Dear Congressional Democrats,
Hi, how are you guys holding up? It really sucks that you have received so much criticism about the selection of the Frost family of Baltimore as an example of people deserving to benefit from the federal S-CHIP program.
Just thinking about it makes me so mad, it’s enough to give me a heart attack, but that may not be covered in my health plan, so I’ve thought of a way to deflect further criticism. I’d like to offer my family. We really don’t qualify for S-CHIP but did in fact take a few hundred dollars of state money when faced with a medical crisis. When the Republicans hear our story, everyone will take back what they’ve said about the Frosts. And you don’t have to vet us; I’ll tell you all the bad choices I’ve made right up front. I’ll try to keep it light, since this is a humor column, after all.
OK, here’s how it starts. In 1998, our son was born with VACTERL association, which is such an odd constellation of birth defects that our insurance company hadn’t even heard of it. At first they didn’t want to pay our benefits until they could establish it was a real thing. That was a laugh riot!
When our son came home from the NICU, he had to be fed through a gastronomy tube, with his fluids aspirated so he wouldn’t choke on his own saliva. He had a colostomy bag that had to be monitored, and we were totally overwhelmed and underprepared to administer his care. Our private insurance, which we receive through our unions, didn’t cover home healthcare. On top of that, neither of us could stop working, as our benefits depend on our continued earning. So the first year alone, we spent a whooping $35,000 out of pocket to get people to come and relieve us.
I’m not crafty and really suck at making colostomy bags, which you have to cut and paste on, sometimes twice a day, so we had to purchase balms to soothe his bloody rashes. That meant at least $2,000 in over-the-counter, unreimbursable costs, plus oatmeal baths to calm his skin, which added another $1,500.
Here’s something really funny. Like the Frosts, our kid had to go to physical therapy, also. Some of his physical therapy didn’t qualify for benefits either, probably because it was only supposed to help him learn to do totally unnecessary things like swallow and learn to speak. Some of the therapists we went to didn’t even take insurance. The first year we spent at least $2,500 on that.
I’ve heard the Frosts being accused (falsely) of frivolous spending like purchasing a granite kitchen counter, but I’ve never read that the Frosts are unstable people. But we are! When the bills for the series of surgeries and five medical specialists my son required started pouring in, my insurance company decided to decline to be his primary carrier, instead giving that honor to my husband’s plan. My insurance company sent me a threatening letter announcing that I personally needed to get his insurance to reimburse the thousands of dollars or it was going to hold me responsible for the fees and begin garnishing my wages.