Friday, August 21, 2009

Garbage in my In Box

There are days when it doesn't pay to check the In Box for my Hotmail account. Or, for that matter, my work e-mail. For some reason, several different friends and relatives of the right-wing Faux News indoctrinated persuasion decided to forward a piece of crap about the "gold plated" free coverage that politicians enjoy. Apparently it reallys chaps their collective ass that President Obama, members of the Senate and House of Representatives, and various others who collect federal paychecks actually have employer-provided health insurance.

In fact, those politicians have the same employer-provided coverage that I do: they also fall under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan. And you know what? It's not free. It's not gold-plated. And it's not a single "government run" health plan. It's a smorgasbord of private insurance and HMO plans, including Kaiser, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and a bunch of others. Like every other private plan functioning in the U.S. today, the plans in the FEHBP have premiums, co-pays, exclusions, deductibles -- all the same stuff every other private plan entails.

Is it better than what a person can get if a person is working in the private sector? Maybe, maybe not. From a purely personal perspective, the best health insurance we ever had was while the S.O. was working as an aircraft mechanic in the 1980s -- since then it's been steadily downhill in how much insurance costs and what all it will cover.

I do know, however, that it is truly bizarre that I am getting these e-mails from (and there's no polite way to put this) dumbfuck cousins who don't see just how incredibly stupid it is for them to fear a theoretical government-run health plan when the family tree is full of relatives who have struggled with medical bills for many years. My idiot cousin Wayne, for example, got to watch his sister totally stress out over her inability to pay her bills while she was dying of breast cancer. On what planet is it more acceptable for a dying woman to have to beg friends to put on spaghetti feeds and hold bake sales to raise money to pay her bills than it would be for her to have access to a system that would eliminate the bills to begin with? And this was a woman who had a decent job (school teacher) and the health insurance that came with it. So much for the private sector always doing a better job than the government.

One of the other people who sent me the anti-government health plan propaganda is a woman who's also dealing with cancer -- and she's past 70 now so her bills are all being paid by Medicare.

The stupid, it burns.


  1. I have had to argue stupid e-mails received from biological relatives.
    Now one niece in particular wants to argue everything I post on FB. I wasn't raised in their "evangelical, holy rolling" ways and we definitely do not share political beliefs. She KNOWS this..but insists on forwarding right wing BS constantly. I have theorized that like religion...she presumes cramming her political BS my way, I will cave and ask for forgiveness. She does not know me well at all!! Have a great weekend.

  2. Hey, if you want a good health care and retirement plan become a politician.

  3. Think you missed the point, Billy. I do have the same health care plan as the politicians, at least the ones on the federal level. It just isn't as good as everyone seems to think it is.

    Of course, I run into people all the time who assume that because I work for the federal government I don't have to pay anything for health insurance either. Ha. If only that was true. . .

  4. I'll tell you what pisses me off..i get medicare and texas medicaid...medicare pays 80% and medicaid pays the other 20%..I had a bunch of tests ran a few weeks ago and they paid for everything..then i get a bill from the place that run the tests and medicare isn't going to pay the $68 for my pap smear...WHAT? isn't that mandatory they pay for pap smear and mammograms?...I'm calling someone monday and do a large amount of yelling and screaming.

  5. Nan,

    You DO have a better health plan than the average joe in the USA today. But let's get it straight why: The Federal Government is the largest employer in the USA and brings ~3,000,000 employees plus another 2,000,000+ dependent members to their group health plan[s]. That gives them incredible buying power. Too bad Congress doesn't want them to apply the same negotiation to a "public option". They'd bring what? 10-20,000,000 members???

    Not to mention that the insurance companies bid for the contract and under Federal law they cannot charge the govt more than they charge anyone else. So the government ALWAYS GETS THE LOWEST PRICE!

    Saying that, _IF_ IBM, GE, Cisco, Google, wanted to negotiate the same sorts of deals, they could offer the same prices.

  6. Anon, I'll cheerfully agree I have a much better health insurance plan than the average worker. At the same time, when I think about what the plan costs me (and my employer) and factor in the purchasing power of that employer, I can't help but wonder how any small business could ever hope to provide health coverage for its employees. It doesn't matter who the employer is these days; insurance costs are steadily climbing.

    The unwillingness of Congress to attempt to use its negotiating power on a larger scale thoroughly disgusts me, but it isn't much of a surprise considering the way they sold the public out with the Medicare drug plan a few years ago.

  7. Well said, Nan. I get so frustrated with my wealthy right-wing relatives who insist we don't "need" any sort of government-run health plan (or even a government-sponored private option such as you describe here) for working class folks, while they enjoy their large employer's health insurance options(sometimes even a government employer) or (as you said) medicare or medicaid!! Perhaps *they* don't think we "need" a new government-run plan because they already have one.

    And I get even more frustrated with the idiots who lack insurance because they can't afford it, and therefore either avoid the doctor completely or face staggering medical bills when they do get ill, who complain that "Obamacare" will make them have to pay more taxes so they don't want it. What, the tradeoff of a few more tax dollars a year in exchange for thousands of dollars worth of medical insurance and health care isn't worth it to them? It's crazy, I tell you, the hold that the right-wing media has on some folks.


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.