Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Modern poverty: Trading a car for brain surgery, malnourished and dieting, and lost limb reimbursement

Three portraits of modern poverty:

1.  Sometimes I use a nutrition/fitness tracking website.  A woman in WV posted that she wanted to lose weight in time for her daughter's high school graduation, but she wasn't losing weight.  She mentioned that she skipped breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner so that there would be enough food for her daughter.  She earns $735 per month from SSDI, $140 per month from SNAP for her and her daughter, combined, and the local food pantry allows visits only once every 3 months.  She can't work because of her disability.  It seems like her only good option is to move to a more generous state that would give her closer to the average SNAP benefit for a 2 person household. 

2.  A guy posted to Craigslist in Seattle seeking to trade a 2006 Mustang for brain surgery.  He's had the same job for 16 years but no health insurance. Regardless of the specifics here (perhaps this cyst doesn't need to be removed, etc.), it's sad that posting to Craig's list seeking brain surgery is the most reasonable option.  I hope that the Affordable Care Act will make a difference and prevent cases like this in the future. 

3.  Anyone who loses a limb for whatever reason has a hard enough time adjusting to the physical and psychological challenges.  Insurance is supposed to cover the financial costs of disasters, but the victims of the Boston bombing will end up paying a great deal out of pocket, even if they had good health insurance.  They also get partially reimbursed for the costs associated with their lost limbs, but even these funds may not be enough to cover the actual costs.  At least it was in Massachusetts:  it would be interesting to compare the out of pocket costs for a hypothetical person in Massachusetts versus a state without universal health insurance, except there's no way to find out in advance how much health care will cost. 

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