Worker struggles with medical needs long after accident

Wednesday, October 17, 2007 | 5:21 p.m. CDT; updated 7:55 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I work as a personal care attendant for someone with a very significant disability. In some ways, it is the most important work in the world and very rewarding because you can make a wonderful positive impact for someone that truly needs the help. I have worked for six hours a day seven days a week for years now with very few days off. I receive $8.15 an hour with no insurance, 401K, pension, workmen’s compensation, vacation days, or any other benefits.

I used to work as a landscape architect and made pretty good money and life was going pretty well. One day a car sideswiped me which injured me from head to toe. Through years of hard work and determination I recovered but not everything was healed. Because of the injury and the hidden disabilities caused by the accident, I lost my job and house. It took years of healing to get off of disability but every single day is an uphill battle.

Pre-existing injuries disqualify me from medical insurance even if I could afford to pay for it. I am now 60 years old and am still struggling to make it because I have no insurance and certainly cannot afford it. The Medicaid cuts of 2005 hurt the people that I work with but also the working poor like myself who cannot afford insurance. More people are falling through the cracks every day, and we need to fix our failing health care system.

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