You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘health care debate’ tag.

So lots of people talk about having “blog carnivals,” where you link to great writing from other peoples’ blogs. I thought I’d give it a shot! Who knows, maybe this will turn into a monthly thing. Or maybe not.

(Just FYI: not all of these blog posts are from this month. But I found them this February!)

The Comment from Hell: On Health and Ideologies of Health is a great article/commentary on the way perceptions of health and disability have become issues of “personal responsibility.” The author makes some good points about the institutional aspects of health care issues.

Cripchick posted about the balancing act between living/working as a fast-paced disability activist versus listening to what her body is able to do. You should really check out her entire blog, really – she has some great stuff about disability activism, community, multiple identities, and oppression/liberation.

Abnormal Diversity has some great insights about what constitutes disability prejudice. “The root of disability discrimination is treating disability like it’s a big deal.”

I guess a common theme with these articles is a focus on what dis/ability means: activism, diversity, prejudice, and the de-institutionalization of disability discrimination.

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When I was in the 3rd grade, my teacher gave the class an exercise. We were given big strips of paper with the words “I can’t…” written on them. My teacher instructed us to fill them with things we thought we couldn’t do. My friend and I gleefully filled every centimeter with things we couldn’t do: fly, do algebra, dig to China, speak French…Our teacher then had us put the list of things we “couldn’t” do in a shoebox “casket,” which we ceremoniously buried in the schoolyard. She told us that limiting ourselves with what we couldn’t do created a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Years later, I got a similar message in group therapy. According to the psychologist there, your brain doesn’t focus on things like “no,” “not,” “don’t,” etc. So if you say something like, “I won’t commit suicide tonight,” your brain actually hears, “I won’t commit suicide tonight.” (A more effective way of framing that might be, “I will stay safe tonight.”) Basically, another example of the way you think about yourself determining how you will be.

People with physical or mental limitations are already coping with the effect of those physical/mental limitations (be they chronic pain, mood swings, side effects of medications, or what have you). Empowering yourself through the way you think and speak can improve quality of life and even improve symptoms.

Why is it, then, that our country’s [for me, the U.S.] disability support system focuses solely on what you cannot do? Determination forms evaluate how well you can function in terms of tasks in your daily life: cooking, driving, getting dressed, etc. I remember that when I first filled out one of those forms, I looked it over and though, “Wow, I am really disabled.” (This train of thought eventually fed into the pain/depression cycle.)

Positive thinking is left by the wayside as people with disabilities must pathologize themselves to get basic support systems that they really need. (Without Medicaid or some other form of insurance, I would have to pay $500 a month for medications.)

Our disability system is oriented towards paying the least amount of money possible to those who are deemed completely unable to support themselves. It’s a grudging, “Well, if you jump through all these hoops and prove you really need it, I suppose we’ll give you some money.”

Standard neo-conservative (and even neo-liberal) lingo also rails against those who “take advantage of the system,” “subsist off of government handouts,” and others who are just “lazy.” As though the limitations of disability are worth getting under $8,500 a year and jumping through the aforementioned hoops.

Meanwhile, the system has no trouble allocating roughly half our budget to military spending.

The stimulus bill provided a one-time payment of $250 to each SSI recipient. The bill also allocated $759 million (for fiscal year 2010 alone) for “continuing disability review” (CDR). CDR is basically a program that checks to see if people on SSI are still eligible. “Are you still disabled?” I recognize that this is an important question, but I am also troubled by a report by the Social Security Administration that asserts that, “Estimates continue to indicate that SSA will achieve a sav­ings in Federal SSI payments of roughly $10 for every $1 spent conducting additional redeterminations above our base workload volume.”

Our health care system if fundamentally broken. For gods sakes, people go bankrupt trying to pay their medical bills. I suppose it’s no surprise that the system for providing disability benefits grudgingly gives support only to those who are “most deserving” and “completely unable to work.”

Meanwhile, the determination process forces applicants into self-defeating and negative self talk. The application process can ultimately damage one’s self-worth, recovery process, and mental well being.

You may wonder, “What’s a better system?” How about a more nurturing and supportive system which provides a social and economic safety net to all individuals, regardless of how “worthy” they may be. Don’t hold your breath. I’ll keep hoping for and promoting a more compassionate and humanistic approach.

Note: I’ll try not to talk politics all the time, but I felt really passionate about this particular post.

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A fibro-friendly item from my Etsy store

I've been working on making fibro-friendly jewelry. I'd love it if you checked them out by clicking the image above, or going to www.etsy.com/people/RogueCrafter

About Me

This blog is intended as a place for me to reflect on my own healing journey, in the hopes that others may also gain insight from my experiences. I've "borrowed" a line from Robert Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken:

'Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.'

I think the most important thing for me now is that I feel empowered to be a force for positive change in my life. And that, my friends, has made all the difference.

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