Sunday, February 10, 2008

Not only were last night’s primary results good, from my point of view, but the BBC World Service, – to which we, like many an elderly insomniac, listen all night long – for the first time since this caper began, didn’t feel it necessary to broadcast repeated clips from victory rallies with everybody shouting.

I slept peacefully and got out of bed this morning not even knowing what had happened. I must have dozed through the early-morning news.

Still on the subject of politics…

One of the things I am doing in my jigzone-less state, is catch up on blog-reading. This morning I got to the Knit Sisters' post of January 29, which was utterly horrifying and taught me a bit about that ever-mysterious subject, American health care. So, if you have proper health insurance it covers everything, does it? Like visits to the dr to discuss your asthma?

I guess, amidst the horror, I was sort of surprised that Disaster-only insurance would cover a broken arm – happens to me all the time, and doesn’t involve in-patient care; I thought disasters were cancer and heart attacks and that sort of hospital-y thing. And the other surprise was that an asthma-visit was beyond the means of a struggling Poor Person who was already paying for Disaster Insurance. I thought that would be sort of necessary-and-therefore-somehow-affordable, like the unexpected and unwelcome things that happen from time to time to cars and computers.

If you have no money at all and are living in a box on the street, can you get help with asthma?

You guys certainly need to elect a Democrat.

A bit of knitting…

I got within a couple of rows of the divide-for-the-neck point of the gansey, watching Scotland lose another rugby match, this time to Wales. We hope to go to Strathardle on Thursday of this week, for the first time since our epic struggle to escape through the snow on January 4. It would be nice to have finished the front by then. But I’ll cast on the scarf today.

Jared has re-appeared, with some wonderful hats.

I’m working on buttons. In fact you’ll find an (inactive) one if you scroll down my sidebar. [No, it doesn't seem to be there.] I had a scheme, but it didn’t work. Next I’ll try it Helen’s way.


  1. html button still confuse the hell out of me. I'll get round to making one one day for the sheer thrill of it.

    Still plugging for Obama. Hope, hope, hope...

    Lenten discipline this year is no red meat or poultry. Unexpectedly difficult!

  2. David's insurance is considered "disaster" or "major medical" coverage. The first $5000 has to come out of his pocket, after which the insurance company picks up something like 80% of the cost. We could add him onto my policy, which is HMO but better overall coverage, but it would mean a doubling of premium. It's really a hodgepodge, and I don't see major changes coming. Of course, the private companies are going to claim that they're more efficient, but they just aren't, and healthcare providers have to manage the paperwork of a bajillion different insurance bureaucracies, rather than one governmental one. Ridiculous.

  3. Anonymous1:59 PM

    Group health insurance through my hubby's employer for a family plan (family of 4) was around $1200 a month (about $200 more than our monthly house payment). The company is being reorganized, which takes the group down to one, and the insurance company will not sell them a group plan, so we are now paying the insurance company directly. Much less per month ($350), but, only 3 visits per person per year (at $30 each), after that we pay until our out-of-pocket reaches $1500 or $2000 (I don't recall which). The hope is that we will stay under the number of visits (most years we only go once or twice a year, each), and even if we do, we hopefully won't spend more than the monthly cost for the more expensive insurance. Yep, its a mess.

  4. This health insurance business seems so difficult that it has prevented us from seriously considering moving to the U.S. as our 2 U.S. based sons and other family members have been urging us to do.

    What is happening with the Obama sweater??

  5. After almost 20 years of pursuing health insurance payments for medical accounts, I've seen it go downhill. If you're impoverished and have a permanent address you can get health coverage but can't get a doctor to treat you. If you're working poor, you have to buy your insurance from your employer. If you're middle class, you have deductibles up the wazoo. In the meantime, the demand for instant healthcare continues, driving up the cost. Healthcare providers have to agree to a rate less than what they charge in order to accept an insurance company's insureds (Medicare's rate is about 55% of actual cost on average). The difference comes out of the pockets of people who can't afford it.

    I don't think electing a Democrat will fix the problem. He/she still has to contend with Congress, which will gut any proposal with any sensible solution. To get a fix, there has to be a radical change that puts the kibosh upon the insurance companies' influence.

  6. Jean, you have no idea of the quagmire that American "health" insurance and the "health" care system is. I am an RN, that simply can no longer work in that system, it's so horrific. I work as a window cleaner. I broke my leg while uninsured, and then spent years waiting to finally even be able to buy self insurance. I have $5000 deductible, and pay $1200 a month. Many, many exclusions. I'm a migraineur, my meds are horribly expensive...and not covered. I buy them from Canada, which means they are slightly cheaper, but they don't apply towards my deductible. Watch Michael Moore's movie "Sicko" and you will get a fair idea of what we are up against. And sadly, no Democrat can or will fix it. It is far too entrenched and is so profitable to so many, they won't let it change.

  7. Hi Jean, Yes, watch Michael Moore's _Sicko_ and you will get a feel for what we're up against. What I meant in my post was this: with a high deductible ($2000-$5000 out of pocket expense, say, before ANYTHING is paid for), a person who was financially marginal would be forced to struggle along without medical attention to any condition that wasn't immediately life-threatening or an accident that required immediate attention (I chose the broken arm because you can't exactly just go along as usual with a broken limb--you'll have to have that set, etc. and that kind of treatment would easily, I think, hit around $15,000 in billed costs here). If you had such an accident or a life-threatening medical condition, you'd have to find the $$ somewhere for treatment. Again, if you were marginal, that would mean going into debt you would have no immediate way to repay.

    So you'd be forced to run this kind of calculus on your health and basically self-diagnose to determine what was and was not worth going into debt to resolve. Not good.

    A simple doctor's office visit to discuss my mild asthma was recently billed to me at $331. That did not cover the $185 inhaler that was prescribed. At that point, I had insurance through my school, so my expense for all that will be much less, but those are the actual, billed costs. Just to give you a feeling for what we're talking about here. So if people are already struggling to buy food and pay rent (I'm in a better position than many in this regard, so this is not so much about me, but...) they are obviously not in a good spot to come up with $500-600 for the treatment of something very basic. If there had been any procedures involved, by the way, this would have been much, much more $$.

    I hope this helps to define the problem a bit more?

    Hope you are well!


  8. Yahoo! Maine is in : )