Repeal and Replace and a Big Dose of Reality

I feel despondent.

Congress is determined to pass a bill that impacts health care availability.

My health care availability.

Oh, the impact to me won’t be so obvious. I have health insurance now through my current employer, and said employer is unlikely to discontinue health insurance coverage. I won’t be needing maternity care. I don’t have a catastrophic illness. I don’t have a disability or mental illness. And I live a relatively quiet life, so I’m not at high risk for injury.

But as one of those so-called older Americans- you know, I’m old but not old enough for Medicare- I will be faced with the stress of having to stay put with my current employer until I reach retirement age or face the prospect of paying out the ass for insurance. Unless, of course, I forego insurance, which is what the insurance industry and government would prefer.

The unkindest cut of all is not that my government doesn’t care about how this impacts me. It’s not that the persons who are supposed to represent me don’t.

No, the part that hurts the most is that my country as a whole doesn’t care about me. The people I work with. The people in the community where I live. My friends. My family. Tough shit, Jen. I love ya gal, but not as much as I love a tax cut.


Graybie Baby doesn’t give a shit what you think about me. He loves me as is.

Growing old has not been an easy transition for me. I work just as hard and as smart as I ever did, but these days I’m passed over for promotions in favor of younger, perkier workers. Others my age are trying to stay relevant by having plastic surgery to look younger. They try to convince the rest of us how happy they are with their lover/children/career. I’m practically invisible and generally ignored in public places. And you sure never see anyone like me on TV or movies unless it’s as someone to make fun of.

The world wants me to know in no uncertain terms that my value is not in what I am but in what I can give. As I age, I have less to give. I am not beautiful. I am not affluent. I am not rich. I am not wise. Therefore, I am not valuable.

Because I am not valuable, why should I be kept alive? No, should I get cancer or have a heart attack, better for the rest of you that I go ahead and die. Oh, you’ll pretend you care. You’ll send thoughts and prayers. But like everything else you’re too damned important to be concerned with, you’ll leave my health to your imaginary god. And when your god lets me die, you can sleep at night because it was his will I go.

I will continue to fight for myself. I just worry that the day may come when I’m no longer able to, because I know when that day comes, I can’t depend on you to be there for me.



42 thoughts on “Repeal and Replace and a Big Dose of Reality

  1. Excellent. I am in the exact same boat. And I just lost 2 dogs within 6 months of each other. Please know you are not alone on many levels.

  2. Yes, I am in the same boat as well. Thank God for our animals who provide us some comfort ! My friends are in the boat too.

      1. Well, I work in healthcare (but leaving for a job outside the industry shortly), so I see the dire impacts to what passes for a “safety net” in this country. And, no, I benefit from having white male privilege – the inequity of which bugs the crap out of me – so, yes, I’m “lucky” in that way. But I can’t stand misogyny or ageism in any form, and I grow angrier by the day.

      2. I wish that for you too. This world doesn’t put the people in charge – like you or my mom or others like you both – whose empathy and insight and, yes, frustration would make the biggest difference in the lives of so many who are feeling/living similarly

  3. My anger with the “establishment” seems not to have diminished since my days of fighting against the Vietnam war. They have never cared about any of us, including those same veterans of that war. That inability to put all of our human rights above their money may be the destruction of us all. As a woman of 63 with 3 chronic illnesses and only luck that my husband (who had 3 brain surgeries this year alone) has somewhat reasonable insurance through his work right now, the idea that even that could be taken away infuriates me. I don’t know what we can do but agree with you that our deaths will be the result of what is being done. And I don’t think they will notice.

  4. I am old enough for Medicare (by six years), and I have to say one of my most difficult aging issues has been the invisibility you described.
    It is a two-edged sword, though, as most things in life are.
    My gray hair and wobbly gait may make me invisible, but they also give me invincibility. I can really say or do anything totally outrageous and it will be glossed over as She’s just, you know, getting on up there. Sometimes it’s a matter of getting someone’s attention.
    As Gloria Steinem once wrote many, many years ago Make your life count by outrageous acts and everyday rebellions.
    From what I’ve read from you, your life still counts.Big time.

    1. No, I become more and more invisible every day. But if you know where I can get a job where I am actually treated like a valuable member of that team, point me in the direction.

  5. I don’t feel the Republican-revised health care bill will pass the House. That’s the place led by 40-something Paul Ryan who wants to eliminate Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security & unemployment insurance altogether. The wimpy Democrats, of course, only mention that fleetingly. Chuck Schumer called “mean-spirited”; a term that’s become nauseatingly common. I was angered at the sight of mostly handicapped individuals dragged away from Mitch McConnell’s office last week, as they protested the Senate bill. Again, not much from the Dems about that. That’s why I switched to the Green Party last yr & voted for Jill Stein.

    I know how you feel about the age thing, Jen. I don’t know what you look like, but I have to disagree with you one of your claims: you ARE wise. Even if you call yourself a wise-ass, I’d rather deal with that than a dumbass, which describes most everyone in Washington.

  6. I am no expert on the American health care system but I have heard a lot of concern from people who have limited health care or are struggling with co-pays & in some cases not seeing a Doctor & receiving care. It sounds pretty precarious to me Jen.
    In Canada, each Province (State) has their own health care system. In Ontario we have OHIP for health insurance coverage. A lot is covered under OHIP. We have a trillium Drug Benefit program which works well for some & marginally for others (like me!)
    At least I have a Doctor who I’ve had for 21 years who actually ‘knows’ me & listens to me (for the most part).
    I wish you God Luck & hope you can get any care you need as time goes on.
    (((hugs))) Sherri-Ellen

    1. The problems people are having now has to do with their state’s elected officials refusing to comply with the law, which hurt their constituents. That’s what happened in my state. If we’d expanded Medicaid and enforced mandatory insurance, we wouldn’t have all these problems. But hey, better to hate the black guy than do right by yourself.

      The thing I don’t get is our government can force us to carry insurance on our cars, but won’t force us to do it for our health. WTF is wrong with that picture.

  7. Not a good thing: keeping or what is proposed.
    We need to be able to select the insurance items we need…not have to pay for what we don’t. Previous conditions have to be covered.
    I am older than you – and have never paid more for less as far as insurance/medical care.
    Just be aware that under the current law, older patients can and ARE being denied physical therapy despite the fact that docs and staff says it is working an improving quality of life – but as the “healthcare team of not doctors, but insurance evaluators, medicare/federal advisors, hospital system social workers, hospital administration person all walk in a s a group -even if asked by a doctor not to as docs know this “team” is designed to emotionally depress and break down people as it is more cost efficient not to treat older patients – and discuss how “you’re old and will never get better. What quality of life are you facing? It’s not fair/right to give you money for more treatments when you can’t be fixed like a younger patient – so don’t you want to consider hospice and “let nature take it’s course – and just stop eating or refuse water?” TRUE. TRUE TRUE. Two separate hospital systems in different cities in this state – another in another state – where my elderly relatives were in for bad colds/bronchitis that was cleared and they were about to be released. As far as I am concerned their deaths are at the doors of all who voted for the current health care bill. Who the hell let them decide when a person is old. Maybe their relatives all die before 70, but ours live well past 100.
    And I won’t go into the other family cases of cancer patients who have been harmed by this bill – or the single mom who lost her job when the employer decided to stay under the mandatory limit to provide health care insurance – and others who lost insurance coverage by their professional groups as those groups could not cover all health issues for all members as mandated. I could go on with the nightmares we have dealt with since that bill passed.
    Canada has problems too – we know multiple docs/nurses/friends having to deal with that – many relocate here to work or come here for treatment. Works great if you are young and healthy.
    It is a huge mess. I no longer trust elected officials to do what is best or right for the general voting public. (And of course they have their own special health care…)
    Yes, I’m very very concerned. Even with medical conditions, we trust ourselves more than bureaucracy to deal with our medical care – the feds can’t even run the VA and take care of veterans. Scary

    1. I disagree with paying only for what we need. If that were the case, then why the hell am I paying for Medicare? I’m not paying in for my own coverage; I’m paying for the coverage of those on it today, and the generations behind me will pay for mine (if I get any. The way things are going, I won’t have that either). Insurance is a program of pools. You pay for the pool, not just for yourself. If you want to only pay for yourself, open a savings account and don’t carry insurance at all.

      And that stuff about old people being told to die? Oh no. Doctors don’t make money by sending people home to die. Doctors make money providing services, especially with procedures. Doctors love to do FAR MORE than you need because that’s how they get paid. Now some doctors file for procedures they never perform. Maybe those people you know need to change doctors, because I’m sure the one they’re seeing now is saying they’re doing a lot of stuff.

      Canada isn’t perfect, but Canada doesn’t have people not getting needed health care.

      And the news says the VA sucks. The vets I know personally tell me the VA is great. Go figure.

      1. First most doctors work for hospital systems now. They are paid a set salary and the surgeons I know are working 70-80 hours a week. The hospital systems are cleaning up – in many hospitals here there’s hospital guidelines about what (needless) tests are run ( so they can make money – if the hospital has empty beds, watch out…the stay and treatment will be longer and more costly) It is the current fed rulings/insurance companies that mandate “consulting” elderly patients despite their doctors actually blocking the door and warning family members – whether you want to believe it or not – it is true and in the current health care mandate. Older patients may be denied care by medicare/medicade it “guidelines determine the individual isn’t making/meeting benchmarks of improvement despite the reality that improvement is slower with someone over 65 than someone much younger. (Those elected officials should have read the darn bill before signing) Some hospital systems/insurance companies award bonuses to the “Health care team members” who boot patients who do not have extra/additional insurance policies to nursing homes so they do not end up with costs that no one will pay – done for all ages: keep firm grasp on them them until all insurance/medicare is used up and boot them out…let the nursing home/hospice get what money is left over.
        We have a large family of cancer survivors/preexisiting conditions/ of all ages many over 80. We fight the insurance companies (who are making a fortune and still government gives them money), hospital systems and medicare constantly. It is crashing.
        Fortunately we all have saved for emergencies – like medical savings plan idea. It is what we all did before and what we prefer – let us decide what treatments are needed and where/who gives them – not some clerk and list of requirements. We dislike having to be the ones who took care of health issues/lifestyle so we would be healthy and resent paying for those who make other choices that make them unhealthy ( like smoking, drug addicts, not exercising, fast food diet, not taking measures to control dangerous weight with then causes health issues, drunk driving, riding a motorcycle without a helmet…those people should pay more for insurance and healthcare – they make their own choices.)
        We know multiple Canadian docs and friends there. Health care isn’t as advertised for all. There are frequently long waits. Some have relocated here with families. In Canada docs have a set salary by the state and once that amount is achieved by cases (each with regulated price) they have a choice to work in Canada for free, stay home ( some take 6 months vacation), or others get visas and come work in the US (we are an underserved area as far as number of docs needed – most places are now that so many have retired rather than deal with the nonsense. 3rd largest city in the US here) The ones with visas almost always have any medical work they need done here before returning to Canada – they have work insurance and they say they don’t have to wait for months or even years to get treatment here.
        It’s a huge mess.
        I would prefer we all keep our “retirement money”/ healthcare in our own bank accounts. – I’m a better saver than DC. and those elected now millionaire representatives, staff who have their own lovely retirement plans and health care. I’ll pay in if they are forced into the plans we all get shoved at us. Even better, let them stand in line at the VA with the men and women who fought to protect them have to wait for treatment.
        Depends which VA hospital. Family docs who did residency rotations in those have horror stories about facilities and heartless incompetent staff – hard to fire people and there is a nursing shortage, too. One of my uncles got great care at a smaller one in a smaller town, but that was 20 years ago. Now so many vets die waiting for care – hopefully allowing them. to go to any doctor/hospital and charging the VA will improve VA hospital conditions and their lives.
        Competition improves service.
        All I can say at this point is do everything you can to stay healthy and only trust yourself – no one else really cares when it comes down to money: cost effectiveness rules this era


  8. Don’t be too sure that because you have health care through your employee, that won’t change. Under the proposed bills, states are allowed to opt out of key parts and even if your state doesn’t opt out, if your company has an office in one of those states, they can. If they delay the Medacaid cuts until 2020, TW will be on Medicare until they cut that. I agree that our reps don’t represent us but, then, the masses are asses and keep voting against their best interests. That’s why the GOP is 5 for 5 in the special elections. Sometimes it’s good to be invisible/anonymous.

  9. Well here in the UK health care is failing…NHS is failing…Brexit is driving out medical staff back to their countries or elswhere in Europe…and in light of the recent tower block inferno it would seem if you’re poor, mostly from other countries…can’t afford your own home in most cases, best to house you in combustible accomodation and let it burn down with ex-number of people trapped inside…corporate manslaughter? Social cleansing? Or a few less people to worry about needing medical care…or getting old and inconvenient and putting more pressure on the health service? We can only guess….but one thing’s sure, an awful lot of us don’t matter to our governments or anybody much else it would seem. Wonder what the bodies making all these health care disasters in our countries will do when they get old, suddenly can’t work anymore…fall seriously ill but the health care system’s already failed….what goes around comes around after all!!!!

    1. Your country’s treatment of the WASPII women tells me all I need to know about your government. Seems since you guys voted conservatives in, you’ve had more and more problems. Not good.

      1. They lost their majority in the election, but are carrying on as though they still have one. No money for the NHS but they have a billion pounds to buy votes from the DUP! They want to privatise the NHS and copy the American system anyway.

        Our electoral system is broken, people feel helpless.

  10. The level of meanness in this bill is staggering. And if and when it goes into place, ALL insurance plans will be forever changed, not just the ACA exchanges. I suspect coverage (i.e. preventative) will be less while the premiums will be increased. Let’s hope there is enough resistance to a horribly conceived idea that some of the more vulnerable politicians will think twice before approving this bill. If not, they deserve to face the wrath of concerned voters.

    1. Yeah well we’re not doing such a good job of voicing our wrath. There are a lot of people out there that support this bill, or don’t give a crap because they think it won’t impact them.

      1. We have been convinced things won’t be horrible because they never have been in the past. I mean…we lived through W and his dumb wars so how bad can it be? Sadly I think it’s gonna be worse than we can even conceive. 😨

      2. Maybe. And maybe it’ll get worse and we’ll just learn to live with it because the rich folks that are winning will make sure their puppets stay in charge.

  11. I understand the frustration you feel. Health is important to everyone (not just the rich). Taking away a basic healthcare system (safety net) will not result in good stuff. Before health care systems were put in place( a fair few decades ago now here in the UK), there was a higher mortality rate, mostly amongst the poor, bad living conditions and high birth rates in an already overburdened society. Taking away healthcare smacks of eugenics like thinking…I.e. ‘We only want rich, healthy people. The rest will die off!’ America is taking a big step backwards into a ‘divide and conquer’ world. Very sad. 😥

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