I recently spoke of people’s misconceptions regarding Food Stamps (or SNAP) recipients last October, on my blog. I decided to write about that subject because I am one of those recipients myself. Due to recent conversational snippets at work and in my personal life, I feel it would be beneficial to now discuss Medicaid, which I also receive.
Most recently, a conversation with my boyfriend.
I was discussing an admission we had had at the hospital. A woman with an outwardly appearing mental retardation or handicap that was admitted with headache and possible grand mal seizure. My boyfriend remarked that it was quite an expensive reason to be in the hospital and wondered why she had accepted it. I explained that she was most likely on Medicaid and would probably not be paying anything. At which he laughed and said something along the lines of “No, because we will!” Well. I love my boyfriend. And so decided to regard the comment as misinformed instead of cruel, and therefore avoided tears and argument. What I wanted to say: “Well then, babe, thank you for my hysteroscopy this morning! I appreciate you taking care of my health by paying for that for me!”
Instead I politely inquired if he knew how much of our taxes went to pay for Medicaid. He didn’t. I then wondered aloud at the fact that I’d been hearing a lot of grumbling from people about paying for other’s healthcare; especially at work, and had been wondering how much we were really paying. He didn’t comment and I left the conversation at that. I think I saw his brain working out the fact that I am a single mom of six children, and just MAYBE I am receiving help? Which begs more questions. If I am working AND receiving Medicaid, aren’t I then actually paying for my own healthcare, only at a reduced rate? Or, if I worked for 20 years and then found myself in a position where I needed assistance, didn’t I pay for it with my past tax dollars? Kind of like an insurance policy? I mean, I paid my federal taxes, of which some of that went toward the “safety net.”
Now, due to unfortunate circumstances, I am having to avail myself and my children of those services. Should I be judged and ridiculed for that? Would YOU want to be?
The sad thing is that I am. Often. Harshly. And so are millions of others. I wonder at the narrow-mindedness of people, of how they can judge without having all the information. Even smart people. People who are supposed to show care and compassion. I don’t know how many times a particular RN at the hospital has thrown out a sarcastic “Your Welcome” after seeing the chart of a patient on Medicaid. The majority of the population just don’t KNOW enough about these programs to be spouting off ignorant misconceptions. Maybe the person you are pigeonholing has a completely different set of circumstances that you are unaware of. Why can’t we just have tolerance? There’s already so much prejudice in the world, why add another class of people to the hate?
I wondered what would happen if I spoke. If I just threw a little education out there. And so I did a small bit of research on the computer this morning. I hate research, so I want to reiterate that is was a SMALL bit of research. I googled the question “How much of my paycheck goes to Medicaid?” I was directed to an article from NBC. If you like statistics, you can read it here: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/heres-where-your-federal-income-tax-dollars-go-f654971. Basically, the median earner who gets paid bi-weekly is forking out $3.66 a paycheck for Medicaid. Then there’s money for defense, social security, unemployment insurance, education, etc. Woah! Woah, hold up! Education??? You mean I am paying so other people’s kids can get public education? For those kids who abuse their entitlement by skipping school, doing and dealing drugs, selling and using weapons, KILLING people and bullying other children like mine, who are in school to LEARN? I’m paying for THOSE kids? Well. We obviously need to take a look at that. Maybe the program isn’t all that great. Maybe I shouldn’t be paying for that. Maybe the parents of those kids should be saying “Thank You.” Because YOU’RE WELCOME!
Absurd, isn’t it? In any program, you are going to have your abusers. Rich people’s kids can be abusers, too. I still say the way to fix society is with educating. Maybe if more was said, more could be learned.
Just another opinion from The Welfare Goddess. But what do YOU think? 😉