Information for parents of disabled children

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas, Mr. President.

American Christmas TreeImage via Wikipedia
Sitting here in my living room tonight, I watched the news of passage of historic healthcare legislation with a heavy heart. My son who has autism slept on the other end of the couch because today had been a bad day. How will we do this now? I thought.

You see, if we could, we'd have insurance now. The experience of Tricare was the "good old days", if you ignore the damage done by sending a father and husband off to war in order to get good insurance. Insurance companies deny us or price us out of coverage. Even reserve coverage was too high to manage with unemployment looming, so now we've gone without.

A mandate to buy insurance, I thought, looking at that obscenely bright Christmas tree in my tiny living room. If I had anything of value now, I'd sell it to get insurance, so Darrel could go back to speech therapy. If I had options, I'd go hungry to get him occupational therapy, just like I choose between good food and perscription refills now. Now, that we're to be mandated to pay the rates demanded for insurance. How will we go on? I just can't see it.

And there sits that damned Christmas tree. Oh, the things it took to make Christmas happen this year! Barely making layaway payments with my heart in my toes. Family pitching in to help with the big things. Keeping the big things to a minimum. Then this news. It's just an early present, sir.

It's not that I don't get it. Some will be helped by this plan, I'm sure. Somebody will get dental care that wouldn't have, but why do I have the suspicion that it's not my sons and daughter? Why do I have this sinking feeling that all this reform means to us is yet another bill we can't pay? All because some insurance company had the pull that the people lack, we're looking at another long year and wondering if this is the one we don't get through.

Then Leiberman says you never pressured him for a public option. That broke my hope, Sir.  A few weeks ago, I toughed out a kidney stone at home and remembered my father doing the same. He was always insured, by the way. He wanted to save the money, if he could, but our family didn't even have it. I missed work at a part-time job we couldn't afford to miss and endured pain you couldn't imagine. Do you know how many of our friends are doing the same? People who, in my father's day, would have been considered to be doing okay are reduced to home remedies and hope.

There's something fundamentally wrong with this country if nothing above this paragraph matters. It matters that someone tried to change things, I suppose. Merry Christmas!
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