Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rene Mercer's Voice

Yes, Mr. Romney, I have been a member of that 47%.  I got married when I was 27 years old, had an Associates Degree in Medical Records, my husband was an air traffic controller, we thought we were joining the rest of the middle class, living the American dream.   Well I was wrong.  When I was 43 years old my husband committed suicide on Christmas Day leaving me with an 11 year old, a 15 year old and not a dime, only a huge amount of debt.  I did not even have the money to pay for his funeral.  No insurance, nothing. 

I was working at the time as a medical transcriptionist making a decent salary, so I thought I would be able to make it.  Well I was wrong there too.   Because in the 1990's suddenly we started seeing those jobs being outsourced to countries like India for cheaper pay.  The company I was working for at the time suddenly sold out.  The representative from that company came in, cut our pay by 50%, and with a smirk on his face told us to take it or leave it, they could outsource it and pay even less.   Well, I left it.  I struggled on my own for a while working for various companies, had no health insurance or benefits and yes my income ended up in the poverty level, thus owing no federal taxes.   Do you honestly think I said hooray, this is great, I don't have to pay taxes?  Try to support your family on $20,000 a year Mitt.

The only thing that kept me from losing my home and being out on the street with two children was the Social Security I was able to draw for them until they were 18.  That allowed me to change careers which was not an easy thing to do.  I researched and found medical coding was a field needing more people, so with my degree I already had I decided to get the further education I needed and pursue a job in that field.   After being turned away time and time again (come see us when you have some experience), by the grace of God (yes, Mr. Romney you don't have to be a Republican to be a Christian),  I found a coding manager in a local hospital willing to hire me and give me a chance. Of course I had to start at the very bottom of the pay scale, so for about the next 10 years  I worked one full time and two part time jobs to survive. 

I have a great job today and do alright for myself.  But I also must be realistic.   In a few years I will be reaching the age when most people retire.  I know I will never be able to retire completely.  I will always have to work at least part time (you want fries with that?).  The only way I will be able to survive will be with the help of Social Security.  I am qualified to draw and Medicare.  And now you want to privatize Social Security and give me a coupon to buy myself an insurance policy rather than provide me with Medicare.   Of course if you were to repeal the healthcare reform that would also mean that insurance companies can deny anyone with a pre-existing condition coverage.  Now just how many people over the age of 65 do you think have no pre-existing conditions?

Funny, Mitt,  you call me a "victim"  - I call myself a "survivor."

Rene Mercer

Rene Mercer lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is currently work for a hospital in Northern Virginia.