The Melting Pot

No, not the restaurant, although that’s pretty tasty, especially the dark chocolate fondue for dessert. No, this title refers to our country, the United States of America. These days it seems it’s more the divided states of America, but that’s for another post.

Our country is made up of immigrants. Whether they arrived here as recently as yesterday or as long ago as the Mayflower, any way you look at it, there is an immigrant somewhere in our family history. For me, the most recent was my grandparents and my mother, along with her siblings, in 1958. So technically that makes me first generation “American-born” in my family lineage. Of course my daughter is adopted from China, so technically she would be considered an immigrant as well. See where I’m going with this. This country is a beautiful mix of all sorts of people – Native American (the only ones who can claim to have always been here), European, Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian, Russian, Pacific Islanders, I could go on but you are intelligent, I think you get the idea. So what gives anyone the right to claim that their race, their identity, or who they identify with is the absolute right one and all others are wrong.  Just because someone’s skin is a different color than yours doesn’t mean they are inferior or anything less than you.

This also applies to religion. We supposedly have the freedom of religion, in fact the first amendment clearly states “…Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” It goes on to prohibit impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. So again, who is to tell me that their religion is the absolute right and all others are wrong. Just because you disagree with something or someone does not make them wrong. You are allowed to believe what you want, you are allowed to share that message, you can even disagree with me here. But please, be respectful. That’s really what it all boils down to. Respect one another, respect that we all come from different backgrounds, respect that we all have different views and beliefs that shape us. Let’s embrace each other as human beings who are sharing this planet, and try to live in peace and harmony, especially now, and for the future generations to come.

Something Doesn’t Add Up

Correct me if I’m wrong, but something about this scenario doesn’t make sense.

For a family of 3 we pay $806 a month for medical and pediatric dental insurance. We pay this because we own our own company and only having 2 employees does not qualify us for a “business” health insurance plan, therefore we have the individual (family) health insurance plan. This also does not include adult dental insurance because by law only pediatric dental insurance is mandated. So our premiums amount to $9,672 a year out of our own pocket. We have a deductible of $6,350 per person. That adds up to $19,050 a year. That is the out of pocket money we have to spend for anything other than an office visit or wellness visit. And of course for those we still have our $20 to $50 copay depending on the doctor. But for the sake of this argument I’m only basing this on the premium and deductible amounts. So the total for the year between premiums and the maximum deductible is $28,722.

Now generally we try to avoid going to the doctor as much as possible. All three of us are in good health, with a few minor issues that have been creeping up due to the aging process. There are no major conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, terminal illness, you get the idea.

This year has presented us with a few health issues that have been diagnosed and advised by the doctor to be taken care of. The total cost for one procedure was $3,188.78. Another procedure was $575.87. This all went towards the deductible for one family member. So now out of pocket we have paid $3,764.65, the insurance company has paid $0. So in keeping with the math, we have paid out of our own pocket $13,436.65 so far for the year. (This is our yearly premiums plus out of pocket expenses). Again, the insurance company still has paid $0. Yes, it’s less than the $28,722 if all three of us had met our deductibles and paid the premiums for the entire year. But even if we did that, the insurance company still would have paid $0 and I’m still out $28,722.

My question is this – why then must I have health insurance that isn’t paying for anything? I get absolutely no benefit from the insurance company. If I don’t have insurance I get fined by the federal government. If I didn’t have insurance this year I could have saved $9,672. This could have gone into an interest bearing account for say my child’s college education, or an emergency fund if something catastrophic should have happened. I could have also used that money to pay for the expenses that we did have and still have some left over. I get that there are those who didn’t have insurance, who needed insurance, who can now get supposedly affordable insurance. I also get that it’s possible tomorrow, next week, or next year one of us could be diagnosed with some awful, terrible disease. It’s also possible that I’ll live to be 100 and be perfectly healthy that entire time too. What I don’t get is why is this being forced on me, making me pay for something that is not benefiting me in any way, and based on the letter I just received getting more expensive next year? I just don’t understand.

Tone It Down

** Note – this is a raw post, unedited, other than to correct spelling errors. It is emotionally driven, but it’s something I felt I had to post. Regular Brain Drops will resume tomorrow.  **

Tone down the rhetoric. After the horrific happenings this past weekend in Tuscon, that’s one phrase I keep hearing. But it should start at the top. When the politicians are so busy sniping at each other, finger pointing, and name calling, it’s no wonder the rest of society acts the way it does. The media doesn’t help either. They give attention to those that really shouldn’t get it, which emboldens those spouting hate and divisiveness even more. I am all for free speech, especially as a writer. But common sense and courtsey has to have a place too. This church that protests funerals – really? The people there are grieving, probably having one of the worst days of their lives, and you want to add to the misery by spewing your “free speech”. I can’t even think straight to write this right now. I’m thinking about making this a blog post, but then again, I wonder if it’s best to just keep it in my private files and not add fuel to the fire. It’s one of those things that frustrates me. I want to change the world, to make it better, but then I see things like this and it just makes me so frustrated and mad. How can we as a society accept this? Have we gotten so lazy, so apathetic, that we just accept it and live in our own little world with our blinders on. Thinking, maybe, this won’t affect me or happen to me, so I won’t do anything to change it. I’ll just go about my life and do my thing and not bother anyone else. It’s no wonder we are falling behind in so many areas. It’s no wonder we’re in debt up to our eyeballs. No one wants to take responsibiity. Maybe I should post this just the way it is, unedited, for all to see. Maybe that’s what we need, a wake up call. Maybe I think too much of myself to think that my one little blog post could be that wake up call. Then again, there is the concept of the butterfly effect – one action, leads to another, to another… I suppose I will sit on this a few days, hopefully the news will tone it down a bit. A comment from a friend on facebook “so much of this is motivated by our manic greediness” really is true also. I look at the “stories” the news is reporting and I wonder why is some of this considered news? Do we really need to know every detail of everyones lives? Can we not allow some areas to be private in the lives of the famous and the not famous people that somehow wind up on the news anyway.

I don’t have any easy answers. In fact I don’t know that I have any answers as all. But I do feel a little better now that I have gotten this out of my head.