Zombie Trumpcare is Back from the Dead, and Graham-Cassidy Wants to Take Us All With It

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Image from @JhamelResists

Image from @ASlavitt

Well, once again, Congress wants to take away our healthcare, kill the ACA and make devastating changes to Medicaid. The new bill, named after its co-sponsors, Graham-Cassidy, is, without doubt, the worst attempt to strip citizens of healthcare yet.

For example, under this bill, an insurer can raise your premiums at any time. So even if you’ve bought the plan, if at some time during the year you’re wild and crazy enough to actually use the health insurance you’re paying for, the insurer can raise your monthly premium. Use it again?

Up it goes again.

You’d think they’d get by now that no one wants these bills, aside from insurers. And yet, it seems the Republicans in Congress–this bill is only supported by Republicans–think that they can sneak it past us while we’re not looking.

So let’s keep looking. Please call your members of Congress and let them know that not only is this bill cruel and un-American, you are outraged that they continue to assault their constituents with legislation we don’t want.

Don’t know the contact information for your members of Congress (MOC)? Here you can find your Senators (it’s a Senate bill) and your Representative can be found here.

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TV Talk: American Ninja Warrior

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OK, let’s all acknowledge that American Ninja Warrior isn’t the kind of show I usually write about. Nope, most of the time, it’s high-concept shows with intricate plotting, complex characters and long, twisty arcs.

This is not that kind of show.

Well, it does have long, twisty arcs, but the contestants are supposed to slide across them on a bar. Or cling to them upside down with their fingertips. Or hurl themselves toward them with a trampoline.

You know. The normal day-to-day.

I’d never actually watched American Ninja Warrior (it really needs a catchy acronym, but ANW sounds like a window-makers’ professional organization) until this week, when, setting my DVR, it appeared on my screen. I couldn’t look way.

Couldn’t. Look. Away.

For anyone who hasn’t seen this spectacle it’s a combination of parkour and your worst gym class nightmares, where contestants resembling Greek gods attempt to complete an obstacle course. Like most competition reality shows, there are the heartwarming profiles to get you rooting for them, often right before they go splat into the pool. Or splat into the padding.

There are many splats.

Most of the time, they pop up smiling, which is reassuring. Meanwhile, the announcers narrate in the background, lending the feel of a sporting event.

And, of course, despite having never successfully completing a pull-up in my entire life, I am absolutely convinced that I, too, could climb up a beam and down again by hanging on to a hoop I use to “hop” over pegs, using only my upper body.

Me in my head.

Me in real life. (Picture from http://susan-swiderski.blogspot.com/, Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade).

I mean there has to be a workout video for that, right?

Maybe it’s just human nature to be fascinated by the physical feats of our fellow humans. Maybe it’s reveling in the fantasy, if only for the 2-3 minutes it takes the finishers to run the course, that we, too, could glide over a collection of rotating poles as gracefully as skipping on the beach.

Assuming we could skip gracefully on the beach.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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Quiet

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IMG_7929We all have our things in life, and one of my things is migraines. They descend upon me stealthily, menacingly, and it can take hours of slowed, muddled thinking for me to realize what is going on. For a while, everything just seems…harder.

So it was rather late in the day yesterday when it occurred to me that maybe the reason I had closed the blinds without thinking and tried to get all sounds to stop was because my nemesis had once again come to call.

What can I say? I lose at least 10 IQ points when I have one. 15 when it’s really cooking.

For me, it’s like there’s a rattling in my head, a buzz that is both silent and loud. Light feels uncomfortable, sounds sharper than normal. A soft, quiet dark is the best thing.

It isn’t gone yet, but I’m trying to chase it out with Tylenol and lots of sugar — I’ve found sugar is the best thing for them, so check it out, fellow migrainers. I swear it works wonders.

If you’ve gotten any typo-laden comments from me, please know that it’s the migraine who’s illiterate, not me. Most of the time, anyway.

It will pass, as it always does, leaving me tired and wondering at the trigger. But until then, I will be taking in the quiet.

In or near Chicago? Check out our sketch comedy revue, “Me Inside Me Presents: Neurotrash.” Saturdays at 10 pm, May 7, 14, 21 & 28. Click here for tickets.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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So About that Humana Dental Plan…

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So you might recall my adventure in cancelling dental insurance. After a whole lot of back-and-forth, it seemed that the policy was finally cancelled. I didn’t have the payment debited on the 1st, and I just got the cancellation notice in the mail.

Hurrah!

But before I got the cancellation notice, I got something else. A bill for the paltry $37 the policy was supposed to cover. So I paid premiums for two months and got what for the money?

Absolutely nothing. Zero dollars. Nothing was covered. What, exactly, did I pay for with the premiums?

I read the documentation when I applied for the policy. I scrutinized it. There was nothing that led me to believe that it would cover nothing. I thought maybe the coverage wouldn’t be great, but if you pay for something and get absolutely nothing in return, isn’t that a…scam?

Luckily there will be no more money heading down that money pit. On the other hand, it seems awfully misleading to take money and then provide absolutely nothing in exchange for that money. It’s not even as though the bill itself was reduced; I literally got nothing for those premiums.

So I’d pretty much suggest not getting a Humana Dental plan. You know, unless you like giving your money away and getting nothing in return.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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Adventures in Cancelling Dental Insurance

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So I took a gamble this year and picked up a dental insurance plan. In the past I have priced them, and given the waiting periods for most, you end up shelling out more for the plan than the value the plan provides for services. Which is probably to be expected, because that is how profits are made.

But this year, I found a plan that sounded reasonably priced and seemed to cover the services I needed. I had an appointment scheduled in February, so I figured I’d only be two months into the plan when I had the appointment and then could tell if it was worthwhile.

The appointment came and went (yay on the went) and my brand-new insurance covered…$3 less than what I had paid into the plan thus far.

In six months, when I go back, I will have sunk four more months into the plan to get pretty much nothing out of it.

So I called the insurer to cancel the plan. First I had to wade through computer voice hell, a hell where the tone is much too pleasant, so you know the computer is enjoying it. I finally got a human, a lovely human as it happens, who told me that she couldn’t cancel the plan, that I needed to talk to a “marketplace representative.”

Uh huh.

Clearly it’s a tactic to try to get people to hang up. But I would not be deterred. She said the wait time would be 20 minutes. I figure I can write a blog post, right? Why not?

She asked if I wanted her to hold with me. I asked if it meant that they’d get to me faster. She laughed, and I took that as a yes. She said she was putting me back on hold; she promptly hung up on me.

Oops.

I called the number she gave me, waded through another electronic voice, and got in the hold line. Still 20 minutes. I settled in, but the other line rang. Then my cellphone.

It was my agent friend! She didn’t know what had happened but she kept our place in line, so here I am listening to tinny music through my phone speaker as I type this. I’m not sure where we are in the 20 minute odyssey, but I will cancel this insurance. I will.

I’ll keep you posted.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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And Now I Can Concentrate

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So the show is completely done. After four sold-out weeks, “Me Inside Me” is no more. It was an amazing, fantastic experience, and I am glad I did it.

And I’ve been a bit distracted lately, I had to have some medical tests done (so fun!) and waiting for results was a layer of unrelenting stress that made concentration…difficult. But worry not, all is well, I am healthy. Mostly. We won’t discuss the stash of chocolate and cookies in the cupboard. Besides, I’ve hardly even glanced at them lately.

Hardly.

So with all of that done and squared away, I find myself in an absolutely pool of possibility. It is amazing how you don’t really worry about your health until you have to worry about your health, and then it’s the only thing you can think about. And if you are lucky enough to find out that your health is just dandy, it puts you in a position that seems even better than that original, health-for-granted one.

And if it turns out that your health isn’t entirely dandy, it is interesting how your perspective on dealing with that changes. Things that seemed impossible or burdensome or just unpalatable before suddenly make a world of sense.

Now that I’m not tethered to this physical world with worries about my health, maybe I can, once again, find myself lost (hmm, is that actually possible? I might have a bit of a logical problem there) in my imaginary ones.

It might be gray and dark outside today, but it feels like a good day. I hope you have one, too.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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Writer, Meet Health Insurance

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WARNING: Topic ahead is so boring, it may cause entire sections of your brainular region to fall into a vaguely unpleasant catatonic state. Really. Read ahead if you want to, or if you’re having trouble losing consciousness for any particular reason, but you can’t say I didn’t warn you. Still with me? OK, here we go.

Health insurance.

Yep. Health insurance. What did I tell you? And OK, friends in the UK and other regions of the world who recognize that basic health shouldn’t be a cash lottery for huge corporations who exist solely to take money from one group and prevent giving it to the other, you can stop snickering right now. It’s just not nice.

One of the many, many fun things when you are a writer without employer-provided health insurance is getting health insurance. And when I say fun, I mean fun along the lines of, oh, say, the kind of thing the devil might make up to punish you when he’s not feeling ironic. It’s fun for the devil, at least.

Don’t get me wrong, as a person who was in the individual market before the health care law passed, I recognize that it is easier now, and the insurance, overall is better. But there was really nowhere to go but up.

And insurance companies are still insurance companies. After staring at the plans the hospital I prefer will take, it’s clear it’s like squeezing a tube of toothpaste. It doesn’t matter where you squeeze it, there’s still the same amount in the tube.

Eventually, I will just have to close my eyes and pick one. I’m down to three possibilities, and none of them give me the warm and fuzzies. Each of them getcha in their own special mind-numbing way. I just have to decide how I want to get got.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!