In Which I Detail My DMV Experience

I maintain that this would be an AWESOME license photo

I had to go to the DMV last week to renew my driver’s license. I know. Boo! Hiss!

So imagine my surprise when the whole thing actually went kind of well. First off, I had an appointment, so I didn’t have to wait very long to get assigned to a counter. I was totally nervous that I wouldn’t pass the eye test without corrective lenses, but I did. The lady that saw me at first was really nice, and was trying her best to get another woman with a fussy baby to be helped (because who likes listening to fussy babies?).

I got stamped and approved, paid my renewal fee, and got sent to stand in the line to get a new photo, which made me a little bit sad, because the one I have now was taken about two weeks after my honeymoon, and I always think of that when I get carded and have to pull it out.

Someone asked if there was anyone in line just taking a new photo, not taking the driver’s test. “Me!” I jumped, and got moved to the front of the line in another area of the office. The guy told me where to stand, and I asked if I had to keep a straight face. He said no, so I made a sassy kissy face, mostly just to see what he’d say. He laughed and said I couldn’t do that.

“Why not? This is the face I’ll make if I get pulled over,” I retorted. Thankfully, he thought it was hilarious, and then shot a picture of me with my regular smile. We got to chitchatting a bit (there was no one behind me), and I mentioned that I really liked his purple shirt. It was a sort of lilac-y plum color, and I thought it would look really good on Leif, so I asked where he got it.

He told me years ago, and that it wasn’t his favorite, but that they all had to wear purple on Wednesdays. Um … why? It’s a union thing, he told me.

“The DMV is SEIU?” I exclaimed.

“Yeah, how did you know that?” He seemed genuinely surprised that the kissy-face girl would know that the color purple plus the word ‘union’ equals SEIU. Go figure.

“Oh, I work in politics,” I mentioned off-handedly. “So not only do they take a chunk of your paycheck, but they make you wear purple once a week?”

“Yeah, and it’s a big chunk too. I don’t even know what they do with it. We get sandwiches once a month though. Most expensive sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.”

“So sorry, Dude,” I told him, then wished him well and headed out the door, totally surprised by the pleasant, easy experience. Maybe health care run like the DMV won’t be so bad, I let my brain wander.

Let’s break it down:

  • I had to make an appointment two weeks in advance for a simple, routine, in-and-out procedure.
  • The most invasive test I received was covering up one eye at a time with a 3×5 card and reading a line of 6-7 letters.
  • The union running the place garnishes the employees’ wages and only offers them a monthly sandwich in return. Maybe they’re spending the money on this?
  • Anyone awaiting more comprehensive procedures requiring a specialist (like the driving test) had to wait in ridiculously long lines.

So I guess running health care like the DMV won’t be a big deal at all, so long as you don’t mind making appointments for routine procedures far in advance, waiting a long time to see specialists, or unions running the show.

Maybe that’s why Michelle Obama is so into combating childhood obesity. If no one every gets heart disease or diabetes, no one will ever question the efficiency of government-run health care.

Thing 2′s New Teeth

Remember that time I went to Las Vegas to run a half marathon because I needed motivation to run regularly so I can still fit into my skinny jeans because I love food way too much to do so unless I’m pounding the pavement? That was the weekend that Thing 2 knocked out her two front teeth.

Because that’s the way life goes.

My mom was taking care of her that day, and they were at bible study. Thing 2’s class was on the playground, and apparently the little dare devil decided to jump onto or off of the monkey bars. The details remain unclear, but Thing 2’s account of it was, “I was on dah playgroun’, an’ I was on dah monkey bars, an’ den I went ‘weeeee!’ Den nobody catched me.”

(I was going to play a video here, but I can’t work the technology, which is totally annoying, and also why I need a technical assistant. Interested in applying? I pay in gummy bears. Meanwhile I’ll just put up a photo.)

Toothless Wonder

One tooth was lost on the playground, the other shortly thereafter at the dentist’s office. And a molar was cracked. A molar not ‘scheduled’ to fall out until she’s twelvish. I was just going to let it be, until I found out that without a bridge, she could develop speech issues, and speech therapy is way too much to wrestle into my schedule, so new teeth it is.

Only insurance doesn’t cover a bridge, because it’s cosmetic. Oh, and they don’t cover porcelain crowns either, only silver. And this is a tooth she will have until middle school. All said and done — close to $800 in dental work. Thank goodness we keep an emergency fund for rainy day expenses like that.

See? That’s what some people do. They forgo fancy restaurants and fun new toys so that when unexpected expenses occur, they can cover the cost. If we were too poor for whatever reason, the group of mamas and grammas at bible study that day all offered to pitch in their own money to help us out, even though it was none of their faults. Communities rally, given the chance.

And I’m sure the dentist would’ve been willing to work out a payment plan, had it come to that.

Anyway, today was the big day that Thing 2 got her new teeth. She was a trooper, the dentist and his assistant were awesome, and my little hooligan is so proud of her new teeth.

When we got home, she climbed onto the kitchen counter and jumped off. Time to start socking away cash into the rainy day fund again…

Smile, Cheese Ball!

The Problem with Socialism

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” — Margaret Thatcher

Not a day has gone by in the past two years that I have not heard, spoken, or at least thought these words. I have been frustrated over and over again by well-meaning friends that believe that the government should take care of us from the moment we enter the world until the moment we leave it.

The government should pay for our mother’s prenatal health care, our childhood vaccinations, our educations, our food and housing, medical care when we need it, and our retirements.

It’s the right thing to do. Everyone deserves a good life, and it’s just so unfair that some people are born as Paris Hilton while others are born in slums. (Although it’s probably a toss-up as to which of those two fates is worse than the other.)

Read More

The Smart Girl Report – Episode 0023

Jason Mattera discusses his new book Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation.

Tom Reed talks about his run for Congress in New York’s 29th district — the seat previously held by Eric Massa.

CafeMom

Hey everyone!

I started a weekly op-ed column over at CafeMom’s new site- The Stir.  Does this officially make me a mommy-blogger?  Do I have to attend BlogHer now? Hmm… things to ponder.  Actually, a couple of days in NYC this summer sounds great.  (My poor hubby is sitting at work on his lunch break reading that and getting worried.  Love you Honey! *mwah*)

While Leif tries to figure out if I’m seriously joking or jokingly serious about attending another conference, check out my first article.

I Feel Violated

The answer is unmistakably and resoundingly NO.  Americans do not want a health care system resembling that of Canada or the U.K.  We the people are saying no every way we know how to; in polls, at rallies, with elections.

The time for talk is over.  It is clear that the vast majority of Americans do not want this health care legislation passed.

Any sane and logical congress would say, “Ok, thanks for letting us know.  We represent you the people, and you have made your voices clear.  Let’s toss out this 2000 plus stack of paper and get started on something else.”  But nope, not our congress.  Our congress says, “We know you don’t want it, and we don’t care.  We’re going to find every loophole we can so we can slam you with the largest most unconstitutional tax ever created, all in the name of ‘helping the poor.’”

The poor will not be helped by this bill.  Just look at any other country with government run health care.  It’s the poor that suffer.  Only the rich can afford timely and reliable care.  Why does anyone think it will be different in the US?

I’m absolutely going to go bonkers if I keep hearing, “health care is a right.”  It is not a right.  It isn’t a privilege either.  It’s a service.  You are not entitled to the labor of a doctor.  Just like they are not entitled to free oil changes from the mechanic.  We all work for a living, some of us harder than others.  Call me crazy, but I believe that the people that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on education, work 90 hour weeks, and make life and death decisions on a daily hourly basis deserve to be paid more than my mechanic, and I’m happy to pay it.  I am not happy to pay for other people to see that doctor because they spent their money elsewhere.  We all have to make sacrifices.  Deal with it.  And here’s the thing about Americans- for the most part, we are an extremely charitable group.  If someone really was in a bad situation, I bet there would be a doctor somewhere willing to treat them, or benefactors willing to pay for the treatment.

I have faith in the American people.  I have faith in every single person who wants to better their life.  I have faith in the single mom struggling to make ends meet, the newly graduated college student looking for a job, the father of two teens that just got laid off after 20 years.  I have faith in those people to do what it takes to get through these rough patches of life, and I have faith in their friends and neighbors to help them as they’re able.  I do what I can to help those in need.  I’m grateful for all the times others have been there for me.

But oh this congress.  This congress does not have faith in us.  This congress does not want us to feel the triumph of overcoming adversity, the joy of accomplishment.  This congress wants to enable us with the most massive entitlement program our country has ever seen.  We are better than that.

I want this congress to stop taking my money and giving me back a paltry sum and expecting me to jump for joy.  I know what  you took.  Don’t tell me to be grateful for the $10 check when you snuck $100 out of my back pocket.  I’m wise to your tricks.  A lot of us are.  Which is why you will be voted out this November.  This health care bill and any other crap you manage to sneak through in closed-door deals will be repealed.

Who knew that it would take a violation of Constitutional principles by our leaders for America to stand united in a way we haven’t for generations?  Wonders never cease.

Sigh of Happiness & Relief

BOSTON – In an epic upset in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to win the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy for nearly half a century, leavingPresident Barack Obama’s health care overhaul in doubt and marring the end of his first year in office.

My Eyes are Glued on Massachusetts

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been watching in awe as Scott Brown has exploded onto the national scene.  To think it was just over a month ago that I first learned his name, scoffing at the irrelevance of it.  Why even have a special election for the Senate seat left vacant by Ted Kennedy’s death?  Seriously people, it’s Massachusetts.  Just give the thing to Democrat Martha Coakley.  But niceties (not to mention policies) must be observed, and if Scott Brown thought he had a shot at winning the thing, well more power to him.

The man hit the ground running.  He campaigned all over the state in his pick-up truck, winning over the electorate with his common sense approach to government and politics.  He took advantage of new media, establishing an online presence through sites like Facebook and Twitter.  He raised funds from all over the country using the slogan 41st Vote (He would break the Democrat 60-seat super majority in the Senate if elected).

Meanwhile, Coakley went on vacation.  And members of her staff pushed reporters down instead of answering questions.  And we’ve been learning all sorts of crazy things about her record as an Attorny in Massachusetts (which she can’t even spell, by the way). Things like releasing a man without bail after he raped his 22 month old toddler with a curling iron.  Or plea bargaining with a pedophile priest, allowing him to molest again.  You know, silly stuff like that.

Even with her soft spot for disgusting vile men who like to violate and irreparably harm children, there’s still a shot that she’ll get elected for her position on the health care bill currently making its rounds in Congress.  She says she’ll vote for it.  Scott Brown says he won’t vote for it.

Ms. Coakley failed to realize that her advantage might just be her downfall.  Massachusetts already has government health care.  And it’s not working.  And the voters know it.

So go forth, Massachusetts!  Go forth and vote for the man that will kill the health care bill that will do nothing but hurt our country’s prosperity!  We’re counting on you.

Government Health Care at Work

The Mayo Clinic, praised by President Barack Obama as a national model for efficient health care, will stop accepting Medicare patients as of tomorrow at one of its primary-care clinics in Arizona, saying the U.S. government pays too little.

Mayo’s hospital and four clinics in Arizona, including the Glendale facility, lost $120 million on Medicare patients last year, Yardley said. The program’s payments cover about 50 percent of the cost of treating elderly primary-care patients at the Glendale clinic, he said.

Those greedy, selfish doctors.  They only want to help themselves and those horrible insurance companies.  Except, you know, health insurance companies only made about 2.2% profit in 2008. And those doctors are just trying to succeed in their chosen careers, running businesses (offices and hospitals, or in this case the Mayo Clinic), raising families, and paying off an average of $140,000 in medical school debt.

Let’s do some basic reasoning, shall we?  It costs money to treat patients.  The medical equipment, the drugs, the cost the building, salaries for receptionists, accountants, and other administrative staff… well, the list could go on, but I don’t have all day here.  Since it costs money to treat people, medical professionals charge their patients for their services.  Just like one pays for their home, clothing, groceries, transportation, and other necessities and/or frivolities.  That’s just the way life works.  If you want something, including medical care, you pay for it or find someone willing to give it to you.

Insert the government.  The government has stepped into an arena where it has no business being, and demands that doctors not charge certain patients more than a given amount, regardless of the patient’s history or circumstances, and regardless of how much it actually costs to treat that patient.  As stated above, the Mayo Clinic was only able to charge the government for about half of the cost spent treating Medicare patients.  Well, the Mayo Clinic has bills to pay, so they have to get that money from somewhere.  Guess where?  The privately patients paying out of pocket or through their own private health insurance. Which is one of many reasons health insurance is so expensive.

The Mayo Clinic has given up trying to recoup any of the money lost to a government run health plan.  They need to pay their bills.  They need to make a profit so they can hire more doctors and researchers and scientists to discover and develop new ways to fight disease and illness.  They can’t keep bleeding money to the government, and it’s not fair to their other patients, who have to involuntarily pick up the extra expenses.

How long before other facilities close their doors to government health care plans?  How long before the government will force them to remain open?  How long before the doctors quit?  How long before the government forces them to remain doctors?  I know it sounds extreme, but let’s follow the line along the path.  The government will make it so unpleasant and unprofitable to practice medicine that no one will want to do it.  Then to “fix” the problem that it created, the government might begin assigning careers to people…like they do in Communist China.

That’s a worst case scenario, of course.  But why even take one step down that path?  Let’s turn around and run the other way.  Let’s privatize health care again.  It’s the only system proven to truly work.

The Government is Not Compassionate

Well, it looks like the Senate has its 60 votes to pass the health care bill through.  A bill so fantastic that votes had to be bought by Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Rep. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Lord knows how many others.  There were a few whose votes couldn’t be bought.  So the Democratic leaders resorted to threatening their family members unless they supported the bill.

Not only is the health care bill so stellar that Senators had to be bribed and threatened into voting for it, but it’s going to be voted on at 1 o’clock in the morning, four days before Christmas.  Some perspective for you- no one will see any benefits from this bill until 2013 (if ever), yet it’s being rushed through in the middle of the night during a time when most Americans have turned off their TVs and put down their newspapers in the hopes of having a joyful holiday season with their friends and family.  I understand doing what we have to do, but this is NOT something that couldn’t easily wait until January.

During debate on the Senate floor today, Senator Tom Coburn made some excellent points and observations on why this health care bill is not a health care reform bill, but only an unsustainable health care coverage expansion.  Sen. Coburn is one of only two practicing physicians in the Senate (the other is Senator John Barrasso), so he speaks from the unique perspective of being both a doctor and a politician.

Sen. Coburn pointed out that there are zero guarantees that taxpayers won’t finance abortions, zero prohibitions on the rationing of health care, and zero Senators required to enroll in either Medicaid  or another government run option.  The Republicans proposed amendments to disallow the use of federal funds to finance abortions or the rationing of health care, but the Democrats voted down the measure.  Let me ask you this: If funding for abortions and rationing of care aren’t part of the plan for this bill, why wouldn’t the Democrats put those amendments in?  That’s like a bookie betting on a game to get others to bet as well, without actually putting any money into the pot.  The bookie ends up making money, and I’ve read enough crime dramas to be pretty sure that that’s highly illegal, not to mention immoral.

What does this health care bill do besides use tax payer money to provide abortions and limit care to those the government deems “unworthy” due to age or lifestyle or previous health?  It creates ten new taxes, and seventy-one new government programs.  There are 1,697 times that the Secretary of Health and Human Services will write regulations, and 15,000-20,000 new government jobs will be created to carry out this legislation.  That’s funny, I thought the idea was to create more DOCTORS to treat more patients at an affordable price, but I guess a job-is-a-job-is-a-job, right?  Maybe those four out of ten doctors that said they’d consider quitting the practice of medicine if this bill passes can apply for a job with the government.

Another thing in the bill is the word shall.  It’s in there a lot- 3,607 times at last count.  What’s significant about the word shall?  It takes away your options.  The bill does not say, “You may choose to purchase health care insurance in the event that you become ill or injured,” it says, “You shall purchase health care insurance, whether you want it or not!”

That’s the individual mandate that you’ve been hearing about.  It is the first tax in United States history that will tax you for simply existing.  It’s not based on your work or purchases or decision as to whether to take the toll road or surface streets.  It’s a tax that you can choose not to pay by choosing not to breathe.  And even though I’m not a doctor, I’m fairly certain that breathing is pretty important.

That’s not right! You may be saying to yourself.  No, it isn’t right. It’s completely unconstitutional. And more likely than not, it will be completely unenforceable in court.  Which means that no one will buy health insurance until they are sick or injured. And given that the bill will require health insurance companies to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, and place limits on how much they may charge their customers, they will inevitably go bankrupt.  Leaving the only option the government option.  That, my friends, is called socialized health care, and it has never worked well.

The government is not compassionate. We already see rationing in government run health care systems like Medicare and Medicaid.  The government already comes between elderly and/or underprivileged patients and their doctors, deciding what treatments and procedures may be done, regardless of the patient’s personal history or the doctor’s recommendation.  Why on Earth would it be a good idea to expand government control of health care, when Medicare and Medicaid are inarguablly broken and on the verge of bankruptcy?

People are compassionate. Doctors are compassionate. Neighbors and family and benefactors are compassionate.  Let’s focus on incentivizing the prevention and treatment of chronic disease, creating transparency so that we can choose and purchase our own health care insurance based on value and quality, and assisting those facing tough times that need some extra help.  That’s true reform.  This bill is nothing but smoke and mirrors to lead our once liberty-loving country into a single-payer health care system.

In the words of Ronald Reagan during a 1961 radio interview:

One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project, most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.

The government is not compassionate.