September 3, 2009, - 11:13 am
Yes, Barack Obama and his ObamaCare minions declared surrender on the “public option” portion of their proposed mammoth nationalized healthcare. But that changes little about this impending disaster. The bottom line is that it’s a government program, which will be run by public bureaucrats.
You know, the same government bureaucrats who are doing this:
Todd Lindberg has lived for a year and a half in a storage garage in northwest Des Moines. He sleeps on a well-worn couch in a dark corner of the building, amid construction equipment, tools and snowmobiles.
With most of one foot amputated and part of the other missing, he qualifies for federal disability benefits that would pay for an apartment and groceries.
But getting those benefits is not easy.
A massive backlog of unresolved disability claims at the Social Security Administration has kept Lindberg and millions of others waiting years for benefits they earned while in the work force. The delays have led to splintered families, foreclosed homes and suicides.
Last year, a 49-year-old Missouri truck driver died in the lobby of a Social Security office while waiting to be called into the office for a hearing on his three-year-old claim for benefits.
During the past year, the number of people waiting to have their claims processed has increased more than 30 percent, from 556,000 to more than 736,000. The head of the Social Security Administration, Michael Astrue, has acknowledged that the situation might soon get worse. The agency is “moving backwards” in its efforts to keep pace with a recession-driven influx of new claims, he said.
Nationally, applicants for benefits are waiting an average of 505 days to bring their cases before a Social Security judge for a hearing. In Iowa, the wait is slightly longer: 541 days. . . .
After being diagnosed with diabetes, Lindberg lost his job as a truck driver. His medical problems began to mount. Doctors had to amputate most of his left foot, then parts of his right foot. Now 40, Lindberg has been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, blood infections and chronic digestive issues that have left him virtually unemployable.
Yet it took two and a half years for a judge to approve his application for federal disability benefits. And that was after U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin intervened to expedite his case – help that many disabled Americans don’t get.
Last month, an administrative law judge who works for the Social Security Administration awarded Lindberg benefits of $1,189 monthly. He won’t receive his first check for a few more weeks, which is why he still lives in his friend’s storage garage.
“I showed the judge the pictures of my feet and all of my amputations,” Lindberg said. “The judge said, ‘I don’t know why this wasn’t approved before. We should have approved this back in 2008.’ ” . . .
Federal officials now estimate they’ll receive 3.3 million new disability claims this year. That’s 300,000 more claims than last year and 13 percent more than was expected.
The Social Security Administration is hiring and training hundreds of additional judges and support staff, and it hopes to have the backlog under control by 2013.
Todd Lindberg’s case is just one of the horror stories that occurs in Iowa alone when the government is in the healthcare biz.
And this is how the government performs with only 3.3 million claims. Do we really want to see what happens when 300 million Americans need healthcare?
Tags: Barack Obama, disability, disability benefits, disability check, disability claims, Iowa, nationalized healthcare, obamacare, Social Security Administration, socialized medicine, Todd Lindberg