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July 2, 2011

Linux, Non-profits, and Health Insurance

Last month, a retired volunteer for an Linux-based charity had a stroke. See this: When "minor" and "devestating" are used in the same sentence. Because of brutal, inhumane state and federal policies dictated by Wall Street, she is ineligible for Medicare, and naturally can't afford an individual policy on a fixed social security income (at over 6 it's prohibitively expensive). So, she's screwed.

The work she and her colleague, now caregiver, have been doing has been helping the young gain access to technology where our broken educational system has let them down, again. The HeliOS Project provides rebuilt or refurbished computers to disadvantaged Austin kids. These systems would not be able to run current Windows OS's, but run Linux just fine.

Working for a non-profit is not financially rewarding - usually you are lucky to be able to afford to pay to feed yourself, and all the rest goes into the cause. It rarely has benefits like health insurance or sick leave, and usually any pay at all is a token stipend.

Because our economy is organized around wage work for corporations, both entrepreneurs and non-profit volunteers end up in the same boat when it comes to health care if something major happens: they sink, and lose every they have due to an accident, or accident of biology.

Here is where America can redeem itself, in a small way. There is a PayPal link in the article. If you are working, and have insurance, toss some money her way to help pay for her treatment. I did. Spread the word, about the project, and the problem, too.

Posted by ljl at 6:18 PM | Comments ()