Health

The Health Care Debate

#1 Everyone has access to healthcare.

Some have access to better healthcare than others. Some can pay for better healthcare than others. This has been truth for always and forever. Even with social medicine. Even with single payer.

#2 Everyone will die regardless of the quality or quantity of healthcare one can obtain. This is also truth. We all die. Every one of us.

Science has not solved this problem yet and we aren’t yet sure that this something we all might want.

Longer or endless life with illness isn’t a pleasant future. Being tied to an oxygen tank, or in a bed with a feeding tube… That might not be such an attractive prospect.

#3 The issue isn’t access to health care. Everyone has access. The issue is who pays for that health care.

Actual Insurance got tied to employment in 1943 when the War Labor Board ruled that the wage freezes didn’t apply to fringe benefits. So employers, in order to attract and retain quality employees, offered health insurance policies. These were real insurance. Hospitalization, catastrophic care policies. People still paid the doctor for regular office visits.

In 1973 the HMO Act (It was a “trial”) was passed to require employers who offered traditional health plans to offer at least one HMO plan as well.

The HMO has morphed into what people now call “health insurance.” But what it is is pre-paid health but made into a monster.

Instead of actually getting so many visits for a set annual fee (plus premiums for real insurance for the big stuff) with small co-pays per visit like HMOs were initially set up to be, we now pay big premiums for both big stuff and small stuff and have huge deductibles to meet, we may or may not have a co-pay, and we still have to pay a percentage of the bill.

What most of us are getting for our huge premiums and deductibles is a “discount” from the artificially high regular price charged for the services.

That artificially high price charged because the doctor has to “negotiate” +/-27 different “discounted” insurer/plan prices and also take into account the abysmally small reimbursement rates of Medicaid and Medicare and the receivables that just have to be written off.

The artificially high price the doctor has to charge because he/she has to hire people **just** to deal with compliance with the insurance companies and the government.

You know that “free” physical you get? If you bring up that you’re having an issue with this or that at your annual physical, a place and time that you think is correct to bring up a new issue, you have to pay extra.

I brought my son in for a “free” annual physical and we left $250 poorer because we brought up a lower GI issue he’d been having and we hadn’t reached our deductible. We never reach our deductible.

If you go in for a follow-up visit to check on your ear infection and bring up the fact that you’ve been experiencing some issues with plantar fasciitis, you’ll have to pay extra for the foot exam because you’ve gone in for the ear exam.

Even though you’re in the same office at the same time seeing the same provider.

Let’s have REAL insurance back. Hospitalization, catastrophic insurance. For when you break your leg (or bad sprain – you don’t know x-rays will tell!), get into an accident, fall off the roof, heart attack, stroke, the big C, the bad stuff. This is what INSURANCE is for. Hedging against that bad stuff.

Part of the issue is those without employer-based insurance are relegated to “individual” plans. Employer-based “groups” are completely arbitrary. Why not make regional groups? They’re just as arbitrary and don’t have to be put together by any particular employer or association.

Let’s have pre-tax Health Savings Accounts accessed by debit cards or reimbursement like Flexible Spending Accounts are — BUT they roll over year over year.

Let’s be able to purchase HMO type plans that suit ours and our family’s needs. Maybe a plan that includes well baby/well child visits. Maybe we want a plan that will include maternity. Maybe we want a plastic surgery plan for bigger boobs or a bigger butt or a smaller nose.

We shouldn’t HAVE to have any particular kind of coverage. We should have the coverage we want to have. If we want a higher deductible hospitalization/catastrophic care insurance policy and pay the doctor when we see him/her we should be able to.

Divorce health care from employment and the employer doesn’t have to pay for premiums anymore. That money **could** be paid to the employee as higher wages or go towards the pre-tax Health Savings Account, to which the employee can also contribute.

Premiums for Real insurance will be lower than the current premiums for the “all-in-one” stuff we have now.

Doctors won’t have to charge 27 (+/-) prices for the same office visit.

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Ten Years Smoke Free!

Ten years ago today I went to an office and had Laser Acupuncture. It worked like magic. I haven’t had a cigarette since. I haven’t even wanted one. I’ve been around smoking and sometimes it even smelled good. But nope, haven’t been interested. I’m not even interested in vaping.

smokefree750

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Allergic to Cake!

I recently had some blood tests done to see what I might be allergic to. The tests came back with moderate allergies to egg whites, milk, and wheat. So, cake. And cream, butter, half & half, milk, Carnation Instant Breakfast, yogurt, sour cream, CHEESE, mayo, marshmallows, meringue, soy sauce (has wheat!), bread, crackers, pancakes, biscuits, croissants, doughnuts!, and lots more including whiskey, vodka, and beer.

I got the test results on March 15th and stopped the wheat and egg that day. I stayed with the milk because I can’t drink coffee without cream and I wanted butter on my cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day. By Saturday the 21st I had my last Starbucks Tiramisu Latte with milk. I’ll have to switch to a non-dairy option. Their website says they have soy and coconut. I much prefer the coconut to the soy.

We went shopping on Sunday for some alternatives for me. I found Kikkoman wheat free soy sauce and I bought some oatmeal and potato chips and Fritos. We also bought a half gallon of coconut milk and a half coconut half almond milk to try in coffee. The coconut almond milk doesn’t fit the bill for me for coffee, so I’ll use it in smoothies instead. I mixed cream of coconut with some coconut milk and that makes a passable creamer. Tuesday I found some soy creamer and a coconut creamer. The soy one said it was now creamier, but I found the coconut one much creamier. I also found some coconut yogurts that I’m going to try.

I also bought some wheat, dairy, and egg free pretzels, and some brown rice flour, potato flour, and tapioca flour. I have a little masa, but I’ll get some more. I will have to do a LOT of reading of labels. I won’t be getting rid of everything in the house because my husband and son can eat them and I am not so allergic that I can’t be around them.

I eat real food and make most of what we eat from scratch so I know what’s gone into my ingredients. But I’ll have to check what’s gone into other ingredients. I had a Swanson flavor packets box (mushroom marsala) that I had to give away because it contained butter and buttermilk.

I’ll find out if I feel any different after cutting these things out of my diet and keep notes of how I work around the loss of these in my cooking. I have decided that I can’t try for a competition cooking show because the items are too ubiquitous in cooking. They’re used in appetizers, entrees, and desserts. It’s not like, say, a shrimp allergy. That’s something that can more easily be avoided.

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Eight Years Smoke Free

Well, it’s now been eight years since I quit smoking.

Recently I was by someone buying cigarettes. They asked for four packs. The bill was $28.00

When I quit eight years ago, that’s what I was paying for a carton, ten packs.

I am so glad I quit smoking, both for my health and for the money saved over these eight years.

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Six Years Smoke Free

I’ve been smoke free for six years now. I used the laser acupuncture method and it worked. I can be around smokers and cigarettes and not have problems.

Here’s my post from six years ago:

Smoke Free?

I hope so. I went today to have a cold laser treatment for stopping smoking. I haven’t had a cigarette since about 1:45 this afternoon, just before my 2:00 appointment. It is now 8:00 pm, so I’ve gone over 6 hours and I’m doing okay so far.

The treatment was cold laser accupuncture/pressure at various points in both my ears, 3 points on my head, both sides of my nose, several spots on my hands and on my knees.

The stimulations are supposed to jump start the organs so they will start to detoxify. I need to drink a lot of water, which will be good for me and should help the oral fixation part of stopping smoking…

I am still craving cigarettes, but not as often as yesterday (when I was actually following through on the desire to smoke) and the craving seems to be going away rather quickly when the craving is not met.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

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