Friday, December 18, 2009

just another letter to congress... this one's about the jobs bill

I am a resident in the state of Tennessee living in the 5th congressional district. I am urging you to take immediate action. We need jobs NOW!

I urge you sign develop a comprehensive policy to help put America back to work NOW before it is too late.

As someone who has lived and voted in the state of Tennessee since 1996, I have witnessed several shifts in policy, both on the local and federal levels. I am a recipient of TennCare, and I am a member of the Daniels Class and received notification on that my benefits were being terminated. Recently.

Despite the fact that I am 37 years old and have received NO support from my parents since I was a teenager, Legal Aid refused to take my case and told me I would have to ask my parents for money. They refused to make a referral to pro-bono association, and I feel that is denying services based upon my parents socio-economic status and social class is discrimination. I cannot fond assistance from anyone locally and when faced with eviction, I was told. Verbatim, a representative at Metro Fair housing to “accept the fact that you are going to be homeless.”

And homeless I became.

Governor Bredesen is currently has invested 172 million dollars into one county in Tennessee. What about the rest of us? We need jobs too, and we need them now! Holding off until January to pass jobs legislation is too late

Even under of the best of economic circumstances, the state has often been reluctant to release state monies until they are in physical receipt of all federal matching dollars. This delays program implementation and compromises the integrity of the research design. Consistency is a critical component of effective program development and design. If we hold back state funds until the feds work put the details of this enormous, comprehensive package, our current programs will suffer as a result.

We cannot wait for a determination regarding federal funding before us to determine our state budget while before us of the programs we already are suffering financially.

When I was twenty-two years old I developed a medical condition, and it quickly became obvious to me that it would be a lifelong struggle to cope and adapt to having physical disability. I purchased three independent policies, and was still covered under a terminal liability clause under a major medical ERISA (federal) plan. As someone who also needed to turn to federal funds and intervention in a crisis, I know that if or when help does arrive, it usually too late.

That didn't work. Let me assure you that when it comes to withholding critical items like food, housing, social services, it adds up exponentially. Withholding medical care simply because of procedure and bureaucratic red tape, is shameful and cruel. The money is there, but it seems there should be a certain level of oversight and accountability if we expect it to be used effectively without delay and without excessive administrative delay and costs.

We need to have some level of accountability to ensure the timely and proper disbursement of funds. In my experience there is little recourse for persons individuals who get caught up in the complicated payment arrangements, complicated language, and the systematic, procedural delay when it comes to the processing and payment of claims. And let me personally assure you, that there is a very real human cost here as well... and unless there is immediate intervention, much more than just money will be lost.

Please sign the bill before any more jobs, homes, and future are ruined by because help did not fast enough. Please release the funds, because we are running out of time.

I am 37, and my spinal cord is damaged from years of delayed, sub-standard medical treatment. I sometimes wonder why I bothered to waste my time.

I attempted to navigate a system that simply does not work. I owe the federal government $179,902.75 in student loans. I have tried desperately to get find work that will allow me the flexibility I need while allowing me to keep my benefits and earn decent salary.

When I am able to work, I make $10.46/hour as a substitute teacher in MNPS. That job comes with no security and no benefits.

I have an advanced master’s degree from an Ivy League Institution. I am 9 credits shy of a Ph.D. in public policy. Despite having maintained a 3.83 grade point average while earning my masters, and just over 3.2 during the three years I was enrolled full time in a doctoral program.

Despite having comparable coverage, the insurance company refused to give me COBRA and would not cover my pre-existing condition even through both Columbia and Vanderbilt Universities used the same underwriter for student medical insurance: Chickering US HealthScare.

I had no break in coverage, and even purchased a private HMO (Oxford) plan that cost several hundred dollars each month just so I could prevent becoming uninsurable before my 25th birthday.

Wrong. Not only did I continue to pay for all three policies, I also had to pay for treatment and STILL wound up on TennCare and Medicaid.

Despite doing all the "right" things, I was still unable to transfer benefits from one graduate school to the next.

I have not been granted any leniency by extending the amount or time permitted to complete my degree-- or allow me to transfer those credits towards another program at the same institution, and ultimately left me financially devastated and emotionally bankrupt.

Vanderbilt will not even transfer any of the credits I paid for (in spades) towards another degree at the same university since they no longer have the program I was initially enrolled in. I think it goes without saying that I do not have the financial resources available to finish my last semester, take the GREs over again, or pay the associated application fees necessary to make the time spent their worthwhile.

Throughout the three year process of filing medical appeal after the next, I acquired over 1/4 million dollars in debt due the student loans I needed to pay for my unreimbursed medical expenses.

My life will never be the same.

My heart will never be the same.

And now once again, I face losing my health care that I fought so hard to get?

Where is the safety net? Where is the American Dream that I so diligently chased after for so many years? What was the point of investing so much in a future that I can never enjoy?

How can I justify spending so money much on an education that will never be utilized?

I understand the how; I just don't understand why.

Maybe one of these days Vanderbilt University and the Department of Education will realize it might just be cheaper to hire me that harass me.

I need a real paying job, but with the skyrocketing unemployment rate, it looks as though I will have a lot of competition.

Please do something, and do it quick. I would not wish this experience on my worst enemy.

Sincerely yours,

Elyssa Durant
Nashville, TN

1 comment:

  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M.