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OP-ED/ Can You Afford To Get Sick?

By KJ Mullins     Jul 3, 2007 in Health
Where Can You Go?
If you're sick in America and working poor where can you go to get treatment? Do you have to be living on the street to be poor enough?
There's Medicaid. They claim to help those too poor to afford care.
Medicaid is available only to certain low-income individuals and families who fit into an eligibility group that is recognized by federal and state law. If you're pregnant you have a fighting chance. Blind? You should make it through the maze. Elderly? Maybe.
If you have any property though you are likely to be denied. After all you can sell your home if you need the money to afford medical care right?
The New York state income stats are:
2007 Income & Resource Levels* Number in Family Monthly Net Income Resources
1 $700 $4200
2 $900 $5400
3 $1100 $6600
4 $1109 $6650
5 $1117 $6700
6 $1134 $6800
7 $1275 $7650
8 $1417 $8500
For each additional person, add: $142 $850
Now it seems to me if you have eight people in your house and only a monthly income for that house of $1417 people aren't eating to begin with.
You are in luck if you have a pregnant woman in the house or children under the age of 6.
Infants to age one and pregnant women - 200% of the federal poverty level.
Children age 1 through 5 years - 133% of the federal poverty level.
Children age 6 through 18 years - 100% of the federal poverty level.
Monthly Income Effective January 1, 2007* Number in Family 100% FPL** 133% FPL** 200% FPL**
1 $851 $1132 $1702
2 $1141 $1518 $2282
3 $1431 $1904 $2862
4 $1721 $2289 $3442
5 $2011 $2675 $4022
6 $2301 $3061 $4602
7 $2591 $3446 $5192
8 $2881 $3832 $5762
For each additional person, add: +$290 +$386 +$580
Note that the first column is what the federal government considers to be below the poverty line. Considering a family of three on welfare in New York receives approx. $575 a month they would qualify for medicaid.
Medicaid though is limited. The medicines a person can get are limited. For adults it is more limited than for children.
For a family with a medical crisis and no insurance they either have to sell everything they have, quit their job, file for bankruptcy or ignore the medical emergency. If someone files for bankruptcy their credit is gone. They won't be able to qualify at any time for insurance because they have a bad credit history.
The circle doesn't seem to have a break in it.
Families have lost everything and still not been able to have proper medical care. People die every day in the richest country of the world because they can't afford to get sick. More babies die in the States than in many third world countries because the cost of medical care.
Parents have to choose at times which child needs treatment more than another one.
If you can afford the doctor's bill then you have to deal with the prescriptions.
So if you live in America can you afford to get sick? I hope you don't have to find out the hard way.
More about Medical, United States, Sickness
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