Now that the Affordable Care Act has been ok’d by the Supreme Court the Act’s provisions are starting to kick in and the Act should be fully in effect by 2014. The United States will finally join the ranks of all the worlds modern countries that provide health care to all their citizens as a right of citizenship. Workers need no longer fear losing their health insurance because they lost their jobs. Now there is only one thing lacking to make healthcare complete, dental care. Dental care , as the health professionals always tell us, is an important part of ones overall health. An infection as a result of poor dental health can end in death . A modest dental plan added as part of an overall health insurance package would allow us to truthfully claim to have the best healthcare system in the world.
Our social safety net is also lacking, but in the safety net, there is not just a small tear, but a gaping hole that destroys the lives of a good many of our citizens and their families without discrimination or bias. A person finishes school and goes to work. They build up savings, start a family, buy a house and somewhere down the line they, through no fault of their own lose their job. Now days at least they can keep their health insurance, and apply for unemployment. The blow to the financial health of the family falls hard , even though only one of the working adults has lost their job because the family finances
were based on two people working. This is where the hole in the safety net begins to open. Our family is getting by on smart money management and unemployment, at least until the unemployment runs out!
This is where the hole in our financial safety net opens wide. When the unemployment insurance runs out the social safety net, when our family needs it most, is withdrawn and our family is left to fate and their own devices. By this time they are one or two paydays from bankruptcy and homelessness. Unless a job comes along or our worker can qualify for disability or is old enough to draw regular Social Security the family’s financial goose is cooked. Even if the worker qualifies for Social Security Disability it can take so long for approval the family goes bankrupt while they are waiting as happened to my family when I became too disabled to work.
In the Cincinnati suburb of Delhi there is a goofy baseball game played where the male participants dress in exaggerated women’s clothing and play baseball for charity. The donations raised at this annual event are used to help pay the bills of people who have been waiting so long for their Social Security Disability to be approved they are about to lose everything they have worked for their whole lives.
In the richest country in the world this shouldn’t happen. A program to address both of these situations would go a long way to end the situational poverty created by the holes in our social safety net. We should create some kind of support program for people in these situations. A retraining program with benefits for those whose unemployment is running out, and a limited benefit program to keep those who are simply waiting for Social Security Disability approval from slipping into abject poverty while they wait would do as much to end working poverty in America as Social Security did to end senior poverty when it was created.