Fun With Health Insurance

Not too long ago, I wrote about my past experiences with my old insurance company, and my apprehensions about my new insurance.

Well. Let’s just say I’m not pleasantly surprised.

Recently, I went to my doctor’s office, to get my prescription renewed and for a blood test to measure my Dilantin levels. I gave my new insurance information and left, surprised at the ease. A couple of weeks later, I get a bill in the mail for the full cost of the office visit and blood test.

Turns out, that my new insurance says that I should file with my “primary insurance” first. My primary insurance? My old one, that I thought I was no longer on.

Funny. My former insurance spent the whole time while I was on the policy claiming that I was not on it, and now that I’m really not, I supposedly am.

The circles, they dizzy me.

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Democrats Need More Like Anthony Weiner

I agree wholeheartedly with Dana Milbank’s first sentence, but disagree vehemently with his last.

Democrats need more politicians like Representative Anthony Weiner, period. There’s much talk of spineless Democrats, but very little of those who are not, like Rep. Weiner, though he has been getting more press lately.

What makes Anthony Weiner so valuable, no noteworthy, so admirable is that he tosses aside lofty language and political rhetoric. If it is a lie, he calls it a lie. If someone attempts to talk over him, he speaks louder and louder, until the interrupter is silenced. He does not shy away from difficult issues, and even calls out his own party for being too…cowardly to take them on.

What impresses me most about him, is that he does not toss women under the bus. It’s sad that the fact that a Democrat, a representative of the party who constantly claims during election seasons to be the champion of women’s rights, but fails over and over to actually do something to earn that title–actually stands up for women’s rights.

Check out his Youtube channel. Here he responds to constituent’s questions and posts videos of Senate hearings and committee meetings in which he participates. It’s very gratifying to watch these clips, to know that not every Democrat is disappointing.

The Food Stamp Crusaders

Nothing gets people worked up like food stamps. And no one is subjected to the Everyman’s ignorant opinion more than those who are on food stamps.

The individual or family using food stamps can never win. You see, food stamps, contrary to popular opinion, do not provide enough for someone to buy nothing but fresh produce and healthy cuts of meat. It does not provide an individual or family enough to live the foodie high life by eating lobster and steak every night. You either eat healthy some of the time, and go hungry the rest, or you eat processed, canned, junk food, and (if you’re a carnivore) whatever cheap cuts the local grocery offers, and keep your belly full the whole month.

Those who have an issue with the poor and food stamps will have a problem either way, and they will tell you so every time you stand in line at checkout. If you buy seafood or steak from the meat department, you get blasted for “wasting” tax dollars on expensive food. If you buy processed, canned, frozen “junk,” you get blasted for “wasting” tax dollars on contributing to America’s “obesity crisis.”

It’s a humiliating endeavor for food stamp users every step of the way. Heartless, cruel, ignorant people will take out every frustration they have with the government out on the poor soul simply trying to feed themselves and their families.

What is wrong here is not that a struggling family will occasionally spring for a steak. No, the issue is much, more broader than that. What is the problem here is that healthy food is expensive, while unhealthy food is cheap. Government subsidies are given to those farmers that create ingredients (like high fructose corn syrup) that make food so unhealthy.

What is wrong here is that lower income individuals and families cannot afford to buy healthy food–making one of the most important aspects of healthy living a luxury for the economically well-off. Where are our priorities? Why is healthy food a luxury that is out of reach for so many people?

Demonizing those using government assistance doesn’t make one a righteous crusader. It makes one a self-righteous prick with mixed-up priorities.

Insight into the Anti-Choicer Mind.

It’s been several hours, but I’m still stunned. A man posted on a friend’s facebook that, if he’s paying for (a hypothetical public) health care, then he should get to decide what procedures people get to have. This response was, of course, triggered by a news link to Texas’ ultrasound legislation for abortion.

Initially, he said this:

“But as soon as you made health care a shared social responsibility, which, you did, you made it so that anyone has a say in how you use it.”

Later, he clarified:

“It’s not your body, if you aren’t paying for the health care.”

This nonsense is shocking enough in its sheer arrogance and ignorance. But then, in the same thread, the same poster said this:

“[Requiring an ultrasound before an abortion is] a violation of the 4th amendment, I would think. You know, the people shall not be subject to unreasonable searches… I would think lubing up a paddle and sticking it on your belly to see if you are pregnant might be an unreasonable search. Just my two cents worth.”

In the last quote, he gets it. But in the thread, the latter quote is sandwiched between the other two.

A couple of hours ago, I find that this man is very, very bitter that he has to pay child support, and thinks that his ex having custody is her keeping their child “hostage.”

It all becomes clear now.

Supreme Court Decides on Westboro Baptist Church Case

Earlier today, the Supreme Court (U.S.) released its decision on Snyder v. Phelps. This is the case where Snyder, the father of a fallen Marine, sued Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church for picketing his son’s funeral.

The Supreme Court decided in favor of the Phelpses.

Having read the decision, the decision in favor of Westboro troubles me. It seems that the Court has taken the easy way out (though undoubtedly unpopular).

Firstly, it does not even consider Westboro’s actions as harassing, only as “speech on broad public issues.” Secondly, it holds that the signs that specifically target Lance Corporal Snyder and his family were irrelevant, because their overall message was one speaking of “moral” and “religious” issues. The Court also holds that since the protest was on public property, complying with police orders, and out of sight of the church itself, that while the protest was scheduled and located to be in the same place and time as Lance Corporal Snyder’s funeral, it was not intentionally causing emotional distress. Thirdly, they did not consider a posting by a member of Westboro post-funeral that personally attacked Matthew and his parents, (though it was brought up at trial) which would prove that the protest was not public commentary, but rather a personal attack. (Since apparently, the signs were not enough. I won’t quote them here, because they’re triggering and hateful, but if you wish to know, some are mentioned in the New York Times article, and most in the Court’s decision itself.)

Justice Alito was the sole dissenter, and wrote a very good opinion. I urge you to read it, even if you’re not interested in reading the entire decision, which is thirty-six pages long. Alito’s dissent begins on page twenty-three of the PDF.

Here are some excerpts from Alito’s dissent:

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New York Times’ Reporting on Libya.

The New York Times is really getting to me with their referring to the Libyan protestors as rebels. Calling them rebels indicates somehow that their actions are wrong, that their grievances are illegitimate. The Libyans have gotten further than their counterparts in Egypt, but have faced much more violence from their government. It’s a shame that the New York Times, with their vocabularly, appears to oppose the people.