Friday, May 31, 2013

Dr. Tiller we honor your memory

On May 31st 2009 Dr. George Tiller was gunned down in his church by an anti choice terrorist. Rachel Maddow did a great documentary on the shooting and events leading up to called "The Assassination of Dr. Tiller". I remember that day and I carry it with always in my work as a reproductive justice activist.

There is not a week that goes by that the death of Dr. Tiller and other clinic workers/volunteers who have died due to terrorist acts don't cross my mind. I am not sure how you can be a reproductive justice activist who volunteers at a clinic and not have their memories be somewhere ever present in your mind.

When I first entertained the thought of doing clinic defense it was the sacrifice of Dr. Tiller and others that motivated me to action. We who believe that women have a right to control their own bodies can not allow terrorist acts to dictate our actions or intimidate women who need to receive health care at our clinics. 

When we as escorts walk with our doctors-we are honoring the memory of Dr. Tiller. When we stand up to clinic harassment we honor his memory. I truly feel every time I put on that yellow vest I am saying no to terrorism and honoring the memory not only of Dr. Tiller but every other person killed and harmed by clinic violence.
Dr. Tiller you have not been forgotten-your courage is not forgotten and you are missed! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I need Medicaid Expansion

I have no shame in saying I need Medicaid expansion. I think it is time for those of us who do to tell our stories. Since my state refuses to expand Medicaid I may never be able to return to full time work unless by some miracle I find a job with full benefits I can afford (thankfully pre existing conditions for adults will be over). As it stands I am not healthy enough to work full time-yet I probably would be if I was able to go to the doctor and take my medications as prescribed. Not the half doses or cycling on and off as I do now.

I use to work full time until my doctor told me not having health care was preventing her from being able to care for me and affecting my ability to stay on the job. I actually became sicker because I was getting inadequate care, So I stopped working.

When I stopped working, I was able to get medicaid for a short while but when my monthly child support went from under $500 a month to whooping $800 a month I lost it. So now I can't see my specialists. I can barely see my family doctor. I can't afford my regular blood tests or the further testing recommended to rule out what may be wrong with me past fibromyalgia. My doctors suspect I may have a more serious auto immune disorder such as lupus or MS. I have had several TIA's (transient ischemic attacks)-also known as mini strokes-in the past.

Unfortunately my kids get to see their mother cry herself to sleep many nights due to pain. Most times I don't sleep at all. My main prescription is $200 a month that is not counting the $150-$250 for the other four sometimes seven drugs that enable me to simply get out of bed, plus additional supplements (doctor recommended) that help keep me mobile. Often getting my medication literally comes down to whether or not to pay a bill or buy the medication.

I know that I am not alone and my story is one of the least tragic. Thankfully my worst symptom is pain (many days a eight to nine on the pain scale) and I'm not experiencing-to my knowledge-anything life threatening. However, if I was I wouldn't know it and it wouldn't matter because my state would just let me stay sick until it got tragic, and then probably let me die.

This is where we are in this country and state. I sat in a medicaid appropriations meeting where the Director of Medicaid said how bad it would be if all the people currently eligible for medicaid actually signed up. Think about that-he actually thinks it's a bad thing if he does his freaking JOB because it will cost the state MONEY! The lives of poor and working class people don't matter. We are numbers.

Politicians in my state have decided giving tax breaks to companies that don't pay their employees enough so they can afford insurance is more important. That is where we are in Mississippi. We cut taxes on Walmart, Target and others so they can pay so little that their employees need Medicaid they can't get.

For thousands of Mississippi workers they will always make too much to qualify and they will probably always be too poor to afford health care. That is why Obamacare called for Medicaid Expansion. It was to catch all the people caught in between. The working poor people. The people working 2, 3 and 4 part time hourly jobs to make it. The ones who didn't go to college-not because they are stupid it just isn't their thing. The ones who are self employed but are just getting by. The families transitioning off of assistance and working their tails off.

The just getting by folks. Those people would finally have health care through Medicaid Expansion. I am not sure how anyone can argue that a healthier workforce is not better for our state. It makes no sense to me. I want to be as healthy as a can be. I want to work. I went to college so I could work, I studied a trade so I can work. I am trained, skilled and talented. Instead of working many days I'm at home in pain. That doesn't have to be my story though.