I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Challenges


To celebrate the new year and the current presidential campaign excesses season, without driving ourselves off a cliff or to a monastery, let us pause and reflect on some of the challenges we are facing in the modern u. s. of a. One of them being the current, unending, debilitating, and execrable debate about health care. Or perhaps the more correct phrase would be sick care.

Used to be people went to the doctor when necessary, and did not need health insurance to be able to do so. When did it become impossible to afford a simple doctor visit? When we started expecting somebody else to fix the results of our lifestyles, that's when.

I do not advocate expecting somebody else to fix the results of our lifestyles. And I did not care for all of the components of the legislation the party opposing Barack Obama is trying to disembowel. The desirable components I do support are the ones that give access to all of us, no matter our station in life. The undesirable components are those that ensure insurance companies will continue to profit from our inability to manage our own lifestyles, through mandatory insurance requirements. Cha-ching!

However, this legislation certainly did get the opposing party's attention, didn't it?

Where was that attention when I, and many millions of others, were going to work every day, paying our mortgages and other debts, and contributing the best we were able, while not making enough to cover the insurance premiums, and therefore being locked out of the general sick care system? This situation has been going on for decades, so where was the attention? Seems like unless our success mirrored that of certain presidential candidates, we weren't invited. And in my 54 years, I have never taken a scrap of welfare outside of my tax deductions (OK, welfare by another name) which don't hold a candle to those of the average "successful" presidential candidate. So no, I wasn't living on the taxpayer's dime (but there was the occasional bail-out from my parents).

My own solution was to live my life as best I could in order to not require services from the sick care industry. I was young, and relatively bulletproof, and the adoption of a vegetarian diet no doubt helped (but I won't be surprised if there is blow-back from some in the non-veg contingent).

Eventually I scratched and crawled my way through the gauntlet of higher education to complete a couple of college degrees and land a position with an independent state agency (self-funded; a fee-for-service agency of the state of MD) where I can more effectively support myself, contribute to the well-being of my state, and where my employer picks up 80% of my sick care premiums. If I were an independent contractor in a similar position, with a similar salary, the total premium would be far higher than what it is now, and I would not be able to pay it.

Being older now, and not as bulletproof, there have been a lot of doctor visits over the past couple of years. Probably more than in the combined previous thirty+ years of my adult life. Maybe because I let a whole lot of health issues slide that should have been addressed years ago. Walking in the door of my sick care provider now costs at LEAST a hundred dollars, often more; my copay is only fifteen of that hundred due to being enrolled in an insurance plan.

Which several million people in this country still cannot access, and may never be able to, because they've never been considered important enough to be included in the system before now.

So to end the sermon, let's take a peek at this video and consider our own lifestyles, and perhaps take some steps to eliminate the need for the health care legislation we have apparently forced ourselves into, and which some oppose. Time to pay attention.

And a shout out to the Yellow Rose of Texas, Joanna, for the link. My sincerest thanks, and sorry it's preceded by such a downer post.


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