A Mad Woman Rants

My health insurance company, Aetna, sent me a letter on Thursday. It was polite, up until the point where they raised our monthly premium 25%. On the same day, Aetna announced a 16% jump in their second-quarter earnings. I have been an Aetna customer for years. They took good care of us. But we officially cannot afford them anymore. My husband is a self-employed carpenter. I am a self-employed writer. That means we don’t have any companies helping to pay our premiums. (The policies offered by SCBWI and the Author’s Guild do not extend to where I live. Think long and hard about this, friends, before leaving your day job to become an author.) With the rate hike, we are looking at paying $18,000 next year just in premiums – for two people. (We do not have any dental or vision coverage, but we do have a decent prescription plan.) We cannot afford to basically spend an entire salary on health insurance. Now don’t go feeling sorry for me. We will find other coverage. BH spent half of yesterday working the phones and we have a couple of different options. The next insurance company that we go to will be expensive, but not out-of-reach. The other option is that one of us could get a job that offers benefits. If any local colleges want to hire me to teach, I’d do it for a minimal salary as long as I could have benefits. Regardless, we will find a way to make this work. But you know what really makes me mad? Makes me want to scream and hurl spears? Makes me want to chain myself to the Washington Monument or wear a sandwich board that says SHAME while walking back and forth in front of the homes of health insurance execs like UnitedHealth Group CEO William McGuire, who made $125 million in 2005? Too many people don’t have the choices I have. In my country, which I dearly love, having a job with benefits can mean the difference between life or death. About 18,000 people died last year because they didn’t have insurance. Fifty-four million people were uninsured at one point or another in 2006. Fifty-four million – this is an obscenity. Our local newspaper is always announcing a spaghetti dinner or a pancake breakfast or a bake sale to raise money for someone’s surgery or chemotherapy. This is an abomination. I am not the only person who has snapped about this. In a recent poll, health care was the second-most important issue that voters wanted to hear presidential candidates discuss, behind only the Iraq War. I don’t want them to talk about it. I want them to be leaders and make a change for the good. If you are lucky enough to be covered and to have premiums that you can afford (this could change tomorrow), I ask you to do me a favor. Spend a little time figuring out what it would cost you if your employer dropped your coverage. After you pick yourself up off the floor, please write a letter to your congressional representatives and demand that they quit sucking up to the health insurance lobby. I’m really tired of letting the bad guys win.
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70 Comments

  1. Posted July 28, 2007 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    You’re right that it is an outrage that people can’t afford health insurance in this country. If bio biotech decided they didn’t need me anymore, we’d be screwed.

    You might be interested in some of these ideas:
    http://johnedwards.com/issues/health-care/

    good luck to you.

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Thank you for this!

  2. Posted July 28, 2007 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    ranting is contagious! (and not covered…)

    When my partner left her job and inquired about COBRA, which is supposedly this great employee-rights thing to keep your coverage, it was insanely expensive. I was working half-time and paying for half my benefits, and that was taking hundreds of bucks out of each paycheck. The whole “who offers same-sex partner benefits” issue has had a huge effect on our work lives, too.

    Yet if I were to go uncovered and just pay, for instance, a hospital bill, my prices would be much higher than the ones charged to the insurance companies, because I don’t have their negotiating power. I got to see this when there was a mix-up and we got a bill that assumed there was no insurance involved.

    I think the first state that solves this mess (Massachussetts and Oregon are likely candidates) will set a huge precedent for others to follow. It can’t come quickly enough, in my opinion.

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Re: ranting is contagious! (and not covered…)

      COBRA is a joke.

      How can we make informed voting contagious?

  3. Posted July 28, 2007 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    *raises glass* Here here.

    I came across this interesting viewpoint yesterday or the day before on the Ultrametabolism blog:

    [Link]

    But to be honest, I have a really cynical view on big business. And about society in general. I believe that many people don’t think there is room in our country for people who are poor, people who are in bad health, or people who are elderly. So the ones who are rich, healthy and powerful limit the resources of those who need help in a way that they can’t fight back, and then they all die. Voila. “Problem solved.”

    Again, that’s my cynical world view. It’s really disturbing how preventative health care is not rewarded, and that the costs to treat would could have been prevented with education and such are so exhorbant. :(

    • Posted July 28, 2007 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      i liked that article. as an example, at the age of 24, i was diagnosed as having high blood pressure. did my doctor listen to anything i said regarding what i knew about my body? (my diet, the amounts of stress in my life at the time) no. he promptly put me on meds which sent my BP crashing three days later (thankfully i was in an emergency room when it happened!) and refuses to take me off it. i continually fight him about his choice of medication, and i am finally seeking out a new doctor when i get health insurance this fall.

      what about diet, lifestyle? it seems like preventative measures dont even exist here. not to get on my vegetarian soapbox, but if people weren’t pounding down meat at every meal (and washing it down with soda), this country would be a heck of a lot healthier.

      • Posted July 28, 2007 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        Not even touching the meat/no-meat issue…. do you know how much more expensive healthy and organic foods are compared to processed foods? People can’t eat well because they’re busy trying to pay for the overpriced housing, so they go for the cheap stuff. The processed stuff is HORRIBLE for you, but if it’s all one can afford after rent and utilities, well, that’s what the person eats. And that goes a long way to ruining people’s health.

        • Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:23 am | Permalink

          Yes! Yes! Yes!

          Not to mention that in many urban neighborhoods it is near impossible to find anything resembling a fresh fruit or vegetable because the larger chains do not want to operate in that environment.

          We need more of this!

  4. Posted July 28, 2007 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Health care is f*ed up – and I say this as someone whose day job is in health care. (At least we’re non-profit).

    You could look at a high-deductible health plan. It might be a better option you – or not.

    Good lucky, and sorry.

    I’ll probably be self employed this year, but there’s no way both my husband and me could be – with our health histories it would be nearly impossible to find insurance.

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Yeah, that is one of the options we are considering.

      • Posted July 29, 2007 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        I meant to add coupled with a Healthcare Savings Account.

  5. Posted July 28, 2007 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    wow. i think i might spend my saturday night doing just that. My husband is a diabetic so there is no option for us not to have health coverage. As a teacher (him) and a librarian (me) we are very lucky to have excellent coverage via civil service. on the flip side, my mother, who is a registered nurse for a private hospital and my mom-in-law, who works for a health insurance company, both have really crappy health insurance. You would think that people in the industry would have better benefits. In this day and age it’s scary. I couldn’t imagine being uninsured.

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 12:34 am | Permalink

      It’s amazing the number of health care professionals who are under-insured. It’s especially scary because nurses and nursing home aides and residents and [add all kinds of other health workers here] who don’t seek treatment or preventive care regularly can put others who are already in precarious health situations at further risk. You’d think it would be in health cares best, and immediate, interest to take care of their own, but that’s just not happening.

      • Posted July 29, 2007 at 1:26 am | Permalink

        you can also add (at least for home health aids and nursing aids)that they are generally underpaid as well. And cannot afford supplementary health insurance.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted July 28, 2007 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Rant On, Sister!

    Husband: self-employed carpenter
    Self: self-employed children’s author, but not a famous best-selling one like you
    Health insurance: it SUCKS!

    You’ve got the platform, sister, give a shout out for me.

  7. Posted July 28, 2007 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    I hear you! Me and my family had to go a year without insurance because it was so outrageous. Luckily my wife is now with the university so we’re covered. SICKO made me cry and I’m a tough guy. It’s gotta change!

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      We’re looking forward to seeing it.

  8. Posted July 28, 2007 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Wow, almost 20 grand for health insurance.. *freaks out*
    There’s actually a movie on the healthcare thing called Sicko..

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Register! Vote! Get your friends to join you!

  9. Posted July 28, 2007 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I spent the last two years without health insurance. Luckily, the worst that happened to me was a bad case of mono. Anyhow– health insurance is, without doubt, the most important issue to me in the upcoming election.

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Are you registered to vote?

      (Watch your mailbox, btw.)

      • Posted July 29, 2007 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        You bet I’m registered!

        Thanks, I’ll lookout for it :)

  10. Posted July 28, 2007 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    The happiest day of my life was about a month ago when my husband got his first teaching job. Up until then, we had basically been using my whole salary (I’m considered an independent contractor) to pay our monthly premiums.

    Plus, we’ve had to pay whopping fees just to visit the doctor, which made me always wait until the last possible minute to actually see a doctor when I needed to.

    I fear that all of the presidential candidates are too scared to make any huge changes in healthcare… but we need it! Especially for the people who just have ZERO coverage!

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Register! Vote! Get your friends to join you!

  11. Posted July 28, 2007 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    My dad had to have open heart surgery almost five years ago. Since he had no health insurance (still doesn’t), he had to go to a charity hospital. The cost of the hospital visit ($200k) was forgiven, but the doctors still wanted their money. $9k for the anaesthesiologist alone, which was cut in half, but almost five years later and he’s still paying the bills from that. The state of health insurance in this country is f’ing disgusting.

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Give your dad a hug from me. I hope he is doing better.

  12. Posted July 28, 2007 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I recommend seeing Michael Moore’s film Sicko. It really opened my eyes as to how outrageous our health care system is, especially compared to countries like Canada, England, and France, who all have free health care, and it works.

  13. Posted July 28, 2007 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Health insurance pisses me off. I’m lucky enough to still be under my parents’ plan, but I sure don’t want to do that forever (and they probably don’t either :P).

    One of my friends (who is my mom’s age) had her health insurance company say they wouldn’t cover her mammograms b/c she didn’t need them yet. Um, WTF? She’s in her 50’s. Another friend had a bad fall last year, but he can’t even insure his car so that he can drive, let alone get health insurance. He had broken ribs and a broken arm, among other things, and had to be rushed to the hospital. Now he’s getting harrassed b/c he can’t pay his medical bills.

    It makes my insides boil. Thanks for telling us about stuff we can do to help.

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 3:00 am | Permalink

      I’m on my mom’s insurance also, but I lose that once I graduate university in three years (most companies boot you off once you’re 23).

      • Posted July 29, 2007 at 3:53 am | Permalink

        Eep. Well that’s good to know, seeing as I’m almost twenty-one. Only a couple years left.

        • Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          Have you parents check their policy…. make sure you are and will continue to be covered until 23.

  14. Posted July 28, 2007 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    I’d say I don’t know why those idiots in expensive suits seem to not care a bit about us regular citizens and our health insurance (among other things), but I do know why. It’s because most of them have never had to work a day in their lives. They were born ‘rich’, and have been ever since. Good luck with everything though.

    I also have to say that I find all of your posts to be interesting and inspiring, because I too hope to be a writer someday. I love your writing. Keep up the good work!

    -Shirley79-

  15. Posted July 28, 2007 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you. This makes me so sick. We are suppose to be the richest nation in the world but we have children who are uninsured and countless others who have to make the daily choice between eating and buying prescription drugs.

    When I quit my teaching job I had Blue Shield insurance. Every year the premium went up while the benefits deceased. I prayed that my family wouldn’t have a serious help problem. We ended up having a $8,000 co-payment for our family of three. We did have a HSA but no way did that have enough to cover any serious bills. Studies show that people with HSA’s end up not going to the doctor because…

    They can’t afford the bills.

    My husband ended up going back to a company that has benefits. But this is so sad. It’s getting harder and harder to be self-employed with all the taxes and the outrageous health premiums.

    I hope everything works out for you. I’m one of your biggest fans and love reading your blog.

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Thank you so much for the kind words.

  16. Posted July 28, 2007 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Health insurance is also holding me hostage. I’m a college student and thus can’t afford insurance on my own, and my parents are gracious enough (and in a financial place that allows them to) cover my car insurance, and other bills. However, in order to stay on their health insurance I have to be a full time student. Which sucks when there’s officially only ONE class I have to take next semester. I have to fill my schedule with a bunch of other things that I don’t really want to do just to keep things like my prescriptions affordable.

    I don’t even want to think about what it’ll be like trying to figure out things like insurance when I’m a Grown Up in six months and have to do this on my own…

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Our oldest graduated from college in the Spring. She was lucky enough to land a job that gives her health insurance. But we were biting our fingernails for a while.

      You shouldn’t have to worry about this!!!

      Email the presidential candidates and figure out which one has the best plan for you. Register and vote and get your friends to do the same!!

  17. Posted July 28, 2007 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been under health insurance maybe once in my whole life. It was the only good thing about the year I lived in my stepmother’s house. I’ve been lucky so far never to need any major medical procedeures, but how long will that last? I’ve seriously considered moving to a country with socialized medicine if I had that option.

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      If you haven’t already, please register to vote (if/when you are 18) and email the presidential candidates who look interesting to you. Tell them your story. Ask what they will do to help you protect yourself.

      And let us know if you get any responses.

      • Posted July 29, 2007 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        I’m already 20 and I didn’t vote last time and none of them look very interesting. Do they even really listen to anyone’s letters anyway?

        • Posted July 29, 2007 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          I am begging you – please vote. Even if you are choosing the Lesser Evil, vote. Even if it only to give yourself the right to complain about the government for four years – vote. Please, please, please.

          Yes, they do listen to letters, but there has to be enough of them. When they start getting enough letters about this…. or when a candidate who has the courage to propose a viable program to insure everyone gets a boatload of positive attention for it, that’s when we will start to see change.

  18. Posted July 28, 2007 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m still ticked that in ’93 Clinton waited until he’d destroyed his credibility with Congress over special interest legislation before pursuing health care reform, which got derailed by the Contract on America. The time was ripe then. It’s so overripe now, it’s rotten.

    On a personal: Is there anyway you could sell a screenplay? WGA’s health insurance is amazing. My neighbor’s kidney transplant was covered 100%.

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 12:18 am | Permalink

      Thabks for the tip – I’ll look into the screenplay possibility…um…. as soon as I write the next to books.

      And I am TOTALLY with you about how that administration bungled a golden opportunity.

      • Posted July 29, 2007 at 12:29 am | Permalink

        Just realized there are two spelling mistakes in my reply, above. Possibly more. I am beat.

        G’night moon.

  19. Posted July 29, 2007 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    I often complain about my country’s “universal” health care scheme, and the giant holes that it sometimes lets people slip through… but at least we have the bare basics of treatment for people who need it but can’t afford it. It’s not good enough, not nearly good enough, but it’s better than nothing.

    The current government wants to privatise it, wants to move towards the US system, but thankfully: a) Australians hopefully won’t let that happen, and b) looks like they’ll be voted out of office in November (after 10 years of the same Prime Minister!). If any incumbent here tries to get rid of Medicare, there’s a lot of us who will come out fighting (nails and all) prevent that from happening.

    I hope your next president does better on this issue for you.

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 12:48 am | Permalink
      • Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Would you say you are satisified with your current system?

        • Posted July 30, 2007 at 3:48 am | Permalink

          What our government does is subsidise the medical treatment/doctors fees/cost of medicine. But for some people, even this is not enough. I’ve had a friend put off going to the dentist for so long that the hole in her tooth actually started bleeding, because she couldn’t afford to pay the gap fee to even get a consultation. Even if she had the money, she’d have to wait out the “waiting list” before she could even get in door.

          Too many operations are classed as “elective” and people get put on waiting lists for years before they can get operations that will be subsidised by the government. But if they’re in so much pain they can’t work, what’s the sense in waiting for years before they can get treated?

          I’m not happy with the current system, no. But at the same time, I can’t complain, especially to Americans.

          But, you know what? I feel like I can’t really comment, because I’m lucky enough to be under my father’s private health insurance. I’ve not been put in shit-awful positions where I have to decide between eating or getting medical treatment. Ask me in a couple of years when I’m no longer a student.

  20. Posted July 29, 2007 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    You go, girlfriend! I totally agree with you. In this family, one self-employed writer and one self-employed Barn Saver means one uninsured person. (John.) We’ve had to resort to all kinds of measures in order to get affordable coverage for me: the one with asthma and all those annoying issues. Arrggghhhh!! It is frustrating. We’ve been crossing our fingers that somebody fixes this problem . . . SOON! We’re getting older every minute!!!

    Linda

  21. Posted July 29, 2007 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    We just moved out of a state whose economy has been decimated by the high cost of health care. It simply costs too much for the car industry to exist in Michigan anymore. While I’d like to hear presidential candidates talk about this, I’d like to hear gubernatorial candidates more. I really think this is a state issue. The things that I need good coverage for in Nevada (our new home) are different enough from what I needed in Michigan or Pennsylvania that it would be difficult to have comprehensive federally-based insurance. Edwards’ plan for regional markets come closer to what I’d want, but I’m still not convinced that this is even an issue the federal government is allowed to tackle comprehensively. (I’m incredibly liberal, but darn it, I like states’ rights. I know this makes me a little bit of an odd duck.)

    • Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      The scary part for me is that I believe we need universal coverage, but the government has an atrocious track record at managing many of these kinds of systems.

      Sigh.

  22. Posted July 29, 2007 at 3:46 am | Permalink

    Grrrr

    Being poor enough to get state insurance doesn’t really help either. They messed me about so much this fall/winter that I ended up being without my much needed meds more than once. Last year I was in the hospital twice. I really, really need my meds and without insurance they cost over $600 a month. I make about $500 a semester.

    And now they are investigating my mother for fraud because they’re idiots and have decided that she has much more money than she actually does. I think they’ll decide in her favor. But in the mean time she and my little brother don’t have coverage and certainly can’t afford it. He’s 10. How wrong is that? At least he’s healthy.

    When they’re deciding if you qualify, they count student loans as income. Since when do you have to pay back income with interest?

    Americans are so fricking afraid of social health care. We never had these sorts of problems when we lived in England. The cold war has been over for decades folks.

  23. Posted July 29, 2007 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    I work in health care in Canada. Our system has big problems, but at least everyone is covered (and premiums are adjusted according to income), so I guess I should count my blessings!

  24. Posted July 29, 2007 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I am an American living in Sweden, and it is eye-opening to experience the health coverage here. Sure, there are problems with it, delays to get surgeries, long queues at times, but you will get help. I have had two babies here, and I paid about $20 for each birth -that covered the room and food for the time I stayed in the hospital afterwards – 4 days with the first one and 1 day with the second. Midwives deliver babies here, doctors only come in if there is a problem. I had epidurals both times. The midwives helped me get the hang of breastfeeding with the first one, too. I didn’t have the same midwife the whole time – just whoever was on duty. With the first one, I was in labor so long that I had three sets of midwives.

    What I like here too is that the coverage for kids is free up until 18 years of age. Free dental (and orthodontics too, if needed). About a week after my first one was born, a midwife came to visit us at home for a check-up. Both of my kids have had regular check-ups during the first six months (at the pediatrician’s office) – there is a lot of follow-up care and they make sure the kids are ok after being born. I can’t imagine that always being the case in the US, but I don’t know.

    As an adult I pay about $18 for a doctor’s visit – so it isn’t entirely free. I pay for any medicines or prescriptions. I have been healthy though, so I don’t know what it is like if you have a major illness. Just articles in the newspapers though about long wait times for things like hip/knee surgeries and misdiagnoses from time to time.

    An American friend of mine here, her son who is 3 1/2 has had four open heart surgeries. He just had his last one recently, and they have received tremendous care. And the cost was basically nothing. It is amazing.

    Yes the taxes are high here, but not outrageous – about 35 % of your salary. And it is a country of only 9 million people, so that is a lot more manageable than the US. I read an article, I think in Business Week, that quoted someone as saying: the American people want managed care because they don’t want the long lines the countries that have universal care have.

    I think managed properly, it can be done. What kind of frightens me though is the bureaucratic agencies in the US – often archaic and backwards (at least how I perceive them), a lot of good intentions but a lot of problems and red tape – I guess Homeland security, as well as the Board of Education, jump to mind. I hope things change and there is a good solution for health care.

    Even though I don’t love living here and look forward to moving back (I am from NYC but may go back to Philly or some where else, we will see what happens), health insurance makes me happy living here. Right now I am on my year-long, paid maternity leave, and trying to enjoy every moment with my kids. Living in the US, I wouldn’t have this opportunity. I also like that I can do anything for work and it is not tied to health insurance. I can try new things, I could stay home and be a writer, if I could get my butt in gear. : )

    Good luck with getting a new plan! I hope you find a better solution, and I really hope that things change in the US for the better.

  25. Posted July 29, 2007 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    wow. that post opened my eyes about health insurance and all that. hey, if you’re looking for something else to be grateful for, be grateful you can see, walk, hear, write, read, and anything else you’re able to do. i’ve been thinking about you a lot. miss you! =) ♥
    p.s. sorry i missed the online chat. i’m glad it went well. it was on my birthday, and i was at the movies with my friend. let me know when you’re doing another one and i’ll be there!

  26. Anonymous
    Posted July 29, 2007 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    The problem is that even though Americans care about things like health insurance and the environment, they don’t VOTE on those issues. The next election will be about Iraq, not health care. And every time someone brings up socialized medicine as an example of how things are done in other countries, the capitalists freak out and start reciting scare stories about the evils of socialized medicine.

  27. Posted July 29, 2007 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    i also wanted to say that speak was on lifetime last night. and i saw that awesome cafeteria worker who puts mashed potatoes on the tray. honestly, who is that cafeteria worker? she deserves an oscar! ;) and i’m going to be a reporter on the 4th estate, which is the newspaper for the college i’m going to. i can’t wait! (sorry for leaving two comments though. i’ll quit bugging you.)

  28. Posted July 29, 2007 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Whenever I bring up healthcare to my family, they complain about the Canadians. However, I am the only one in my family that is without decent healthcare coverage. Really, there are not too many places in Fargo, ND that provide great healthcare. Wal-Mart, I know, doesn’t even take their own vision plans in their Vision Centers. It is ridiculous. Luckily I can go to the public health clinic where they have cheaper costs. I pay $30 for a doctor’s visit, compared to over $100 for even five minutes of help or to just talk over results and get my yearly prescription. Ridiculous! It is definitely time for a change. Better health provides a better quality of life we ALL deserve! Thanks for sharing all the info!

    (And as a hopeful future published writer, this makes me think!).

  29. Posted July 29, 2007 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this post. The health care situation in this country is tragic, and people use scary buzzwords to throw votes off track. My sister is a kidney transplant patient who has spent the last few years without any coverage, and has had three hospitalizations and one surgery in that time. My mom was a nurse, an NIH official, and a hospital administrator who worked so hard on these issues, and when she got sick, Aetna shafted her like you wouldn’t believe. The system sucks. Please write, call, email your representatives!

  30. Posted July 29, 2007 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m a teacher in SFL and have health ins. through my job. For my family (2 adults & 2 kids) I pay over $11,000, and found out that it’s going to increase 11% this year. I write to my school board, local reps, senators, gov, etc on a monthly (sometimes weekly) basis to let them know how pathtic the ins system is. What’s more shocking is to see the massive #’s of kids w/o any insurance. Truly pathetic.
    On a side note – we (my 4th/5th gifted class) read Fever 1783 this year & the kids LOVED it!!!

    Good luck,
    Erin

    If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.

  31. Posted July 30, 2007 at 2:38 am | Permalink

    So we’ve got, what, a dozen Presidential wannabes who even tonight have been on CNN (yet again) and its the same ……..BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH (well, you get the point)

    and MEANTIME—Just last week—-
    another dozen kids have gotten killed in Iraq and OVER a dozen people have lost their jobs here in America(and along with it, their insurance)

    I should think these dozen candidates would USE that press coverage from the media that follows them around hour after hour and ONE of them would stand on the steps of the Capitol and point at it with those cameras in their face and say–“The people in there should be working day and night, camping out and not going home until they hammer out and initiate a solid all encompassing health care package for each and every American. I’m going to stand here with the media and ask each of them as they go home each night at 5 P.M. WHY they havent done thier job for that day while they rush home to their families and their comfortable homes.(and tax paid insurance)
    Because even if you don’t vote for me I can at LEAST do that much for you with what limited power I have to back up the promises I have been blabbing about for a year.”

    (well, SOMEthing to that effect.)
    (and does anybody wonder why EACH of the dozen or so candidates NEED to have OVER 50 million dollars in their war chests over a year before the elections just to get voted into a job that only pays $400,000 a year? (do the math- even just one term is only $1,600,000.00 (before taxes)

    And EACH of these people HAVE TO HAVE a 50 MILLION dollar ‘war chest’ just to be considered to be in this (farce) race… (once again—do the math—thats over 600 million dollars to be sure their face is shoved into your living room every night….and yet……….not one of them ever, ever, EVER gets any closer to an actual working health plan then their usual daily promises. Do you REALLY want to listen to empty promises every day until November 2008?)

    Okay- I’ll get off the soapbox.
    Personally? I think the whole country is a huge runaway train and the engineer has jumped off and theres no brakes and the bridge is out up ahead and all these blabbers are just distracting us in the passenger car and their just going to talk us to death long before the train plummets over the friggin bridge.

  32. Posted July 30, 2007 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    And another thing……

    The bottom line is demographics….

    Hollywood AND politics will do ANYthing to get the YOUTH vote.

    All of you young kids who love Laurie’s books (and films) are the votes they want.

    DO YOUR HOMEWORK
    STUDY THE ISSUES
    THIS IS your GENERATION’S PROBLEM IN TEN SHORT YEARS.

    The only hope for this country lies in YOUR hands.

    Do you enjoy Laurie’s books (and films?)

    Then pay her back and VOTE.

    LOOK at whats happening to your parents and their jobs.

    Imagine RIGHT NOW that its YOUR job leaving the country and YOUR job shutting down and YOU have to scramble to find something to keep food on the table.

    YOU are the one who has two kids and another on the way and you JUST LOST YOUR JOB—

    what will you do?????????

    How would you handle it?????

    This is a real problem that YOU WILL FACE IN TEN YEARS.

    Don’t worry about it THEN.

    YOU NEED TO WORRY RIGHT THIS FRIGGIN MINUTE.

    YOU HEARD ME.

    NOW IS THE TIME– BECAUSE 2008 IS AROUND THE CORNER.
    YOUR generation has a weapon no other generation ever had.

    THE INTERNET

    Yeah its cool that you can text ot IM your friends how cool Transformers was or how funny Simpsons was.

    But the very same format can be used to RESEARCH the future.
    Text your friends and find out what they think.
    If they arent thinking about the future or voting BE A FRIEND AND GET THEM ON THE SUBJECT AND STAY ON THE SUBJECT.

    And then you might ask….
    Okay, and what do I talk about then?

    Well….
    first, of course, the nations Health care system needs MAJOR solutions.

    Then theres always the war and the school systems and the immigration problem and minimum wage and even if you ARE priviledged to have a good life and your parents have secure jobs and all your friends are happy and you dont feel its your business….trust me—IT IS YOUR BUSINESS.

    MY generation is going to hand you a really big bill YOU will have to pay in ten or fifteen years.

    I, here and now, personally apologise for MY generations apathy. But you king of get that way after a lifetime of getting your butt kicked.

    But you young folks have all the power.

    The politicians WANT your vote.

    MAKE THE BASTARDS EARN IT RIGHT NOW.
    Because once they get in in 2008, well, YOUR going to be stuck with whatever they think they can get away with.

    ROCK THE VOTE.

    THE ONLY DAMN CHANCE YOU ALL HAVE IS TO ROCK THE VOTE
    LOOK AT WHATS HAPPENING TO YOUR PARENTS JOBS AND JUST IMAGINE YOURSELF IN THEIR POSITION—IMAGINE ITS YOU.

    What do you think should be done?
    Go out and make it happen.

  33. Posted July 30, 2007 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    A-freakin-MEN.

    As a single adjunct professor/substitute teacher/freelance writer, I make a livable income. Of course, I’m also left without health insurance. I’ve been going without it for way too long, and I’ve been very, very lucky so far, but I wonder how long my luck will hold out.

    We have a very serious problem in this country, and something needs to be done.

  34. Posted July 30, 2007 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    lessons from Star Trek fans….

    Or another idea….
    Way back in the late 60’s a few hundred thousand fans of a new and daring TV show called Star Trek found out the show was getting cancelled after only ONE season- well as many of you are aware–they INUNDATED the studio with a letter campaign unlike anything ever done before and the studio, seeing that there were in fact enough people watching the show (which of course meant hundreds of thousands of eyeballs watching the commercials)the show was saved.

    We could all do the same thing today and maybe make an attempt to turn the Titanic of HEALTH CARE out of the path of the Iceberg.

    It’s quite simple.

    A piece of paper.
    A stamp.
    An envelope.
    A pen (magic marker would be better)
    and ten minutes of youre time.
    (AND YES I AM WELL AWARE THE EFFORT THIS REQUIRES DOING THIS THE OLD FASHIONED WAY BUT IF WE ALL SEND EMAILS THE SECRETARY CAN VERY EASILY JUST DELETE IT ALL IN THE SAME TEN MINUTES IT TOOK TO WRITE THE EMAIL. DOING IT WITH PEN AND PAPER WILL CERTAINLY EAT UP HER WHOLE DAMN DAY IF SHE HAS TO PHISICALLY OPEN EACH AND EVERY ENVELOPE AND FILE IT ALL IF AND ONLY IF ENOUGH OF US TAKE THE TIME TO DO THIS PEN AND PAPER THING)

    Simply write THATS ENOUGH! (you know, a simple and stern warning in simple childlike terms that a child could understand, knowing that they’ve pushed mommy or daddy far enough and the next time they do something bad there will be a swift and hard slap upside the head.)

    Place it into the envelope with a stamp and address it to someone who can DO SOMETHING.

    (No I am afraid I have no idea who the best person to send all this stuff to would be but hey- I came up with the idea, someone else could find out the best address where hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of envelopes could be sent.

    Now whoever receives all this stuffn is going to have to have someone open all the mail and store all the millions of letters and maybe they’ll get the hint.

    Worth a try I say.
    Is ten minutes of your time worth the effort?
    Think of it—it takes longer to get on the phone to try to solev a health care need or problem when you actually have to use their services doesnt it?

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

    And- hey….
    It may not work.
    But maybe the news would pick up the story and the politicians would take notice. After all, as I said in a previous post—they pay attention to VOTES!!!!

    AFTER their in it doesnt matter but BEFORE the voting their all ears…..

    Well, theres the idea- run with it folks!
    (After all- look how far Star Trek has come in the last 40 years—-4 series, 10 films and an all new 11th movie preparing to film for next years release. Its all in the power of the pen.)

    • Posted July 30, 2007 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Re: lessons from Star Trek fans….

      Remember—

      We all NEED something
      The studio needed to know there were people WATCHING the commercials in between the Trek episodes ($$$)
      And the fans needed something origianl and fuulfilling-which Star Trek provided beyond anyones imagination.

      Now- 40 years later….
      WE as consumers NEED to know IF we need a doctor or hospital that they will HELP US. WE as consumers NEED to know that we are covered for those unpredictable car accidents, for the parent who slips in the shower, for the child who fell down the steps and has a broken leg….etc….

      The polititians NEED YOUR VOTES.
      YOU HAVE A CHOICE
      LET THEM KNOW YOU’LL GIVE YOUR VOTE TO ANY ONE OF THEM WHO WILL DO WHAT THEY NEED TO DO TO MAKE THE CHANGES RIGHT NOW- BEFORE THE ELECTION.

      Supply and Demand.
      Lets make it work FOR us this time instead of against us.

  35. Posted July 30, 2007 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Lying rats

    I just keep thinking up more stuff—

    Employees get screwed all the time.

    Companies don’t choose an insurance company because their looking out for YOU.

    They choose insurance comapnies to SAVE THEMSELVES
    (and the stockholders) MONEY.

    Since we are the ones who have to pay out I should think each company should have a few morning meetings/focus groups/pamphlet pass outs/ or just simple voting for the employess instead of just shoving a folder in your hand and saying “well, this is the new uinsurance we’ve chosen for YOUR family.”

    HOGWASH!!!!!!!!

    YOUR the one getting the cash taken out of the paycheck each month, in addtion to the co-pay for each visit.

    YOU should be able to dictate what would work best.

  36. Posted July 30, 2007 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    One of my co-workers helps her parents manage their meds. They get their healthcare through the VA. They have about 20 prescriptions each, many of which are not available in generic form, and they pay $5,000 a month – just for the meds.

    Only one of the five adult children in our blended family has insurance. One is self-employed and is blissfully unaware of the financial disaster that could be waiting for him. A couple have really learned to work whatever free health care for indigents is available in our state, but it’s still woefully inadequate. One isn’t working at all because of health issues. Catch 22.

    My husband is a 30-year veteran and gets his health care through the local base. It’s slow. You don’t get to choose your doctor very much, but it eventually works. And it’s very affordable. But don’t get me started on Walter Reed.

    The insurance in my office keeps climbing, but we keep the insurance – with fairly low deductibles – instead of offering very big raises. I can live with that.

    It’s actually getting harder to find an ob-gyn in our state who will deliver babies because of the gargantuan cost of the malpractice insurance. Rural areas are suffering the most.

    The split between haves and have-nots is getting worse. There has to be a compromise. Our country is based on free enterprise. We HAVE to protect and encourage the self employed and small businessman to keep the country growing in a healthy way.

  37. Anonymous
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Even for those of us with decent health insurance, things are getting worse. In the past seven years – all with the same employer and same health insurance – my monthly contribution has gone up about 25% (maybe more) and yet the coverage itself has decreased every single year. Prescription co-pays have tripled or more (depending on the type of med), deductibles have doubled, they’ve introduced a “co-insurance” charge which means that I have to pay 10% of even covered charges, there’s a hospitalization, fee, etc. The ONLY improvement that I can think of is that this year, the co-pay for office visits went down $10.

    Here’s the best example of how it’s gotten worse: When I was pregnant with my son in 2001, I paid ONE $15 co-pay from my first pre-natal visit through his birth/our hospital stay, plus maybe $150 for other minor charges. So say $200 for the whole shebang. When I was pregnant with my daughter in 2005 – same insurance, mind you – I paid about $3,000 from start to finish. Both pregnancies/deliveries were similar – uncomplicated pregnancies, similar # of ultrasounds, both c-sections, etc. but more than a 1500% increase in out-of-pocket costs.

    Believe me, I KNOW I’m lucky to have that insurance – each birth alone would have cost $10,000+ without insurance, and my kids’ asthma meds would be extremely pricey – but it’s pretty discouraging that even the “good” health insurance is getting worse.

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