Archive for April, 2009

As a conservative, I have not always bought into the philosophy that universal health care was a bad thing. I’m very conservative on many issues, but this one I have not always been because for me, one of the fundamental concerns I had was that in this country I want to make sure that people who have no opportunity at all for health insurance will still get good health care.

Specifically children. The argument can always be made that the majority of adults have the same equal opportunity to study, work hard and get a job opportunity that will provide them with the ability to get insurance for whatever medical needs they have. But children are not always so lucky. Due to negligence on the parents part or other issues – whatever they may be – children can be put into a situation where they do not have insurance to cover their needs. And this bothered (or bothers) me because there is no way in this great country that any child should not be provided for medically. Any argument against that seems insensitive to me.

Now, I understand that medical treatment cannot be restricted against anyone. From what I understand, when someone comes into a hospital and is unable to provide insurance, they cannot be shown the front door. At least that’s what I’ve been told. But I think that is only for “emergency treatment”. That’s good, but I have always wondered if it went far enough to provide for those who truly cannot provide for themselves.

But as the years go by and I hear the arguments on both sides, I really am not convinced that universal health care is the answer either. For one, I am not sure if those in favor of it (besides politicians) truly understand that someone has to pay for it. And that someone is the taxpayers. In all honesty, I really don’t see that as the best alternative to mandate that people pay for other people’s health care. Not to mention that just like many social programs we have in this country, something like this is ripe with the possibility of abuse – wherein someone could work the system and get the medical treatment without doing their fair share to contribute to paying for it.

Additionally, I don’t like the idea of putting this into the governments hands. I see how they have handled Social Security. I’ve seen how they have just recently made a mess of the economy by trying to ensure that banks gave loans to home buyers for houses they can’t afford. I’ve seen how they’ve created a stimulus package with money that we don’t have and then gave some of that in bonuses to people that they then turned around and chastised for taking the bonuses. So them being in control of this makes me very uncomfortable.

I’ve also heard the arguments about the universal health care system in other countries. I’ve heard about the long lines. I’ve heard about the fact that some governments begin to “ration” out treatment and so then people who are in need of life saving treatment are denied such treatment because the government deems it unaffordable.

I’ve also heard about the fact that we have some of the best health care around. About people traveling to our country from long distances to get good, quality treatment. So to mess with that is something that I really think we need to reflect on long and hard.

But on the flip side of that, I sometimes wonder if we don’t need to do something to change our system – at least in some respects. While it is good, it is by no means perfect. Our insurance system, pretty much like our tax system in this country – is hard to understand and difficult to determine the best course of action on for some cases. Doctors almost universally tend to prescribe a medication first before doing any real diagnosing of the problems. And some of the pricing of treatment borders on the ridiculous.

I’ll give a couple examples of myself to illustrate my points. I am prone to lipoma’s – which is really a big word for “fatty tissue”. These are little bumps that I have in various parts of my body. Pretty much not an issue unless they show up in a place where they can cause discomfort. A few years back, I had one show up on the left part of my chest. Freaked me out at first because I kept having pain there and being that is where my heart is, I worried I might be having a heart attack (yes, I am a dork at times). So I went in and had it looked at and the surgeon who they sent me too did indicate he could find the lipoma and he set up a day for it to be removed.

That day I went in and interestingly enough, no lipoma could be found. So no surgery occurred. Yet, I was still charged $50 for the office visit! Huh? Why am I being charged for something the doctor himself said was there and scheduled me to come back for? Why is this “my fault”?

Then last year, I started experiencing several problems with my feet that when it got cold where I was in almost unbearable pain. So I went to the doctor and without doing ONE test, he said I have Raynauds Syndrome and tried to prescribe a medication for me. I was hesitant to take the medication and so tried a vitamin regimen that I read about – which also did not work.

At about the same time, I started feeling some numbness in a small part of my left thigh. The doctor thought it may be related to my back and so scheduled me to get an epidural shot. This had no effect. I went back to the doctor and he scheduled me for a second epidural shot – which also had no effect. However, with both those epidurals the doctor who gave them to me also gave me a facet shot as well. Before I saw this doctor, I conferred with my insurance company that they would cover the epidurals. They indicated they would. However, it was not made clear to me that the facet shot was different than the epidural. The doctor told me about them, but as any layperson, I truly did not understand that they would be “different”.

The insurance company classified them as “different” and “unnecessary” and refused to pay. The doctor could have written them off, but he did not do so and so we are stuck with over $600 in medical bills for shots I did not ask for and had no effect on my issue.

So since I still have numbness and I was mad at my general doctor, I went to my wife’s general doctor. The lady seemed to think she knew what it was and sent me to a neurologist. The neurologist ran some tests and could not truly determine what it was and so he gave me – yep, a prescription medication. He thought it might help alleviate – but not solve – my problem.

I tried this for the required time and it had no effect. I called him and told him this and his answer was — for me to keep taking them for another several weeks. I decided to not go down the “let’s try it again” route and thought maybe I should try a chiropractor.

I went to the chiropractor and he tried some things that didn’t help but suggested a doctor who he thought was very good at diagnosing problems. So I went to see her. She took down a large amount of medical information and ran some blood tests on me and it appears I may have something known as Celiac Disease. She feels that it explains the issues I’ve been having with my feet, the numbness with my leg but both of those are just sub-symptoms of the overall issue (I’ve had what they thought was irritable bowel syndrome for years but irritable bowel syndrome is apparently a common misdiagnosis of Celiac Disease).

In order to determine for sure that I have Celiac Disease she wants to send me to a specialist to get a biopsy done. But she also saw something that she wants me to see an epidermiologist about as well. Her recommendation is apparently good enough to send me to the guy who will do the biopsy. But not the epidermiologist…for that, I have to go back to my wife’s general doctor? Considering that every doctor visit is a seperate cost why must I go see one doctor if all they will do is simply send me onto another doctor? Yes, the cost is small because of my insurance (between $15 – $30 based off the type of doctor) but all these visits are coming on top of each other. Not a lot of money but it can definitely add up.

I’m thinking that I may be coming across a little whiny. There are people with way more issues in the medical arena to deal with than I’ve got here. But I’m trying to illustrate some of what I see as flaws in the system. And while I don’t necessarily think Universal Health Care is the right solution, is our current solution really the only good one? If not, is Universal Health Care the only alternative?

I’m writing this for one big reason. I want to hear what others have to say. I know the arguments for and against Universal Health Care so that’s not really what I’m looking for. What I really want to hear is ideas for other alternatives. Are there any? Is Universal Health Care the only alternative we have?

NOTE: This was originally published by myself on my old HubPages account on 4/29/2009.

A Sandwich With A Bit Of A Kick!

Posted by Doug White under Humorous

The United States of America is a wonderful place to live. It’s a place filled with wonder and variety and many unique tastes and flavors. And to honor such a place I can think of no better meal than the one I want to describe to you today.

This meal is going to seem real simplistic. First thing, you need to get yourself a knife and a spoon and two slices of bread. Then grab yourself a nice big jar of peanut butter. I prefer the creamy kind myself but if you like chunky, then more power to you!

Grab that knife and the peanut butter and get yourself a nice big slab and put it on one slice of the bread. When your done, take your finger and dip it in the jar and get a small little taste of peanut butter to enjoy while you work – but for goodness sake wash your hands afterwards!

Now, take that spoon and get yourself a jar of strawberry jelly. If you don’t have strawberry, you can use grape but I have to tell you, strawberry works best. Dip that spoon into the jelly and get a nice healthy spoonful of that strawberry goodness and rub it all over that second piece of bread.

You may think at this point you are done but you’re only 2/3 of the way there. Now comes the good part. Open up that refrigerator and grab a bottle of ketchup. Yes, a bottle of ketchup. Open up that bottle and place a nice big squirt of it right onto the bread with peanut butter. To finish it off, put the two pieces of bread together and woila! You know have your first Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich With Ketchup! (aka PBJK)

I have to admit, I created this little concoction when I was a young lad of about 7 or 8 in the heartland of this great country of ours. Growing up I loved ketchup. I ate ketchup on french fries, on fried eggs, I even ate it on plain macaroni. I loved ketchup! So it was only a natural progression for me to put it on another staple food in my childhood, Peanut Butter and Jelly.

It’s an acquired taste sure, but I strongly believe it could and should be the food of choice for our country. For starters, it’s a food item that kids by the thousands will devour! What kid doesn’t love PB&J? And ketchup? Man, most kids will eat ketchup on anything! So this is an easy sell for kids, I am sure of it.

Finally, it’s a healthy alternative. Just think about this for a minute. It’s got peanuts, so you have your protein. Then it has strawberries so you have your fruit. And finally it has tomatoes from the ketchup so you have your vegetables. Fruit, vegetables and some protein all in one food item? It really doesn’t get any better than this!

So tell your family and tell your friends. Tell all those you know and tell those you have never met! PBJK is the new American food of choice! No more saying, “it’s as American as Apple Pie”, now “It’s American as Peanut Butter and Jelly with Ketchup!”

NOTE: This was originally published by myself on my old HubPages account on 4/27/2009.

Midwestern Tea Party

Posted by Doug White under Political

This week I had the pleasure of attending a Tea Party, along with nearly 3500 other people in our little town of Sioux Falls. When I first heard about the plan for Tea Parties across the nation, I had no idea they’d be planning one where I lived and was pleasantly surprised when I found out they were going to host one here. I was very excited about going.
 
The day overall was a beautiful one, not overly warm but not cold at all. We held our Tea Party near a lake because the plan was to re-enact the actual Boston Tea Party after all the speeches were done. When I got there, I was very surprised by the number of people everywhere. It seemed to me like it was a group getting ready for a huge sports event or maybe an event at a state fair or something.
 
I stood in line at first to get a hot dog – but more so because everyone was signing something there and I was curious to see what that was. It was a form that you could sign if you were interested in getting more information on future events that are being planned. I was definitely interested so I signed up. I got out of the line for hot dogs because one, it was moving way too slow and two; I had a much better lunch at the office waiting for me.
 
Then the event started. The man in charge spoke for a few minutes, and then there was a prayer from a local pastor in town. Then a young girl from the school my kids go to had the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance. At that point several people dressed as historical figures from our country’s past got up and spoke on various taxation issues. Then at that point, two men dressed in colonial clothing got onto a boat in the lake and dumped over boxes of tea. The boxes weren’t really tea of course, on the boxes were names for the various issues that have many Americans concerned and upset about our country’s direction.
 
I looked around and overall saw a wide variety of people from all walks of life there. I didn’t really see that many outrageous people there with two exceptions. One gentleman was giving away CD’s about the so-called 9-11 conspiracy and as I was leaving a guy was standing near a baseball field yelling about the end of the world. But these sure seemed to me to be the exception to the rule. Everyone seemed very excited and energetic. They honestly seemed to be just trying, in some fashion, to express our frustration at the total lack of good representation in our state and country’s political leaders.
 
So, what things are we frustrated about? I can’t speak for all, but I can for myself and for me, the things that I am frustrated about from a taxation point of view have to do with these enormous spending bills that keep getting passed and are sucking people’s money out of their wallets faster than they can earn.
 
I was so frustrated last year – before President Obama took office – when George Bush and John McCain and many other Republican (and Democratic) individuals signed that stimulus bill to help the banks. It was the wrong thing to do. And it was described to us as a “do or die” moment that now, six months later, does not appear to have helped at all. And there also appears to be a large amount of that money that no one can account for.
 
Then, when President Obama did take office, he pushed for this huge stimulus plan that had things in that I do not believe will ever stimulate the economy. And when he promised the American people a fair amount of time for them to read it before these things were voted on, he violated that promise because not only did we not have ample time to read it, it seemed that pretty much no one who signed it did either. This stimulus plan then had a piece in it, that gave executives a bonus at AIG, which then when they got it, the very people who signed the bill (including the President) expressed outrage for them getting said bonuses. This to me sets up a type of “class warfare” mentality in the country that then makes it easier for laws that in effect, punish those who make more, for doing nothing more than making more money than someone else. In fact, they tried to do just that by taxing nearly 90% of those bonuses, which if I understand correctly, is a direct violation of our Constitution.
 
These are but two examples. There are some others, but these from an economic point of view are where I am frustrated and where I feel like our leaders have lost the ability to properly govern us. Not just Democrats either, I am equally frustrated at Republicans as well. I personally would be willing to vote out everyone on both parties – as long as those who run against them represent the issues that I care about. That’s something I am starting to fear may never happen.

That’s where the individuals on the very liberal side of the fence just didn’t get it this week when they reported on these events. Yes, there were odd people there at some of these tea parties such as Susan Roesgen of CNN found right before she got into the argument with the Dad with his two year old kid. But they again, were very much the exception. And Susan herself seemed more antagonistic then pretty much the majority of the people at these parties.
 
And I can’t even go into how disgusting the individuals at MSNBC were with their constant use of the word “tea-bagging”. Apparently that has heavy sexual connotations (only if you are a perverted freak in my opinion) that I was completely unaware of (and most normal people are as well). 

Then for Janeane Garafolo to get on MSNBC and call us all a bunch of racists is nothing short of mind-blowing. It’s a silly comeback to the argument. Kind of like a five-year old saying the following after someone argues with him, “Oh yeah? Well, you smell funny!” Are we really going to go four years (hopefully four) where every time we disagree with President Obama we are going to be called racist? Really? That’s the grown-up argument against our position? There was not one racial overtone in anything I saw or read about that day.
 
Despite all that silliness, I think that the Tea Parties were a positive thing that I hope will do nothing more than motivate people to push forward for better representation and leaders who will honestly lead us in a good direction. I hope that we get out there, talk with people, get them motivated as well and then when the time comes – Election Day – we use what was started on this day to truly make a difference in our country. That is the American way and why I was truly proud to be a part of this event that day.

NOTE: This was originally published by myself on my old HubPages account on 4/18/2009.