Ojo: The "Cholo Word Of The Day" is simply for fun. This is not an academic exercise, therefore I do not spend much time checking for espelling or grammatical errors. Most of the words are not only used by "cholos," but by many people in S. Texas - and their usage can vary. c/s

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

No Health Insurance

I'm losing my health insurance when I leave work so I went to the doctor's today for my yearly checkup. I had an EKG done. Everything is ticking well, even though I've gained 4 lbs. since the last time I visited. I've never really been withouth health insurance and I hope nothing happens while I don't have it.

I was talking to a lady caller on the phone last night and I told her I had a appointment. I asked her when the last time she went to the doctor and she told me she didn't remember. She then said she didn't have health insurance. Damn, that sucks. She works like a dog and her employer doesn't provide health insurance.

That got me to thinking of a conversation I had with Dr. Ramiro Casso over the Thanksgiving break. I didn't realize who the man was until I started talking to him and asking questions.

Saturday morning after breakfast my father and I went to get our hair cut at his barber shop. It's in downtown McAllen. We both needed haircuts and I was going to go to some chain, but my pops refused to, so I went with him. The barber shop, operated by owner Tomas, has been located there forever. When we walked in Tomas was cutting some man's hair - he was wearing chanclas and sported a big ass bigote. My dad and Tomas go way back. We sat down and my dad started talking to Tomas while the man on the chair chimed in. The t.v. had some spanish station on. There was a hand-written sign with a crossed out 7, that read: hair cuts, 8 dollars.

I picked up The Monitor and started reading. Shortly after an old man wearing a guayabera walked in. He said, "Buenos Dias" and everyone replied accordingly. He was old and I figured Mexican, because he picked up a copy of El Diario. I started asking my dad a couple of things and the old man was just listening. Then he asked me if I was in school and we started chatting. My dad apparently knew who he was, because when I asked the old guy what he did back in the day, my dad said "tell him everything you're involved with." So the old dude started telling me about being on the board of a community college, opening up a non-profit clinic for poor folk, serving as the main force behind getting a health center to S. Texas, etc. I was very intrigued so I started asking him more questions, and eventually asked him about the CHIPS program. That's the health insurance program for poor kids that the current administration in Texas cut funding for. Dr. Casso, had a look of sadness in his eyes. He told me how they fought to keep the program. He told me how millions of kids in Texas and especially in the colonias in S. Texas go uninsured. I asked him where they went for medical attention, and he told me that they didn't go anywhere - or they would go to Mexico. Of course, I knew all of this. We always went to Mexico for everything.

I suspected all of this would happen when I heard about the program being cancelled, but I had never heard it coming from a physician who has dedicated his life to working with poor people. We talked about a lot of stuff and before I left he asked me to go back to the Valley. I think I will. Not now, but sometime.

12 Comments:

Blogger tortillasandwich said...

Yeah, I don't have health insurance either, not offered to me at work.

3:21 PM

 
Blogger Elenamary said...

Algun dia sere una doctora para nuestra gente. The first doctor I ever saw, I think was in Dallas at a clinic based on a sliding scale it was called Clinica La Raza or something like that. I wish I could go to the valley with you. I've never truely been.

7:06 PM

 
Blogger Mayra said...

That's really sad. I can relate...I have no insurance either and I didn't have any growing up either...I had some later in my teens and then with UT...but when I was young we went to Mexico for all our medical needs and we still go for medication and dentistry...it's just the sad reality of our health care system.

9:26 PM

 
Blogger E said...

I have to pay for my own health insurance. I hate it.

8:11 AM

 
Blogger Aleksu said...

Don't drink the water!

Marry a Mexican with access to IMSS, then keep a truck aimed at the border.

10:06 AM

 
Blogger cindylu said...

Wow, someone like that can be inspirational. Do you ever think about all the privileges you've been afforded? I hardly ever thought about the fact that I've always had health insurance as a privilege, but now I realize it is. I went through a brief period in the summer between job and school when I didn't have insurance, it was weird and discomforting.

11:52 AM

 
Blogger Caron said...

What about COBRA? Its a federal program to offer health care coverage for workers in between jobs. Check out http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq_consumer_cobra.html

11:55 AM

 
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