When I read the article “Legislature sends AHCCCS waiver bill to Brewer” by Luige Del Puerto and Jeremy Duda, I was both frightened and fuming. My first thoughts were, “What are they thinking?” and “How can they do this?”
I don’t understand how people who profess to represent me just decide to kick me in the teeth and watch me bleed? Sending a request to the President asking to waive the requirement for States to maintain eligibility for public health benefits is doing just that to me, and others like me. Those of us who are jobless, or working poor already cannot afford health care, and taking away the one means we have of receiving care when we are sick is cruel, unfair, and inhuman. Dropping AHCCCS for two years, may help fix budget numbers right now, but what is the real cost of this action? Let’s look two years down the road and see what happens in the meantime:
1. The only place where the poor and jobless will be able to receive health care will be the emergency rooms. Why? Because that is the only place where medical staff are required to treat the sick regardless of their ability to pay.
2. Many will be sent to collections for nonpayment of their ER bills. Those individuals will still not pay their ER bills because they are not able to do so. The hospitals will have then lost money from the unpaid bills, and from paying the unsuccessful collectors.
3. Hospitals will need to lay off staff, as will those collection agencies… so there will be more jobless in need.
This is not a positive pattern. I foresee a spiral that will end with many Arizonans sinking deeper and deeper into debt and need. There are those who will die because they will not be able to receive care or purchase medication. The State of Arizona will be in no better a place in two years than it is now if this waiver is granted.
I have seen a slew of comments after this article and others where people fault those who need assistance as being lazy, begging for a handout, and undeserving of help providing their basic needs. I am none of those things. I look for jobs every day, scour online job boards and e-mail or fax resumes. I want to work – so that I can help rebuild the system and even help provide for others who are in the predicament I am in now. I am asking for help to get back on my feet, not permanent support. I am not asking for something that I have not already contributed either. I am not asking the government to take my neighbors hard earned money and hand it over to me. I have worked and paid taxes since the 1990’s, so why should I not be eligible for services funded by those taxes?
Apparently, according to what the Arizona legislature and Governor Brewer are seeking to impose, the answer to that question is because I do not have children. I do not for one second begrudge any person his or her children, nor do I disagree with benefits being available to needy children and families, but like I said, I pay taxes too. I need help too.
I am sure there are those who would read my comments here and cry “Liberal” or even “Socialist,” and to that end I offer the following information: I am a 30-something Hispanic woman who was born in the United States of America, as were the prior 2 generations of both sides of my family. I am college educated, and have a degree from the University of Arizona. I am a registered Republican, and I believe very much in what our country stands for. I refuse to believe that the Founding Fathers had in mind anything like what America has become.
I have seen comments saying that it is not anyone’s responsibility to take care of anyone else in this country. It is so sad and so scary that people no longer give a hoot about their fellow human beings. We have all depended on others to get to where we are, whether or not people want to accept or admit that. It is part of the human condition. People taking care of people is how the human race has survived for so long. If we stop now, we will wind up on the endangered species list.
As I stated in my comment to the online article, I sincerely hope that none of the people who voted to take away medical benefits from the poor – the poor who VOTE and pay taxes – never ever find themselves in need. Two years is a really long time to be denied access to health care and will drive the level of poverty even further into the ground. I don’t use or sell drugs, I don’t drink alcohol or smoke tobacco, and I have volunteered in my community to help those in need, which now includes myself. All I need is a little help until I get back on my feet. I have been working and paying taxes for a long time, and I think that I deserve the help that I paid for already. I am not trying to leach off the system, I am trying to get some help so I can back into the workforce and help build up the system.
I am glad for this opportunity to make my voice heard. Apparently the one I cast in the ballot box is not enough anymore.
Jennifer M. Kiolbasa