Relying on Medicaid to Pay for Healthcare Needs

I’ve lived in Utah all my life, Murray and Midvale for all of life as well. I’ve been divorced for 35 years, so I’ve been on my own and taking care of myself without any help.  I worked all my life up until I finally stopped about seven years ago, at the same time I moved into this house. This is actually the second time I’ve lived in this manufactured home community, I moved up north for five years, but before that I was in a different home in this community for ten years. I like that it’s a clean quite adult community, no solicitors bothering you, it’s a really nice private place to live. I’m kind of a private person so I like to be alone and I get my wish here. It’s very tucked, people don’t even know it’s here. It’s about as nice a mobile home park as you can find and some of the nicest people.

I’ve spent my whole life, since I was a teenager, working in hospitality as a cashier and hostess. I even worked as bar maid in my late sixties. I’ve had my share of different kinds of jobs, often working two at a time, now that’s really hard. The last job I had, working at the Homestead, I applied for when I was 72.  I thought they wouldn’t hire me because of my age, but they did because of all my experience, and I was spry then, able to keep up with all the younger people.

Now, after all those years of working the only money I have coming in is social security, $948/month, I didn’t have any retirement plans from any of my jobs. Over half of my social security goes for my lot rent, fortunately I own my manufactured home. So, with over half of my income going to rent, it doesn’t leave me anything to live on. Little things add up, you have to put gas in your car, your utilities, and food. This past week the tire on my car keeps going flat, I’m afraid I may need a new one, and I don’t know how I will I’ll be able to pay for that.

I qualify for Medicaid, and that really helps, I can go the doctor and don’t have to pay a copay. Without Medicaid, I wouldn’t be going to the doctors, because I wouldn’t be able to make the Medicare copays.  Having both Medicaid and Medicare helps in a lot of ways. I’ve been on Medicaid about 7 years, since I stopped working, and Medicare since I was 62, so about 23 years. I’m also able to go to the food bank, they gave me a card to go there, but there isn’t a whole lot I like over there, a lot of it is junk. The stuff they have isn’t what you would go to the grocery store and buy, they don’t have milk, butter, cheese, the basic stuff you really need. It’s a big hassle too, you have to sit and wait, last time I went I thought, “I’m not going to go again,”. I don’t really buy much meat because it’s too expensive, and I don’t eat very much since I don’t have much of an appetite.

I’ve got a lot of health issues, to look at it you’d never know, but you can’t see how I feel, the amount of pain I’m in. I just keep going because I’ve been doing it, and there isn’t another thing to do.

What worries me the most when I heard about congress making changes to Medicaid and Medicare is my heart medication. It alone is $200/month, and I have other prescriptions in addition. If I lost some or all of my health coverage, I just wouldn’t be able to do it, I wouldn’t have enough to even cover one of my prescriptions without assistance. It’s the same with even the co-pays Medicaid covers, if I didn’t have Medicaid I wouldn’t be able to go to the doctors, the specialists I have to see. Just recently I had a checkup at the dermatologist and they found I had pre-cancer. They caught it early and removed it, but if I had not had Medicaid I probably wouldn’t have been able to go to that appointment, then what would have happened? I wouldn’t be able to survive without Medicaid, I can’t stand having unpaid bills, so I just know I wouldn’t go to the doctor. The stress of worrying about not being able to pay people would make me crazy.

I don’t know what Congress is trying to do with their healthcare bill, I wish they’d leave it alone. As far as I’m concerned it works the way it’s always been. I don’t have to pay a premium on my healthcare insurance, because I have that extra help because my income is low. That’s one benefit of having a low-income, you actually get help. It would really hurt me if they changed that, took that help away. I’m too old and sickly to work, and I couldn’t get a job even if I was well enough to work. There are a lot of days I wish I felt well enough to have a part time job, I don’t like sitting around the house. But who wants to hire someone as old as I am? I’ll be 85 in a couple more months. The way I see it, I’ve worked and paid taxes my whole life, for nearly seventy years, now that I can’t anymore, I think I should be entitled to a little help. Congress shouldn’t take that away.