Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Health Care

Listening to John McCain's health care plan you have to wonder What is He Thinking? He clearly has been receiving government sponsored health care his entire life. I know I read this somewhere, but can't remember at the moment.

But the reason I'm mentioning it now is thinking about my own issues with health care. Up until 2003, my employer paid for my health care. I had an individual managed care plan that, until I turned 55, cost about $425 a month. The month I turned 55, the coverage jumped to over $800. If my employer hadn't covered me, I would never have been able to maintain coverage.

Within nine months we moved to Greece and had to provide our own coverage. We found a great carrier that provided expatriate health care at the low premium rate of $450 a month for both of us, our doctors in Seattle were in the "network," but, as usual, my pre-existing conditions were not covered. Oh, yeah - we also signed on for a $1,000/year deductible (we pay the first $1,000).

As the years went by and we grew older, the premiums went up to $550 per month. Last year I turned 60 and Michael turned 65 and our premiums went up to $1,000 per month. We looked everywhere for a plan with lower premiums without success. When we renew our coverage this summer we expect our premiums to go up once again.

If McCain thinks a tax break would help, he's more out of touch than I imagined. As to his claim of competition and lower rates, he obviously hasn't had to deal Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO). HMOs were supposed to lower prices, instead they lowered coverage and added more bureaucracy to the chore of trying to stay healthy.

When I lived in the US, I had a co-pay of $20 for each prescription and every year I was forced to go to my doctor and get my prescription for my thyroid condition renewed. Here in Greece, I pay less than 4 euros (about $5.66) for a two months' supply. I am never asked to renew this prescription (after all this is a maintenance program, not something that's going to make me happy!) so I save money by not having to go to the doctor as well.

One more reason to vote for a Democrat, but neither of the last two standing had as good a plan as John Edwards.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lose this Meme

I've decided that the phrase or meme I'm tired of most today, 23 April 2008, is that Obama can't win the White, blue-collar vote in November because he's not winning that segment of the population during the primaries. What a stupid meme.

If he's running against another Democrat, there's an opportunity for that other Democrat to win over more of those voters. But if he's the only Democrat, and White, blue-collar men and women of all ages decide to vote their interests instead of that of the media and others, Obama will win those voters too.

The primaries are different than the general election. That's why primaries are sometimes closed and the general is always open to everyone to vote for whom they please.

So, can we stop saying this?

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Clinton Good Years

First off, the Clinton years were good for my family. But then we're highly educated professionals. But if you weren't in either of those categories, it took a long time for you to see any of the benefits of Clinton's policies financially. And if you were Black as well as poor, you only saw those benefits for a short period of time before the 2000 recession.

But this is another piece of the racial puzzle that isn't acknowledged. If you aren't Black, you wouldn't know this, unless you are a wonk or especially interested in economics or racial politics.

It will be interesting to see how this primary stuff plays out. Thank God it can't go on much longer.

Hillary and the Nomination

Hillary Clinton winning the nomination based on the votes of the Super Delegates seems as wrong to me as allowing Florida and Michigan a do-over.

Hillary has run an incredibly stupid and obnoxious campaign. There seemed to be no Plan B if "inevitable" didn't work. And sure enough, "inevitable" didn't work. So she has resorted to using every means at her disposal to tarnish the Democratic Party in the guise of going after her opponent.

If, as she says, only she and John McCain have the expertise to govern the United States, what does that mean for the Party if she is not the nominee? And to pretend that Obama's calling middle American voters who have lost their jobs and do cling to guns and Jesus offensive, is offensive in its telling.

Unfortunately, people do vote as though maintaining guns, discriminating against gays and people of color, is far more important to their and their families' well being than economic advancement. If you don't believe this, then answer why the Republicans have put these issues on the ballot in many recent elections in an effort to turn out their "base?" Because it works.

Sure there are more artful ways to say this, but isn't John McCain "revered" by the press because he is a "truth-telling maverick?" In other words, the politically polite way to express himself is subsumed by his (and only his) ability to tell it like it is.

Obama may be unseasoned, but he has played by the rules. And using the Super Delegates to overturn the will of the people is also playing by the rules. But this is one Black woman who will not vote in the Presidential election should that happen.

I've thought I would be able to vote for the candidate, regardless of who "wins" the nomination. But how the nomination is won matters to me. There are some "contradictions" I'm not willing to accept.