Yeah, I know it’s not as simple as just “living off the system”. Obviously. There are many reasons that someone might find themselves receiving medical assistance. This article at CNN.com this morning really got me thinking about how difficult it can be to complain about receiving “free” medical. In this particular article, the family struggles relentlessly over getting coverage in a desperate attempt to keep their daughter alive. Having Medicaid can be a frustrating process of denial, long waits for desperately needed help, “glitches” that drop your children’s insurance the day of their surgery and other incidents that can be extremely difficult to fix.
There is fraud with Medicaid. Just like there is fraud everywhere. People scamming the elderly out of their pensions with fake phone calls, or perhaps an online fundraiser for someone pretending to have cancer. People posting a rental for sale, asking for upfront payment and then disappearing, no rental in sight. For every crevice in society, there is fraud. Government isn’t devoid of it either.
However, there is a special kind of online hatred for people who are on any type of welfare. Whether it be short term food stamps to supplement a sudden layoff, or needing to apply for the children’s health insurance in your state when your income drops off or isn’t enough to pay for standard coverage. Today’s armchair specialist will sometimes be the first to say, “Well, I need to get ready to go to work so I can pay for your dinner tonight/prescription/hospital visit” and many other choice comments.
So, when my husband passed away suddenly at the age of 40, I was able to apply for Social Security and with that comes medical. With only two months left on his policy, there are no words to express my relief when I found out we would have coverage. His company generously paid for an extra month of coverage so we would have something during that awful transition. They knew I had two young children with Autism at home and that I had recently stopped working to take care of them full time. They were wonderful people.
However, I would notice that online, whenever any type of welfare was brought up, people I knew as well as many anonymous comments online would speak of people on any type of assistance as scum, losers, scammers etc. Do they exist? Sure they do and from what I read, it’s not just a few people either. We’ve all seen the story of the person claiming disability and you see pictures of them water skiing, riding a mechanical bull etc, all while claiming they can barely stand up. Yet, when I would comment about people being so mean, people who know me would say, “Oh we’re not talking about you.” Well, then you sure sound like it when you generalize like that.
There is gratitude that will never leave me for what having the medical has done for my life. My children were able to receive therapy for the loss of their father. My son was able to keep receiving medication that keeps him from being hospitalized due to his issues. My daughter can have medical checkups, her flu shot. I work from home part time and it’s allowed me to supplement my income and still take care of the kids. In some ways, I think I’ll probably need to support them (in other words, I think they will live with me for a while) for longer than many families might need to.
I see this meme all over the place, posted by many people and on sites all the time. Yet, some of the same people will again post another one saying, “Like and Share if you think everyone on welfare should be drug tested and kicked off the system we pay for!” or “Pass this on if you think free medical should be for everyone, not just the losers who won’t work!” You really don’t know. I remember the nasty looks I got when my husband was laid off for six weeks years ago. I received a food benefit card for those six weeks and you would hear the “must be nice to get free food I’m paying for” and other words of *kindness*. It kept food on my table until he was called back to work and the card was canceled.
I wish there were more acts of kindness in the world and that people would take time to seriously consider that little meme up there. It takes so little to be kind and sometimes to say nothing at all.