Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I don't quite understand all this Medicaid hate

I don't know why so many in my profession hold some sort of grudge against Medicaid patients. No, some of them don't work, and yes, our tax money does support their lives. However, I have never met anyone on Medicaid who has a lifestyle even remotely close to the quality of mine. I've never met one person on Medicaid who drives a nicer car than me, has nicer clothes, has nicer things in their homes, etc.

Some would make you believe that Medicaid recipients live this comfy, sheltered, laid back lifestyle, while the rest of us are out slaving away for them. Maybe some of them are lazy and don't bother looking for jobs. However, it's not like they're being rewarded for this laziness. To put it another way: I'd never trade my life with one of theirs.

See, I excelled in school and work hard to enable myself to live the life I do. Sure, I could stop working and sit on my ass all day long while the government hands out food stamps to me. Is that a life I want though? Yes, I work hard 40 hour weeks. Yes, I'm often drained by the end of my work day. Yes, I really wish I had more than 2 weeks vacation per year. However, because I put that time in, I can afford a $2,000 computer. I can afford a $30,000 car. I can afford to buy frivolous things like the $600 Playstation 3 along with whatever games or Bluray movies I want. I can afford to go to expensive restaurants. I can afford nice new clothes. No, I'm not incredibly wealthy, but I live a very comfortable life.

No medicaid patient can say the same. Those that want to be lazy and feed off the state get the life they choose. Does the tax money we pay to support them really bother us that much? I hand over more than 35% of my income to the government. I'm still quite comfortable in the money department.

This is why the notion that my hard earned dollars are paying for these people to sit around and do nothing never really bothered me. They do nothing... because there's nothing they can do. If their lives were so great, you'd think we'd all be itching to leave our jobs and join them. Of course, that's not the case, so I can't understand what all the hate is about.


ohladybug said...

i worked in a pharm where we did 600+ per day with 95% of them being medicaid. the people that i helped through our "dive-thru-mcdonalds-window" drive better cars than i did at the time. most of them were somalian refugees who were also getting their college paid for, food stamps, medical... everything provided for them courtesy of our country and our tax dollars. i am a tech - i dont get paid the $$$ that pharmacists do. i dont qualify for financial aid so i cant go back to school (tell me who is winning here?). the worst part is that they expect medicaid to pay for OTC products for their 4-5 kids while i am struggling ($2.99 for infant tylenol drops and they throw a fit if they have to pay for it themselves)!

Pharmacy Mike said...

Would you trade places with them? If they have it so good, why not become like them?

I'm not trying to be a smart ass here. I mean this to be a serious discussion. There must be some reason we all choose to work instead of taking government hand outs.

Jaded Rx Intern said...

Thanks for the differing perspective on the topic. I do agree that I would *never* trade my situation for what they may (or may not) have chosen. Yes, not all Medicaid recipients are moochers - the keystone tech at my pharmacy is a prime example. However, a portion of these people (a fairly large portion where I work) think because they are on Medicaid means they are owed something. And with that comes a sense of entitlement. And *that* is where most of the griping about these patients come from.

Side note: I've seen several Medicaid patients with nicer cars than mine. Granted, I'm still a student, I don't see why a Medicaid patient needs a brand-spanking-new car, when a slightly worn 5-year-old car (which is still newer than mine) will do just fine.

Pharmacy Mike said...

I've written about that sense of entitlement before. You're right. That irks me because I feel like they should be thankful for the help they are getting and not continually ask for meore.

However, on the list of things that are wrong in this world, medicaid patients with a sense of entitlement are pretty far down.

Moreover, there are probably far more rich people with an unjustified sense of entitlement than there are those on Medicaid.

Pharmacy God said...

I think that your post holds the answer. You excelled in school. Your parents instilled the work ethic in you to strive for success.

Those of us who have been practicing pharmacy long enough have seen how the welfare culture works. When you actually hear a teenage girl talking with her friend about getting pregnant again so she can receive extra money from welfare, you get jaded. When baby momma comes to the rx window to pick up meds for her 5 kids (all with different last names) and see that she has more bling than your wife, you get jaded.

I had to travel to health department in the city where my oldest son was born. While waiting for his birth certificate I watched some of the people at the health department. There was a woman (sitting in the waiting area)with a notepad containing the names and phone numbers of the case workers at the welfare office who were a little bit more liberal with the cash benefits. There were three women lined up to talk to her.

I asked the records worker about the woman. She said that the woman was there every day telling people how to max out their welfare benefits. Instead of going to the local employment agency, these people are actually soliciting advice on how to continue to live off of my money. If some of these people on welfare would put half the effort into obtaining employment as they do trying to max out the welfare, they would land a job that would lift them out of their welfare state.

When welfare was established, it was sold to the public as a means to help those who had fallen upon hard times. It wasn't supposed to to encourage a lifestyle of living off of the government. (Possible subject matter when I return to the blog world in September).

You're still young, Pharmacy Mike. Give it ten years and see how you feel about welfare at that time.

pharmacy chick said...

Pharmacy God is right, give it a few more years, when you'll see more and more. I have this one welfare lady, who whines constantly about her $1-3 copays. She thinks they should be free. A few months ago I was out in the parking lot and saw her get into the Mercedes of my dream. Another one of my Asian transplant medicaid patients, courtesy of their kids who worked the system successfully( I have several) flies to Hong Kong a couple times a year just to shop. If we cleaned up this kind of crap, perhaps we could take care of the truly needy, disabled and broken people, instead of the breeders, the moochers and the cheaters. No, I am not saying i'd trade places with them. But that doesnt' mean what they are doing is right either. I wouldn't trade place with Jose the landscaper toiling in my neighbor's yard either, but I appreciate the work he does because it looks wonderful and he is a contributer. EVERYBODY should contribute something to society if they can. You shouldn't just draw from the bucket.
AND I dont hate welfare people.I dont lump them all together either. But after awhile you CAN separate the wheat from the chaffe. I treat everybody in my store with proper attitude and demeanor that my God and my company would expect. I just may not respect certain groups of them privately, but that is my right. You reap what you sow in life sometimes, and its not all about money, but behavior and attitude.

Anonymous said...


Not trying to be a smart ass, but you've obviously not dealt with a lot of these patients. Maybe in your world there are just a few of them, and maybe they are taking advantage of the system, but, as you said, there are bigger problems in the world.

I would bet that if you'd work where ohladybug does for a couple years you'd see things differently. When 95% of your prescriptions are Medicaid, it is folks like you who are maginalized, not them. They truly believe they are winning, and if you spent enough time in that environment you probably would too.

To answer your question, why don't we all just go on Medicaid, it is because most of us have a conscience. Also, too many of us are naive. We tell ourselves that we've got a couple toys they don't have (does a $30K vehicle really make your day-to-day life that much better?), and that somehow makes up for us spending our lives working while they do whatever they want.

Pharmacy Mike said...

I've dealt with enough of them. Moreover, I don't think my opinion will change on this matter.

There are FAR worse problems in this country than people mooching off Medicaid. The amount of money our government wastes on the moochers pales in comparison to the ridiculous amounts it wastes on other things (*cough* war *cough*).

Additionally, for every Medicaid recipient driving a Mercedes, there's thousands of others who can only afford some 20 year old piece of junk (if they can even afford a car at all). For every one of them that's covered in expensive jewerly, there's thousands who wear hand-me-down clothing.

Many of us make it seem like the ratio is the other way around.

ohladybug said...

maybe we see it the other way around because those are the people that come to our pharmacies rather than going to free clinics, in their mercades, bmw's and cadies dripping with jewelry like rock stars.

Anonymous said...

If you are in your twenties and you are not a liberal, you don't have a heart.

If you are in you forties and you are not a conservative, you don't have a brain.

Pharmacy Mike said...

What does being liberal or conservative have to do with not holding a grudge against Medicaid recipients?

PharmJam said...

The two ends of the political spectrum have slightly different viewpoints on how tax payer money should be distributed, if at all, to the disadvantaged One's political ideology has a lot to do with how they see the social welfare system. When I am at work I do not treat these people any different than anyone else but my political ideology puts them in a different light than many of my more liberal pharmacy friends see them.

tsp said...

Work in the inner city for 8+ years and you will begin to understand. The people that play the system begin to grate on your last nerve. It's not always the people that annoying, it's the principle. Since you're already a pharmacist, you may never understand, but if you work a $10/hr job trying to support 3 people and that is not enough to make ends meet, but your not eligible to get any type of assistance, it's annoying to see people that don't work able to afford more than you can when you go to work everyday often working overtime to keep yourself afloat. Many of us know that the medicaid patients have supplemental income that they are not reporting, because when you work a crappy job, you cannot afford the stuff that they have and know that their check cannot cover bills and a payment on a brand new Escalade. Maybe it's not most, but it's enough that it becomes apparent the system is broken.
I started out my intership at such a store, and it's the reason I cannot bring myself to work retail again. In that environment, yelling is the way that people get what they want. The louder, nastier they think they are the more willing I will be to bend to their whim. It changes the way you approach things and see people.

QuEen_dEe said...

Hi! I just wanna say a big THANK YOU for this post! I was so upset after reading all the other blogs such as "Angry Pharmacist" and a few others and hearing their attitudes towards those on public assistance. I am a Pre-pharm. student right now, and I have been on public assistance and I know that some people really do need the help and aren't just sitting on their but all day, lol. I lost my parents when I was younger to cancer, so I have been helped by such programs and they have helped me try to reach my goals. I would also like to add that the money, etc. that these people get is not much despite what people think. Definitely not enough to live on alone...

Anonymous said...

The argument: "well if you think they are so well off why not join them?"

Flatout, poor argument. Come'on Mike you are smarter than that.