What do you say to a caregiver?
How do you help a caregiver? I was talking to this billing agent at the doctor's office and said, how are you feeling? And she said, oh great It's Friday. And before I could catch myself, I said Friday means nothing to me. Every day is Monday. And I felt kind of ashamed of that and I'm sorry for that, but I realized that whole principle of every day is Monday. What that means for us as caregivers, we know that this is going to be a challenging day. And I wrote these one-minute chapters.
You literally could read them in one minute. And I'm really proud of this book. It's called A Minute for Caregivers, When Every Day Feels Like Monday. It's filled with bedrock principles that we as caregivers can lean on, that we can depend upon to get us to safety, where we can catch our breath, take a knee if we have to, and reorient our thinking and the weight that we carry on our shoulders. If you don't know what to say to a caregiver, don't worry about it. I do.
Give them this book. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger.
Glad to have you with us. Hopeforthecaregiver.com. I have a very special guest on the program today, Genevieve Collins. She is the state director for Texas for this organization called Americans for Prosperity. Now, Americans for Prosperity is a nonprofit, nonpartisan.
It's a grassroots organization committed to finding what they call bottom-up solutions to better the lives of their citizens. And for Genevieve, she's the state director for Texas. So to help Texans have a better quality of life, and they are tackling the big issues. Now, why is that important? Because what happens in Texas does have an impact on what happens around the nation.
She wants to talk a little bit about health care today and what this means for us as caregivers, what we're having to deal with. Here's some hard numbers. 29.5 million people in Texas. It has the largest uninsured population and then almost two-thirds of the population carry serious medical debt.
Genevieve, did I get that number right? Almost two-thirds carry this level of medical debt. It's tragic. Six out of ten Texans are carrying medical debt.
And this is what we're seeing across the nation, not just in Texas. When you look at that number, and I mean, I understand medical debt. Yeah, and I've been there. Gracie and I have had to make a lot of hard decisions in our lives. This audience has to make a lot of hard decisions. That's a daunting thing to take on. Thirty million people, six out of ten, are carrying this.
Where do you start? To be quite frank, I was one of them too. I almost died in October of 2020. I had appendicitis that turned into kind of a botched version of appendicitis.
I had a rupture that they didn't catch, and then I went septic. And so I understand what it's like to be on the brink of death's door and then get a surprise bill for $30,000 that I didn't ask for. And I just, for me, for how I lead our state, I just refuse to be a part of an abdication of an incredibly important issue. And I think that for those who are taking care of people in the wings, silently doing their duty, someone has to be their voice and has to stand in the gap. And I'm not afraid to be that person or use my organization, Americans for Prosperity, to do that.
People deserve to be seen. They deserve to be heard. They deserve solutions and they deserve to not have to carry insane amounts of medical debt that is causing anxiety. It's causing financial burden.
And for caregivers that are doing so much, they don't need that extra pressure. So we're going to try to hit the release valve for them. Where do you start? We start with four simple tenets. One, when it comes to health care, how do we increase access, decrease costs, ensure that there is price transparency, and ensure that Medicare and Medicaid are there for those that most need it?
Now, Peter, you and your audience are probably thinking, wow, Genevieve, these are not provocative concepts. However, the system is set up where unfortunately we have to actually talk about these values and these principles in order to actually get something done. The system is set up where patients are the commodity. And for your audience caregivers, I mean, they're kind of pushed to the side sometimes in these really important conversations, especially from the financial side. We should not be at the whims of the insurance companies. We need them.
I understand that, especially for huge medical bills. But we don't need to be a commodity and we need to empower the patients. So what I do is really across the state of Texas, I have 13 offices across the state of Texas and 30 full time staff with about 60 part time staff. And we have about 250,000 unique volunteers and activists. And what we do is collect stories. We listen to the community, to what is happening with people, how certain policies are adversely affecting their lives. And then we create policy solutions. We create legislation and nurture that legislation from writing it to passing it and getting the governor's signature. We manage that entire ecosystem and we invite people to be a part of that process, because I think so often in the health care space, many of us are feeling like we're helpless, that we can't take on the machine.
Things are too big that who am I? What is my story to actually make a difference? And with what we do is really say, no, your story is the difference. And we're going to give you the platform and the microphone and the support to tell it. And we're going to nurture your story to fruition for a solution. So you guys advocate for those who advocate and do you have a mechanism where people can come to your site, to your organization and put their story in online?
Yes. Our website is called personaloption.com. And if your listeners live in Texas, they can visit www.personaloption.com slash Texas, and you can people can input their stories and we use them.
These aren't just they go into some black hole. We actually use them and we help create state legislation. Americans for Prosperity has 38 state chapters. We're in the process of expanding into all 50 states. But not only do we advocate at the state level, we also advocate at the federal level where so much reform needs to happen. And so many people need a voice and we actually help create legislation. We have a couple of bills going through Congress right now to improve people's quality of life for health care.
I want to take a moment just to address the audience real quick. You all know this as caregivers, how inundated you could become in all the minutia of caring for someone with a lengthy health care history. It would be foolish for us to expect that politicians could be read into that as quickly as we need them to be. And so we have to have organizations who can condense this vast amount of information, of suffering, of challenges, of headaches, and be able to speak directly to the politician who is over that. Because otherwise we're just we're just leaving them to figure this out on their own. And that is not a good thing because you see the mess that happens when they figure this out on their own. If our elected leaders could figure this out on their own, then Genevieve would be out of a job. I hope I'm out of a job.
But I don't see that happening because I've seen the people that we've elected. So you're going to be you're going to be employed for a very long time, Genevieve. But it's important that we have this conduit to take this information that people are struggling with. I know this. I remember decades ago, I've been doing this now for almost 40 years. And this was decades ago at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville. And Gracie was having a surgery. And I saw this guy in the middle of the family waiting room there at critical care. And he looked so lost. He was probably my age now, which is a very special age.
Now that I look back at that makes me cringe a little bit. But he was sitting in a suit. He literally had a hat and he was holding it in his hand. And he was twiddling it.
And he just looked lost. I noticed his clothing. He had a suit on.
There's an older suit. He had work boot type of things that he looked like the kind of guy that was very, very good and skilled at what he did in farm, big machinery and so forth. And in his world, he was on top of it. But he wasn't in his world anymore.
And he was absolutely disoriented. And I swore to myself that day, I will never let myself get there. And I will try to find as many people as I can who are stuck in that and try to help point them to safety. And I want you to know how much I appreciate what you guys are doing because that's what the mission is.
There are people that are thrust into this world and they have no idea. I remember a lady called Gracie right after surgery and said, we want to know how you're going to pay for this particular surgery. And Gracie was still kind of foggy. And I called down to the billing office. I said, she's going to pay for it the same way she did the last 50 surgeries she's had here because she's had a lot.
And I was so indignant. And I thought, okay, who's helping? I'm pretty aggressive and I've been doing this a long time. But what about those who don't bring that aggression and that skill set and that confidence to this? Who's helping them? This is what you're doing. Talk a little bit about the nuts and bolts of that.
Sure. Well, let's talk about just practically what we do at Americans for Prosperity. We give a voice to the silent majority, whether that's in education or taxpayer issues on property tax or health care. Someone has to stand in the gap and make sure that those who don't have a voice have a microphone and have someone being their advocate.
The way I think about for your audience is your audience. They're the ones that are the patient, you know, and we are their advocate. We are your caregiver. That's kind of how I like to think.
Does that make sense? That, you know, sometimes sometimes you don't know who's all in the room, but you need somebody to be your advocate. We are that person.
We are that organization. And it's a matter of whether it's caregivers or someone else in the health care space or any any space for that matter. My job is to make sure people are seen. You know, so oftentimes people are just living their lives, not often heard or not often seen.
My job is to make sure that we see you and then we go fight for you. So what does that mean? Practically that in Texas, we passed seven specific innovative laws at our state level that are focused around expanding access and enforcing price transparency. The one example is an itemized bill. So we passed a law that hospitals in Texas are now required to give patients or caregivers an itemized bill before they go get their procedure. You know, why is it acceptable that in the health care industry, you have no idea what it's going to cost before you get any procedure? You know, there's that's why there's so much medical debt or one of the reasons. And so this bill is actually saying every hospital has to give you a bill in advance and in layman's terms, you can't be forced to get like a thesaurus and a dictionary to understand, you know, the 17 syllable words that they put on some of these receipts.
So you have to put it in layman's terms. And most important, if a patient is not given a itemized bill before their care or before their good or service, the hospital cannot take them to debt collection. We have got to provide some safeguards. You guys did that in Texas.
We got it done. And here's what's great is that when Texas has 29 million people, when we pass laws here in Texas, this is an incubator at scale that when we pass really good laws, we can export those laws to other states. It's kind of like people always look to Texas or Florida for what is innovative in different marketplaces. We're doing that.
And this cannot be exported to other states to pass. We're talking with Genevieve Collins. She's the Texas state director for Americans for Prosperity. And they are all about how to push from the bottom up laws and legislation in this country that will help advocate, particularly in this area. We're talking today about health care and equipping caregivers to better navigate through this system. This is Peter Rosenberg and this is Hope for the Caregiver.
We'll be right back. As a caregiver, think about all the legal documents you need. Power of attorney, a will, living wills, and so many more. Then think about such things as disputes about medical bills. What if, instead of shelling out hefty fees for a few days of legal help, you paid a monthly membership and got a law firm for life? Well, we're taking legal representation and making some revisions in the form of accessible, affordable, full-service coverage.
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www.caregiverlegal.com, an independent associate. I'll stand with you when you can't stand alone. I'll fight for you when all your strength is gone. And I'll see your fire so all can hear your song. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver.
This is Peter Rosenberg and this is the program for you as a family caregiver. That's a great song to come back into this segment with from Gracie. That's a song I wrote.
It's called We Will Stand. I wrote that after 9-11 when I was like the whole world. I was trying to process what just happened and thinking, how do you how do you speak to these individuals who are going through that? And then I looked at Gracie and I thought, how do I even say something to her with the devastation that she deals with?
And that's what I wrote. I will stand with you when you cannot stand alone. I will fight for you when all your strength is gone. I will sing for you so that all can hear your song. Take my hand. Lean on me.
We will stand. Gracie took that song and just wailed on it. And I now for over 20 years have loved to listen to her sing that song. And I think that's appropriate for our conversation we're having today with Genevieve Collins. She is the Texas state director for Americans for Prosperity. And we're talking about an organization that is committed to standing with people who do not have a voice or certainly feel like they don't. And so many of us toil in obscurity. We look at what happens in Washington and our state houses. And we're thinking, how in the world can we have any kind of impact on that? Well, as individuals, we may not. But as a group, that's a different story and that's what Genevieve is discussing here today. And Genevieve, we were talking about before we went to the break the things that you guys had passed in Texas.
Now, I want you to unpack that a little bit. But are you guys in every state Americans for Prosperity in every state? We're in 38 states. So we're in almost every state. We don't have a chapter in California.
I'm not sure that they're savable, but we're going to try anyways. But what about Montana? I live in Montana. We do have a chapter in Montana.
What would you like this audience to know and to do on behalf of your work that you're doing there? Well, first off, we don't know your story and we don't unfortunately know your experience, but we want to. So go to our website, personal option dot com slash Texas for those who live in Texas or personal option dot com. Help us tell the story. Can you do it like if they're in Montana, personal option dot com slash Montana?
No, it's just Texas. So we're leading the way because I really care about health care. All right. All right.
OK, sorry. But you can go to our overall website, personal option dot com and still tell your story there. So I encourage folks to do that because you cannot we cannot continue to let people suffer in silence. That is not what this this country is purpose to do.
Everyone deserves a life filled with, you know, liberty in the pursuit of happiness. So first off, go to our website. Secondly, join us. We host events all across the country. You can go to our website, Americans for Prosperity dot org.
I'm sorry for so many websites, y'all, but Americans for Prosperity dot org. And folks can connect with their specific state chapters and that then we can actually bring you to the Capitol. We help coach people on how to testify, how to tell your story. And we will take care of all of the nuts and bolts because your story matters. And that's really what I want to impress is that we can help create legislation alongside some of your caregivers that needs need real meaningful reform and need real relief and use us as that resource to be a conduit to get that relief. You know, I've watched in days past and I'm going to swerve into something I probably should not do, but I'm excited.
Don't be. But I watched when there were people trying to force a piece of legislation down this country's throat and they brought up all kinds of stuff to testify. All kinds of people to testify in Washington. And they were stories that were so absurd and so goofy. And I knew that this was not a indicator of what's really going on in families and caregivers and chronically ill patients. And I knew this was not, but it was fitting their agenda. And I was yelling at the television because I have been immersed in this for a very long time and I've watched a lot of stuff trotted out on the screens. I'm very grateful that you are allowing this because this is pushback to say, no, no, no, this is what's going on with people. This is this is where they really are. And they were propping up with these people were used as props and it was terrible.
It freaks you. And I think that it's time for us to be able to have pushback on that because there are real people. I get letters all the time from this audience of things you're going through that are incredibly difficult.
So I'll tell you one. And I think they resolved the issue now. But there was a lady that was taking care of her husband with quadriplegia and she was trying to work two jobs to pay for people to come and take care of him. And then she had no, but she couldn't get the only solution she came up with because she wanted to take care of him. And I talked to her about an hour and a half.
It was one of those calls that I had to take a knee after. And she ended up divorcing her husband so that she could be paid by the state to take care of him. I have had more people say that to me. Parents that had twins that brand new babies. They couldn't afford the care of the NICU.
And sorry to interrupt you, Peter, but I get this all the time. That's the case workers say, well, divorce your husband. So that way you can get on Medicare or excuse me, on Medicaid.
And she's like, well, what? I just had children with this person. I have newborns.
And you're advising me to divorce my husband so that we can get on Medicaid to pay these bills? This is asinine. Forgive my terminology.
No, no, no. That's a good word. And I have a few more words of that. But this woman, she was so you could just see the dignity in her and she said, I bathe him. I clean him. I feed him. I sleep with him every night.
He is my husband, but this is all I could do. And she had family members that every pay up. They were just judging her because of this. And I looked at, I said to her very clearly, I said, you broke the contract, but you kept the covenant. Be at peace because that's, that's it. If somebody's got something better, they want to say to this woman that they're welcome to step up.
But I don't think there is anything better. You could say that she was so desperate and she was willing to do whatever. It reminded me of that story, you know, in Ruth, where Ruth was willing to go and lay at the foot of Boaz because she needed something. I mean, she was, she and her mother-in-law told her to do it. And, and, and I'm thinking this is the plight that people are having.
These laws need to change so that spouses who are taking care of their loved ones are not. I mean, I send an invoice to Gracie every week. She doesn't pay it, but I said, no, I just, yeah, I'm just kidding. I don't do that.
I don't do it. But, but I, Gracie says, why aren't you getting paid to take care of me? Right. And I'm like, well, that's a very good question. But it turns out you have a master's in nursing and you didn't know it.
Right. I have a PhD in caregiving for the school of hard knocks. But, but I, I appreciate very much what you guys are doing and I want to encourage this audience to please go out. The website is personaloptions.com. And if you're in Texas, personal option, sorry, sorry, personal.
And I'll put this in the podcast and everything else on the website, personal, personaloption.com. And if you're in Texas, and I know a lot of listeners to this program are personaloption.com slash Texas and tell your story, give them a chance to be able to advocate for you. Give them a chance to represent you.
This is a group of individuals. I wouldn't have them on the program if, if, if I didn't know that they would be able to stand in the gap for you. OK. And I'm asking you to take a little bit of a leap of faith and tell your story. Let them give them a crack at it. All you've got to lose is a few moments typing your story. Yeah.
Give them a crack at it. Do you have anything else? Last thoughts.
Last thoughts. Again, I just want to reiterate two things. In Texas, we got seven unique bills passed this session, and we are going to continue to accelerate in the next legislative session in 2025. Texas, under my time at Americans for Prosperity, we are going to be the organization that expands innovation, expands care, expands the ability of people to be seen and and reduces costs.
So join us in that fight. But more importantly. I'm sure that your listeners know this for all of the all of the folks that you have on this program. But I really want you to know from the bottom of my heart, I really see you. I see all of the work you guys do.
Stiff upper lip. You take care. You do keep your head down.
You do what is needed. You love fully. And I just want you to know that you are seen and we hope to hear from you. We hope to give your voice and your experience more meaning to help more people. So just know that I love and appreciate all of you. Beautiful words, Genevieve.
Genevieve Collins, Americans for Prosperity. And you can she does have a lot of Web sites, but the first one I want you to go to is personal option dot com slash Texas. If you're in Texas, personal option dot com. Give them a crack at it.
Give them a chance to tell your story and watch what can happen because together our stories become a force. So go to personal option dot com slash Texas if you're in Texas. Otherwise, just personal option dot com. And Genevieve, I want you to know how much I appreciate you being here with us today. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is hope for the caregiver. Hope for the caregiver dot com. I look forward to spending time with you each week. Thank you for spending time with me today. What do you say to a caregiver?
How do you help a caregiver? I was talking to this billing agent at the doctor's office and said, how are you feeling? And she said, oh, great. It's Friday. And before I could catch myself, I said Friday means nothing to me. Every day is Monday. And I felt kind of ashamed of that. I'm sorry for that. But I realized that whole principle of every day is Monday.
What that means for us as caregivers. We know that this is going to be a challenging day. And I wrote these one minute chapters. You literally could read them in one minute.
And I'm really proud of this book. It's called a minute for caregivers when every day feels like Monday. It's filled with bedrock principles that we as caregivers can lean on, that we can depend upon to get us to safety where we can catch our breath, take a knee if we have to and reorient our thinking and the weight that we carry on our shoulders. If you don't know what to say to a caregiver, don't worry about it. I do. Give them this book.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-27 04:20:13 / 2023-08-27 04:30:52 / 11