Saturday, December 13, 2008

How the Stupid People Stole Christmas

It’s that time of year again. Christmas. I say this with a glum face and disappointed tone in my voice. I look around and everywhere there is “Christmas Cheer” Blow up things with Santa’s and reindeer, a lit up helicopter with rotating blades on a chimney, fake poinsettias with blue flowers instead of red, and of course the frenzied shoppers. The television is blasting commercials for ipods, cellular phones, slippers, and 50% off entire stock. It is sad to me that Christmas has become just an excuse for everyone to spend too much money that they don’t have and I don’t like it.
Now I am not religious in the sense that I don’t affiliate myself with one in particular. I have done research on almost all of them and find that all of them have some sort of holier than thou attitude built in so I pass on organized religion. But I am well educated about them and I know that Christmas is not supposed to be about who can spend the most money on the most worthless crap.
This time of year is really pretty with the lights, weather, good cheer, sweaters and slippers. But for me it is ruined every time I drive down some residential street and have to look at some giant blown up diorama of Santa, an elf and one reindeer riding a carousel. It is tacky and not cute or pretty. It completely ruins this time of year for me. And the streets where the people are trying to keep up with each other are appalling! There are five to ten blown up monstrosities on each lawn and sometimes even on the roof. One house I saw this year has all of the lights on the entire house (think National Lampoons Christmas Vacation) flashing. I almost had a seizure as I drove by! I wonder how much bigger the carbon footprint is for those folks.
Anyway I just thought I would voice my opinion about this stuff ruining my Holiday season. If you are one of the people that engage in this activity, I make no apology to you. Maybe you should reconsider what this holiday is really about and stab the blown up ornament on your lawn with a steak knife out of you drawer, tone down the shopping spree a little and enjoy the beauty the Holiday season has to offer.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Made It!

Well I made it. The first semester back at school is done. I am physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. My house looks like a hell hole, my animals are bored and my car is a hot mess but I am really proud of myself for making it through. I managed to get all A’s except in my math class where I got an 87 %( it doesn’t count toward my GPA). I am really looking forward to my time off. I plan on cleaning my house until it is spotless, spending a lot of time with the pets, socializing with my friends, spending time with my family and resting A LOT! I am not yet looking forward to the next semester but I am sure I will be soon. I am taking Biology for Science Majors with lab, Psychology, Human Sexuality (woo hoo!) and Beginning Algebra(the next step for the mathematically challenged) for a total of 13 credit hours. I want to thank everyone who gave me support weather it be with encouragement, help proofreading papers, or just listening to me complain about lack of sleep.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Health Care in the United States

This was my classical argument paper written for Comp 101 about the health care system in the U.S.

“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within"
M. Durant

18,000 people die in this country every year simply because they don’t have health insurance. According to the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that supports independent research on healthcare, “Two thirds of the working age population was uninsured, underinsured, reported a medical bill problem or did not get needed health care because of cost in 2007”(Sopan par. 2). I am greatly saddened by the state of health care in the United States. We are supposed to be the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world, yet we cannot seem to take care of our own people here.
There are forty four million Americans without health insurance of any kind. The health care industry has reached a crisis point and needs to be fixed. The current attitude of the United States government is that health care is not a basic human right, this needs to change immediately. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed “Freedom from want” which along with the right to work, and the right to education “the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.”(The Basic par.1) Today this promise goes unfilled. I believe that it is a basic human right to have quality health care regardless of your social, racial or socioeconomic background. Don’t we all have the right to be healthy? How much more productive would everyone be if they could take care of themselves? There are countless stories of people going bankrupt after working hard all of their lives just because of medical bills. Every other developed nation in the world provides health care for its people. Most live longer than we do, have lower infant mortality rates and enjoy better health. They have wellness plans instead of sick care and spend less per person on healthcare than we do. Opponents of universal health care will say that this is by no means a right. They also claim that doctors and nurses have earned the right to be paid for their services and that the engineers who make all of these technological marvels deserve to be paid for their years of experience and hard work (No “Right” par.14). And how dare we presume that they want to take care of us for free. Yet, some of the biggest supporters of universal health care are doctors and nurses. They are upset that they cannot practice good quality medicine because HMO’s don’t want to pay for the care they prescribe to patients. While it is true that the doctors in America make five times the salary of a citizen of the US and French doctors only make two times the salary of their citizens, the cost of being a doctor in France is much lower. They do not have the practice liability we have here, and they also do not have to pay for college; in France the government provides that. So, French physicians enter their career with little debt and pay much lower malpractice insurance (Dutton par.6).
The World Health Organization has rated France number one in the world (The U.S. is number 37) and yet they are often ignored when people choose a model for our possible new health care plans (Dutton par. 2). Opponents call the French health care system socialistic but that is far from the truth; as a matter of fact, the French call Britain and Canada’s programs socialistic and the French people detest socialized medicine (Shapiro par. 5). Here is the French healthcare system in a nutshell. They have a combination of private and government run hospitals and one can go to whomever he/she wishes. One pays for your health care and then they are reimbursed 60 to 70% of the costs about 10 days later. Some people choose to aquire extra insurance to cover the other cost not paid for by the government. The cost of this is based on the plan you choose. If you are a healthy adult, you can choose to pay for coverage to help with catastrophic events only. While an elderly person may want coverage that includes medications (FrenchEntree par.18). Regardless of coverage provided by your employer, everyone has access to GP’s and specialists as well as emergency care( par.4) If you are poor and make below a certain amount of money, you are eligible for state funded health care and will be covered for any medical needs (FrenchEntree par. 18) In France, the sicker you are, the more coverage you get; if you are a person with one of the 30 long term and expensive diseases- for example diabetes, cancer, and mental illness- the government pays for 100% of health care (Shapiro par.16).
One may be thinking this is great, but how does this get paid for? If it is good it has to be expensive, right? Wrong. While it is true that France has one of the most expensive health care plans in the world, they spend half of what we do per capita. To fund this system, all working adults pay about 20% of their gross salary into the system. And employers are required to provide half of that 20%. Their system for billing and reimbursements are electronic, so they are not paying armies of people to argue with insurance companies and enter billing. In fact, the only people you see in a French hospital are doctors and nurses (Dutton par. 8).
So the question still stands “Does America need a National Healthcare Policy?” All of the opposition articles I read cited long waiting times for need treatments such as MRI’s and CT scans (The United par 5). I can argue that, yes, they have to wait for non-emergent tests but at least they get them. In this country, if you cannot afford health insurance you don’t get needed tests, period. You get bare bones treatment and that is it. If you have a chronic illness, you die from it because you cannot afford the medications. People die and suffer needlessly every day in this great country just because they cannot afford medical care. The Opposition also mentions that many people do not need healthcare every year, so why should they pay for it (The United par. 6)? As it stands now working Americans are paying for every person who walks into a publicly- funded hospital to receive care. Anyone who does not have insurance can go to the county- funded hospital for care. The health insurance companies also pass on to us the cost of their billing people, medical examiners, lobbyists and the sharks they have doing research so they don’t have to pay for needed care.
I have a friend who is 29 years old and two years ago he was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma. He had insurance through his job at that time and received treatment. Today he is cancer free but without health insurance because his employer canceled his insurance. He had to cut back his hours so he could finish nursing school. Now he is unable to get new insurance because of his pre-existing condition. I often wonder what will happen to him should his cancer reoccur. There are many people in this country that do not have health insurance at all, but the saddest stories are about people who are denied coverage simply because they are too sick.
All of my personal friends that are opponents of universal healthcare say that their number one reason for opposition is that non working people should not get anything for free. But what they don’t realize is that there are people out there that work hard all of their lives and still are unable to get healthcare or have to sell their home because they can’t pay their medical bills. They do pay for everyone else who has to go to a government funded hospital for care because they don’t have insurance. Not only that, but what about people just like me? I have coverage through my employer, but most of the time I cannot even afford the co-pays for an urgent care visit. How can we continue to put a price on the health and well being of the people in this country?
Events are slowly changing, in March of 2008; Blue Cross of California was fined one million dollars for routinely revoking policies without making an effort to determine whether the recessions were warranted. Kaiser was also fined $325,000 for illegally rescinding the coverage of two members (Victoria par. 15). Winston Churchill had this to say about Americans once and I think it rings true in this case, “Americans will always do the right thing after they have exhausted all of the alternatives.” Hopefully we are getting closer to exhausting all of our health care alternatives.

Works Cited

Dutton, Paul V. “Frances Model Healthcare.” Americas Healthcare Reform. 21 Nov. 2008
Nov. 23,2008
Healthcare in France-An Introduction. Nov. 23,2008.
“No “Right” TO Health Care Exists.” Current Controversies: Health Care. Jan Grover.
Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2007. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale.
Tarrant County College. 16 Nov. 2008
Shapiro, Joseph. “Health Care Lessons From France”. NPR. 21 Nov. 2008.>.
Sopan Joshi. “Lack of Insurance, High Medical Costs Put More in a Bind.” (n.d.)
TOPICsearchEBSCO. Tarrant County College, Hurst,TX. 14 Nov.2008
“The Basic Right to Health Care Is the Unfinished Business of the United States
Government.” Current Controversies: Health Care. Jan Grover. Detroit:
Greenhaven Press, 2007. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Tarrant
County College. 16 Nov. 2008
Victoria Colliver. “When health insurance dumps you.” (n.d) TOPICsearch. EBSCO.
Tarrant county College, Hurst, Tx. 16 Nov.2008.