Monday, October 13, 2008
The Powers That Beat: A Brief History of Tennessee Healthcare
Tennessee Healthcare & The History of Me
(For Historical Reference)
1996: Throughout the three year process of filing appeal after appeal after appeal, I acquired well over 1/4 million dollars in debt due to uninsured medical expenses and student loans. My life will never be the same. My heart will never be the same.
1999: Patient X: Corporate TennCare adjusted the prescription formulary over Memorial Day in 1999 and failed refused to offer a 3-day or 14-Day emergency supply as mandated by Grier.
2001: I have no other benefits. No Social Security checks to count on; no disability payments to pull together; no Medicare to meet me when the bottom falls out, again. This surely is not the first time my Medicaid has not come through as a reliable source of payment. It is not even the second or third time. It more like the eight or ninth, maybe more often than that. I only recently qualified for Medicaid some eight months ago! Since then, I have already acquired several thousand dollars in unpaid medical expenses that have made their way to collection agencies.
2002: Before my benefits were stabilized, learning to navigate the system consumed every waking moment of my life. I was unable to work or attend school on any substantial level and I am frightened to see at might happen if I were to stray from my established, stabilized, treatment plan. If I lose my benefits, will I still be able to work? To function? To be productive?
2005: The massive number of people being dis-enrolled or limited in their access to medical care and other social services will no doubt create significant anxiety, confusion, and chaos for everyone involved in the social service and health care industries.
2006: Without my current level of benefits, I simply do not function.
2007: I remember how difficult it was for me to obtain benefits when I first applied several years ago. I am deeply concerned about how the most recent decision to eradicate yet another class of TennCare / Medicaid recipients (the Daniels class that is made up of SSI recipients by way of a pending federal waiver) will affect the poor and disabled residents in Tennessee.
MAY 2008: And even though my life has become a living hell, I have almost learned to enjoy the sheer irony of it all... for someone with OCD and post-traumatic stress, this is truly a ridiculous little experiment.
JULY 2008: I am becoming increasingly inspired to just burn every last document I own, throw away my keys and my cell phone and take Spotty some place where we can live off the land, but I have come this far, and I am becoming rather skilled at expressing myself without an audience or the obsessive need to check every fact, throw, and typo for capitalization and perfection.
AUGUST 2008: So after all this-- now I face losing my health care once again? Where is the safety net? Where is the American Dream that I so diligently chased after for so many years? What was the point spending so much on an education that will never be utilized? I understand the how; I just don't understand why.
LAST MONTH: So for now... I write. Maybe later, I'll read. But if there is any justice left in this world, maybe someday, I'll actually live.
TODAY: Good-bye for now. I need a break.