Category Archives: politics

What have you done for me lately?

Poor Obama.  So many fair weathered friends.  Everyone turning their back on you.  Everyone wanting to know…

So in case you needed a reminder, he’s done quite a lot.

 

Health Care Reform

It’s hard for me to discuss health care reform because I take it personally.  VERY personally.  So much so I ruined a dinner party a few months ago screaming at my host.  He thought we were having a political debate.  I thought we were talking about my life.  He spouted off sound bites he’s heard on TV.  I gave him actual examples from my own reality.

My husband was laid off at the time, so I was shocked that this guy didn’t get that his friends, the unemployed guy and his wife with the progressive neurological condition, were shitting themselves daily wondering if they were a year or so away from financial ruin.  I thought with a real world example sitting right in front of him, he’d at least take a step back and think about the issue from a different angle. He didn’t and when I realized he wasn’t going to it was if a crazy person took over my body.  I was so offended, so angry, so shocked by what I perceived as a complete lack of compassion and frankly, high level reasoning skills, I lost my freakin’ mind.

Needless to say I’ve kept my mouth shut since then out of fear that I’ll either alienate my friends or piss of my “I’m the diplomatic one in the  marriage” husband.  But since we’re coming down to the wire on this issue, I thought I’d do my part and chime in one last time as a person that needs health care to not only survive physically and financially but also as a professional that works as a health care provider.

Understand I’m talking about health care REFORM.  Not free health care. Not,”Whoa is me, I wish my government would take care of me,” health care. Health reform. Re-Fucking-Form.  A damn verb that means to revamp, improve, reshape, remodel and reorganize something.  That’s what this is about to me. Because if you think that health care is fine as is – you’re either not paying attention, don’t work in a health field or don’t have a bulls-eye  on your back due to a diagnosis.

If however, you agree the system is broken but you don’t like the proposals in place to reform it, that’s an entirely different story. So this post is dedicated to the uninformed out there, i.e., the lucky ones that have jobs and insurance and no illnesses that would untether their ability to continue having jobs and insurance because besides being uninformed, you’re also a lucky son-of-a-bitch.  But remember, luck tends to run out.  Don’t say you weren’t warned.

I want health care reform in this country for a couple of reasons.

  • I find life as well as quality of life, very appealing thus I’m trying to avoid dying a slow and torturous death from Multiple Sclerosis.
  • To live long and prosper, I need to manage my disease.
  • To manage my disease I need to inject expensive drugs into my body.
  • I can’t afford these drugs without insurance.
  • Due to my pre-existing condition, I can only get health insurance if I work at a place that offers a group health plan.
  • I can only get into a group health plan if I work full time in the field of speech pathology.  In other words, as much as I love teaching yoga, it’ll never provide me with health benefits or pay me enough to buy them.
  • I have no problem working full-time.  I just don’t know if I will always be physically able to work full time or cognitively able to do my job well.
  • Therefore if at some point I don’t have a spouse and I can’t work a full time, professional job, I want access to health insurance that I can purchase out of pocket.
  • I’m not asking for a government hand out. I don’t want the government to pay for it.  I simply want access to it, in the event that I need it.  I want reforms in place that guarantee my ability to buy insurance should I lose it.
  • I need this access because due to my pre-existing condition, I can’t afford the premiums charged for folks like me that want to buy their own insurance.

What happens to me if health care reform doesn’t pass?

  • Well if my husband never leaves me, dies, or loses his job, nothing as I’ll get my health insurance through him.

What happens to me if health care reform doesn’t pass and my husband leaves me,  dies or loses his benefits?

  • I’ll work full time and provide myself and family with benefits.

What happens to me if health care reform doesn’t pass, my husband leaves me, dies or loses his benefits and I’m physically unable to work full time?

  • I’ll do my best to work enough hours to pay the $36,000 a year for the drugs out of pocket as well as all of my other expenses.
    • When you lose your insurance, you’re charged full price for medical services, not the discounted rate that medical professionals are forced to charge in order to accept insurance.
    • Because no one advertises their prices, you spend a lot of time on the phone investigating cheaper alternatives when you need medical services.  You can’t go to the web and pull up the cost of CT scans at various radiology clinics, for example.  They only list what insurances they accept.
    • Certainly you can budget for known costs like yearly physicals and blood work, but if an emergency arises, you could be completely out of money and lose everything you’ve worked toward.
    • Keeping the above in mind, if that means selling the car, moving to a smaller house and cutting back on my lifestyle, no problem. I’m willing to make those sacrifices to have money to pay for my medical bills.  But I will ration my services and micro-manage my doctor.  For example I might not go into see him at all and instead save the visits to put toward my yearly MRI.  But if I’m in a serious accident, we could lose it all anyway.
  • If I can’t afford a year’s worth of drugs, I’ll take my drugs every other day and only need an extra $18,000 a year, or take them every 3rd day for $12,000…you get the idea.
  • But under no circumstances will I take down my family financially.  I won’t take from the retirement or college funds to support my drug habit.  My daughters will get weddings and college educations and all of the money my husband has busted his ass to save since the late 80’s wont be injected into my body.  Unless of course, that unexpected, serious accident occurs.
  • And if in the end, if I can’t afford the drugs and my MS gets worse, hopefully I’ll make a profit from selling my house with 20 stairs scattered on two floors to move into a wheelchair accessible ranch.  That’s if the conversion van with hand controls and an access ramp doesn’t eat into all of my profits.

What happens to you if health care reform doesn’t pass?

  • Well, the $36,000 I must spend on my drugs doesn’t get put into the economy.
    • So if you work at Target, Kohls, Starbucks, Volt, The Common Market, Safeway, Giant Eagle, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Cafe Nola, Moxie, Zips Dry Cleaners, Netflix, Westview Regal Cinemas, Chick-Fil-A, Five Guys, Zipani, Get Go, Ruby Tuesdays, The Farmers Market, Home Depot, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Vibrant Art Wear, Retro Metro, Hollywood Video, Sol Yoga, Bed Bath and Beyond, Sports Authority, Carousel of Beauty, Mountain Spirit Yoga, The Tasting Room, Firestones, CVS, RiteAid, The Dutch Plant Farm, Ye Old Spirit Shop, Hillcrest Liquors, Kmart, Panera Bread, Cold Stone Creamory, Nails II, Pretzel and Pizza Creations just to name a few – don’t expect much of my money, because I’m going to need every penny for my family’s drugs, doctor visits, tests, and treatments.
  • If my MS gets really bad and I can’t work and I have no spouse to help – me and the kids start getting assistance and health care through the government that you’ll be paying for – so thanks in advance for that.
  • If my MS gets really bad but I’m still employed and have health benefits, then you’ll be at risk of receiving speech therapy from someone that’s physically fatigued, in pain as well as mentally unable to do parts of her job.  My employor wont be able to fire me and I wont be able to quit, so I’ll keep doing my job and hiding my deficits as long as possible and hopefully you wont be the person that receives sub-par speech services since you’re probably dealing with something just as bad as MS like a stroke, Myasthenia Gravis, or a traumatic brain injury.  And since you only get so many speech visits per your insurance, hopefully you wont waste them with a speech therapist suffering from brain fog, anomia, confusion and God-forbid, incontinence.

Makes me wonder how many people with significant health problems do this every day?  Maybe your cab driver has macular degeneration and no peripheral vision when he takes you to your destination. Or your surgeon with Parkinson’s that’s performing your laparoscopic procedure.  Hey, it’s tax season.  Have you met with your accountant yet?  I sure hope he doesn’t have early onset Alzhemeier’s that he’s trying to hide.  Or your electrician with chronic pain that’s re-wiring your house. I’m sure the pain wont get in the way at all with his ability to do his job well and to code. Or your roofer with vertigo that you just hired to re-shingle.

  • I don’t honestly believe that people choose to be unethical with regards to the services they provide.  I think they’re forced to be unethical to provide for their families.  I’ve never thought about it before, but now that I have a progressive condition, I wonder, what lines would I cross to keep a job? How many people are out there, crossing ethical lines, bending the rules or hiding their medical problems just to keep their benefits?  I’m guessing it’s gotta be in the 10’s of thousands.  Think about that the next time you board a plane.

Which brings us to the other ways that you’ll get screwed if health care reform doesn’t pass.  Health care is all about productivity and in that quest for productivity, lots of unethical things happen.

  • A friend of mine told me that at her last out-patient speech job, she had to be 90% productive.  Meaning she had to be able to bill insurance for 90% of her 8 hour day.  If her productivity went below 80%, she was reprimanded.  Thus her employer came up with lots of creative ways to document and bill for things.
  • Other professionals I know have to dock themselves hours that they are scheduled to work but aren’t involved with direct care, because the 30 minutes between patients is not something you can bill the insurance companies for.
  • Others are asked to bill for things that aren’t quite ethical.  Like billing for cognitive therapy when your patient has a language problem.  Just because a patient sounds confused doesn’t mean he’s mentally impaired.  Often the person can’t understand what it being said or formulate a proper response due to a language deficit.  So you work on language and bill for that, not lie and say that they also have a cognitive problem.
  • Truth be told, patients that used to spend a week in a hospital post stroke are lucky if they are there a few days.  Those that used to receive in-patient rehab for a couple of months are lucky if they can stay 3 weeks.  Out patient benefits that used to allow a couple visits a week for 3 months, are down to 1 visit a week for 3 months.
  • This affects you because studies in  my field are showing that intensive therapy can produce gains several years after a stroke.  You think insurance companies pay for intensive speech therapy (insert laughter here) 3 years after a stroke?  Hell they won’t pay for any therapy 3 years post stroke.  Whatever gains you make after you reach the maximum insurance visits that your insurance company allows, are yours to produce on your own, unless you’re wealthy and can afford to pay out of pocket.  Thus many patients never reach their potential or fully recover because insurance companies limit the number of sessions they can receive.

So as you can see, my desire for health care reform, although personal, is a very linear, logical argument.  Its about a person’s earnings being able to flow through the economy instead of only being spent on full price medical services.  It’s about millions of people that are marginalized and backed into unethical corners for fear of losing their job and their health coverage. It’s about the fact that anyone can wake up one day and even though they’ve done everything right can, due to a stroke of bad luck, lose it all.

I’d love it if we were all simply compassionate and wanted everyone in this country to have access to health care and worked together to make it a reality in the best possible way for everyone.  But that’s never going to happen.

Because in the end it’s about politics and bullshit and games and leverage and sound bites and power.  Because apparently if someone’s inner Christian thinks compassion, their inner conservative, whispers, “socialism” in their ear.  Because even though Wall Street showed us only 2 short years ago that greed always trumps common sense and ethics, many still believe that if left alone, the health care industry will fix this mess on their own.  Because even though insurance companies have had decades to create a product that uninsured people with pre-existing conditions can afford to purchase, they haven’t needed to, so they haven’t done it.  And since the two industries involved make money in completely opposite ways (one if you get sick, the other if you avoid getting sick) healthcare doesn’t follow the supply/demand theory of economics that normally determines these things.

But hey, what do I know?  I’m just trying to manage a disease without taking down my family in the process.  Because in the end I can do everything right, follow every rule, do my job in the most ethical way possible, save before I spend and plan ahead for our future and I could still succumb to this disease and lose it all anyway.

We tell people that if you come to America and work hard you can have and be anything you want.  That’s a lie.  It’s based on luck.  If you are unlucky enough to get hurt, injured or diagnosed – you could lose it all – doesn’t matter how damn hard you work and save.

So yeah, I take it personally.  Very personally.

Wouldn’t you?

Go Home Levi And Other Random Musings…

Dear Levi Johnston,

I don’t want to see your naked ass in Playgirl magazine.  As for your clothed ass, I would love to see it walking away from me, toward oblivion so that you’ll never be heard from again.  Now in your defense, I thought it sucked that you were dragged into the national spotlight due to impregnating Bristol, but then again, I didn’t see a gun pointed at your head at the Republican Convention.  But if you really didn’t like the spotlight, you wouldn’t be killing yourself to get in it so often, now.

I don’t for one second believe that the ex-Governor called her son with Down’s Syndrome, “Retarded” and when you go on national television and say shit like that, you have to know that your credibility is all but lost.  The fact that the CBS Morning Show even had you on, is quite baffling to be honest. You’re not selling a book.  You didn’t make a film.  You haven’t discovered a cure for cancer or been nominated for a noble prize.  You did an interview with Vanity Fair Magazine.  That’s not really an accomplishment.

I do appreciate your honesty in basically admitting that you’re trying to cash in while you can.  But you made it clear during this interview that you wanted to get revenge for everything Palin said about you when you and her daughter broke up.  You also publicly threatened Palin with more bombshell revelations, which makes me wonder why I’d believe you, anyway? It’s a classic “He Said – She Said” as you can’t back up anything that you’ve alleged.  Regardless, I don’t believe that anything you said warrants two segments totaling close to 15 minutes of an air time on a morning show.

Why don’t you do us all a favor and drop your drawers, cash your check and wrap up the rest of your 15 minutes of fame.  Palin at least was a Governor and a Vice Presidential candidate.  That entitles her to be in the national news for all things politics for as long as she wants to be involved.

You impregnated her daughter.  All that entitles you to is child support payments and visitation rights.

Dear Congress,

It took you OVER A DECADE to make it a federal hate crime to assault gay, lesbian and transgendered people based on their sexual orientation? Are you kidding me?  It only took eight years for us to get a man on the moon after President Kennedy announced the US’s intention to do so.

Shame on you.  On all of you.

Dear Glenn Beck,

My issues with you are getting worse – so much so I think I might need a support group.  I’m not sure where it stems from as I don’t seem to hate other conservative pundits like, O’Reilly and Limbaugh and some, like Scarborough, for example, I even enjoy.

I think it might be your combining of a shitty philosophy with bad acting and lame props.  And there’s your inability to spell which although I can personally related to, if I had a national television show you can bet your ass I’d have pre-designed, spell-checked graphics in lieu of a chalkboard.

But I think my real issue is not your political persuasions as much as your far reaching assumptions that defy logical and basic functional problem solving skills, not to mention lousy journalism standards.  I’m talking about things like taking the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s “I Participate Campaign” that sought to persuade more American’s to volunteer and relating that to Communism somehow while blaming Obama for orchestrating it.

Lets try to follow the logic:

  • You claimed that there wasn’t a volunteerism shortage in this country (without any facts/figures to back up that statement).
  • Then claimed that EIF orchestrated a fake volunteerism shortage (again no facts).
  • Then related that to Chairman Mao’s China without actually explaining what you meant.
  • Then took the First Lady’s approval/public endorsement of this program and made it seem like the White House was telling, instructing or somehow demanding how we American’s should spend our free time?
  • Then you tied in the service aspect of the 9/11 remembrance ceremonies, showed a clip of an Ashton Kutcher speech, and threw in a reference to Karl Marx (again without explanation/clarification)?
  • Then you mentioned Disney’s Free Day at the Park, and tied that to the Obama Administration saying that the White House is “calling for it [volunteerism] because they control the media”.
  • Then you implied that if we don’t follow along we will somehow by punished by the Obama Administration (via your hand slapping, visual aid) and then tied Obama to the “embedding of messages into TV shows”(again with no proof of this).
  • You then wrap it all it with a big finish that includes, bitching about Obama’s audacity to push volunteerism stating that only churches and charitable organizations should tell us to volunteer.

Wait a second Glen.  Where is your proof of all this?  And why did you forget to mention that President Obama was with President George H.W. Bush when THEY made their call to service on October 16th.  You know the President famous for uttering the phrase, “a thousand points of light” that was coined to promote volunteerism?

But what the heck, lets go with your assumptions and consider a few things such as:

  • How far in advance must a show topic be pitched before it can be created, written, performed and taped to be aired in the fall?
  • How much coordination had to occur between all 4 networks, their producers and writers to make this happen on four different networks during the same week?
  • How much lead time did the networks need to get their PSA’s created to be used to promote the I Participate campaign?
  • Could it have happened between the time Obama and Bush made their joint call to service on the 16th of October and the I Participate Week that began on October 19th?
  • And finally, how in God’s name does this become part of the Obama Administration Television Embedding Propaganda Machine?  Because you said so?

You can’t accuse the entertainment industry of creating a fake volunteer problem that doesn’t exist by creating a fake propaganda news story that doesn’t exist.

Just following your logic, Glenn.

I never thought I would say this, but can’t you just call Obama a pinhead and move on to the next story on the teleprompter?  You suck so bad you make O’Reilly look like a charming, breath of fresh air.

Just stop being an asshole will you?  And take an acting class for shit’s sake.

What’s There To Debate – It’s Rape!

Thank you John Stewart for making my life so easy.  I mean, why take the time to write something when he already wrote it, fact checked it, delivered it to a live audience, and provided cool graphics?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I found the previous story very disturbing and when you add to it, the bizarre outrage over the detainment of Roman Polanski by some, it makes you wonder what the hell is going on?

A lot of commentaries were published once Polanski was jailed, some for, some against and some to fill in the blanks for those of us not in the know back in ’77 (my favorite being one written by Megan Carpentier.)

Now I get that back in the 70’s, rape laws as well as society’s view of women in general were very different from today.  I get that at one point in history a man was allowed to do whatever he wanted to a woman sexually and before rape shield laws went into affect, a woman’s past sexual history was allowed to be as on trial as her alleged rapist.  I get that a plea deal was made (as inconceivable as that seems after reading some of the grand jury transcripts from the case) but as a mother, I also get why you’d be okay with a plea deal to save your child from the trauma of the press coverage that would have come with a trial.

What I don’t get is why he was allowed to leave the country to finish the movie he was working on and why he ran in the first place?  He had a plea deal in place and was going to avoid jail time.  Why run?  Why didn’t he think that the judge would honor it?

Perhaps it was because while out of the country wrapping his flick, the judge read reports and saw pictures of Polanski with his new underage lover, a 15-year-old Natasha Kinski.  Kinski has never denied their relationship, in fact she is quoted as saying, “[On Roman Polanski, who directed her in Tess (1979): As a director, he was 10 times more wonderful than as a lover.”

Ouch.  I guess when you’re not drugged you have higher standards.

As of this morning’s writing, Polanski is temporarily out of jail and receiving medical attention, Franken’s law passed and per the latest figures via a special report on women by Maria Shriver, women now make up 50% of the workforce.  In fact 80% of the recent job losses we’ve experienced have happened to men and increasingly wives are earning more than their husbands. So perhaps moving forward as women gain more control, less time will be wasted on debating rape or justifying sexual deviance due to someone’s creative genius.  But until that happens, God love all of the many men out there that don’t fall for such antiquated thinking.

And thank you Chris Rock for as usual, cutting right through the bullshit and putting it all into perspective:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

To Blog or Not To Blog

My blogging has gone from twice a week to a mere twice a month for about 6 months now. Ironically, my stats are the highest they’ve ever been.  Apparently if you write a post about the Snuggie, you suddenly become Arianna Huffington.

There are a lot of reasons behind my lack of blogging.  The main one being that I’ve been too pissed off lately to post.  I think that readers deserved to be entertained and/or informed, not annoyed by my ramblings.  Everyone’s pissed off about something but unless you’re going to turn your anger into a kick ass comedy routine, save it for your private journals or significant others.

Truth be told, I’ve been pissed ever since the election and if this was a political blog it would make perfect sense to spend every post bitching about the conservative Christian right.  But this is not a political blog so I’ve made a conscious choice to not react to every Tom, Dick and Joe Wilson out there in “I’m such a fucking patriot – watch me be too much of an asshole to be part of the solution so I’ll just continue to be part of the problem” land.

See what I mean?  Not funny.  Just mean and very Rush Limbaugh like.

The other reason for my lack of blogging is because I’ve spent the last 5 months doing yoga teacher training.  A lot of my free time has been used reading up on the history of yoga, the contraindications of particular asanas and the proper sequencing of yoga classes.  Besides learning about yoga, I’m also taking continuing education credits to get re-certified in speech therapy and return to my previous life as an acute care health professional. Hopefully this time next year, I’ll be doing both part time.

The third reason for my lack of blogging is due to some changes to my health.  I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and I’ve had a lot to process.  The good news is that  unlike a majority of folks with the disease, I learned I had MS from a routine MRI and not due to having any symptoms, literally “stumbling” on it this summer. Most folks with MS suffer from various symptoms for years, sometimes decades before having a definitive diagnosis.  Since my cart came before my horse I’ve been able to take complete advantage of this and start my daily injectable medication without any real complaints or concerns.  If all goes well, the meds will work at the level of my immune system and keep me from developing any more brain lesions in the future.

Therefore, I’m not sure what form this blog will take moving forward.  Don’t be surprised if you see more health and wellness posts and although I don’t want to limit my blogging to only MS and yoga, be forewarned.  I have just been diagnosed with a disease with no cure, that is unbelievable expensive to treat and that labels me as a person with a pre-existing condition. You can imagine what my next post on health care reform will be like.

Health Care Reform Explained – Really.

As the health care debate continues and the spin doctors work on new health care hyperbole Dan Roam, author and illustrator of the book, The Back of the Napkin has successfully cut through all the crap to give us a straight forward look at where we are in the debate thus far.
View more documents from Dan Roam.

So Close And Yet So Far…

Although there may be six degrees of separation between me and Kevin Bacon, there’s now only one degree between me and President Obama.

Jill Platts and I have been friends since 1982 when we met at a softball tournament.  Jill’s brother, Todd Platts is a US Congressman representing Pennsylvania’s 19th District.  So for a while, there’s been two degrees between me and Obama and over the years, I’ve lived vicariously through Jill’s brushes with our political powerhouses.

She’s spoken with Senator McCain in her brother’s backyard.  She’s discussed her mom’s famous fudge with President George W. Bush (Babs used to make it for him special when he was in office) and more importantly, she had amazing seats at this year’s inaugural.  Besides being present for this historical event, she even got to star gaze at all the famous folks that ended up in her VIP, I’m the sibling of a congressman, section.  Halle Berry. Jamie Fox.  Tom Hanks.  She saw them all that day.  Frankly, it’s getting to the point that when she mentions a famous person to me, I’m not that surprised any more.

So last week when I got an email from her with attachments, I didn’t think much of it.  I clicked it open and started reading about how she had been fortunate enough to attend the White House Congressional picnic with her brother and nephew.

Cool.  Jill must have met more famous people, I thought to myself.

So I keep reading and discovered that she actually met President Obama!

That’s so cool, I thought.  Then I remembered.  This email came with attachments. So I stopped reading and scrolled down only to find this photo:

Dinner on the White House Lawn

Which is pretty damn cool, until you see this photo:

Jill with VP Biden

Which is even cooler.  Until you see this photo:

Jill with the Prez

How cool is that?  How lucky is she?

So I quickly flipped back up to the email to see what she had to say about the president.  Here is what she wrote in her exact words:

He is a sweetie…responded to his name…sat when I asked him to…and then went down for the photo op!  He worked the crowd well!

I couldn’t believe it!  She had face time with the leader of the free world and that’s what she had to say about him? How rude. How condescending.  How could she speak about Obama in that way?  Of course he responds to his damn name.  He’s the President!

Then I scrolled back down to see the rest of the pictures only to realize…

Jill with First Lady and First Dog

She was talking about Bo.  Because as excited as she was to meet Obama, Biden, Michelle and Malia, my friend Jill, an insane animal lover, was even more excited to meet the first dog.

The York Daily Record did a write up on her evening because Jill, a liberal democrat and Obama supporter, happens to be the sister of a moderate Republican Congressman that campaigned for McCain.  It’s a nice article that you can read by clicking here.