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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Golden Years Of The American Working Class

Note. After posting this article on the wonderful future the Golden Years hold for those of the working class I received this petition to sign. It seems a Conservative politician, Paul Ryan, is trying to make it more difficult for working class retirees.  The petition came to me from Credo. If you wish to sign it you can do so by clicking this sentence.  There is no way the activities of this man in his efforts to make life more difficult for those who need the most help can be considered humane or Christian without inverting the meanings of both words.

As an American retiree I am eligible to use the services made available by the government in association with its corporate partners for my healthcare needs. 

After putting their heads together the American government and the healthcare industry settled on Medicare as the answer to the healthcare needs of American retirees.  Medicare is free!  Bingo you're insured at no cost if you qualify.  But there's a problem which I discovered in real time. Medicare Part A claims to pay for Dr. visits.  Maybe in government speak they do. But I have in my hand a bill due for $35 for a doctors visit. Medicare Part A did not pay for my Dr. visit entirely.  The office visit was $180.  I'm happy that they paid the larger amount.

It's not all sunshine and daisies though. There is another part of Medicare that one must pay for. I pay $63.20 per month for this additional insurance. The doctor tells you what's wrong and then sends you to the people who are designated to fix your problems.

I was sent for a sonogram that cost $431.  Medicare paid $82.81 the insurance company paid $260.29 leaving me with a balance of $87.90 as my obligation.  If I spend a total of $3400 on my medical upkeep in a year I will receive free medical treatment from that point on until December 31 when I begin from scratch again.

These expenses are not world shaking expenses for some people. But let me put this in perspective and see how it works out.  My monthly income from Social Security is less than $1200 in addition to that I receive a stipend from the VA which is about $133 a month. 

Rent is my biggest expense. I pay $530 a month to live where I live.  But there are other expenses too. Internet is about $66.  Trash pick-up about $42.  House insurance about $31.  Electric $40 or $50. Health insurance $63.20.  Not included is a $100 a year for county taxes.   The total monthly expenses are about $770.

This leaves me with about $430 to  spend during the month.  Out of this I must buy household items, clothing, food for me and my family members. I have 4 cats which by themselves consume $100 of my income each month. If they need medical care I am their insurance provider and they are covered 100% with no out of pocket expenses whatsoever.

This kind of set up makes it a horrible experience for the retiree who accesses these benefits.  When the patient is not able to pay he receives threats from bill collectors demanding that he or she pay what they cannot pay.  If he does pay he must go without paying other bills or without necessary things like food.  Just before the hammer falls he receives shut off notices and more harassment.  Believe me this is the reality of many retirees among the American working class.

So back to the budget.   Subtract $100 from the remaining $430 and there is $330. My biggest additional expense is involved with the purchase of medicine.  My medicinal needs cost between $15 and $20 a day.  None of it is covered by my insurance.  So it is easy to see I go without my medicine a lot cause I just can't afford it.

From this it is evident what the American working class can look forward to in their golden years.  While the bills sit here looking at me this morning, yesterday I received a call from the hospital saying the Dr. had scheduled yet another sonogram, this time for my heart.  I had to decline knowing there was no way I could pay for the services.

It should be clear Medicare did pay a good amount.  But what is also evident is that even the little left to pay looks like a lot when you have $20 and two weeks to go before any more funds arrive and $12 of that has to go for cat food. 

Let this be a lesson to you.  If you are  of the working class and live in America and go to work every day and work all your life you will get you tired out, poor, sick and broke by the time you are old enough to enjoy your Golden Years. And if you have not been able to earn enough to make ends meet tough shit you should have worked harder and longer. If you don't believe me ask any conservative. You'll learn that society owes you nothing. That's how the conservative politician says "thank you for your service to the economy" to the working class citizen. Even though you contributed one third of your wages to the Federal Government and spent all you earned in American stores, conservatives argue the government owes the citizen nothing at all when it comes to meeting life's needs. I call Bullshit on that. What do you think?

Have a nice day and try not to get sick if you are a member of the working class because if you get sick you're screwed.

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A practitioner of the art of living with the intent of learning how to die without fear.