Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘health insurance

Sign Up for Obamacare: Flagging Down the 200,000 uninsured health Taxi Drivers

Dan Ware has been driving a taxicab in Chicago for more than a decade, but he still doesn’t have what many jobs offer: health insurance.

“I’m without health coverage,” he says.

 posted this March 4, 2014

Flagging Down Taxi Drivers To Sign Up For Obamacare

And that’s not unusual, says Chicago Public Health Commissioner Bechara Choucair. “What we know in Chicago is that around 70% of taxi drivers are uninsured,” Choucair says.

That means about 8,000 cabbies could be eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Nationwide, there are more than 200,000 taxicab drivers, and so in a few big cities — including Chicago — supporters of the Affordable Care Act are working to recruit them to sign up before this month’s open enrollment deadline.

Choucair says a couple of years ago, a study showed taxi drivers in Chicago had plenty of health problems, largely due to the long hours they spend behind the wheel.

“They don’t eat as healthy, they don’t exercise as much and those are definitely risk factors for diabetes, for heart disease, for strokes,” Choucair says.

Add to that chronic back issues that can come from sitting and health problems caused by traffic accidents.

Enrollment workers in Chicago are signing up taxicab drivers for Obamacare at the facility where cabbies obtain or renew their city chauffeur’s license.

“We’ve been enrolling an average of between 5 to 9 people on site,” says Salvador Cerna, an outreach manager for the state. He says others make appointments to get help enrolling, and there are plenty here who want assistance.

Ejaz Waheed has gone without health insurance for nearly a decade. “Back until 2005, I was with a regular job, so I had it. Then I became self-employed and I lost insurance,” he says.

Ghulam Memon began driving in 1994 and shares a similar story. “My wife has Medicare and Medicaid both because she’s 65-plus. I’m like 60 years, and I don’t have anything,” Memon says.

So he’s exploring his options, as is Orkhan Askarov, 24. Askarov was applying for his first taxicab license, and he says he’ll also apply for health insurance “and guarantee that if anything [happens] to me I’m going to be [in] good hands.”

The nonprofit Enroll America is running similar cabbie programs in Austin and in Philadelphia. The group’s president Anne Filipic says it’s trying different ways to reach out to the uninsured as the March 31 deadline nears.

“Our focus right now is an all-hands-on-deck effort to get the word out. We know that a lot of people still don’t have all the facts and don’t know, for example, that financial assistance is available, so we want to meet them where they are and get them the information that they need,” Filipic says.

In Philadelphia, where there are about 5,000 taxi drivers, many cabbies are getting their information at the headquarters of the Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania. President Ronald Blount says until now many simply couldn’t afford health insurance at all.

Most drivers in Philadelphia are earning less than $5 per hour. They are working 12 to 16 hours per day, 6 to 7 days per week,” Blount says.

He calls the Affordable Care Act a godsend and says about 700 taxi drivers have already signed up there. “Drivers were finding plans as cheap as $35 to $60 per month, and that’s something they can afford and these are really good health plans,” Blount says.

And that’s a boon for many cabbies who may take an easier route and seek out medical help early for any of the ailments that come from driving a taxi.

Worst Nightmare: “How am I to spend the next 24 years?’

A friend confided in me. We talked for an hour. I re-structured his haphazard story to make sense. He said:

“My father is 89 and my mother is 86. My father health has been deteriorating fast since last year.

In this winter season, he barely uses the walker for his morning shit. By noon, he rather not get up from bed, on the ground that he feels too weak and too cold to step out of his cozy bed.

Mother is in a worse case in matter of aches and pains, but she is functional and make sure that she washes father in the morning and bring him food in bed. Not to mention changing the bed sheets every morning and all dad’s wet cloths.

The problem for mother is that father insists on not leaving his bed after 1 pm on account that he feels too cold and out of power to walk to close-by toilet for his frequent pissing sessions.

Mother has this daunting task of changing father every morning and doing at least 2 washes for the wet bed and father’s cloths, every morning, and she suffers from back pain, arthritis, and you name it. And dad plays the child game for constant attention and waking up mother at night for no valid reasons.

Mother considers that putting in 8 straight hours of work in the morning, without any break to rest, her daily job. And everyone in the household must share with her non-stop chores. Even when she feels sick and unable to work, until she faints and drop.

Occasionally, mother sleeps in the sitting room because father makes it a point to wake her up frequently, just out of boredom and restlessness.  Eventually, she returns to sleep in dad’s (obviously separate beds) room, out of compassion and duty.

Father has had no jobs for the last 40 years. What he did when he could drive was give ride to his 6 grandchildren to school and bring them back home, and doing a few gardening…

And he was a heavy smoker since he was 14 of age, mainly smoking in the sitting room, and polluting this room, while enjoying a few glasses of whisky.

Until he started to fall down after finishing drinking. He quit drinking every day, but resumed smoking, out of total boredom and dense worries from the fast dwindling of pecuniary resources.

No government facilities to rescue the elderly people, not even in health insurance, or a small remittance every month... The elderly people are in the care of the children, relatives… supposedly in the care of the community that no longer exists.

Dad has plenty of time now to dream of the time he was still able, but I guess he can focus on how to stay alive: He keeps touching the Saint icons.  For a soft departure or for exhausting mother to death?

Do you think his deep wish is to see mother passing away before he does? A senile revenge of people who revert to childhood?

Funny, every now and then father creates a tantrum to remind mother that he is the head of the family and that what he wishes must be obeyed, and bangs his walker to confirm his statement: “I want you to wrap me up now (7afdineh) for the remainder of the day and night” and this tragic bout of energy surges at the time mother is taking a short nap from a back ache.

And when mother tells him: “I am tired. wait till I rest…” father responds: “You do it now or I’ll piss in bed...”  These kinds of reactions…

He goes: “Ya wallao? are you sleeping? Get up now…”

He does not exhibit all his pent up anger and desperation when I am around: He knows that my reactions can be worse than his, and we do have the same bad genes

At least father managed to construct a building of 3 floors, one for each one of his children who all graduated from universities and are married with children. Except one child: I never married and have no children that I know of. And I now live with my elderly parents for the last 14 years.

I don’t recall ever having a chat with dad, and now he is almost deaf and he refuses to babble. And mother’s chatting are of the most boring and regurgitation of the same worries that I cannot help with and suggestions that are too late to reverse and act upon.

Mother never cared to handle money in her life and never wrote a check. Currently, she has to handle the few cash that she receives every now and then from her children and relative and make sure that she can buy her medicine, father’s couches, the gas canisters for cooking, bread and biscuits for dad… Nothing fancy at all.

And she declines invitations because she will have to bring a gift as custom demands, and she has to cook a few sweet dishes for the occasions… and keeps cleaning the house in the event anyone remembers suddenly to pay her visit…

I wish the visits are not set in advance by “appointment”: Mother will start cleaning and cooking a week in advance of the visit, and ends up working overtime.

I aid mother in most of her chores: assistant cook, washing dishes, vacuuming, lifting “heavy” stuff that she can no longer perform, changing bed sheets, gardening, gathering vegetables and fruits, tending to the few chickens, going on errands…

I find time to read, write, post articles on my blog, watch documentaries and non-violent good movies on cables after every one in the household is supposed to be sleeping…

Tell me. Am I talking abstract so far?

My worst nightmare is “How am I to spend the next 24 years, if no haphazard calamity suddenly ends my life?”

I have no job, have no money, receives no stipend from anyone, no government, no syndicate ( I failed to pay the yearly dues for lack of money), no health insurance, no car (could no longer afford the maintenance, the gas and endless taxes on a rickety car), no public transportation…

I receives no monthly or weekly of any little financial aid from anyone. Actually, the community, relatives and close parents who can afford it, are expressly punishing me from Not Working for Pay after I reached 62.

It is not that I don’t care to work for pay on a job that I like… I am not employable for doing anything. My CV has so many gaps to fill (the time schedule) that my imagination would run out of ideas. And I am more knowledgeable (higher education and continuing education) than any employer and was exposed to far more trades and small jobs than any fat employer.

And I have no talent for any hobby to kill the time and express any kinds of passions…

Tell me: “How can I survive my next 24 years, as I become as old as my dad?”

I keep myself fit, do exercise, walk a lot, garden, eat moderately, drink a little on “free” occasions… have not a pound of fat and I cut down to half a pat of cigarette a day, with filter added to reduce the level of tar in my lungs…

Am I talking abstract?

I don’t care to live much longer, what for?

I wrote what I had to say, published my autobiography, I am helping when I can.

I wish an institution will accept me to die of thirst: Hunger takes much longer to do the job.

I saw this on a friends timeline yesterday and just had to share :)</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>It's rather beautiful
I kind of systematically cornered myself in a tight spot: Even with a surge of energy to get out of this prison, I have denied myself much room to navigate away.
I must have had many “second chances” to survive that long. Though, I don’t feel that I ever had a second chance. I think that I learned from my mistakes.
Currently, what I can do is update my Day Dreaming Projects and create other projects that will enable “cornered people” to fly away.
As long as I’m healthy and functional, I cannot loose hope that Providence will come to the rescue and set me free.
It doesn’t pay to feel negative and drop hope for a better situation.

Note: What is irritating in feeling desperate is its evidence, its documentation, its accurate reporting.

Hope expresses its generosity in the false sense of optimism, its refusal of facing the situation, an aberration, a fiction.

It is in the aberration of feeling hope that resides life, this fiction that feeds on it.

The French text of Cioran:

Ce qui irrite dans le désespoir, c’est son bien-fondé, son évidence, sa “documentation” : c’est du reportage.

Examinez, au contraire, l’espoir, sa générosité dans le faux, sa manie d’affabuler, son refus de l’événement : une aberration, une fiction.

Et c’est dans cette aberration que réside la vie, et de cette fiction qu’elle s’alimente. » Cioran

Do you think you suffer from depression? Do you know someone who might? Here are the signs #TEDxLAUSalon #OnMentalHealth

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