Monday, March 10, 2008

Spending Our Way Out of Debt

What a bad idea - money back, when we're drowning in debt as it is? Maybe I'll take this dough and spend it on an economics tutor for Congress. Brought down to a personal level, this is like Macy's sending me a kickback, even though I owe them $10,000 and am in bankruptcy. Like, what's the point? And doesn't it just makes things sort of ... worse? I don't take any responsibility for the country's overspending, but cashing this particular check seems like hurling back another drink to cure a hangover, as Michael Kingsley pointed out. Hardly a cure, as it turns out.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Arguing Some More About Health Care

E-mails between myself and my beloved Republican mate. This kind of bickering is what mixed marriages are all about (at least when the partners are thoughtful, and you want the whole thing to last). What I've concluded: conservatives don't believe problems can be solved - not necessarily, at least. Life is messy, they say, and some people are just going to get the short of the stick. Can't buy your insulin? Well, that's a bummer, but what can anyone do? The thing is, I don't entirely disagree - just mostly.


From me back to him:

Thu 3/6/2008 8:08 AM
Subject: re: our great system

Are you actually insane? ????? If we didn’t pour our money into middlemen’s pockets (i.e., the insurance industry), we’d be just fine. The point is, you dope, that here, in America, we have to have LOTTERIES for health care??? What is this, Calcutta?

From him back to me:

Thursday, March 06, 2008 7:40 AM
Subject: Re: our great system

"At its peak in 1995, the program covered 132,000 Oregonians. State budget cuts forced the program to close to newcomers by 2004, but it now has several thousand openings." Proving once again that we can't afford a government health care system.

Forwarded from me to him:

03/06/2008 07:33 AM
Subject: our great system

Oregon Holds Health Insurance Lottery
BYLINE: Sarah Skidmore; Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon is conducting a one-of-a-kind lottery, and the prize is health insurance.
The state will start drawing names this week for the chance to enroll in a health care program designed for people not poor enough for Medicaid but too cash-strapped to buy their own insurance.

More than 80,000 people have signed up since registration for the lottery opened in January. Only a few thousand will be chosen for the program.
"It's better than nothing, it's at least a hope," said Shirley Krueger, 61, who signed up the first day.

It's been more than six months since she could afford to take insulin regularly for her diabetes. That puts her at higher risk for a number of complications, such as kidney failure, heart disease and blindness.

Her part-time job leaves her ineligible for her employer's insurance plan and with too little income to buy her own.

"I'm worried about it. I know it's a death sentence," Krueger said.

An estimated 600,000 people in Oregon are uninsured, according to the Oregon Department of Human Services.

Those selected in the lottery will be eligible for a standard benefit program, which was once a heralded highlight of the Oregon Health Plan.

At its peak in 1995, the program covered 132,000 Oregonians. State budget cuts forced the program to close to newcomers by 2004, but it now has several thousand openings.

The program covers their most basic health services, medications and limited dental, hospital and vision services at little or no cost.

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