making a difference


I was reading my daily blog doses on Friday when I came across Lilia's post The Kindness of Strangers. I followed the links. And I cried, too.

When Lane was born, Gerald and I were both students. Lane ended up in the NICU for ten days. It turned out to be a false alarm--he was fine. But we had an enormous hospital bill on our hands--neonatal intensive care ain't cheap. Luckily, that was 1994, well before the Republicans had gutted our national safety net. We qualified for Medicaid, and escaped financial disaster.

In contrast, here's how Badger, an ABD with a 12-year-old son (Badger-boy) and terminally ill husband (Mr. Badger), described her "safety net" experience:

I brought him home from the hospital only five days later, so determined was he to make a speedy and full recovery. But between the weight loss from the cancer (he’d lost almost 40 pounds before he finally had surgery) and the trauma of the surgery itself, he was very weak. So I applied for Social Security Disability. Fortunately, like good honest Americans, we had paid self-employment taxes on his art and teaching income, and he qualified for benefits: $590 a month. Although our combined income—my salary as a GTF and his disability check—does not cover all our monthly bills, the Social Security Administration determined that we make too much money to quality for SSI. The maximum income to get SSI: $570 a month. You like that math? That $20 difference? And without SSI, there is no Medicaid coverage (until you’ve been on Social Security for two years), and without Medicaid coverage, there is no assistance with any medical expenses we accrue in his follow-up care.

Cost to date for surgery, CT-scans, hospital stays, doctors’ visits, and labwork: $79,000. Insurance benefit left for year: $21,000. Days left until new benefit year: 145. Response from Social Security Administration when I went down to their office with our 2004 tax returns to prove our lack of income: Priceless.

“There’s nothing I can do for you. Come back in two years.”

Prognosis of someone with stage four liver cancer: 3 months

Read the whole post, entitled "The political gets personal." Please.

I can't solve the problem of world hunger. I can't bring peace to Iraq. And I can't cure Mr. Badger's cancer. But I can help Badger and Badger-boy by donating to a fund to help them with medical and living expenses. So can you. I hope you will.


You can't imagine how grateful I am living in Sweden. My mom died in liver cancer after 3 moth of hospitalization. My dad got a total bill of just $500. I’ll happily pay tax to give that to others!

Hi Liz

Greeting from all of us at Datamatix, Dubai.

Hope you are not surprised with this message here.

I have been trying to reach you since two weeks by email & phone without success.

Please confirm the revised flight itinerary which i have forwarded to your email.

I would appreciate if you could respond to this email at the earliest.


Biju Saith
Conference Manager

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on August 22, 2005 10:40 AM.

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