Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Going on the dole...

Months ago, Dyke Two and I realized that for a variety of reasons, our best option for health insurance for Bigfella is to apply for the state insurance for low-income families. My insurance is extremely expensive for dependents, and provides very little coverage. Additionally, because I am not currently a student, and therefore covered under a COBRA of sorts, there was a question about whether or not I could add Bigfella to it upon his birth. We would love to have Dyke Two add him (and me!) to her insurance, but because she is a state employee, this is not an option. Our state will not allow domestic partner benefits.

Because the state refuses to recognize our marriage, we are more than willing to allow them to treat me as an unwed single mother with no income. After all, if, G-d forbid, something were to happen to Dyke Two, Bigfella and I really would be indigent, with no ability to collect social security, or even sue for wrongful death or malpractice. The angry activist in me feels that the government deserves to pay for Bigfella's medical insurance, as well as any other public assistance we qualify for. Fuck them and their homophobic laws and policies. Serves them right to pay out for the son of lesbians.

So, then why did I cry as I filled out the application tonight?

I cried for myself. I've never taken assistance before. I was raised to believe that people from our family pulled their own weight. State assistance was for other people. People with fewer resources than we had.

I cried for my son. These supposedly "family-friendly" politicians in my state are actively taking steps that deny Bigfella the family he deserves. The family that every child deserves.

And I cried for my wife. Dyke Two is a caring, generous spirit. She takes every opportunity to provide me with as many luxuries as she can. Because of her hard work and commitment to our family, I have the luxury of going to school fulltime without working. Because of her hard work and desire to care for me and Bigfella, I have the luxury to stay home with Bigfella for the first six months of his life. But her hard work and commitment can't provide us with a basic necessity: access to affordable health care.

As I filled out the application online, Dyke Two was in the other room, singing and cuddling our son. Bigfella had been fussy most of the day, and she had eagerly gathered him into her arms when she came home from work. Worn out from his crying and nursing, I was more than willing to relinquish him to her. His cries and whimpers filled my ears, stressing me out more, making me leak breastmilk into my tshirt. As I printed out the confirmation number, I heard him gulp and coo, his cries finally soothed.

I walked into the bedroom to find Dyke Two and Bigfella nestled together in our bed. The state may deny her the right to be known as his mother, to claim him as her son, to fully provide for him legally, financially and logistically, but just looking at them together proves how lucky he is to have her as his mother.


At 12:26 AM, Blogger art-sweet said...

Very well said! It's a sad, sad world we live in.

At 8:21 AM, Blogger party b said...

I think that you are right to make use of available resources. One, yeah, screw the state if they won't let you have access through your family then let them pick up the tab. But I hear you on the issue of entitlements/dole/assistance. So, two - the reality is that we all get a boost from the government here and there - I claim my education costs on my taxes, we will (yay) claim the child as a dependent, I take the deduction for paying interest on our mortgage... and I pay for my mom to one day get social security (cuz i doubt I will anyways!). I know, not that it's that comforting.... just that there are so many ways in which we are enmeshed in "the system"...

At 11:49 AM, Blogger Estelle said...

Yes, it sucks.
Charlie just went on medicaid, FINALLY, as medically needy. We qualified income wise (since by law she is an unemployed single mother) but didn't do it. Once he reached his $2 million lifetime max on his insurance though, we had no other choice.
I love love love medicaid! No more $2000 a month in copays!

At 12:33 PM, Blogger Blondie said...

I know it was a hard choice to make. But you and your wife know it's the best one for your son.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger hope said...

I work for the State of Ohio's Medicaid and SCHIP (state children's health insurance plan) program. In our state they are combined and we sign up kids (and moms) up to 200% of poverty. We pay for 1 in 3 births in this state. I know it is hard to sign up for a program, but they are there for you to use. It actually looks bad for the state if they fail to sign up people who qualify. If Megan was the pregnant one, with her grad student salary she and kiddo would have both still qualified and I woulda convinced her to sign up. I would also suggest signing up for WIC. You can get food for you and the little one. In Ohio you get: Typical woman participant receives 5 gallons of milk, 2 pounds of cheese, 2 dozen
eggs, 2 boxes of iron-enriched cereal, 2 gallons of juice, and 1 jar of peanut butter
or 1 pound of beans each month
• Typical infant (not breastfeeding) receives 31 cans of iron-fortified formula, while
breastfeeding infants and mothers receive special food packages

At 5:02 PM, Blogger Dyke One said...


I can't eat 2 dozen eggs in a year, let alone a month! i looked into WIC a few months ago, and the breastfeeding package in our state is 5 cans of tunafish and a pound of carrots. I laughed at the randomness of those two foods...

thank you hope and estelle for your insight. I know that there is nothing shameful in using the programs. i helped countless parents fill out the paperwork as a teacher. i just never expected that *I* would be filling out the paperwork for *my* child. I keep putting off calling DSS since I have a professional relationship with so many of the social workers, and it feels weird to call them for my own situation.

I am angry at the state for putting us into this position. I really should call and see if the mom program would cover my 20% of the delivery. and find out if they will cover part of our daycare next fall.

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Estelle said...

We also get tuna and carrots for breastfeeding. WTF?
WIC covers part of Charlie's formula. Charlie is not on normal buy it from the store formula though. His formula costs forty bucks a DAY. No way we can afford that. WIC covers half the costs. Luckily Jean is still able to mostly BF him, so he's not getting that much formula. Eventually though he's going to need more (since he cannot eat solid food and she can't make enough milk forever!) and we're gonna have to scrape to cover those costs. Right now though we're taking the full allotment of formula that she is able to get and storing it. It's 24 ounces a day at about $2 an oz. Joy. Sick kids are very expensive!
I really wanna ask you guys a question. Email me if you are willing.


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