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June 12, 2007

"Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away."

We talk occasionally about how to measure poverty, how to define it, how to quantify it. This, however, is what one person thinks it feels like.

June 12, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

I work with people in crushing poverty. I try hard to keep myself looking at it from their perspective. I read Super Babymama, a blog written by someone living in disability-poverty, almost weekly. It helps.

-- ACS

Posted by: ACS | Jun 12, 2007 4:22:42 PM

What happens if you have a toothache and you're on a two month waiting list?

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Adam Herman | Jun 12, 2007 4:39:23 PM

Adam,

You probably suffer for a shorter period of time than those with no dental insurance.

Posted by: verplanck colvin, pe | Jun 12, 2007 4:45:58 PM

What happens if you have a toothache and you're on a two month waiting list?

Then you can't see the Eiffel Tower. Because you're not in France, where the national health system doesn't have waiting lists.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jun 12, 2007 4:51:24 PM

Yes, what a strange response. Why is being on a waiting list, with some hope of getting in, worse than never having a hope of getting in? Mysterious.

Oh, and I'm in the U.S. and I have private dental insurance...and they have a waiting list! And I can't change because they're the only group my plan covers! Did socialism happen when I wasn't looking? Or could it be...gasp...that capitalism has flaws? Nah. Impossible.

Posted by: emjaybee | Jun 12, 2007 4:59:19 PM

Short of an assumed abcess or some sort of breakage, it usually takes a month or so for me to get in to see my dentist, and if I don't immediately schedule my next cleaning at the time of my current one, then I may have to wait three months or so, unless there's a cancellation. And I have private insurance.

Seems like I had this discussion with a British friend once, actually-- he was afraid he needed a root canal, but was working as a contractor for Disney (i.e., no benefits) and was worried about a) getting in for an appointment and b) paying for the work. He had never had to juggle like that; back in the UK, it took several weeks for routine work, but a certain amount of dentists' time was allocated for emergencies. My advice to him was to hold out until his upcoming visit home, if he could... even if he had to pay for the crown here, he'd still save more than enough money on the surgery itself to pay for his plane ticket.

Posted by: latts | Jun 12, 2007 5:22:13 PM

a certain amount of dentists' time was allocated for emergencies

Also true in this country, of course.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 12, 2007 6:25:58 PM

Living with a root canal infection for two years will give you some new insights.

Did you know that most doctors have no idea how much ibuprofen you can take safely? Your dental hygienist knows, though, because she watches pro football and knows who almost died from taking too much.

Medicare for all ain't enough, because Medicare doesn't cover dental work.

A two month waiting period would be like heaven. Hell, you could throw in a requirement that we walk fifty miles to get to the dentist and we'd still go for it.

As though most people with dental insurance today didn't wait two months for their appointment anyway. Sheesh, some of these trolls must sprout like mushrooms in the underground bullsh*t caverns.

Posted by: serial catowner | Jun 12, 2007 7:23:36 PM

being poor is being ashamed of your father, watching him go from being a principled, risk-taking civil rights activist to the shattered man complaining that he "can't get a job because he's a white male" after standing in line at the unemployment office all day. seeing him never recover from it. seeing him live in a run down trailer home and brag about his low property taxes. seeing him abandon his dreams. feeling shame that you are more successful than he was. or wondering if your failures are due in part to an unwillingness to surpass him.

for him, being poor during the depression was going for many days without any food at all. and then getting a crate of half-rotten tomatoes from a neighbor and the whole family falling on them as if they were a glorious feast.

being poor is not being able to heal from the wounds of the past -- not just your own, but past generations'.

Posted by: r@d@r | Jun 12, 2007 7:27:41 PM

i should probably mention that with all his faults and pecadillos i love and admire the man more than i can put into words.

Posted by: r@d@r | Jun 12, 2007 7:29:17 PM

Adam, I seriously doubt you know what you're talking about. You're the kind of clueless prick you keeps passing the same one liner's he learned from daddy in 1972. They weren't true then, they aren't true now. The only difference is that Wikipedia exists now, and you should no better than you're asshole daddy. Go study up, till then stop running your mouth like you actually know what you're talking about.

Posted by: soullite | Jun 12, 2007 8:24:51 PM

Being poor is crying when you read this, because every single line is true - right now - in your own home.

Posted by: Grace | Jun 12, 2007 8:43:34 PM

So you're ashamed of him, and you admire him? Umm, OK.

Posted by: Seitz | Jun 12, 2007 9:00:59 PM

No contradiction in that, Seitz.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 12, 2007 9:31:43 PM

Poverty is mostly about those with money exploiting the those without money, and then telling them it's their own fault. People wring their hands about the difficulty of removing poverty, but that's a cop-out. We all know what we need to do to end poverty, we just like to pretend we don't so none of us have to sacrifice.

you may not be able to prevent some people from making more money than others, but you can prevent poverty. Those who win simply have to be allowed to win less so that those who lose are allowed to keep more. You need universal, full education. You have to abolish private education so what school you went to can no longer be used to judge your social class. You have to build enough colleges so that everyone can go. You have to eliminate intergenerational inheritance. You have to simplify, and make far more progressive, the tax code. You have to institute a real safety net so that those who fail don't end up in poverty. If you do these things, you will end poverty. Yes, they are hard. But if we were strong enough, brutal enough, and realistic about what it would take, we could do it. We choose not to. We'd rather live in semi-comfort and allow others to live in destitution. We're Americans, we always take the easy way out. Hell, if the 2000 elections had happened in most other western democracies, there would still be rioting going on.

Posted by: soullite | Jun 12, 2007 10:23:36 PM

That post broke my heart, because they're all true. And if you don't know somebody who's had to live with things like that, then you should. Thought I suspect that most of us do, if haven't lived it ourselves.

Posted by: Xanthippas | Jun 13, 2007 7:15:02 AM

poverty is free cheese and the accompanying appellation welfare rat

Posted by: appalachian | Jun 13, 2007 7:27:29 AM

Yes, free cheese instead of decent health care and decent education and low-cost housing. That's what we give our citizens in this country. All the lousy cheese and free milk you can guzzle. But dental care? Health care? Some safe place to raise the next generation of citizens? Nah!

Posted by: delagar | Jun 13, 2007 10:33:36 AM

"You probably suffer for a shorter period of time than those with no dental insurance"

Dental insurance is a bad idea, because dental costs are fairly reasonable, in part due to most people paying cash or using discount programs rather than actual insurance.

Universal dental insurance will result in $5000 to pull a tooth.

Posted by: Adam Herman | Jun 13, 2007 5:02:13 PM

If anyone needs a discount dental plan the #1 in the US today check out www.everyonebenefits.com/kortiz. You will be pleasantly surprised!

Posted by: Kimberly | Jun 16, 2007 12:59:41 AM

Adam -

Fairly reasonable? You've got to be fucking joking. Dental insurance means that some people, who make just a little more than I, or have job with decent bennies, can afford to go to the dentist. It means that some people, don't necessarily, have to wait until the two teeth that are slowly rotting out of their head get infected enough to make it medical emergency, to deal with it. Good grief, your a fucking sanctimonious moron.

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Posted by: judy | Oct 8, 2007 9:29:22 AM

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