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Posts Tagged ‘health care’

Saturday, I joined two other Audubon members to make the trip out the road to its end at Echo Cove (39 miles) and spent a beach_cleanupcouple of hours retrieving human detritus from the rocky shore of that isolated spot. We were among the many who participated in the annual International Coastal Clean Up around the globe. Among items found: one tire, one car fender, one outboard motor, a few rusty shipwreck parts, countless beer cans and cigarette wrappers, a couple of bits of fishing line and, thankfully, no dead or entrapped wildlife.

Later, my neighbor son came by for a  moment to raid our refrigerator for lemon juice (he was making a fig tart) and grabbed a mouthful of cornbread left on the counter from the previous night’s supper. It reminded us how much our family loved those Thomas Corn Toast R Cakes when growing up, and we reminisced that we haven’t seen them anywhere for years.  A quick bit of googling discovered that they’re still available from the Thomas English Muffin company – but no stores in Juneau stock them. We’ll see what we can do about that…..

Our deck project is well underway, sliding door from bedroom to deck has been installed, the deck floor is pretty much done, and the hot-tub was delivered yesterday. A black bear ambled through the yard in the morning to check on progress.

The days are shortening, we’ve lost 6 hours of daylight in the 3 months since solstice. The daily (except Saturday) Juneau Empire awaits us regardless of what time we rise it seems. Lights up our early morning routine along with the automatic coffeemaker, our robes ‘n slippers, and the electric gizmo adding warm ambience from the fireplace. We don’t usually fight over who gets which bit of the paper, it’s pretty much settled that Bill gets the news while I get the bridge problem. The Empire‘s a vanishing species – a  good community newspaper. It recently began redesigning it’s website, albeit with annoying pop-up ads. One supposes they must be essential to help keep any newspaper alive. If you want to get a feel for what life is like here, subscribe to the Empire’s news (RSS) feed and read all about it.

Finally, we’re learning for the anti-health reform pundits that fines are taxes. If we have to coerce you into doing something needed for us to function as a society, it’s a tax.  Does this mean that fines for not carrying automobile insurance are a tax? Are parking fines a tax? Are fines for spilling oil on waterways a tax? Are fines for spitting on other people a tax? Gimme a break.  We are a social animal and there are too many of us.  Without functioning social norms it’s a short slide into anarchy.

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Strange to find myself easing back into employment after nearly a decade of retirement. As indicated in a previous post, now that we’ve settled in one place I began to realize I don’t seem to have quite enough to do – plus watching our retirement nest egg dwindle made the option of a paid job shine more brightly than a volunteer one.

After a few applications for part-time jobs advertised in the paper, I’d settled with myself that I would accept pretty much anything that seemed (at least marginally) worthwhile.  Ah well.   Three “Dear John” letters later I swallowed the fact that I’m over qualified and over age.  Hmmmm. Interesting noticing how it feels to be rejected – I’ve been lucky enough in life not to have too much of that. Empathized with the currently laid off, and felt extremely grateful that (for me at least) it isn’t a bread-on-the-table issue.  Then, by word of mouth, a job found its way to me. A good fit for my skills and values as well as (hopefully) for the organization.  I started on Monday. Since I intend to continue skirting around occasional hot-button political issues on this blog, it’s best that I not say where.  Better keep opinions and work separate.

So, skirting along, here’s my opinion on the current health care policy debate.  A column in the Juneau Empire reminds us that in this country 31% of  medical dollars are spent on administration (claims forms, insurance processing and profits.) The elephant in this living room is that the USA is the only country in the developed world where health care is a for-profit industry.  Thus, the current debate is not about health care or health policy, it’s about profits. It’s about how to keep the health care dollar as a corporate goodie and stop its switch to a public benefit. Paul Krugman explains why the market doesn’t and can’t work for health care – unlike cars or TVs it’s not a market-type of commodity.

The line-up of corporations swilling at the health care trough is long and entrenched: pharmaceutical companies (we abolished advertising for cigarettes and booze on TV, why don’t we abolish advertising for drugs?); insurance companies (ditto); laboratories; for-profit hospitals; for-profit HMOs; for-profit nursing homes; for-profit doctor groups; equipment manufacturers; etc.  They won’t give up their feed bags without a huge fight.  It’s a classic case of the big guys against the little guys.  Us little guys better get out there and do a little fighting – if we care that is.  And this includes the individual people who make up corporations.

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