Health insurance

When I had a car accident 10+ years ago, I had to sue my insurance company to make them pay my hospital bills. After they settled and paid, they threatend to sue me for the full amount at any point they felt like over the next 30 years. They offered to accept 1/3 paid back to them immediately to settle. My attorney said that was a good deal. They stalled paying anything for 6 months. In the mean time, the hospital put debt collections out on me for $30k. I needed an attorney working several weeks to stop it.

I’ve changed insurance companies at least once a year, every year, since 1997. It was great while I was a government contractor, and my first year at a very nice software company. It always gets more expensive. It always covers less. My accident was more than 10 years ago.

While I’m looking for work, most jobs I’m offered (usually contractors) no longer offer health insurance plans, or charge me several hundred dollars per paycheck for basic coverage.

My healthcare for ADHD and related mental healthcare is even worse. Mental health coverage is not covered by the same insurance company, it is always outsourced to a third party not even mentioned in employee briefings. I pay several hundred dollars / month for that even with insurance, because therapy (considered mandatory by most doctors) has been covered for one year out of the past 20.

Same insurance for prescriptions, however. Under my wife’s insurance, I drive more than 20 miles one-way to get prescriptions because only one pharmacy at one location is covered. Almost always, the price of individual medications after insurance is higher than the price for the same medications in countries without health insurance (everywhere). My employers (who ultimately foots the bill for insurance) are charged several thousand dollars / month. That’s what I would pay without insurance. But I’m sure that’s never been relevant to me being picked during a layoff.

I usually go several days every 1-3 months without prescriptions because an insurance company demands that the medication be pre-authorized before the prescription is filled, without warning. For medications I’ve been taking for a decade. They’ll randomly decide that I need to switch to a generic (which usually works differently, for mental healthcare prescriptions), or decide whatever I’ve found that works is no longer covered at all. I’ve heard both that medications I were on were outdated and no longer the preference as well as too new / experimental simultaneously, 3 times. Whenever I switch insurance, I need to pre-auth nearly every prescription. That means going with prescriptions for several days. If you’ve never gone without ADHD medication and antidepressants it’s like this: stop smoking, stop being an alcoholic, cut out caffeine, and go to work with absolutely no sleep on the same day. There is also a risk of seizure, when suddenly stopping any psychiatric medication. No employer is ever sympathetic. No insurance company representative has ever been the least bit knowledgeable of any of those healthcare issues.

All of that is tied to an employer. So they try to get the cheapest plan, get a new plan every year, and there’s no continuation of coverage when I change jobs. If I’m out of work, I’m not getting any insurance for myself. I’m relying entirely on my spouse’s insurance. There is no competitive market, for the consumer of health insurance.

Health insurance is the worst possible way to pay for healthcare in the industrialized world. There are good reasons to make the way insurance companies scam customers illegal.

Thursday ~ August 22, 2019 by b

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Report from the Front

Dearest Kandice,

Today was a day that will weigh heavy upon my heart for years to come, God willing that I survive this night.

Colonel Sanders led the 501st Social Justice Warriors in an assault to retake the Chapel Hill Whole Foods Market. I was one of 17 vegans sent over the wall, and it was my job to secure the deli counter. I saw 5 of my fellow patriots fall to the onslaught of the usurpers stationed behind the fish counter. 11 more fell in the aisles within minutes. I staved off the attackers by hurling bottles of wine I can’t pronounce correctly at them. Soon the air was thick with the smells of blood, burnt gunpowder, overpriced alcohol, and chicken-fried tofu. I looked outside to motion for reinforcements, but all that I saw was a Prius and a Volvo in flames. Colonel Sanders must have ordered more waves of patriots into the store, as soon I was surrounded by friendly hipsters who offered me coconut water.

Tonight we ride to Asheville and regroup. Generals Ruffalo and Pitt are there, waiting for our reports. We expect casualities en route, as Chick-fil-a loyalists have stationed themselves shamelessly along the major highways. Our only hope is that so few of us are left that we might slip by unnoticed. We’ve mapped out the 14 Starbuck’s from Chapel Hill, in the vain belief that some still live to provide shelter for our weary warriors.

Yours forever,


on the amendment…

Dear State of North Carolina,

Thank you for your selfless moral guidance this past week at the polls. Guidance to a greater degree than my own mother. It has helped me greatly during the troubling period of my life known as “being engaged”. I didn’t actually need the extra pressure to get married, but I appreciate how that pressure would obviously improve the prospects for a healthy marriage.

Fortunately, I did not need your moral guidance the last time you amended the constitution, providing guidance about interracial marriages. You did repeal that, didn’t you? I should probably double-check. I can only wonder what else needs to be enshrined in the state tax code or traffic laws to help with the citizenry’s ethics.

If my fiancee should need health insurance during the next 6 months or so, I’ll be sure to consider the State’s firm moral guidance when choosing between her health and continuing to live here. I’m sure that you wouldn’t miss that high-tech job leaving for more liberal lands, anyway.

After all, being a 30-something animal advocate, ethical vegan, environmentalist, someone who supports the civil rights of my friends, Southern Baptist at one point (yea verily, I am actually from around here), college-educated person, voter who goes by ethics more frequently than “economics”, hybrid car driver, who chooses jobs based partly on the ethical stances of the company must not have any clue about right & wrong nor a firm grip on reality. Unlike someone who claims to have only straight friends.

I look forward to your next installment of this church pamphlet, wherein you explain what my fiancee and I are allowed to do in our home, which you seem to claim does not exist. I always look forward to a lesson in geriatric morality.

blessings of the state,

Friday ~ May 11, 2012 by b

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new rule

You can only call a fetus an “unborn baby” if you seriously call yourself an “undead human”.

Friday ~ July 29, 2011 by b

Posted in humor,poli | Comments Off on new rule |

fair & balanced… teamed up with knowledgeable & aware…

From Fox News:

The vice president post was empty when Mubarak tapped Suleiman for the job after the protests began. Suleiman would stand to take over as interim leader of Egypt in some of the proposals reportedly being considered for an expedited political transition.

Fox News’ senior administration source expressed surprise that news of the assassination attempt was just now breaking, “because he is the transition plan … or at least one of them for the Egyptians.”

Because no one looking to sow chaos would ever assassinate a leader in Egypt right now. Just like the incredibly unpopular (or popular, if you like secret police) head of Egyptian intelligence wouldn’t encounter any resistance after the announcement that he’s about to assume power.

Animals in Idaho

There are a couple of issues brewing in Idaho over animal rights. Cockfighting and derailing the opposition.

First, Idaho has finally joined 40 other states in declaring cockfighting a felony. Yes, seriously, it was a misdemeanor and still is in some states. Idaho is not exactly on the forefront of animal rights legislation. OK, yay and go Idaho for passing important legislation, nonetheless.

Second, a state Senator is proposing a bill to maneuver around potential backlash to bring chicken farms into the state. HSUS was specifically declared as the primary “radical animal rights group” for its opposition. An advisory board on animal welfare has been formed. The board was not formed as a compromise or with the support of HSUS, and they do not consider it to represent their interests. I can’t say I blame them. Even though HSUS helped draft another part of the bill, they will not be welcome. In fact, many of the “animal welfare” groups listed are effectively unions and PACs for cattle farmers. No other groups have advocated in favor of animal welfare on a scale as large as HSUS in Idaho.

The board is usually presented by Idaho lawmakers as a step to preempt animal welfare groups by “proving” that Idaho is handling any animal cruelty, and appease anyone who might otherwise listen to them. Such boards are now commonly fought in other states as the existing opposition to animal welfare, and are generally considered a backward step among animal advocates. When one accuses a group of a crime, the alleged criminals do not belong on the jury.

HSUS is the organization that runs advertisements telling people not to abuse their animals, in the most common definition of abuse. They won acclaim among animal advocates for sending volunteers into NOLA after Katrina to rescue pets caught in the storm’s aftermath. Not exactly a revolutionary group trying to overthrow The Man. Labeling them as such without any clarification or any further description is simply trying to stir up prejudice.

Tuesday ~ March 2, 2010 by b

Posted in cat,dining,poli,veg | Comments Off on Animals in Idaho |

Slowly fading blue

Here’s the speech Obama gave in Cairo:

My reaction was fairly much being stunned. I didn’t expect to hear an American president project say things like this in my lifetime. Hope? Sure. But not expect. This is precisely the sorts of thing we need to do, to stop causing the rest of the world to often be righteously angry at us. It’s not projecting moral authority. It’s creating moral authority that we sorely lack, something that’s absolutely critical for a democracy to have for accomplishing any international goals.

Also, it’s impressive that he did not look down at the podium a single time. I would not want to argue against him in a formal debate of any type.

Thursday ~ June 4, 2009 by b

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Dr. George Tiller

Any doctor shot for providing abortion services, who then goes back to it after, is already a civil rights hero. To be gunned down even after that – while fully expecting it – is much more.

Advocating or proclaiming the worthiness of anyone’s murder, for even a moment, is hardly “pro-life” and is simply anti-choice.

Condolences to Dr. Tiller’s family and friends, and many hopes that he rests in peace.

Monday ~ June 1, 2009 by b

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Tea Partying

Today is the day that the IRS wants their forms and money related to income for 2008.

To be blunt, I’m a pacifist, and if anyone says they support how our government spends money less than I do, I raise a very sceptical eyebrow. I still pay my taxes, because I think it’s the most fair thing to do as someone who benefits from the modern economy and uses government services and laws.

Recently, some people in the GOP have sponsored “teabagging” parties in which people throw teabags to show their disgust at the government spending based on allegedly unfair taxation. Presumably doing so is expressing rage at the Bush government with it’s budget-busting spending, as that’s the administration which ceased to balance the budget (thank Clinton for balancing it in the first place, in the similar aftermath of prior administrations). Apparently this is in imitation of the Boston Tea Party. I suggest there are some differences:

Admittedly, like the first Tea Party, today’s event was organized by some of the wealthiest people in the nation.

Wednesday ~ April 15, 2009 by b

Posted in news,poli | Comments Off on Tea Partying |

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

From NPR:

“I’m going to put people in my place, so when the history of this administration is written, at least there’s an authoritarian voice saying exactly what happened,” Bush said.

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