Friday, March 25, 2011

In the mean-time

I recently received a thick envelope from Medi-Cal. No doubt it cost more than a first-class stamp to send. It basically contained a multi-page letter, including a sheet in a number of languages, stating that, according to a new law, in order to remain on Medi-Cal for another year (this letter comes every year, I guess), I have to provide proof that I am an U.S citizen unless it is already proven that I am an U.S citizen. According to more than one of the criteria listed, it is very much established that I am an U.S citizen. As I threw out the letter, I wondered why I got it and how many others, for the same reason, were throwing out the letter.

In the meantime, the State of California is something like $26 billion in the red. I can’t even imagine $26 billion!

In the meantime, friends keep asking me if my attendant hours have been cut more than they have been. All I can say is not yet. Nearly every day, I read about new cuts in funding for schools, parks, roads and, yes, as always, the aged and disabled.

In the meantime, Medi-Cal no longer pays for nutritional supplements unless the patient is tube-fed. As Elizabeth Landsberg, a lobbyist for the Western Center on Law and Poverty, says, "Two years ago, we cut dental services for people on Medi-Cal. We won’t pay to save teeth, only to pull them. Now for people who can’t eat because they don’t have teeth, we won’t pay for nutrition they can ingest." I have written here about being thankful that my parents help me pay for dental check-ups and wondering what will happen if I need major work done.

In the meantime, Governor Jerry Brown is racing time and Republican legislators hell-bent against taxes to place measures on a June ballot, before the end of the year, to let voters decide, as he promised during his campaign last year, whether to extend certain taxes to prevent a complete services meltdown. He is now considering a citizens’ initiative for the November election - meaning the taxes will be "new" - or somehow doing an end-run around the GOP lawmakers in regards to the June ballot, both will be harder to pull off, and the latest poll shows that public support for the June measures has eroded.

In the meantime, one of my attendants says she is thinking of voting against the tax-extension measure. She has also said she wishes it was the 1950's. When I pointed out that if it was the 1950's, I’d be hidden in a back room, she said, "Oh, I hadn’t thought of that."

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