Sunday, October 21, 2012
Greetings from the 47%
Since my mom's passing in mid-September, I have written about how expensive her funeral was ($12,000 -- and it was by no means elaborate) and the problems we have had accessing her personal assets. My mom was not a wealthy woman. She had only about $10,000 at the time of her death. I do wish she had life insurance. Even a $5,000 policy would have helped us now.
But you know, she enjoyed her money in her lifetime and ultimately I think that's what it's for. I wish she had planned things a bit more wisely, but I'll get through this.
What I would NOT have gotten through are her medical bills, if she hadn't had Medicare and Medicare Part B.
Another bill came today. $1,050 for the ambulance ride from the nursing home to the hospital. It was a tough one to review because it was in the ambulance where my mom actually died. However, I filled in her Medicare/insurance information and know I'm not responsible for that bill.
Or the ones for her x-rays and diagnostics. Which are separate from the bill for her two-week hospital stay. My mother got exceptional care, and it didn't cost us a cent.
She had also been hospitalized in March of this year for the same ailment. The care she got that time wasn't as impressive, but that's due a variance in the quality of the hospitals, not of her Medicare coverage.
Had it not been for Medicare, I'd be looking at bankruptcy right now.
I'm not kidding.
MY finances are in order. I have too much debt, it's true. But I still have a stash to cover 7 months' of expenses in case I lose my job and a retirement fund and a little "household emergency" account. (My "rainy day" fund is gone, but that's OK because if this doesn't qualify as "raining," I don't know what does!) The raise I got at this time last year -- only the second pay increase I've received in 8 years -- went to pay for my long-term care insurance. I have made mistakes and could do better, but MY finances have been, by and large, handled responsibly.
Yet if it had not been for Medicare (and Medicare Part B -- a very good investment at $2,500/year), my mother's hospitalizations would have bankrupted me.
When Mitt Romney talks about the 47% of Americans "who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them," he's talking about me.
I don't have a family of my own to support. But imagine if I did! I have friends who are also dealing with tuition costs for their college aged children as well as saving for retirement. Without Medicare, a family crisis like the one precipitated by my mom's health would have been damaging to two generations.
I took care of my mother in life. I paid that $2,500/year for Part B out of my own pocket. I paid for her snow removal and gave her money for little extras every month. Of course I did. She was my mom and I loved her.
But my point is this -- I spent $300/month to care for my mom. I was a responsible daughter. I did not just leave her to "the government" to care for. Neither did my younger sister. She and her husband did repairs around my mother's house to keep it comfortable for her.
And yet, without Medicare, this past year would have bankrupted me.
What is happening to me could happen to you. It's happening to people all over the country right now. We are the 47% Gov. Romney speaks of so insensitively.
This is why I am voting for Barack Obama, and recommend you do, too.