaid understandably sets my blood to boiling. Not to mention those willfully ignorant who will actually go to the polls and vote for this. Let me share some of what you can expect if you manage to live into “old age”.

My grandmother turned 100 years old this past February. She was born in 1912 on a farm in South Carolina and lived her early years and beginning adulthood share cropping. After marriage and the birth of two of her children, she realized, rightfully so that she could not provide a good future for them if she stayed where she was. She like many others did during the “northern migration” moved to New York where she literally knew no one and wound up scrubbing floors and working as a maid.

It allowed them to have money  for rent and to eat  but it was not something that was a “career” vocation. My grandmother always had an interest in sewing and dressmaking. This interest became manifest when she eventually was able to obtain a job working in a sewing shop and proudly became an ILGWU member. She paid her dues and worked until she retired at 65. During that time she was able to purchase her own home and pay off her mortgage, raise two children and send money back home to her family in South Carolina.

Flash forward to today, my grandmother is now 100 years old. She has worked hard  all her life. She was not wealthy monetarily but she was able to provide a living for herself and her family. Now battling with Alzheimer’s, and legally blind, she is unable to care for herself and currently lives with her daughter, my mother. Because of the vagaries of the medicaid system with regards to assets, she has been denied medicaid repeatedly. Mind you she has no assets save a bank account into which her Social Security check and very small pension check is deposited into. Her house was sold years ago, and the small scrap of land she purchased back in  the 1950’s was transferred over into her daughters name.

In spite of all this she is not eligible for medicaid. She was receiving care under a hospice program which – upon constant  reviews eventually determined that she was no longer eligible for services (she was too healthy) and closed her case and took away services from her. The attendant that came by three times a week and the social worker were all stopped. This also  included the payment and or fees associated with the hospital bed. Now the medical supply company is calling my mother several times a week to harass her about paying for the bed. This is even after they were notified by the doctor who sees my grandmother that they would write a scrip for the bed so that it would be covered under medicare guidelines.

Apparently they have not been paid yet. So instead of calling Medicare or the doctor, they are calling an 80 year old woman to “inquire” about payment and to inform her that the current set of bed railings on the bed are not covered under medicare and to ask how she wishes to pay for them?

I have answered the phone on a few occasions when they have called but at this point I don’t  have the patience to talk to their “representatives” on the phone anymore.  I am right now so incredibly pissed off and what keeps resonating in my mind is the “47% of those who do not pay taxes, are moochers and will never be responsible” comment that was put forth by a person who believes that medicare should be turned into a voucher system (in some of his incarnations).

Those speaking so cavalierly of the medicare and medicaid system – who insist that a visit to the local emergency room will take care of all that ails you. I would like to invite them to come for a visit. Speak to a 100 year old woman who did everything she was supposed to do and now at this point in her life has to bear witness to phone calls from people threatening to take her bed away.

Thankfully, she has Alzheimer’s – she won’t remember any of this.

But I will – On November 6th – Vote for Obama/Biden – I cannot in good conscience do otherwise.