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    ‘Healthcare’



    Why Healthcare Matters: My Story

    Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

    As a senior in college, there are a few things that have the ability to instantly put me on edge:

    The first is when anyone asks me that burning question, “What do you plan on doing after you graduate?” This one typically earns the inquisitor a blank stare and some made-up, adult-friendly response so that I won’t have to justify my actual plan to take a year off to enjoy my youth, and enroll in Law School in the fall of 2015.  

    The second is when I’m faced with anything that has to do with health and related health care costs.

    For the sake of current event relevancy, and the close of enrollment for Obamacare, this blog post is going to focus on the latter of the two. So here’s my story:

    I come from a midwest, middle-class, single-mother household and I’ve been working since I could legally hold a job– but it wasn’t until my sophomore year in college when my mother retired and I started working more that things became difficult with my health care coverage. Long story short, I got the boot.


    According to my mother’s health care representative, when I became eligible for part-time benefits at my then employer, I became ineligible for coverage under my mother’s plan– the care that I’d depended on my entire life!  But what my mother’s health care provider did not understand was that I had NO intention of enrolling in coverage under my current employer for the following reasons:

    1. I worked at a grocery store and it was just a college job. My focus was on school and I knew that if the two ever came into conflict, work would have to take the back burner.

    2. I wasn’t planning on staying there long term.

    3. My grocery store job didn’t allow me to be fully self sufficient.

    4. Coverage under my current employer was on the pricey side

    5. My mom’s coverage was much better and cheaper. Switching providers would have been…impractical to say the least.

    For a student who was only making $11.40 an hour as a cashier, I soon found myself at a crossroads between personal expenses and health care. Ultimately and ironically, I took the road most traveled by; that of personal expenses which included important everyday things like food, books, incidentals, toiletries, transportation, etc…

    I didn’t have health care but I figured: “I’m young, I’m healthy, I heal fast and I’ll just avoid getting hurt.” And while I was privileged enough to have minimal coverage under my University’s student health service, every “doctor” visit required me to wait for hours upon hours in the unorganized, overcrowded student health center only for me to be prescribed a $10 round of antibiotics or return a few weeks later with another health problem. I did not have a primary care physician, I couldn’t get my teeth professionally cleaned, I couldn’t get vision check-ups, I couldn’t visit my University’s actual hospital, and most of all, I wasn’t receiving quality medical attention.

    Luckily me and my mother discovered a flaw in the system.  My mother’s health care provider had no hesitation removing me from her coverage, but they had not made her aware that despite her retirement and my increased work hours, my full-time student status maintained my eligibility to remain under her coverage. After a long year, my health care was reinstated, and while I to this day lack vision and dental insurance, I am grateful to have at least some of my bearings back.

    People like my father, haven’t been so fortunate.  He has been uninsured for the past 15 years and admits to not being seen by a doctor in 5 or 6 years.  As a freelance carpenter needless to say, he is at constant risk.  I remember growing up and quizzing him on why he would never go to the hospital for his work related injuries (once he drilled a hole through his thumb) only to hear him quickly change the subject and tell me that he was “fine.” Another time, he passed out at work due to high blood pressure but became infuriated with his colleague for calling an ambulance because my dad had to foot an $800 bill. It took me some time to realize, he wasn’t  pretending to be tough, he had to be.  He wasn’t “fine,” he just didn’t have the means to seek medical attention.

    While I only experienced the inconvenience of not having health-care for a year, I got a feel for what it was like to be uninsured. I compare it to walking on ice, while I’m wearing shoes that have no traction– I could make some strategic steps to avoid slipping but a certain degree of my environment was out of my control; similar to how someone can take precautionary measures to protect his/her/zes health, but some elements and risks will always remain out of grasp.

    Yes, our universities and colleges typically cover some health expenses, but said coverage is limited and only lasts while we are enrolled in classes. Many students in college have parents who are retired or nearing retirement, and will be faced with the fear and challenge of losing support after graduation. Many young people are uninsured or have uninsured family members.

    As a working college student, and daughter of an uninsured father, my experiences with the US health care system have been none other than interesting. While it is relatively simple, this is my  family’s story. This is my perspective. I challenge you to tell your own. Make your voice heard. Inquire about what legislators are and are not doing when it comes to your health care. Try to become as well versed as possible on your medical coverage rights because honestly (to quote the academy award winning rap group Three 6 Mafia), “It’s hard out here for a pimp.”

    Saundrea "Drea" Shropshire
    Bio: Saundrea "Drea" Shropshire is currently a senior at Howard University. Majoring in Political Science and minoring in Swahili Studies, she plans to attend law school in the fall of 2015. An avid biker, knitter, painter, movie enthusiast, music junkie, reader and writer, she takes on all tasks with the utmost tenacity and dedication. She also has many leather-bound books, and her apartment smells of rich mahogany.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: December 3, 2013

    Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

    A former medical technician is sentenced to 39 years for causing a multistate outbreak of hepatitis C; an American, who has been imprisoned in Cuba for the past four years, pleads for rescue; and Seattle Seahawks fans cause (another) earthquake. Meanwhile, Paul Walker’s private vigil was a beautiful show of love and support, and Dylan Sprouse makes some pretty awesome (and wise) statements to counter Joe Jonas’ whining over Disney and fame.

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    Ex-hospital worker gets 39 years for causing hepatitis C outbreak,http://rtvote.com/1c9aGiI
    A former New Hampshire medical technician was convicted for causing a multistate outbreak of hepatitis C last year. David Kwiatkowski began working at the Exeter Hospital ten months after he was diagnosed with hepatitis C. He injected himself with stolen syringes of the painkiller fentanyl from patients scheduled for surgery, tainting them with his blood, and then he filled them with saline and replaced the syringes for use in medical procedures. Thirty people were diagnosed with the potentially fatal virus because of Kwiatkowski.

    Obama to launch new health care law campaignhttp://rtvote.com/1jh0cVh
    The Affordable Care Act has come under a lot of political pressure since its rollout in October. In the coming weeks, the Obama administration will highlight what they call successful aspects of the law. They plan on educating the public on Obamacare by emphasizing a different benefit each day until the December 23rdenrollment deadline for January 1st coverage.

    Prisoner in Cuba appeals to Obamahttp://rtvote.com/1cjmQJj
    Alan Gross, 64, is an American who has been imprisoned in Cuba for the past four years. He was a subcontractor within the U.S. Agency for International Development, who was arrested for trying to set up Internet access, which would have bypassed local restrictions, for Cuba’s small Jewish community. The Associated Press reported that Cuba considers USAID’s programs illegal attempts by the U.S. to undermine their government. Gross, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison, feels like the U.S. government has forgotten and abandoned him.

    Couple fined for negative online reviewhttp://rtvote.com/187UthU
    In 2008, John Palmer bought Christmas gifts for his wife off of a site called KlearGear.com. When the purchases never arrived, his wife, Jen Palmer, posted a negative review of the site on ripoffreport.com. More than three years later, KlearGear.com fined the couple $3,500 for allegedly violating its terms of use contract, which prohibits the customer from taking any negative action against KlearGear.com. The site reported the couple’s unpaid fine to a collections agency, and their credit score took a huge hit. The Palmers are fighting back and seeking justice. Legal experts warn that more companies are using this type of language in the fine print as protection.

    Seattle Seahawks fans caused an ‘earthquake’ on Monday night,http://rtvote.com/18eMxtd
    Fans inside CenturyLink Field got so excited over Michael Bennett’s 22-yard fumble return for a touchdown Monday night that their jumping registered a magnitude 1 or 2 earthquake. And this isn’t the first time. The first seismic outburst caused by fans in CenturyLink Field was in 2011 when Marshawn Lynch made a legendary touchdown run that clinched a playoff win for the Seahawks over the Saints.

     

    CULTURAL

    Natalie Portman: Chris Hemsworth’s Wife Elsa Pataky Grabbed a Wig and Stood in for Me in Thor: The Dark World Love Scene, http://rtvote.com/1jhaTac

    Paul Walker’s Private Vigil: Vin Diesel Addresses Fans, Family Members Pay Respects at Crash Site, http://rtvote.com/IJK9lk

    Dylan Sprouse Calls Joe Jonas’ Disney Grievances B.S.: He “Fell for the Allure of Fame,” http://rtvote.com/1cjuT8V

    Elan Gale Hoax: Bachelor Producer Admits He Faked Thanksgiving Airplane Travel Feud, http://rtvote.com/IEwrzo

    sandywu
    Bio:

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: November 8, 2013

    Friday, November 8th, 2013

    October tells a surprisingly positive story of job growth; the strongest tropical cyclone in history hits the Philippines; and Toronto mayor Rob Ford keeps finding himself in trouble. Meanwhile, Johnny Galecki finally spills on the secret relationship he shared with Kaley Cuoco, and Renee Zellweger shoots down anorexic rumors like a boss.

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    U.S. added surprisingly strong 204,000 jobs in October, http://rtvote.com/1bieyPr
    Despite the 16-day government shutdown, the U.S. economy added 204,000 jobs in October. The Labor Department said the unemployment rate rose from 7.2% to 7.3% in September, but that was most likely due to the temporarily furloughed federal workers. October’s surprising job growth was an encouraging sign that many companies just shrugged off the shutdown and continued to accelerate their activity.

    Obama says he is sorry for ‘You can keep it’ declaration, http://rtvote.com/HD0GWV
    In a NBC interview Thursday, President Obama apologized that some Americans were forced to lose their current healthcare plan as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Previously, the president assured Americans that they could keep their current plans if they did not change since the passing of the ACA. After receiving heavy criticism for that statement, Obama reminded us that those whose plans would be cancelled will be receiving much better healthcare policies at the same or cheaper rates.

    Super Typhoon Haiyan, perhaps strongest ever, plows across Philippineshttp://rtvote.com/1cIzKTT
    Super Typhoon Haiyan is a Category 5 hurricane that first hit Samar, Philippines, at 4:30 AM Friday. It may be the strongest tropical cyclone to hit land anywhere in recorded history. Officials are trying to determine the extent of the damage Haiyan has done thus far, but what they do know for sure is that Haiyan poses a very real danger. Three people have been reported dead, and seven are injured. Among the most vulnerable are people living in tents on the island of Bohol, where a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit last month. As Haiyan continues on its path, Rock the Vote sends its warmest wishes to those being affected by the storm. Stay safe, everyone.

    Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in video murder ranthttp://rtvote.com/18diPkJ
    And it just keeps getting worse. A video has been leaked, showing infamous mayor Rob Ford making threats to murder an unknown person. Ford has apologized, but this latest incident comes after he admitted to smoking crack cocaine earlier this week. On Sunday, he acknowledged on his radio show that he has a drinking problem. Nonetheless, he will not step down from office; councilors are increasing their calls for Ford to resign.

    Satellite falling to Earthhttp://rtvote.com/17jsT0T
    Watch where you’re going! A European satellite has run out of fuel, and fragments of the disintegrating, 2000-pound spacecraft will strike Earth’s surface within the next few days. The only problem? Nobody really knows where or when they will hit. The European Space Agency said the parts are likely to hit the ocean or unpopulated areas. In case they’re wrong, I would advise you to keep an eye out for any objects hurdling through the sky this weekend (and get out of the way).

     

    CULTURAL

    Johnny Galecki Talks About Secret Romance With Kaley Cuoco: “She’s Part of My Life,”http://rtvote.com/1fp4sz0

    Renee Zellweger Is Not Anorexic, Goes to the Gym to Keep Her “Sanity,” http://rtvote.com/16N2aHC

    Selena Gomez Says She’s Single and Having the “Best Year” Ever, http://rtvote.com/16N2hTB

    Justin Bieber Filmed Sleeping in Bed by Brazilian Girl, http://rtvote.com/1acCULt

    sandywu
    Bio:

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: October 30, 2013

    Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

    HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologizes at a hearing; retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor officiates a gay marriage ceremony; and a wine shortage hits the world (oh, say it ain’t so). Meanwhile, Chris Brown returns to rehab, and Ashton Kutcher expands his ever-growing resumé with Lenovo.

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    Health chief Sebelius apologizes for botched websitehttp://rtvote.com/1gciabr
    At today’s hearing with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Secretary, formally apologized for the technical problems Healthcare.gov has been experiencing. More Republicans are calling for her resignation, and the panel intensely scrutinized Sebelius and the sub par performance of the healthcare website. The Obama administration has vowed to fix these issues by the end of November.

    After Retired Justice O’Connor Performs Their Wedding, Gay Couple Celebrates “Wonderful Day”,http://rtvote.com/1gcl146
    Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor officiated the wedding of Jeff Trammell and Stuart Serkin. She is the second official of the High Court to have officiated a gay marriage ceremony; the first was current Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Once considered a conservative justice, O’Connor was nominated to the bench by President Reagan and retired in 2006.

    Thirsty? There’s a global wine shortagehttp://rtvote.com/1h0vXmS
    Brace yourselves. There’s a wine shortage in the world. Global production fell by more than 5% last year, the lowest it’s been since the 1960s, while demand continues to increase. The main cause for the decrease in production was bad weather in France and Argentina. The French consume the most wine, followed by Americans and then the Chinese. Although the U.S. wine making industry is growing, don’t expect global wine production to improve anytime soon.

    Brazilian Footballer’s Decapitated Head Reportedly Sent to Wife by Drug Lordshttp://rtvote.com/1gcpnZ6
    Former pro Brazilian soccer player Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos was kidnapped and decapitated by suspected drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro. His head was sent to his wife’s residence on the morning of October 29. Police are unsure why Santos was targeted. Brazilian soccer is often linked to gang activity.

    Baylor students seek to remove gay ban from student codehttp://rtvote.com/1h0AMfN
    The student senate of Baylor University, a private Baptist school, voted to propose that university officials remove “homosexual acts” from the school’s sexual misconduct code. The proposal will go on to the Baylor University Board of Regents for review. Seems like a win for progress and equality? Not quite. One Baylor student says this rewording does not mean they are advocating homosexuality; they are simply not pinpointing homosexuals anymore: “It is saying homosexual acts are wrong but heterosexual acts committed outside of marriage are also wrong.”
     

    PUNDITS

    Joanne Bamberger discusses how certain voting models are compromising the rights of married or divorced women in “Voter ID laws threaten women’s rights,” http://rtvote.com/1gcv2hO

    Sally Kohn explains why losing your current healthcare plan under Obamacare is not something to cry over in “A canceled health plan is a good thing,” http://rtvote.com/1f482P4

     
    CULTURAL

    Chris Brown Kisses Karrueche Tran Before Heading to Rehab, http://rtvote.com/1f48cWG

    Kristin Cavallari Pregnant with Baby No. 2, http://rtvote.com/1h0PUtI

    Former Full House Child Star Blake McIver Now a Sexy Go-Go Dancer, http://rtvote.com/1h0Qec0

    Ashton Kutcher Hired as a Product Engineer to Help Design Tablets for Lenovo, http://rtvote.com/1f48Lj7

    sandywu
    Bio:

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: October 23, 2013

    Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

    Dead Boston Marathon suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was allegedly involved in a triple slaying in 2001; a 14-year-old boy is arrested for a teacher’s murder; and this year’s increases in public university tuitions are the lowest they’ve been in three decades. Meanwhile, a man spends major bucks to look like J-Biebs, and Katharine McPhee is caught kissing a married man (uh oh!).

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    Dead Boston Marathon suspect tied to 2011 killingshttp://rtvote.com/19v0suo
    Federal prosecutors have filed a report against 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing suspect shot and killed by police. Authorities allege that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was involved in a triple slaying on September 11, 2011. The filing is prosecutors’ attempt to block Tamerlan’s younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, from obtaining certain information from authorities, like investigative documents on the triple slaying, also known as the Waltham slayings.

    Obama appeals to backers on health care lawhttp://rtvote.com/1fVgPpj
    President Obama reminds American citizens that the new health care program is “much more than a website.” There are many benefits, including young people being able to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26, the elimination of restrictions on coverage, and the provision of preventive care. The president admitted there are technical issues to overcome with healthcare.gov, but he assures the American people that these problems are being addressed as we speak.

    Colleges see a slowdown in tuition price increaseshttp://rtvote.com/19vd9Wg
    This year, four-year public universities in the U.S. have seen the smallest annual increase in three decades. Tuition and fees rose only 2.9%, but this was offset by recent declines in federal grant aid. Low tuition increases are a reason to rejoice, but don’t expect to see much of this from now on. Economist Sandy Baum says that these small increases serve as reminders of the cyclical nature of price increases.

    Boy held in teacher’s death that closed schools in Danvers, Massachusettshttp://rtvote.com/1eJm2gU
    The body of Colleen Ritzer, a 24-year-old teacher, was found in the woods near Danvers High School in Massachussetts today. A 14-year-old boy was arrested and is being held for Ritzer’s murder. Authorities found the teacher’s body after she failed to return home yesterday; the boy was reported missing yesterday afternoon. Police cannot release the suspect’s name or his connection to Ritzer because of his juvenile status.

    Dolphins killed for shark bait in Peruhttp://rtvote.com/1fVmonK
    The cost of fish bait increases annually in Peru, so shark fishermen have resorted to using dolphins as shark bait. This practice is outlawed in Peru, but that isn’t stopping them. The Peruvian government has promised to investigate whether this is a widespread practice and will take measures if so. More than 10,000 dolphins are being slaughtered every year in Peruvian waters. Shark meat is predominantly consumed in Peru, but the fins are oftentimes shipped to the Far East as well.
     

    PUNDITS 

    James Alan Fox stresses the importance of safer gun policies and technologies in “Nevada school shooting shows limits of security,”http://rtvote.com/1gFegsQ

    Julian Zelizer applauds the gay rights movement for focusing on the marriage issue to garner political support in “Chris Christie ahead of the GOP curve on same-sex marriage,” http://rtvote.com/1eJsh4p

    CULTURAL

    Man Spends $100,000 to Look Like Justin Bieber, http://rtvote.com/1gFfTH1

    Katharine McPhee Caught Kissing Married Smash Director Michael Morris, http://rtvote.com/1eJsS5U

    Rider Strong Marries Alexandra Barreto, http://rtvote.com/1gFgAzX

    Danielle Fishel Slams Critics Calling Her Fat On Wedding Day, http://rtvote.com/1gFgFDU

    sandywu
    Bio:

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com