Friday, April 30, 2010

Sledgehammer Math

Yay! Another blog post based on a comment, again from Scratch (this is getting to be a habit).

Scratch said: "I have to agree with rayray though; surely you ought to be able to get *some* help from the government... At least you were here legally."

This is something I must have heard a hundred times over the past few years.

What no-one seems to realize is that as a legal immigrant, part of the immigration process is me signing an agreement that I have 'no recourse to public funds'. In other words, one of the conditions of allowing me to live here is that I won't be able to get any form of government help.

Again, I can't argue with the thinking behind it. It's to stop people moving here, immediately claiming unemployment, food stamps, Medicaid and government housing, and then sitting back and letting the American people support them.

I worked for the British Government in England, dealing with government benefits and I can tell you it's another case of the 'big picture' working great, while screwing a lot of people over on a case-by-case basis.

Basically, if you're an American citizen, you have options. If you lose your job and need medical treatment, you can apply for Medicaid. If you don't qualify for Medicaid you can go to a free clinic. For me, if it's a 'benefit', I don't have access to it. Worse still, even Sunny's access to a lot of benefits is cut back or restricted because of her marriage to me.

The only place that flat-out can't refuse me treatment is the emergency room, and they don't count lab-work or tests as an 'emergency'. In other words, they'll admit me when my meds run out and I end up in a coma…but if I turn up and tell them I need an A1C and a new prescription, they'll charge me $500 to tell me they're an 'emergency facility', don't do that…and have I tried a 'Doctor's Care' office or the free clinic?

In other words, yes, you're right…I really 'ought' to be able to get a basic level of help, but the truth is, I can't.

Now, while Sunny will have similar restrictions when we move to England, those restrictions don't cover medical care, and considering both our ongoing medical bills, even if it takes a year for the one or both of us to find work…we'll still technically be better off, because all we're doing now is gathering up debt faster than we can pay it off.

It's almost poetic, but while moving to the UK won't fix all our problems, at the very least it'll stop the bleeding.

Put it this way, as of right now, our doctor's visits and medications come to nearly $8500 a year, which is a lot when you're two people earning less than $24,000 a year. Once we move to England, with the exchange rate, we only have to earn 4000GBP a year each to actually come out ahead of where we are now.


Scratch the hostile fay said...

Indeed. One problem with the following statement, though.

"It's to stop people moving here, immediately claiming unemployment, food stamps, Medicaid and government housing, and then sitting back and letting the American people support them."

Somehow, folks here in NC get away with doing just that. How the hell they do I still haven't figured out. But anyway.

I feel your pain. And it ain't gettin' no better. For the folks movin' in OR the ones who were born here.

You got room in your suitcase for a small, annoying fairy? I promise I won't eat much.

Just kidding.


Woman atop her Soapbox said...

The medical being automatic and instant was always amazing to me so at least you know your basic needs will be met.

And if you are anywhere near a big city, you can grab a train and laterally the tub or in some areas, the trams to commute around town. Cars aren't absolute.

If you get here before we leave, you can buy my car! We will also have a bunch of stuff we are just giving away and I have to say, you are welcome to it. Even if you put it in storage until you get a flat.


Paulius said...

We'll be moving in with my parents for a while, and that's almost exactly in between Liverpool and Manchester both of which are accessible by bus and train...but I think I'll have use of my Mum's car most days.

As for buying your car...I'd love to, but I think you're grossly overestimating our resources. Unless you're planning on selling it for around $100US, I doubt we'll be able to take you up on that.