It is very tough out there

To the Editor:

It really upsets me when I hear that the economy is doing good and the unemployment rate is down. Sure, people are working, but it means nothing if they still can’t afford housing. The cost of living goes up continuously, but wages don’t.

I live on Social Security and right now I pay over half my income on rent. And that’s without a kitchen. My health needs are such that I can’t eat the way I should without a kitchen. I’ve been approved for section 8, but can’t find a place that rents as low as section 8 now allows and meets my health needs (no stairs, no smokers, etc.)

I have a friend who loaned me money for a car so I could look for work. My health won’t let me work enough hours at minimum wage to make a difference. I have a master’s degree and the experience to find a part-time professional job that would make a difference. But even though I’ve been applying for work every day, I’ve not even been called for an interview.

I owe a fortune in debt to the “for-profit” hospitals in the surrounding three counties, so I’ve not been able to get the medical care I need. I’m a skin cancer survivor who hasn’t seen a dermatologist in years, and I’ve had five eye surgeries, need more but haven’t seen my ophthalmologist either. And when I had asthmatic-bronchitis recently, I had to make my way to the nearest Mission Hospital (non-profit) some distance away.

I wonder how many people realize that the “for-profit” hospitals can and do turn people away who owe them money. I can’t even get lab work. (they do have to stabilize you, before turning you away, if you come in by ambulance). I have been personally escorted from the campus when I tried to get labs drawn on tests that were paid 100 percent by Medicare. By the way, few things are 100 percent paid for my Medicare these days. My cornea transplant in one eye was, I’m guessing, about three times what it was in the other eye because in the one year since, Medicare quit paying for the cornea tissue, the greatest part of the cost.

I’m totally alone and don’t know what is going to happen to me. I hate that I’ve had this car for three months and haven’t been able to send any money to my friend who helped me get it. And you know what? I am far from the only one in this situation! This is the new normal.

Connie J. Conklin


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