Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Carol's Health Care Plan

Obamacare may go down, in full or part, by the Supreme Court's ruling this summer. There doesn't appear to be a plan "B" waiting in the wings. Well, wait no longer, because here's one plan.

First of all, most people hate, really despise, their health insurance companies. I know I do. They stand to make gazillions more money no matter what. They whine about the huge payments they grudgingly pay for our medical care, while passing out bonuses to their executives that would feed small countries, and cure their AIDS and malaria as well. Meanwhile, they flood us with unnecessary paperwork and demand the same from us.

Second of all, group insurance is the only kind that is affordable for most people, and doesn't ban folks with pre-existing conditions. But, group coverage is tied to our employers, for no apparent reason. Lose your job, lose your coverage. Transfer or find a new job, don't get sick during the waiting period for coverage. This is daughter June's pet peeve.

How about groups other than employers? Baptists, Elks, Jaycees, Sons of the Pioneers? Insurance companies could bid on these groups, only if they are non-profit themselves. Think of the promotions like, 10% off your premium if you tithe? Your Credit Union could offer discounts with each Certificate of Deposit. AAA could offer gas coupons if you get your health and auto insurance with them! Why not?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Strange Supremes

Something strange is going on in the Supreme Court today. This is the first day of oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, called Obamacare by its detractors.The Obama team had argued at the trial courts that it was too soon to rule, since no one had been forced to pay a penalty yet. This "no harm, no foul" rule would keep the case from the courts until the first person was forced to pay a penalty for not purchasing health insurance, probably in 2015. If the Court wants to go with this, they can just kick the can down the road for a few years.

The strange part is that the Obama forces dropped this argument from its appeal some time ago, saying "Oh, never mind." The Supremes, on their own, decided to hear about it, and appointed a Mr. Robert Long to brief and present this issue. One might think that they would just as soon dismiss the case on this procedural ground, to avoid ruling during an election year. (Yes, boys and girls, they are political animals.)
However, once Mr. Long made his presentation, they jumped all over him. They almost made fun of him. He must have wondered why they had invited him to the party if they didn't like him or his theory

Monday, March 19, 2012

It's Only a Flesh Wound

That famous cry of the Black Knight from Monty Python can be heard throughout the Republican primaries, How long will the candidates keep whacking away at each other? No one knows.

Too many egos are at work here huffing and puffing away, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Thanks, William Falkner. I am, of course, one delighted Democrat. However, a vigorous two-party campaign is a good thing. We need to question our assumptions,  and our directions need to be defended or curbed. We need to be hearing concrete plans for a sane energy policy, not "Drill, Baby, drill!" We need to address economic issues, because our Wall Street troubles are far from over. Health care is going to be too expensive, whether or not the Supreme Court upholds the current law. We spend far more than any civilized country in the world to provide mediocre care to a few, none to many. Let's hear some better plans.

Quit whacking away at each other and give us some solid ideas to solve these problems. Don't waste your money whining about contraception, for crying out loud. No one asked you to solve that non-problem.

What this election season may do is cast doubt on fortune tellers. I haven't heard Madame Sees-all try to call this one. Maybe the Horoscopes can help.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fun with Doctors

I retired from practicing law over ten years ago. I didn’t know what retirement would bring, but I knew the time was right to find out.  My husband’s health wasn’t getting any better, but we could still get up and go. He retired following a stroke in 1977, so he had a head start. I could keep our employer health insurance and not wait for Medicare to kick in. Seemed like a sign. 
It was really a sign that retirement is all about health, or the lack of it. Since I retired, we have both survived cancer, had body parts replaced with after-market parts, and spent many hours in doctor’s waiting rooms. I never met a lawyer that would keep clients waiting for 2 hours. We have fired a few doctors for that reason. One doctor, a lung specialist, decided that his patients could no longer use his restrooms, so they were directed to go to the end of the hall, take an elevator, then go to the end of that hall. Dragging an oxygen tank. Fired him. 
One problem we haven’t had is paying for all of this fun. I paid CJ’s premiums; mine were paid as part of my compensation, but not as a gift. Recent comments about health insurance, and what is covered, sound like some people have been living in a vacuum, like on Mars. 
No independent insurance is available for people with pre-existing conditions, if Obamacare fails. Even acne as a teenager can disqualify you. So forget about hanging out a shingle and paying your way. Pay your own medical bills? Our insurance was charged $34,000.00 for an outpatient scan, no treatment, no bed. One month’s supply of antibiotics for an infection picked up at the hospital? $3800.00.
Just saying, kids, quit moaning about creeping socialism until you have paid a few bills. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Rush is Toast

Yes, I've tried to avoid jumping into the Rush Limbaugh conversations. The subject does not, however, want to die a merciful death. The conservatives seem to be more afraid of him than anyone except Grover Norquist, whoever he is.
Why aren't they calling him out, chastising him, speaking out? They are caught in a real dilemma. Do they risk alienating the members of his fan club, or the rest of the voters in this country? I suspect that their silence has spoken already. 
Santorum said that he thought Rush's choice of words was inappropriate. No, no, no. There is no appropriate way to demean a woman who speaks out for the right to choose birth control for whatever reason. It is not as though Rush has trouble finding the right words to express himself. 
I think that we will express ourselves in November. Not just women, not just liberals, but every single voter who want to distance himself from this type of politics. A vote for Obama will be a vote for a return to civil discourse and courteous debate.

Monday, March 5, 2012

That Old House

Our old house was full of leaks, noises, pets, kids and their friends. We never worried much about burglars because our neighbors' houses were much more attractive targets. They also had big stockade fences so no one could see the burglars working on the doors and windows.

One night, though, there was a really loud noise that could not be ignored. Our daughter and I woke up and went creeping around in the dark, toward the noise. Not too smart, but I grabbed a shovel and she grabbed a tennis racket, just in case of trouble. (I told you we had been sleeping.) Didn't see a soul, except for a couple of sleeping brothers. Just then we saw headlights on a car, and it was backing out of our driveway. We were crazed with courage by now, so we ran out the back door and chased it down the street. Then we noticed it was slowing down to toss papers in everyone's driveways. There we stood in pajamas, wondering what in the world we were thinking. "Here, Mom, I'll serve him up with my backhand and you swat him with the shovel."

It's easy to see why I don't want guns in the house. The noise was ceiling tiles falling into the washing machine. An everyday occurrence.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How to Train A Posslq

This is an antiquated term for "persons of opposite sex sharing living quarters," which was used by the census bureau to define non-married roommates. The upside of this arrangement, besides tormenting your parents, was that you could work out your differences without the legal entanglements of marriage before taking the Big Step.

I am here to tell you that if it had worked, it would have. It didn't. Neither did getting married before you had to. After 54 years of marriage, however, I can offer a few suggestions.

1. Pick up after yourself. I had a friend whose husband kept dumping his dirty clothes on the floor. She started nailing them down. Socks, underwear, suits. Kept using longer nails. Didn't save the marriage, but gave her a lot of personal satisfaction.

2. Show some appreciation. Kiss your spouse, or at least hug 'em. Thank them for putting air in the tires, or taking in the mail.

3. Say "Gee, that was a great idea, (or movie, or restaurant" even if it wasn't.

3. Admit you were wrong. Hey, nobody's perfect. Say " I shouldn't have . . . but I did, and I won't do it again."

4. Tell them you love them, even if you don't, exactly, at that moment.