because of my mental illness, i am on social security disability. my total income is roughly $850 a month. $100 of that goes directly to medicare, i never see it. my psychiatrist appointment costs me, after insurance (my doctor does not take medicare, so a bit of private mental health) is $125. so i only see him every 3 months for medication maintenance. my medications are $300 every month. i won't do the math, you have a calculator, it's easy to see that there isn't enough money left over for my rent, let alone food or bills.
i've been to a medicare clinic.after a three month wait for an appointment, i waited for two hours past my appointment in a small room teeming with others like me, most in bad straits. i saw the doctor for less than 5 minutes. he asked some cursory questions, did i hear voices? did they tell me to hurt people? did i want to kill myself? then prescribed three arbitrary and very expensive prescriptions and told me to come back in three months. i was charged $35. i couldn't afford the meds and ended up in the psychiatric hospital for stabilization. i'm still paying that off.
doc and i were best friends 13 years ago when we decided during a trip to las vegas to get married so i could share his medical benefits. we are no longer best friends, but we stay together so that i can get care. we also stay together now because social security named him my guardian, and my checks and forms come to him, not me.
without doc, i could not afford to get quality care. even with him paying the leftovers, there is still not enough for me to see a therapist and work through whatever is wrong with me.
for those who are not on SSI and cannot hold a full time job with benefits, there is no way to afford food, shelter and mental health care. this country has failed the mentally ill. i don't know what they do in other countries, i don't know what the solution is. but more stigma isn't. mental health in this country is a privilege, and a whole lot of people do not have that option. too many people.