Temple alumnus Jimmy Curran, who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, is at risk of losing his eligibility to receive government assistance when he decides he wants to work.
His job’s insurance plan doesn’t cover all of his needs. Curran “qualifies for 56 hours a week of aides and nursing care–a $185,000 bill paid for with state and federal money,” philly.com reported. Unfortunately, with a job Curran qualifies for half of the support he is currently receiving.
I am disturbed that we live in a society that doesn’t want to help those who are in need. There is no middle ground for those trying to be independent. It’s a game of the haves and have nots. Both our American health care and social services system are in dire need of reform.
I have been fortunate enough to have had health insurance since my infancy and couldn’t imagine my life without it since I am a survivor of childhood asthma. In college, I have witnessed many of my friends lose health care coverage as a result of aging out of the system. The rules surrounding who receives health insurance are an insult and quite contradictory to the American ideals that we all claim to hold. Land of the free, but health insurance coverage is not guaranteed to all citizens?
The United States is lagging behind many industrialized nations when it comes to health accessibility for its people. This is because we do not treat health care as a human right, instead it is played as a dangerous game of “deserving” versus “undeserving” patients.
The poor are marginalized and the disabled are forced to make a decision on whether or not to be dependent on the system. It’s a vicious cycle and unfortunately that is the reality for many young Americans in today’s society. I honestly believe that our society doesn’t really want to see people have a life of testimony, but instead, a tale of destitute failure–that way the process of scapegoating can be completed without any form of self-responsibility.
As a relative of someone who was diagnosed with a disability, I have seen how hard it can be for a disabled person to live a normal life. For Curran, he has gone on to do more, despite his physical limitations. His story is one of triumph and I believe that this is not the end.
Can you imagine being denied Social Security and home care aide because you decide to work and make more than $2,000 a month? I find that to be absurd. Do you want him to live below the poverty line?
The typical societal view for someone using or depending upon social services is one of shame and disdain. I believe that this will not be the last we hear about Curran. He is not the only one suffering from this. As a citizen of this society, you do have a right to question our health care system.
Robert Mays can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.