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health care

Thanks to the straight (and stern) talks from you, I went to see a doctor today. Just a random doctor since I don’t really have a family doctor. My Ob-Gyn is the only doctor that I “keep in touch” throughout the years. And oh, yes, my dentist. I have been forced to drop quite a few family practitioners in the past when they 1. suggested that I get my tubes tied after I had my second child, 2. ordered expensive tests that still cost thousands after the 80% insurance pay when the disgonosis turned out to be Achilles tendinosis (So no, nothing to do with my nerves), 3. mis-diagnosed my blood clog as a muscle tear.

I gave the good doctor the litany of my symptoms: nausea & vomiting, dizziness, headache, sinus discomfort (but not pain nor pressure), stuffy feeling in my ears. I shared with him my theory of this being allergy-induced since my “condition” started a month ago when Spring supposedly arrived. I appreciated his gallant efforts in not rolling his eyes in my presence. I also informed him of some new development: running nose, a fever, and possibly the worst chill I have ever had in my life.

After all this, his diagnosis? “Are you suffering a lot of stress lately?”

I am a working mother with two rambunctious boys working full time commuting downtown with the company headquartered in another state 800 miles away and a boss that is scheming to either get me to move there or to get rid of me and a husband that travels 50% of the time for work. So yeah. I guess I am stressed.

“Have you suffered from any head injury? Did you hit your head somewhere?”

Why? You read my blog or my tweets?

“I think this is tension headache.”

Hello? What about the nausea and the vomiting?

“Are you married?”

Do I look tired and not care how I look? Yes, I am married.

“You should ask your husband to rub your neck.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Ha ha. Yes. I should write you a prescription to get him to do this, and if I submit it to your insurance, they may even pay him! Ok. Here is what I want you to do…”

Miracle drugs?

“I want to get some blood tests done to rule out the usual: thyroid, glands…”

Really? Why am I NOT surprised?

“And then I want you to get an MRI. I am worried about the headaches. The MRI is going to come back clean, but I want to rule anything out before I talk to you again. So after you get your MRI, call me, and I can talk to you about Tension Headaches.”

Seriously? Is an MRI even remotely necessary in my case?

Like a good Chinese girl (brought up in a Chinese society let me emphasize this), I did not question the good doctor. And really, should I even question my good fortune? I am blessed enough to be covered by a top-notch health insurance plan: the free health insurance provided by my company is a Cadillac plan. It covers everything. No pre-certification required for most of the expensive tests. If the doctor does not even want to wait and wants me to get an MRI before he even talks to me more, which I am actually able to get right away without having to call the insurance company and go through the labyrinth of paperworks, unlike say people on Medicare, should I not be grateful?

Fine. Call me an ungrateful bitch. But here is what I thought as soon as I walked out of the doctor’s office:

Son of a bitch. He is worried that he may get sued if something happens to me and he did not order me an MRI.

How much of the root cause for the rising health care costs in the U.S. is due to the fear of lawsuits?!

(Yeah, I know. You will be wanting to see me eating my foot if the good doctor was right and the MRI does detect something. THAT will solve all the questions about “What the F is wrong with you?!” in more ways than one. And seriously, if something is growing inside my head, you cannot fault me for being a bitch so would you really still want to see me eating my foot?… So the way I see it, either way, my foot will stay as far away from my mouth as humanly possible. Ha!)

All this rambling reminded me of a post from February 18, 2009, “Americans pay $650 billion more for health care than comparable countries…” when there was absolutely no traffic to my blog…  Reading the conclusion I drew more than a year ago,

“In the United States, the ‘average’ consumer of health care pays for only 12 percent of its total cost directly out of pocket (down from 47 percent in 1960), as well as for 25 percent of health care insurance premiums, a share that has stayed relatively constant for the last decade.  Well-insured patients who bear little, if any, of the cost of their treatment have no incentive to be value-conscious health care consumers.”

This sounds familiar but now we have the numbers to back up our suspicions:

In order for any health care reform to work and stick, it is important that we carry out the education and cultivation of a new generation of patients that are “value conscious” and treat the burden of health care, even when they do not have to pay for it DIRECTLY, as ultimately their own INDIRECT cross to bear.

I am saddened and a bit ashamed, seeing how I will be getting an MRI after all, albeit begrudgingly. I am only human – I do not want to bear the unnecessary risk of not getting this MRI just to make a point, especially since it is readily available to me. So that puts us in a bit of a conundrum, doesn’t it?

Foot in my mouth after all.

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UPDATE (12-17-2009):

I realized that my attempt at satire actually makes it even more confusing. My apology. I will lay it out straight: The “I’m a Racist” ad is ridiculous also because it predicted on the faulty assumption #1 HCR is mostly about the African Americans #2 Ergo I have been accused of being a racist because I am against HCR. OR, if you criticize my criticism of HCR, you are accusing me of being a racist. In my mind, #1 is incorrect, and therefore #2 is incorrect. (This is the argument I was trying to make by invoking the fact that there are also a lot of POOR WHITES who are trapped in the poverty cycle AND the arguments, on both sides, seem to have overlooked their plights).

The new ad “I Guss I’m A Lazy Ass” I am proposing here is for the Pro-HCR camp as a comeback. And it is satirical. Hard to convey “satirical” tone with words since you can’t see my Quote Fingers or Jazz Hands… It plays upon #1. The assumption by many in the anti-HCR camp (anti-Public-option) that people without health care are lazy asses who cannot hold a job, etc. Why should we help those people out? #2. This proposed ad would confront that assumption. #3. The prominent representation of white people (a la the prominent representation by the final Black guy in the “I’m a racist” ad), as sarcastically proposed, refers to the common assumption that Poor White People are Poor NOT because they are lazy but because they are unfortunate…

Anyway, it serves me right to be smug enough to think that I can tackle such a controversial and complex issue. This is such a charged subject and as you can see I am confused myself. There is probably no need for this update either since you either got me (for which I am very grateful and would you please come to my house and explain me to my husband?) or you have moved on to more important things (I would have done this if I were you too so no hard feelings), but I feel that I need to clarify things because I am anal retentive. The bottom line is:

I would like to see the government TRYING to help the truly unfortunate out, esp. the millions of children that are not ensured, and if that means I have to pay more taxes, I am fine with it. Will they make some bumbling mistakes along the way? You bet ya. But the expectation of imperfection should not be the excuse for not doing it at all. Have all the countries claiming to be a democracy really adhere to the democratic principles all the time? Are there not corruptions, nepotisms, all sorts of Jackassery going on? You bet ya. Does that mean democracy failed and we should just write it off? I am sure the answer is no.

This I believe:

“No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and nobody should go broke because they get sick.”

The Original Post (as published on 12-16-2009):

Many of you have this feature called Wordless Wednesday every, eh, Wednesday. But me? Not talking? When I have my own soap box right here? Ha. Therefore I decided to start my own tradition called WTF Wednesday.

And conveniently, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, together: what do we have here?!

My token male reader called me out on an evasive post last week, half-assedly commenting on the “I guess I’m a Racist” anti-healthcare reform ad.

Yeah yeah I know I just also wrote this big giant navel-gazing post about how I am going to ignore all of you and just do whatever I want. So I am going to ignore you right now for mocking me…

You are a dick, dick!

Although I have blogged about how I feel about HCR, his comment struck a cord. I was caught red-handed for not following through with my oh-so-big announcement of how I am going to just go ahead and be myself. YOU GOT ME DICK! (No, he really is a dick. I mean, that’s what his blog is called. Eh, never mind…)

So here it is, a week later, assuming (hoping, actually) that I am preaching to the choir, FWIW:

The video is asinine to say the least.  As Professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell succinctly puts it, “THIS sucks the rhetoric air out of the room.”

  1. First of all, the ads (and many comments circulating on the Interweb) unquestionably assume that RACISM operates on the individual level, rather than on the institutional level. Regarding institutionalized racism: You either agree with this, or you don’t. This is my pessimistic conclusion.
  2. Furthermore, the ads (and the subsequent celebratory comments around the Interweb) wrongfully, yet effectively, turned the entire HCR debate around and recast the issue in an ultra emotional light, since most people do not deliberately practice racist beliefs and activities, and most people take it very personally, understandably, when they feel they are being accused of being a racist.
  3. The real issue of HCR, in my opinion, is one about class: the Have’s vs. The Have-Not’s. And we need to recognize that in the U.S., the class issues are inextricably linked to race issues, due to our unique histories. Although many in the African American academia have challenged the “code words” used in the HCR debate, e.g. “Welfare Queens”, “under class”, etc., it does not mean that they are trying to “hijack” the HCR issue with race issues. The poor Whites will also benefit from an improved health care system. And do you know approximately 2/3 of all welfare benefits administered by the government went to poor Whites? Why is that in a discussion on HCR that could benefit all the people who currently do not have any form of health insurance across the board, we don’t hear about these non-non-White folks’ plights?
  4. Somebody should make a video with all sorts of people speaking to the camera, “I guess I am a lazy ass,” to move the dial all the way to the other end: “You cannot afford health insurance, it must be your own damn fault!” Preferably featuring WHITE PEOPLE since as the thinking goes (as exemplified in the “I Guess I’m a Racist” vid) :

    BLACKS <> NOT RACISTS : WHITES <> NOT LAZY ASS
    Ergo, all these people that you saw just now? NOT Lazy Ass.

  5. And definitely remember to show a mother with an innocent child who looks at her mother and asks, “Am I a lazy ass, mom?” That’s going to be some powerful shit.

  6. I would have suggested Asian Americans in the vid to make the strongest point because of the whole “Model Minority” stereotype — You know: We work hard. We pull ourselves up by the bootstraps. We are good workers. We hunker down and keep our goddamn mouths shut. We never complain. Yada yada yada — were it not for the other stereotype of Asian Americans being immigrants and foreigners. THAT would have served the enemy’s purpose: LOOK. The HCR IS going to provide insurance to foreigners. OMG!
  7. Some random lady “engaged” me on a debate on Twitter. Imagine debating someone on such a complex issue 140 characters at a time?!… Her argument comes down to: I have done my part. Why should I give more? The government should get out of the business of trying to tell ME how I should spend my (husband’s) hard-earned money. AND, this sort of sums up her position: “I pay tax because I HAVE TO. I give money to charity, through my church, already.” At that point, I said, “Do you seriously want to engage in a political debate with someone who was just talking about tits on Twitter?”
  8. That was the moment when I became deeply convinced that there is NO way we are going to change each other’s mind. None.
  9. That was the moment when I fell in love all over again with Jon Stewart.

p.s. Comedy Central’s blog post on this vid is calledI Guess I’m a Racist, Sexist, Puppy-Killing Psychopath Who Never Calls My Mom“…  The title IS the comment.

p.p.s. The funniest, most scathing, most intelligently sarcastic, and in my mind, the most effective comeback was found on The AWL:

“I’m of the opinion that it’s always great to see an oppressed group of people attempt to reclaim a word that has been used in the past to cause hurt and shame. I’m thrilled for Republicans that they’re trying to take the ‘racist’ label back.”

GOLD.

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I am trapped in a hotel in a Boston suburb. Therefore I did what I always do in this situation: I did the grown-up thing. I went to the bar and got myself multiple drinks, got myself drunk and depressed. Depressed. Apparently alcohol is a depressant. Shit! So that’s what I have been doing wrong. I am always a bit embarrassed by my being a sad, teary drunk. So it is not me. It is the alcohol.

Do you know what cures drunkenness and self-pity before you can say Xanax? A convenient case of indignant outrage. Courtesy of hotel cable TV. Yeah, smart ass. Not porn. I wish it were porn. At least it would not have left such a bad taste in my mouth.

Did you hear about this new anti-healthcare-reform commercial that’s said to be aired nation-wide, starting tomorrow?

The commercial that is getting lots of positive feedback on conservative blogs and websites shows a bunch of white people Euro-Americans looking into the camera, sprinkled in between with three non-white-looking people, and of course, with a mother and her toddler daughter who is sucking on her lollipop, all wide-eyed and innocent. The mother, looking into the camera, says, “I guess we are racists.” (Is your daughter even old enough to be against the healthcare reform? No? Then she is fine. We don’t know about you though.  <– Just kidding! You people have no sense of humor… <– Just kidding! Again!! Did you see what I am trying to accomplish here? I slay me.) The commercial ends with a young, nice-looking African American* man saying, “I guess I am a racist.” (Congratulations, dude. You just got your one and most likely only starring role as an aspiring actor!)

* Someone is very proud of that ending. What a strong finish! See? It’s a black man = He cannot be racist = All the others lily white folks cannot be racist either. Hurray! Martyrs, all of us. “I am Spartacus!” *Cough Cough*

I am the Queen of Passive Aggressiveness. Yet I am floored by the rampant passive aggression exhibited in this video. They must have consulted the Italian, Chinese and Korean mothers in the world. (Sorry, ladies, I love you guys. But have you seen yourselves in the soap operas? Yikes!)

This is what I call Preemptive Jackassery. This is similar, similar ONLY in my poorly-formed analogy since I have had too much to drink at the hotel bar by myself, and NOT in degree, to my calling myself a bitch which liberates me from doing all bitchy things.

“I guess I am a bitch BUT your baby really is ass ugly.”

“I guess I am a bitch BUT those jeans do make your butt look fat.”

“I guess I am a bitch BUT my honor-roll student can totally kick your bully kid’s ass.

Or your calling yourself a dick so you can kick baby kittens.

Or my husband’s saying preemptively, “Honey, I know I am an asshole” just to get out of doing housework throughout the entire marriage.

Remember how Newt Gingrich called Judge Sonia Sotomayor a Racist?

Finally, one thing we can all agree on: we are ALL racists. What’d ya know?

Well, what’d ya know? There’s more.

Sarah Palin reportedly left Hawaii (where she went to the first of the four colleges she attended) because, cough cough, the presence of so many Asians and Pacific Islanders made her uncomfortable: “They were a minority type thing and it wasn’t glamorous, so she came home.”

I have to say, she is being quite brave by still wanting to run for the President in 2012 despite her fear. Think of all the Asian people she needs to meet when she runs for POTUS AND all the Asian countries she needs to visit when she becomes POTUS? She will need to meet with Chinese government officials, mostly male most likely, and shake their hands. Yeeeewwww! It’s going to be like the Indiana Jones trope: “Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?”

“Asians, why do they have to be Asians?”

You go girl. Confront your phobia.

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Afraid to ask: What is the point of HCR without a public option?

September 10, 2009 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Tweet I don’t set a lot of rules in the house for my boys.  The Golden Rule, of course.  The “Be true to yourself”, remnants from reading Hermann Hesse in my youth.  And then there is my very own: Whatever you do, don’t do a half-ass job. (I know. I am all brevity…) So here […]

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A simple message that’s going viral because we are tired of keeping silent…

September 3, 2009 this i believe

Tweet No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and nobody should go broke because they get sick.

This is why I love the grouchy old man Stewart…

August 22, 2009 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Tweet You can debate the merits of HCR or whether Mr. Stewart did “OWN” Betsy McCaughey on this segment (she may be crazy but she has guts, you have to give her that!) What Jon Stewart said at 2:00 is the reason why I love and respect him. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon […]

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Americans pay $650 billion more for health care than comparable countries…

February 18, 2009 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Tweet It is technically $643 billion, the additional amount Americans paid for health care in 2006 compared to the other countries with comparable wealth and health, according to the research article “Why Americans Pay More for Health Care?” in the December 2008 issue of the venerable McKinsey Quarterly. (Ok, probably not as venerable as The Harvard Business Review, […]

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What I learned from my 5th grader’s homework this weekend…

November 3, 2008 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Tweet My 10-year-old came home with a 10-page homework packet last week, a research report on this presidential election. (Let me not start with the fact that the packet is from 1997 and asks for an example of a printed ad in newspaper or magazine. I don’t remember the last time I saw any candidate […]