Sunday, August 16, 2009
This summer, my experiences have given me much time to think about this entire healthcare debate and this whole idea of people with insurance vs. people without insurance. I feel like I straddle this line. I do have health insurance which has paid the bulk of my bills but the insurance I have is costly and has not covered the things needed most, those being simple preventative screenings that might have saved me from surgery and bills totaling in excess of $100,000.
I am so offended by the comments of the right wing "tea-baggers" who talk about "death panels" and call our president a Nazi because they speak from a position of being a "have" vs. a "have not." These are the people with cushy healthcare plans who refuse to sacrifice any portion of what they have in order to let those who have not obtain a little. For all of their yelling about preserving the rights of "real Americans" and capitalists, they are showing themselves to be greedy, selfish and totally self serving.
Healthcare should be a fundamental right for all. If you are arrested, the government guarantees you the right to see a lawyer, why not a guaranteed right to see a doctor?
I consider myself a capitalist. My life has been filled with financial ups and downs. I believe in America as the land of opportunity, but this whole idea of healthcare being tied to employment is just ridiculous. When I went out to start my own business, I applied for health insurance on my own and was met head on by the current system which took every opportunity to smack me down and deny me access. I was finally able to purchase insurance with government assistance. The New Mexico High Risk Insurance pool came to the rescue but the only options I had were expensive plans with high deductibles. I took it knowing it was better than being uninsured.
What I'm asking for out of healthcare reform is something more affordable that does not care about pre-existing conditions. Something that will pay for routine screenings and would not punish me for being diabetic when I haven't been diabetic for 6 years. The kind of healthcare that people refer to as socialized medicine. But I don't mind that term because I know that we've had socialized medicine for years in the form of Medicare. Ask these angry people who yell about socialized medicine if they want to repeal Medicare and they think you're crazy. The lack of information in this debate is astounding.
And though I'm in favor of this socialized form of healthcare, I still consider myself a capitalist. If I weren't a capitalist, would I get up at 5:00 on a Saturday morning to make a few bucks selling my product at the farmer's market? There are a lot of entrepreneurial people out there who aren't starting their own businesses because they are afraid of losing the health insurance tied to their jobs. Get the costs down and make it accessible and it will help the economy overall. That's the message I want to get out there.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I apologize for not updating sooner but since I've been out of the hospital I've had so much to do and not enough energy to do it. It's tough trying to accomplish things when you are in a weakened state but I have to get back to business in order to survive. Here are some of the things I have and haven't accomplished--tasks large and small.
- Got my farmer's market vendor permit
- Finished sorting the stats for the upcoming football pool with Brian
- Made more product to sell at the market
- Printed lots and lots of labels
- Made significant progress on Las Cruces Arts Association website
- Back to baking for other people
- Killed the weeds in the yard (so I don't get cited again)
- Got my first diet mango limeade from Sonic
- Collected some money from the consignment shop
- Have not found the Airport Express router to send to Brian
- Have not yet found my birth certificate (for my disability claim)
- Have not cleaned the carpet in my bedroom
- Have not harvested all of my tomatoes
Sunday, July 19, 2009
For those who may be wondering where I've been the last five weeks, I have been experiencing the American healthcare system first hand. I now feel eminently qualified to have a voice in the public healthcare debate and have spent the last five weeks railing at the suits in Washington, Republican and Democrat because I'm exactly the kind of person that healthcare reform needs to help and they are totally missing the boat.
I should start out by saying that I have health insurance even though private health insurance companies turned me down due to pre-existing conditions that I no longer have. 7 years ago I was a type II diabetic but then I lost 150 lbs. and my diabetes went away along with a lot of other conditions. I completely turned my life around and began exercising and eating sensibly. But for all their talk about rewarding people for healthy lifestyles, I am marked for life as being uninsure-able because I had these conditions at one time.
So how did I get insurance? My insurance is courtesy of the state of New Mexico. I got my insurance through the state high risk pool--that dreaded government interference that is available in some states. If it weren't for the government subsidy I would be declaring bankruptcy today.
However, the only insurance I could afford is what they call catastrophe insurance which means I must meet a $5000 deductible before it begins to pay. Knowing something awful might happen I made sure that I had $5000 in savings but without a job it was getting harder and harder to keep that cushion.
The $5000 deductible is what kept me from getting immediate care when I first started having abdominal pains. I'd had pains like that before and they went away so a trip to the emergency room which would cost me at least $1500 was something I wanted to avoid. So I waited through three day of pain and vomiting before I gave in and went to the ER.
Of course when I got there my condition was pretty dire. I had an obstruction in my bowel. Since I couldn't hold down any liquids, I was dehyrated almost the the point of kidney failure an my blood pressure at that point was dangerously low. They admitted me to the hospital and tried to figure out, if possible, a non-surgical way to clear the obstruction.
I was hooked up to IVs for fluid and medication and could have no food or drink by mouth. I was kind of out of it, but I clearly remember day two when I got a visit from the hospital's finance office. They mentioned the $5000 deductible and wanted to know how I was going to settle my bill. In my state of grogginess, I handed over my Visa card and said "hey, at least I'll get miles for it."
The rest of this rant which I am calling "Healthcare, the good, the bad and the ugly" will continue in the next few days as I unravel that whole story.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
In my never ending quest to find a real job, I answered an online posting for 911 dispatcher trainees at the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority (MVRDA). This morning I went to the initial meeting where a 21-year veteran of 911 service explained the complexities of the job. The purpose of this was to go through the real downside of the job--the hours, the stress, the constant re-certification process and, of course, the calls themselves.
MRVDA covers all of Dona Ana county wich encompasses about 3500 square miles and about 200,000 people from Hatch to Sunland Park. There are 7 different "consoles" that cover different areas and different emergency service providers. You have to become certified in all seven to be a full-time dispatcher so you have to know geography of the area and you have to have EMS training because you're actually what they call an EMD or Emergency Medical Dispatcher. He said giving CPR instructions over the phone was fairly common.
He covered the fact that we would be working rotating shifts over 24 hours and we would have to go through 12 weeks of training before they let you on the phones by yourself and to show us just how gruesome it can be, he played a tape of a call where the woman was on the line with the 911 operator while her husband shot himself in the head. The operator managed to remain totally calm while the woman was screaming and I know several of us in the meeting were rather disturbed by it.
So I don't know how far I'll pursue this. I signed up for the testing (which will come after I pass a background check). It's 2 hours worth of various test including spending about a half hour listening in to real 911 calls. I'm not sure I have the stomach for it but I'm going to check it out because it pays fairly well and you get benefits if you make it past the 12 weeks of training.
I just don't know if it would afford me the time I need to pursue the bath products line. I need to be able to juggle everything.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I now know about a half dozen people who have lost their jobs within the last six months. Their number one concern is affordable healthcare. President Obama is insistent that we address healthcare now but Congress and critics who are happily secure in their jobs with lush healthcare packages don't feel the urgency of the matter.
I keep hearing the "horror stories" of government run healthcare and the usual right wing scare tactics saying that you will lose control over your choice of doctor and that the government will step in and tell you that you can't have certain treatments. The people spreading these rumors aren't listening to what Obama says because the crux of his argument is that if you have employer subsidized health care nothing is going to change.
The urgency of healthcare reform is for people like me and my friends/family who are out of work. We need access to affordable care and the assurance that we can get this coverage despite pre-existing conditions.
The pre-existing condition factor is a difficult one that probably won't happen as long as for-profit insurance companies are running the show. To run a profitable business it makes sense to deny insurance to people who will actually use the service. But that's what's happening every day in the richest nation in the world.
Here in New Mexico we have something called the high risk pool that allows people with pre-existing conditions to buy Blue Cross insurance but these are high-deductible plans that are only good if you have a catastrophe. This is why I have this plan...it gives me some comfort that I know I will not be wiped out if I break my leg or develop cancer.
But as for everyday stuff...I had a physical recently because my policy says I'm allowed to have one physical per year. So I recieved a statement saying that the doctor's visit was completely covered but not the accompanying blood tests. The results of said blood tests showed that I am still suffering from anemia. It was suggested that I see a hemotologist but I will not because I can't afford it. I went through anemia treatments when I was covered by workplace insurance and watched as Blue Cross paid almost $10,000 for a treatment that did little for me. Now that the cost has shifted to me, I made the choice to live without the treatments because I cannot afford to pay for them.
Since it hasn't been settled yet, I don't know if Obama's healthcare plan would help me pay for my anemia treatments but I'm pretty sure it would pay for my routine blood tests. Oh and I did place a challenge on the Blue Cross denial of paying for blood tests that are routine screenings. The emphasis is supposed to be on preventitve care and a simple CBC would detect problems such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and yes, anemia.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Look at this tomato. It's the same one that was pictured a couple of posts ago as the teeny tiny tomato. And...I have 11 more at various stages of growth.
My new business is moving along. Today I got my tax ID number so I'm ready for my orientation. I also picked up some gift packaging ideas at the Dollar Store so I can offer gift sets of my products. Also making more bath bombs. There's an exact measurement to follow...not too dry (or they won't stick together in the molds) and not too wet (or they start fizzing before they hit the bath). I'm getting the hang of it. Luckily the ingredients aren't expensive so I can afford to mess up a few batches.
On the money-saving front, I have started grinding my own hamburger meat. This isn't a huge savings but the quality is so much better than the stuff in the grocery store. I took some and made a killer sauce for some angel-hair pasta (small pasta for my small stomach) and will grill some burgers tonight.
Tomorrow is Senior Day at Albertsons so Alyce and I are going bargain hunting. We're also going to Hobby Lobby (which I think is a really stupid name for a store) since there is no actual lobby there. But I want to find small cello bags for my bath bombs.