One Single Mama's Healthcare Crisis

We all know the health care situation in America is, for the lack of a better term, messed up. Half of the people who need actually need health care don't have it and can't afford it. I'm one of those people who needs health care. I certainly can't afford it, and unfortunately, most people don't want to insure me. Since that law that will allow people with pre-existing conditions to get insurance doesn't go through until 2014, I'm screwed.

I recently applied for medicaid thinking there was no way I could get denied. My only claimable income in child support, which is $10 less than what my rent is. I do have a small business, but the income for that is so sporadic, there isn't even a way to claim it, and it's certainly not enough to cover health insurance. So since my child support barely covers my rent and I have other bills to pay (electricity, transportation, etc.) then I should get medicaid, right? Wrong. In Texas you can only make a whopping $163 per month for a family of two to be approved for medicaid. What!? Homeless people who stand on the side of the road asking for money probably make more than that. Texas has basically made it so that no one can be covered by medicaid, unless you are a child or pregnant.

Their logic boggles my mind. Yes, low-income children and pregnant women should be covered, but as soon as you have a baby you are no longer covered under their care. What happens when these children's parents can't get the care, preventative and otherwise, that they need? Children need parents. There's no argument there. If I don't figure out a way to get health insurance or to be seen by doctors then there's a chance that I could die, and that would leave my son without a mother. Is that better than raising the monthly income allowance to a rate that is more feasible?

The law states that each state can make their own medicaid guidelines. In Massachusetts a family of two can make up to $1,200 a month. In California they practically give insurance away. What gives, Texas? 

Here's the thing. I had stage 3 cancer. After I had my 2 surgeries in 2009, they told me I had a 50% change of recurrence. In order to make sure I don't have any cancer in body, and that they catch it early if I do, I have to have C/T scans approximately every 6 months. I believe that's for the first 3 years, and then I can move it to once a year. If anything abnormal was to ever come back on my C/T scan then I would have to go in for a PET scan. Now let's talk cost. Me, a single, uninsured, practically 300% poverty level female, has to pay approximately $6,000 out of pocket for a C/T scan. This is the price that MD Anderson sent me for an uninsured patient (which means it costs even more if you have insurance, but if you have insurance then they pay for a lot of it). That's just the C/T scan. The last one I had took about 20 minutes because they just do my head, chest, and neck. Now if it does come back abnormal and I have to have a PET scan it would be a full body scan and take about an hour. The average cost of a PET scan is about $7,000. If something were to come back abnormal that would ultimately mean I would need a surgery or some kind of radiation or chemo. My two surgeries in 2009 (without any chemo or radiation) cost roughly $80,000. What's a person to do in this situation?

I have done copious amounts of research. I've contacted cancer societies and google searched until my eyes almost bled and the answer is always the same, there's nothing I can do except rack up insane medical bills that I will only be able to pay if I win millions of dollars in the lottery, but that's a catch-22 because I don't even have the extra money to PLAY the damn lottery, and if you don't play then you can't win.

The real kicker? There's an organization in Austin that gives working musicians health insurance. It's a wonderful organization and I am glad that it's around for people who need it, BUT WHAT ABOUT ME!? Where's the organization that can help me!? The only thing I want in life is to be able to stay alive so I can watch my son grow up, and so I can do all the things that I have ever wanted to do. Texas would  apparently rather see the poor people die. I'm lost. Really lost. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions that I might not have already thought of, I welcome it with open arms.

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