Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Really Sad Story Of Jane Doe Who Couldn't Afford Health Insurance

This is the really sad story of Jane Doe who couldn't afford health insurance. Right now Jane is sitting in a doctor's office waiting to be seen for a painful feeling in her belly. She's afraid that the feeling is something serious and she's afraid that it will be a financial disaster because she doesn't have health insurance - she can't afford it.

Jane started getting occasional uncomfortable feelings in her abdomen a few months ago right after the presidential inauguration and the beginning of the 111th Congress...around the time she found out there was a health care crisis in the United States. It hit her like a ton of bricks that she didn't have health insurance coverage and the uncomfortable feelings became more frequent.

Jane knew she should have tried to get health insurance coverage but she couldn't afford it. She regretted that she had turned down the plan at work but felt she had to because even though the company paid the lion's share of the premiums it would still have cost her $250 per month. She just couldn't afford it even though she made decent money and didn't spend frivolously. As she kept hearing about the health care crisis she began to think about her lack of coverage more and more.

Although Jane was 39 (again) and healthy she was consumed by the idea of getting sick and losing everything. A day didn't go by that she didn't think about her lack of insurance. It made her feel ill. She thought about it every morning on the way to work while she was getting her Venti double shot mocha latte at Starbucks ($5 each work day). She thought about it more during lunch at the pasta place across from the office where she loved the Chicken Carbonara even though it wasn't on the $5 daily special ($8.50 each work day). Jane noticed she even thought about her lack of insurance while getting her hair done. It was a treat for her to get her roots done, a trim, and some highlights once a month ($50 per month). She even caught herself mentioning her plight to the nail tech while getting her nails filled ($15 twice a month).

Even at home in her comfortable apartment she would flip though the digital cable channels or surf the internet using her cable modem ($150 per month) to find out more about what Congress was doing to help people like her on her 50 inch LCD TV. She was glad to have some wine ($20 per week) to calm her while watching news that just got her more worried. Sometimes she got worried enough to go for a walk to calm her down. She should probably go to the gym instead since she was paying for it ($45 per month) but it was too much of a hassle to drive over there. She never used the gym. Oh well, the walk made her feel better and it was probably good for her health.

Jane was especially aware of her predicament when her office co-worker, a mean ol' conservative, continually took pleasure in pointing out that she could afford the company health insurance plan if she made some changes. He actually told her in front of the whole office that by eliminating her Starbucks habit and her cable tv/modem she would save enough to be able to afford health insurance. What a jerk! She couldn't believe he wanted her to live like like that. Where did he get off?!? It was all so stressful.

And that's the really sad story of Jane Doe who couldn't afford health insurance. How did you think it was going to end? Ok, ok. She had an ulcer. The doctor told her to reduce stress, maybe quit worrying so much and stop watching the news. He also said she should lay off the caffeine and wine, increase her water intake, and take the anti-biotic, antacid, and a drug to repair the ulcer he was prescribing. She paid for the office visit on her credit card and scheduled a follow up for six weeks. Then Jane went to Wal-Mart to fill her prescriptions for $10 each. She hardly even thought about the fact she had received appropriate health care without insurance. How sad.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Don't Cry Wolf

There's an email going around. I received the email from a trusted source that failed to check sources and verify content. This particular email is about a Senate Bill (SB-2099) that would require, according to the email, that everyone place the number of guns they have on their 2009 tax return, get fingerprinted, and pay a $50 tax per gun. The email even contains a link to a website with the bill's text. Then the email asks that you contact your elected officials to tell them to vote against it. That would be crying wolf.

Pay attention. There is no such bill currently being considered by the U.S. Senate. Do not call them about "SB-2099". There was a bill a few years ago that was numbered S. 2099 that is the bill the emailer is referring to, but it never made it through the Senate during the session it was introduced...so it died. It has not been reintroduced.

If you want to know what's going on regarding anti-gun bills in the U.S. Congress you can check with the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action. They do keep track of all State and Federal legislative actions impacting gun owners and you can subscribe to emails from the ILA. Don't cry wolf.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

We Are Not The New Kid On The Block

You might think that 233 years is a long time for a country to be around. I think so. However, there are some in the world and even in our own country (liberals) who think it's next to no time at all and that's why we must tread lightly in the world and apologize for our supposed transgressions. People who believe this, including (seemingly) our current President say we are just a child as countries go. They say we need to mature before we're ready to deal with other countries. Well, I say they're full of crap and their argument falls into the category of stupidity. We are among the oldest and most experienced of countries.

When does a country become a country? Have you ever thought about it? To me a country begins its existence when it establishes and maintains a government, or institutes a new form of government...like ending a monarchy and forming a democracy. With a new government comes new ways of doing things on behalf of, or to, the people. A new government also means new ways of dealing with other world powers. New allies, new trading partners, and sometimes new enemies come with governmental change. So, a country's experience and maturity level begin with it's new form of government. This experience is completely different than the age of an area's cultural experience. With me so far?

Yesterday was July 4th, and we celebrated the birthday of the United States of America and its independence from Great Britain. Of course it would be more accurate to say that the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, June 21, 1788, is the real date of birth of our country making the country roughly 221 years old. This is the date the parameters of government were set so I'll use that date to compare this country's age and experience to other countries.

It seems the Europeans always want to tell us how young and misguided we are. Ok, which European countries are older and more experienced? How about our faithful critic and sometimes ally France? Nope. France is currently in its "Fifth Republic" established in 1958...about 51 years old. Maybe Germany? Not a chance. The Federal Republic of Germany was formed in 1949...just 60 years ago. The Italian Republic - 1946. The "Kingdom of Spain" sounds old but the actual date is 1978. Portugal - 1976...200 years after our Declaration of Independence. Care to take a guess about Serbia, Croatia, or Bosnia & Herzegovina? I have a boom box older than those countries. Even "ancient Greece" isn't so ancient - 1975. I could go on but you can see most of Europe's countries are a bunch of newborns compared to the United States. England is an exception.

What about other ancient lands? China? Isn't China one of "cradles of civilization"? Maybe, but Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier before the People's Republic of China came along in 1949. Japan's form of government came after their surrender in World War 2. The area of the world called India may have a long history but as a country it's not even eligible for Social Security in ours (1950). C'mon Ben, how about the Middle East? Isn't it ancient? Culturally yes, governmentally no. Your grandparents are older than the countries of the Middle East. And, don't even ask about Africa, they'll have new countries by tomorrow.

The Western Hemisphere must surely be full of countries older than the United States, right? Wrong. So wrong that I don't even want to write about it.

So, the United States isn't the new kid on the block. The United States is an elder state. My advice to the world...Respect your elder. Don't get uppity, and don't talk back. After all your elder feeds you. Your elder keeps you safe if you play nice. If you don't play nice your elder whips your butt or lets the local bully do it. Your elder comes to your rescue when nature rips your young butt a new one. Your elder even buys your pitiful crap to make sure you have a roof over your head. So remember, your elder does know better than you and your elder might feel bad about stepping-in or disciplining you but has absolutely no need to apologize.