Robert from Northampton, MA

Faces of the Federal Budget

I worked in a kind of roller coaster work environment all my working life. I was constantly being hired and laid off for short term jobs over a thirty-year period, so I was collecting unemployment off and on during my entire working life. And really, I would not have been able to… make it work without having the unemployment insurance in between.

[How can] anybody think that someone collecting $300 a week is coasting – that that’s going to make it easy for them to stay out of work for months at a time? I was amazed at what some of my peers were getting by on – you might as well not be collecting it, it’s so little.


When you don’t have insurance or when you have less insurance and when you know that you’re going to have to pay substantial costs out of your pocket, you tend to cut corners.
I’m pretty healthy, so the main thing for me [was that] the health insurance I had [before Medicare] included dental insurance and glasses insurance. … Now, that’s gone. That’s totally out of the question on Medicare. … I’ve had a lot of trouble with my teeth and I’ve had a lot of dental stuff. And now that I no longer have dental insurance, it’s kind of daunting.

My experience with private bureaucracy has been much more convoluted than my experience with public bureaucracy: the HMOs, the insurance companies, the providers, the billing systems. It seems like nobody could ever get their billing straight. It seems like all the years when I had private insurance, I had to deal with healthcare providers and get them to bill my insurance program correctly… the private providers just seemed to be clueless about billing in a way that my insurance company could relate to. So I’ve seen bureaucracy is not just confined to government. The insurance companies and the healthcare providers have their own bureaucracy that is just unbelievable and just gets more convoluted all the time and is not particularly efficient, I thought. I saw them make lots of mistakes.

Robert from Northampton, MA | Map

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