I woke up Wednesday morning to a nice birthday greeting on Facebook from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels' re-election campaign.
Subject: Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday from the Mitch for Governor Campaign and good luck in the future!
-the Mitch Team
But then in the afternoon via snail mail, I got a present from the Governor! Keep in mind, Daniels is one of John McCain's earliest supporters and was the budget director for BushCo who claimed the war in Iraq would only cost a handful of pocket change.
What was the present? I'll give you a hint. He's a Republican; it wasn't a good present.
I've mentioned before that I'm bipolar and get disability payments; every month I get $1012 for my bipolar disorder. While John McCain was on stage at Tuesday night's debate saying that he wanted to freeze entitlement programs like my disability payments, Governor Daniels was one step ahead of him. He didn't "freeze" my benefits, he effectively lowered them.
The letter I got in yesterday's mail didn't come from Daniels' campaign or his office. Instead, it came from BushCo's Social Security Administration Office of Central Operations. Knowing that George W gave Daniels his nickname of "The Blade," I should have known what the letter said; the Blade has cut again.
The State of Indiana will no longer pay your Medicare medical insurance premiums after September 2008. You must pay the premiums beginning October 2008.
What We Will Pay And When
- You will receive $819.60 for October 2008 around November 3, 2008.
- After that you will receive $916.00 on or about the third of each month.
Information About Medicare
Any additional premiums due will be deducted from your check.
To Cancel This Insurance
If you want to cancel this insurance, please contact the local Social Security office at the telephone number and address shown below. Remember that the date your insurance coversage ends depends on when you cancel it.
For those of you following along at home, that's a decrease of $96 each regular month - a 9.5% cut. The first month - this month - it's a decrease of $192.40 - a 19% cut for October (the same month I'm getting this letter after they made the decision in September).
Just to put this in perspective, my Medicare has a $500 deductible - I have to pay that much before the feds start shelling out for my medical bills. After that, I have to pay 20% of my bills. My prescription plan, however, is a good one. I never pay more than $5 for a refill. (Which is really good, actually. One medication alone is about $600 each refill!)
So far this year, I've paid out a little over $1000 in medical bills. I imagine I'll wrack up about another $150 by the end of the year. If we extrapolate this out:
2009 disability payments: $12,144.00
2009 medical payments by me: $2,398.40
Percentage of medical costs in 2009 from medical disability payments: 19.7%
US poverty level for a single person: $10,400
My 2009 disability income after medical costs deducted: $9745.60
But the kicker? We are a family of three - not one. When you add in Jerame's paycheck our household income increases, obviously. His pay knocks us out of the running to qualify for food stamps or any other program to assist low income households.
Daniels Reduces My Family Income Even Lower
Governor Daniels privatized Indiana's social services agency; he literally sold it to an outside company and contracts with them to provide claim verification and approvals. When he did, it suddenly became a lot harder for people to qualify and the time to actually get any benefits has increased. With the Indiana economy in the tank already, more and more Hoosiers are applying for unemployment benefits, food stamps and welfare.
We were on food stamps until Jerame graduated college and got a job. As soon as he got his paycheck though, the state booted us from the food stamp program and kicked our daughter off of the state-sponsored children's health program. We gained $170 in food costs and Paige is now without any form of insurance. Jerame hasn't had insurance the entire ten years we've been together; his job doesn't offer it. We're desperately trying to find some sort of coverage for the two of them; he's had an unresolved health issue for a year now and she was in therapy and on medication.
Our medical costs have shot up exponentially this year. Our income, while rising due to Jerame's new job, actually decreased when you add in the extra costs we've now incurred due to Mitch "The Blade" Daniels' mandated policies and privatization schemes.
Birds of a Feather: Mitch Daniels, John McCain and George Bush
John McCain has repeatedly said that he would continue the Bush financial policies of reducing taxes on the rich and passing the burden to the middle class. Mitch "The Blade" Daniels wasn't just George W. Bush's budget director, he also had some financial scandals in Indiana before moving to Washington.
Daniels sold $1.4 million dollars worth of shares in Indianapolis Power and Light Company shortly before the company was sold and the stock lost half of their value. Retirees' pensions - full of IPALCO stock - were torpedoed. Daniels sat on the IPALCO board and knew dumping the stock was the only way to keep his cash; he sold it to the IPALCO pension fund. The board then refused to let the pension fund divest of IPALCO stock.
It was referred to as "Indiana's Enron." Employees and retirees lost $95 million. Board members made millions.
The Keating Five scandal ringing a bell to anyone? Or maybe BushCo's need to rob the national treasury of billions of dollars to bailout Wall Street?
With Friends Like These
Allow me to extend my most sarcastic "Thank you!" to these three Republican robbers.
George Bush, thank you for overseeing one of the largest financial crisis in American history. Your history of corporate giveaways and shoveling cash to your friends has resulted in abject poverty for many of Americans.
Thank you, John McCain, for your history of deregulation and blind allegiance to the BushCo losing financial scheme to benefit rich friends and corporations. When you pandered to Americans by "suspending" your campaign and claiming success for brokering a deal that helped so much the legislation failed, it really helped my family's rising food and medical costs.
A hearty, "Thanks Guv!", to Indiana's Mitch Daniels for reducing me to below poverty level, but cheerfully sending me a Facebook birthday greeting from your re-election campaign the same day. The next time I go to the doctor, I'll be sure to think of that greeting.
Of course, I'll also be thinking about why I'm voting for Jill Long Thompson for Governor and Barack Obama for President.
(If you'd like to give me a birthday present, please donate to Jill Long Thompson's campaign. She's pulling even in the polls, but she's out of money to run TV ads the last month of the campaign!)