Archive for the ‘this motel will be standing until i’ve paid my bill’ Category

except my dad, my brother and Roger Abramson.

I’m prattling on about tort reform over at Mack’s place.

And no word about how my position on TR directly contradicts my libertarianism. I know that it does. And I’m duly ashamed.

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I have a second interview scheduled for Friday, April 6th.

This is for the company that gave me a first interview back in mid-October.

I guess I just figured they’d either filled the position by now or decided not to create it after all.

I’ll try not to read too much symbolism in the interview being scheduled on Good Friday. Nor will I make any punny jokes about it resurrecting my career.

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Sometimes things go your way, and sometimes they don’t.

Sometimes the company hires you, and sometimes they don’t.

Sometimes it rains on a day when you needed sunshine.

Sometimes the cheese on the pizza burns.

I’m really frustrated with the continued hitting of brick walls in our life lately. I feel as though I’ve looked up and suddenly here it is, eight years later. We’ve struggled through so much with startup companies, rundown companies and broken promises that I wonder if life ever gets any easier. Ever.

People often mock my faith as a childish relic or unnecessary fantasisation. Magical thinking which solves nothing. I promise you now, though, that were it not for that magical thinking I would be dead three times over. Because this garbage is just too hard otherwise.

I often feel lately as though nothing goes my way. That’s why the above picture means so much. It’s a photo of my restless dog peeking up at the front seat on our way home from Christmas vacation. That picture was taken on December 27th, 2006. This is the dog for whom we received a probable death sentence on August 18th, 2006. The vet talked to us about possible choices for ‘making him comfortable’ and ‘easing his pain’. Because the x-rays looked like cancer. And the leg swelled like cancer. And bone cancer is a leading cause of death in that breed.

Yet here he is in that picture, four months past the likely date of his death from the cancer that wasn’t. I swear to you I grieved that dog for weeks. Had he been stricken with cancer he would have most likely been dead by mid-October. I pictured getting through Halloween without him barking at trick-or-treaters. I pictured the long car trip to and from Indiana without him clambering over the presents in the back of the car. I listened to songs like ‘Boulder to Birmingham with tears streaming down my face as I got used to the idea of our inevitable separation.

But there he is, in that picture in the back of the car. Alive and well and bored to tears as we gas up the car in Elizabethtown. And today he ran around my backyard in fits of springtime joy, bouncing all over the grass.

So I guess sometimes things go your way. And sometimes God is kind.

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Let’s say you go to buy a car.   But the way in which cars are bought and paid for is like the current way we do health care.  You’d go to the car lot, tell them what you need–two or four doors, a v-6 or a v-8, anti-lock brakes, etc.   The sales team (five of them) would bring the car to you that matches your general description.  The billing team (3 of them) would have you sign many papers after which you’d give them your downpayment check.  You’d then drive off.    Ten days later you get a bill from the car lot which says you owe $200,000 for the car, but they’re negotiating with your car insurance to find out the “final” amount.

About a month later your insurance sends you a statement showing that they’ve negotiated the price of the car down to $40k, but you “only” pay 10% of that.   Cool.  You’re only on the hook for $4K (plus the deposit you paid earlier).   But then other bills start to come.   The sales team at the dealership has a separate bill.  It seems that you pay their salary, not the car lot.   So you owe the sales team 20% of $2K.   Then the folks who make the tires send you four bills.   Not only are tires not included in the cost of the car, but for insurance reasons they must bill you for each of the tires seperately.  Same goes for the doors, the engine, the radio.  Separate bills–all of them high.   But since the total is still under that first $200,000 estimate you feel lucky.

And on and on.    Of course you must keep in mind also that you were never able to get the full cost of the car upfront, so you were never able to shop for a better car.   You never saw the car in advance–you just had to take the sales team’s word that it would meet your needs–so you couldn’t really pick a car that would have been better for you.    Since the car is billed to you in pieces you never know for sure when the bills will stop coming.

That’s how health care works now.   For my last surgery I’ve now received six bills from 5 entities.    Prior to the surgery I did ask how much it would cost.  I didn’t know the answer I got was for the HOSPITAL only.   I still had to pay the doctor, the anesthesiologist (twice; once for pre-and post- op, once for the actual surgery), the radiologist who read the x-rays and the pathologist who analysed the tissue.

Clearly the free market is not at work in the health care system.   We need a sea change in medical billing practices.   You shouldn’t need an associates degree to understand the billing for health services.    The free market, with a true end-price for the consumer would force regulation of costs through competition.  If you knew upfront that HCA charges $2,200 for your procedure and Baptist charges $1,950 you’d figure out if HCA had extras that you preferred and go with the place that suits you.   Because I don’t think it’s only the HIGH cost of health care that bothers all of us, but the feeling of helplessness at the confusing tangle of bills.

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So I’ve gotten myself caught up in a bit of a feud. (Yes, I’m certain that shocks all of you to your very core.) The long and the short of the matter is that some folks back in my hometown want to generate renewed interest in the downtown area. This in and of itself is not a bad thing. Problem is that they want to do it by leaving the existing Single A Minor League Baseball Field and relocating the team in a spanky new downtown field with condos and restaurants all around it.
Sound familiar?

So, I’m on the side of the angels in this, arguing against sinking hundreds of millions of dollars into something so completely wrongheaded. That’s just how we libertarians roll. The thing is that one of the local Metro Councilmen, a theoretical Republican, has decided that I Hate Fort Wayne and All Of It’s Leaders.

This came as a great surprise to my husband, who ferries me up there twice a year on nostalgic visits, going with me to all my favourite hometown places. It especially came as a great surprise to him since he has to put up with my occasional fits of wanting to move back there permanently. When I told my husband about it, his response was very enlightening.

That’s just like all those people who say that someone can’t love America if they don’t support the Iraq war. It’s ridiculous.

Which of course got me to thinking about a couple of things. First off, why exactly is it acceptable to assume that someone on the opposite side of a disagreement about policy doesn’t care about their community? Surely the very fact that they care enough to have an opinion shows they have a love for the place, be it a midsized Indiana city or the entire United States of America.

Second off, why is it automatically assumed that our Elected Officials are actually our leaders? The more I think about it, the more that very label angers me. If you are elected to a public office it should be because you are eager to serve as a representative of the people. Not because you want to be installed as some sort of money-mad spendthrift overlord. That’s the whole problem with our representative government. The men and women we elect think, mistakenly, that they’ve been vaunted to some sort of papal status whereby they are never wrong and are entitled to great profit from their actions.

Frankly, no one outside of a military or paramilitary organisation should refer to him- or herself as a leader. It’s like telling people you’re good in bed. It’s arrogant and really a decision that’s better left up to someone else.

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