Friday, April 30, 2010

Healthcare Cost

This just boggles my mind.

About a month ago, I went into the hospital for an eye operation. I was admitted as an outpatient. I was in and out in about 4 hours. I occupied a pre-op room with probably 20 other people and a post-op room with maybe 10 other people. I never saw the operating room, but the doctor said the operation would last about 20 minutes or less.

The hospital bill only, no doctors, was almost $13,600. WTF???

Now, Medicare knocked it down to about $3000, and I pay 20% of that.

Why in the hell does the hospital even bill $13,600 for a procedure that they know they are only going to get $3000?

To me is sounds like they are screwing the uninsured. Who else would have to pay $13,600?

Let's not forget the anesthesiologist. He charged a little over $700. Insurance knocked it down to a little less than $200. Again, I pay 20%.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Where Is The "Off" Button?

Like most people, we have several phones spread around the house. There is one in just about every room. This way, when the phone rings, it is very easy to answer it, if we chose to. They are all cordless, are yours probably are too, except for the one in the kitchen. It is your typical, old style (although not as old style as the picture above) wall phone.

Last week, two of our granddaughters, four and ten years old, had dinner with us. Shortly before dinner, their Dad called to talk to them. I answered the phone in the kitchen -- the wall phone. He asked to talk to the girls, so I handed the phone to them. The four-year-old was the last one to talk to her Dad. When she was finished, she looked at the phone, then looked up at me and said,

"Where is the off button?"

I looked at her a little quizzical, and then realized what she was asking, and said,

"Just hang up the phone on the wall.

Well, you would have thought I asked her to solve a second order differential equation. She did not understand what I said at all.

She just looked at me. I could imagine her saying "What the F are you talking about?" Of course, a four-year-old does not talk like that, but I realized at that moment that she did not understand what it meant to hang up a phone. The only phones she is familiar with are cordless phones. They have a off button. You don't hang them up. We might say we are hanging them up, but in reality we are turning them off. I took the phone from her and hung it back on the wall. I don't think she really understands what I did. As far as she knows, I just put the phone back in its place. I don't think she realizes that I also turned it off in the process of hanging it up.

As you get old and look back over your life, there are many things that we took as natural and common, that children now have no idea what we are talking about. I guess it has always been that way, but I am just starting to realize it.

I'm not sure if that means I am getting old, or getting smarter.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Republicans Help 2%

This is a chart of the household income distribution in the US. Ninety-eight percent of households earn less than $250,000 per year. In 2005 that was 112,363,000 households out of a total of 114,384,000. The median income was $46,326 and the average income was $63,344.

Why does this matter? Because republicans would like you to think you are in the top 2%. They keep talking about your tax increase. In particular, they keep talking about how important the Bush Tax Cuts are and that we should not let them expire.

The fact of the matter is than the only part of the Bush Tax Cut that will not expire is for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and couples making $250,000. If you fall within the 98% of US households, you will not see a tax increase. The republicans are trying to protect only 2% of the population.

If you are part of the remaining 98%, the Democrats have already given you a tax cut. Here are some of your Democratic benefits:

Up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers. The credit will be available through the end of April.

Up to $2,500 for college expenses.

Up to $1,500 for making energy-efficiency improvements to homes.

For new vehicles purchased between Feb. 17-Dec. 31, 2009, the state and local taxes can be deducted.

An expanded child tax credit providing $1,000 for each child under 17.

The earned income tax credit now provides up to $5,657 to low-income families with at least three children.

Many workers have already received, through adjusted withholding in their paychecks, the "Making Work Pay" credit of as much as $800 for couples and $400 for individuals. For those who haven't yet received the full amount due, they will get the additional money when they file.

So, if the republicans are trying to help you, congratulations. You earn over $250,000 per year. Otherwise, they are scamming you.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Voters Don't Like Boners

Here is a table that I picked up over at Think Progress.

Before you jump on me for a bias poll, this is a Fox poll, so if it is bias, we know what direction it is bias in. A couple of things jump out at me. One, Obama and the IRS poll almost 40% higher than the Tea Party.

Also, Pelosi polls significantly higher, 140%, than Boehner. In fact, "The Boner" comes in with an approval rating of 12%.

So much for the "leader" of the Party of No.

Do you think it is the "tan"?

Friday, April 2, 2010

There Is NO Mandate!!!

This is huge.

One of the big complaint about the new healthcare reform bill is the mandate to buy health insurance. In fact, the republicans are running around decrying the massive increase in the IRS due to the additional enforcement required by this bill. There is only one problem. There is no enforcement provision in the bill.

Let me repeat that.


That means, in reality, there is NO MANDATE.

Here is what the bill actually says:

"In the case of any failure by a tax payer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section such tax payer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure."

In other words, the penalty for failing to pay the tax if you fail to have health insurance is NOTHING.

Yes, the bill imposes a tax on you if you don't have health insurance, BUT if you don't pay the tax there is no consequence. Therefore, nothing will happen if you do not get health insurance and you do not pay the tax for not having it.

NOTHING! It is the law!

Here is Lawrence O'Donnell explaining it.

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The Difference Between republicans And Democrats

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Thursday, April 1, 2010


What you hear and what is said is not always the same thing. I was reminded of this, this afternoon when I received a frantic phone call from my grandson.

He said, "Grandpa, can you help me change a tire?"

I said, "Sure, but you have to do all the work because I cannot lift anything or bend over due to my eye surgery."

He said, "Fine, I will be right over."

We live on a hillside, so when he arrived I told him to move his car down to the front of the house where it is level. He looked at me strangely, and said why to which I replied that we needed to have the car level in order to change the tire otherwise it might fall off the jack.

He continue to look at me strangely, at which point I noticed that he was holding a tie in his hand.

"To tie a tie?", he replied.

At which point I realized that he was talking about a tie and I was talking about a tire. Yes, he rushed over so I could help him tie his tie, not change his tire.

Attempting to recover some dignity, I looked at Mrs. Critter and said, "See, you are not the only one I don't understand".

Health Care Arguments

h/t to Cosmic Navel Lint