$500!?! What Is The Point Of Having Insurance?

September 29, 2009

So maybe I’m beating a dead horse on health-care.  Oh well, its trendy and in the media and oh so appropriate.  Nevertheless, here I am with my story and my spin. 

So to make a long story short, my wife gets back from the OBGYN – we are having a baby.  Shortly thereafter, she gets a bill for her visit.   ITS $500!!!  No joke, the bloodwork that was sent to the labs is not covered on the health insurance.  What then, is the point of having health insurance if not to cover stuff like this.

We are both young and healthy.  We don’t smoke, we lead active lives, and are in excellent health and we are not hypochondriacs.  We rarely even go to the doctor.    We subsidize all the other people on the plan who aren’t so mentally stable or fortunate with their health.  

What then, is the point of insurance when you pay good money out of pocket every month?  Then when you actually have it to use it for something as natural as having a baby (families generally have them) you get a fraction of the benefit.  It disgusts me.  This is just one more way people  pay more than their fair share and then do not get the benefit that they paid for.  And this is mild.  Its only $500.  I hate to say it, but its true.  Things like dropping people or refusing them because of pre-existing conditions is even more heinous. 

Mind you me, I will fight this but this is just another example (and a personal example of mine) that shows how broken the system is.   Congress’s push to not allow refusal for pre-existing conditions is good, but it needs to include pregnancy tests and whatnot as part of routine care as a part of that push.  A sick or unhealthy child is a lot more expensive than a kid that gets basic prenatal care – be they insured or not.  I could see how some people would be hard pressed to just find $500 – so they would avoid the needed testing.   That is a dangerous game  people are forced to play, especially when it concerns a child’s life.  The alternative is for that mother to stick the hospital (read insured patients) with the bill.  Which is wrong as well.

  Maybe the insurance companies should actually give something for the money people pay out for once.

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A Vote for Censure – of Congress

September 16, 2009

I am sure everyone has seen the drama and the debate about Representative Wilson’s “You Lie” outburst.  Congress just passed a “resolution of disapproval” against him largely along party lines.  Does Congress have nothing better to do?  Does the news have nothing better to cover?   I have a list as long as my arm on things that our legislators should be addressing, but certain Democrats (this time) and the news cycle would rather spend time on this resolved and minor matter instead of covering substantive topic that need to be addressed.
I understand there are decorum issues. I understand that Wilson has already apologized. I understand that hypocracy rife throughout Congress. Is anyone surprised, even if you disagree with my political views?  We already know not to expect much from Congress and this simply reinforces that sentiment. It is this partisanship and wasting time over political posturing (both sides being guilty) that only drives a further wedge between right and left.  How can you compromise and get anything done when there is no way to meet in the middle because of partisanship? I expect this behavior from children on the playground AND from Congress. It tells you how badly Congress as a whole does its job when you are not surprised by this.

The burning question is why do we continue to accept this? Why can’t we elected better representatives for ourselves? I have three reasons.

A) People generally don’t form their own opinions – they are uneducated on the topics because their lives have more interesting or pressing matters right in front of them.  Hence, they are easily swayed. This is why there so many undecided voters right up to election day. This does not reflect well on the average American ‘voting competency’ even if they take the time to vote.

B) The only time people care is when an issue directly affects them. Then they will make some noise, but it dies off as soon as the moment has passed. Even when people do participate in the political process through demonstrating or what-have-you, where is their education and engagement beyond that one issue?

C) Most people just don’t care. They take their freedoms for granted. IF they do vote, the only time a Congressman has even the chance of getting in front of the voter during a campaign is in the commericals between acts on American Idol. That is why Congress is largely bought and sold by the lobbyists – to pay for those ads so they can get re-elected.

Congress work for us, but when you don’t discipline it – even these educated and ‘well-heeled’ insiders act like children allowed to run amok. By not holding them accountable, you in effect reward bad behavior and they push the boundaries and see what else they can get away with. Where do you think the sense of entitlement, the adultery, the tax-evasion, abuse of power, and hypocracy comes from? We all know there are other undiscovered short-comings and crimes that members of Congress have a hand in. They just haven’t come to light yet.

Censure of a member over a trivial issue like this is just part of a larger game of wasteful poltical maneuvering. It does nothing but spend valuable time and make good legislation harder to enact.  We must hold Congress accountable of which, this is just a minor infraction, but it serves to illustrate a good point.  More importantly though, we must hold ourselves accountable.  We are the best stewards of liberty.  We should not blindly entrust it to politicians in Washington.

-G.S.

to answer the last questions – I would have abstained from voting, I’m not going to support the process either way. If Wilson runs on a conservative platform that I support, I’d still vote for him if he represented my district.


The True Root

September 15, 2009

   I live not far outside of DC.  On the 12th, many citizens of a conservative slant came out to protest the state of things in all forms – from health-care to illegal immigration.  It was all there.  Much of it was pointed squarely at President Obama – fairly or not.  Lets be fair and not leave out Congress with their August approval rating of 31% .   Echhh. 

  The question I pose is this:  What is the one issue that is the core of this conservative movement?

   My answer:  In the end, it boils down to personal liberty in all forms.  This is manifested through minimal government involvement and taxation.  Reasonable people recognize that you can’t be completely free of government.  Things like public school, roads, unemployment insurance, emergency services, and the rule of law all help support our society even if we don’t need every aspect as often as others.  Most people grudingly pay their taxes and abide by the law.

   Government spending and oversight goes awry though, when a societal segment benefits without paying into said system and/or the benefits go too far at the cost of further taxation and rules.  Illegal immigration, the public option, rampant welfare; they all neatly fall into this classification.  Not only is this ‘more’ government, it is government that in essence provides for those who do not pay in alongside increased oversight and regulation.  While this is a rub of mine, its not the main one…  I personally believe that we do have a limited social contract to try and help the less fortunate.  My rub is with those who refuse to help themselves.   I believe in having equal opportunity, but NOT equal outcomes.   There are plenty of opportunities and programs to be had in this great country of ours.  However, I am under no illusion that I should provide for someone because they are too lazy to pull their own weight after society has done its fair share to help them, especially when there are so many opportunities for the disadvantaged if only they would take them.

    That then, becomes a double whammy to liberty.  Not only are some undeservedly taking the money out of my pocket,  government proposes further programs to ‘help out’  – those opportunities I just mentioned above, BUT these program  lack a stick to the promised carrot. 

    Actually, thinking about it, I get the stick instead.  A perfect example: a health-care fee for those who chose not to participate.  Even if you are young and healthy  and cannot afford or do not want health-care right now, it is now my responsibility to subsidize others.   I am chosing not to participate in the market.    That’s like charging an uninsured motorist’s fee to someone who choses to walk and not own a car. 

I can hear the retort now – “well what if you get hurt?”   My response is simple – I’ll sign an agreement that says I can ‘only’ get the same treatment as the lowest members of our society – the illegal immigrant.  

Sign me up.

P.S. – I got on this topic based on a question posted on Linked-In.  You can see my answer among others here:

http://www.linkedin.com/answers/government-non-profit/government-policy/GOV_GPO/547357-28148743?browseIdx=3&sik=1252960625639&goback=%2Eahp%2Each_GOV*4GPO

– G.S.


Sleepless In America

September 14, 2009

To those who may eventually read:

    Did you ever see the Movie ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ ?  You know, the love story where a 90’s fantastic Meg Ryan pines for the oh-so-lonely Tom Hanks?  Don’t lie.  You saw it.  I honestly didn’t like the movie that much, but it was popular and illustrates the point for my first post.

   I am ‘Sleepless In America’.  I hear about this ideal that the founders of our Nation outlined and I want it.   I want it for my friends, family, and fellow countrymen.  I want it for my unborn children.  I want it for all the future Americans who are counting on us to be good stewards.   What keeps me up at night, is the acute fact that we are moving away from the founder’s vision, not towards it.  Hence the creation of this blog.

    This is not a soapbox or a bullypulpit for me to simply opine and judge.  Yes, I have my views, and yes, I will share them, but my goal here is to do much more.  I would like to create a discussion where be you left, right, gay, straight, democrat, republican, or any other designation that seems to divide us; we can take a time out and engage in a respectful and intelligent discussion.  There is no disrespect.  There is no judgement.  There is no finger-pointing.   THERE IS NO PARTISANSHIP.  Dialogue, content, respect.  These are the things are I am striving for.   

  This is our country.  We share so much more in common than what divides us.  I will make my conservative views and ask my questions, but I don’t expect everyone to drink the same Kool-Aid that I drink.  As long as we can agree to disagree on some of our core beliefs – we can move forward and have discussions, share information, and foster respect that actually would involve compromise and hence create some answers.  Maybe we can learn something from one another.