Thursday

AARGH!!!! (DNC: Clinton Speech)

Warning!  Warning!  Warning!  Vent coming.  I have just listened to an entire speech at the Democratic National Convention.  It is not the first speech I have seen in the past couple of days.  It is not the first one that has prompted me to go off on a tangent, but it is the first one to be honored with the glory of prompting me to blog.  I hope former President Clinton takes this with all the honor it deserves.

I was almost driven to blog after watching the president of the American Federation of Teachers speak two days ago.  I was stunned as I watched her admit that the goal of teachers nationwide is apparantly to raise little blue-collar money-makers.  It rang to closely to the words spoken years ago and quoted in John Taylor Gatto's books.  I would highly encourage anyone who's not yet read his books to read them now; especially if you have children...in public school.  However, I knew partially better.  While this may be the ultimate goal of the heads of our public schools (as in upper heads and heads of the unions such as the AFT and NEA) as well as the heads of the government, that is not the ultimate goal of most local public school teachers.  Most public school teachers are decent hard-working people with a genuine heart for children.  Those I know are fed-up with Every Child Left Behind...I mean No Child Left Behind (NCLB)...and the testing that it demands.  The are frustrated that they must put aside daily instruction for a test that doesn't really measure anything nor insure anything for their local school.  It doesn't make me want my children in the public schools any more, but it also doesn't mean that all public school teachers are heartless fools desiring to churn out factory workers either.

Now, Mr. Clinton.  He so "charmingly" and "heartfeltly" (is that even a word?) told how he remembered, "Parents of children with autism coming to him and telling how they couldn't get medical care for their children unless they quit their jobs or quit eating or got divorced."  He then followed that up with, "Now how's THAT for Republican family values?"  First of all, YOU were President at the time, Mr. Clinton, what did YOU do about it?  Now, let's go a little furthur about the "issue" of how these parents were "solving" their problem of not being able to get health care.

The parents were presumably able to get health care (I assume state medicaid) by quitting their jobs because that then meant they made less money and qualified for the state health care.  I hope they weren't then too disappointed to find out that most of the treatments that autistic children require aren't actually covered by state health insurance.  Those that are, have MULTIPLE-YEAR waiting lists.  (As an example, the current waiting list for ONE treatment alone in Florida is OVER 100 years!!!!  How many children do you think will live to receive THAT treatment...and still be of age to qualify to receive it?)

Some parents (probably those with a little less desperation, more morals, whatever) were deciding instead of quitting their jobs to just not eat, or cut out elsewhere to try to pay the bills.  Again, I hope they weren't too disappointed when they found out that one of the MAIN treatments for autistic children is a GFCF (gluten-free, casein-free) diet which NO insurance covers yet can be QUITE expensive...I speak from GREAT experience on this one!  What is a parent supposed to do then?  Even one with GREAT insurance can be thrown for a loop when the FOOD alone for their CHILD costs $600-$800/month...and they've not yet fed the rest of the family...or paid any other bills...and their grocery budget used to be $200 for the ENTIRE family.  Again, I speak from experience on that one.

I know a couple who actually got divorced so their child could receive health care.  They couldn't qualify because the dad made too much money.  The fact that their insurance was costly and inadequate was irrelevant to the state.  The fact that their child required a surgery costing almost $20,000 out-of-pocket was irrelevant to the state.  Wow.  Again.  I speak from experience here.  Except we didn't get divorced, or get help from the state, or anyone else...we waited on the surgery...and now our son is paying for it in extra treatment he wouldn't have needed had he had the surgery at the proper time.  They were actually told by a caseworker for the state that their best option was to get divorced and to have the mom file for aid as a single, unemployed mom.  That's exactly what they did.  Their son had the surgery and they were planning on getting remarried afterwards.  We moved so I haven't talked to them since then, but I don't think I could go that far.  Then again, the Mr. Clinton seems to think this is an acceptable option.  Evidently.  Since he did nothing.

So again, I ask you, Mr. Clinton:  If this impacted you so much why didn't you do anything about it then?  Want to know what I think?  I don't think it impacted you at all.  I think you or some speech writer thought it sounded good.  Someone thought "autistic child" and "help with insurance" and "Republicans having bad family values" sounded like a good combo so they put it in your speech.  But frankly, Mr. Clinton, you couldn't give a...Well, you get the picture.

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