Crippled with no recourse: The haircutter & the clerk

Funny how so few of us understand the tremendous gap between ‘Dwindling Medicaid and Crapola Private Health coverage.’ This is NOT the exception, rather the rule, folks!

Let’s take two nice women this writer knows and loves: The 50-year-old haircutter and the 60-year-old customer service clerk. Both these nice women have jobs (the haircutter self-employed and the customer service clerk, part-time) with NO employer health coverage at all. The haircutter, I shall call ‘D’, limps terribly from two painful ‘bone on bone’ knees. The clerk, I shall call ‘J’, has bulging and herniated discs in her neck. Sometimes, she says the pain is so great that she cannot even stand at work (her job requires her to stand mostly at the customer service desk).

Haircutter ‘D’ has a health plan bought under Obamacare that will not cover anywhere near what two knee replacement surgeries will cost. “We are talking tens of thousands of dollars for me out of pocket . . . I cannot afford it!” Clerk ‘J’ has a plan that will cover surgery for her neck, but only a portion of the tens of thousands of dollars that it would cost: “I want to get acupuncture, as I heard of good results by others, but it is not covered at all by my insurance.” So, the two of them stumble around in pain, ‘D’ having too long to wait for Medicare, and not qualifying for Medicaid. “I would have to give up work to get the Medicaid coverage needed for the surgery.” ‘J’ has no options, as Medicare won’t even cover acupuncture at all.

The sad state of affairs for not only ‘D’ and ‘J’ is that both political parties have and will NOT do anything to rectify their health care situations. As most of us should know, Mr. Obama, newly elected in 2008, had the opportunity to press for what was called the ‘Public Option,’ allowing any American the chance to buy into Medicare . . . which would have been considerably less than private insurance. Not the elixir we really needed, but at least better than the status quo. Obama refused to push for it.

Now, we know it would not have succeeded, but with a sitting president using the famous bully pulpit many Americans may have been awakened from their Empire driven slumber. Obamacare did not come to the aid of either of my two women friends. This new Republican plan will make it even worse for my friends. Still, the Democrats refuse to get on board for a Medicare for All plan. They give the old blanket-blank-blank of how ‘It won’t pass, so why bother?’ Well, tell that to D and J, will you?

Philip A Farruggio is a semi-retired baby boomer born and bred in blue collar Brooklyn, NY. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn longshoremen, and educated at ‘free tuition’ Brooklyn College, class of ’74. Philip has written over 300 columns since 2001 and his work is found on many fine progressive sites like World News Trust, Nation of Change, Information Clearinghouse, Intrepid Report, Sleuth Journal, Dandelion Salad, Counterpunch and Dissident Voice. He can be reached at

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