What It's Been Like WITHOUT The Affordable Care Act

So, I'm going to try and use the next 30 days as a way to mine some of the topics that I want to cover in my theoretical book about manic-depression, navigating it, my memoir of my own journey, etc. I'm going to just write about what I've gone through and work it out here. A way to keep me involved in the next 30 days and a way to help me crank out material. I'll fit it all into the outline later.

One of the things that I've had to deal with over the last 12 years is being able to find psychiatrists and access to medication with most of those years being uninsured. I have been also lucky (!??) to be under or unemployed most of this time, so I have been able to get patient assistance for the meds which keep my mental illness largely in check, but which also come with a huge price tag -- even if they are generic. Often times, at the beginning of things, there were no generics for these medications that cost more than my rent. For ONE of them.

I came home today to a letter from a patient assistance program that was practically drooling to get me off their rolls -- Hey! You can and should and will enroll for the Affordable Care Act and they're supposed to expand Medicaid and you might qualify and actually the only way we'll keep giving you these meds that cost so fucking much is if you actually show us a Medicaid denial letter. You have 90 days, mothafucka! (This is a loose translation.)

It's no secret. I have been a really open Obama supporter until recently -- I'm very disappointed in a lot of things that have happened (and failed to happen) on the President's watch, but honestly, as this healthcare thing has become more and more of a spectacle, I am going back more and more to my original position (that I never really abandoned, but that I relented on for the sake of compromise and the hope that yes, something was really better than nothing) -- that if he was going to end up getting nothing but complete hate and resistance and utter evil from the GOP, then he should have just gone for some single payer healthcare.  Revolution, man, revolution.

Go big or go home. Have it be the new New Deal. The new Social Security. The new thing that everyone freaked out about but is so fucking happy that we have now. For real, for real.

This is how it has been forever. I would find a place that seemed pretty decent (syn.: sufficient/adequate/acceptable/meets standards) and learn their ways and systems and figure out how to make it work for me and then after I got settled in (that took a year or so), they would get their funding cut and something would change and I'd adjust and eventually they'd boot me outright or send me somewhere else or you could just tell the quality of the care they were giving me wasn't right. It was sub-standard. It was starting to be, well, piss poor. I'd have to move on. I'd have to find somewhere else.

The thing that has always baffled me and left me scratching my head is that I can tell. I can tell when it's going in the shitter and I'm left scrambling. It's usually a combination of me getting in a bad spot -- waiting too long to refill meds or just a natural swing of moods or the ebb and flow of manic-depression pulling me too far one way or another -- and finding that I really needed their help and was falling through the cracks and simultaneously knowing that while there were some things I could have done to mitigate the situation, the disease itself was making it so I couldn't do the things I needed to do to mitigate the situation. And I am PRETTY FUCKING "HIGH FUNCTIONING", YO.

Every time I get in one of those spaces with one of those places I am not only left in my own world of misery and confusion, but I am left to wonder "What the fuck are the people who are less smart and less resourceful and less able to advocate and less able to understand shit do?" Seriously. Are they the homeless ones? Are they in group homes? Are they just wandering the streets unmedicated? Cause I'm fighting for this shit. I'm eventually scraping shit together and sending emails and finding tax returns and sending FAXES and mailing envelopes with STAMPS and making PHONE CALLS and doing it. I'm getting. it. done. Despite all the things pushing and shoving in front of my face that say otherwise.

What the hell do these other people do?

I'll tell you. It's exhausting and mind-numbing and nervewracking and disheartening. I've used a lot of my health savings account from this current job (a part-time job which is kind enough to give us that money) to see a private psychiatrist (the current low-income place lost their funding, I'd been there awhile, they were starting to suck and be VERY disinterested in my well-being) and even THIS isn't really the deal. I thought I'd found someone because he specializes in addiction psychiatry, but I don't think he "gets it," either. I don't know. I'm still floundering a bit.

I went to healthcare.gov and signed up, but I haven't received anything since. I guess I'll have to make that a thing on my "to-do" list this week. It's hard. I hope the ACA makes it easier. Because I'm telling you, this road has not been an easy one to walk, and I don't know that it's going to get any easier. I guess I'll be somewhat saved from my "pre-existing condition," but I don't know what happens from here.

It's fine, it's fine.

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