OMG, our national shitshow is exhausting. I'm not even going to try to recap the last couple of weeks, but it's definitely a downward spiral. We've left the Apprentice and may be spiraling down past Jersey Shore, and I'm not sure what shitty reality show is below that, but we may all be there by the end of the month. The lies upon lies, desperate, pathetic lies, the "Look over there!" shit is just too much. Yeah, the ENTIRE intelligence community, not just ours, but our allies have been on this all along, and it's hard to believe it's only been six months. The good news is he's going down fast. The bad news is, we now have to hope that his new Chief of Staff is patriotic enough to punch him out when he's tempted to launch nukes. You'd be saving the world, sir.
And still, the GOP remains uneasily silent. Oh, they rumble now and then, write "brave" op-eds, and I do give them credit for rising up on their hind legs and pushing through a veto-proof bill to not let him lift the Russian sanctions. John McCain finally did the right thing, after he set up a dramatic attention grabbing finale, because he is that kind of person. Health care as it currently stands was saved by women. Two brave female Republican Senators, and a Democratic Senator from Hawaii named Mazie Hirono, who has Stage 4 kidney cancer, the same evil thing that killed my husband. She had just had surgery, and she's as sick as John McCain (brain is automatically Stage 4, unless they rewrote the score cards since I had to play). Her surgery was more extensive than his. She was there. She's the true heroine of this shitshow.
So, just to give my readers from places with universal health care a quick real life example of how our "system" "works":
My daughter starts her new dream job with a county school system tomorrow. She wanted my advice on how to pick an insurance plan. I'd just had to pick a new plan because my own employer just switched to a different carrier. The same carrier she will have. And yet, the plans are totally freaking different. I couldn't just pick up my enrollment info from my enrollment of two weeks ago to figure out what I did. Her choices weren't like mine, yet we have the same carrier. It's all based on deals with employers. You can have the same insurance company and get great or okay choices, and pay whatever the employer negotiated. We make basically comparable incomes,I work for a multi-state employer and she'll be working for a county school system. The same insurance carrier offered our employers plans that have different ID codes and different benefit structures.
I have a BA and 30 years of big corporate working experience. She has a MS and more than a decade of working experience. We both puzzled over the plan comparisons. I didn't think to ask the question I should have asked first: "What are you paying now? Look at that plan." She figured that out on her own, and is going with that. It looks pretty good. But seriously? Is this sane or reasonable that two people with coverage from the same insurance company aren't offered plans with the same options and benefits, readily identified by the same code numbers? If we can't figure this shit out without a half hour phone conference, it's hardly a surprise that people are confused and unhappy with their insurance. This shit is HARD.
This is a stark example of why the GOP bullshit about how repealing the ACA will bring "freedom" is a big, fat, fucking LIE. We get what our employers offer. The ACA simply forced the insurance companies to do some basic, civilized things, very few, very limited, humanitarian things, like wellness visits should be no cost, and kids should stay on their parents' plans until they are reasonably into their 20s if they need it. That's optional; they can always get their own insurance if they can. And lifetime caps were removed. I've written several times about how my husband blew through his million dollars a few months before he died, and if I hadn't still had comparable high quality coverage through my own employer, I really have no idea how we'd have come out of that. That lifetime cap thing and the pre-existing condition thing? Those are HUGE.
The ACA didn't do nearly enough to entirely fix the system. It was the first step toward truly reforming this madness, and that's why it was, in the immortal words of Joe Biden, "a big fucking deal." Nobody thinks it's all fine now, but it did curb cost increases, get millions more people covered, and remove the pre-existing condition exclusion that would have kept me from ever affording health insurance again.
But it's still a mess, because the GOP negotiated out every real reform the Democrats wanted, so here we are. We (at least for now) still have reasonably affordable insurance, but we still have complicated stupid shit like how two people living a mile apart in the same state don't get offered the same options from the same insurance company. Just pause for a minute to think of the massive infrastructure behind that insurance company, sorting out all these options, selling all these plans, to keep this deranged casino system functioning. Multiply that by hundreds of brands of insurance carriers (keeping it down to just the big brand names here). This is INSANE.
As bad as things are now, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the GOP will be backed against the wall and forced to face reality, and start working on bipartisan fixes to the current issues with the ACA, and start thinking about that Medicare buy-in. That would be the next practical baby step, as far as I can tell. But while I will cross my fingers I will not hold my breath.
In other, happier things: Miss D starts kindergarten next Thursday! Her mother and father are back to their respective schools tomorrow. Yay, Nana for stepping in to cover those gap days before extended day at school kicks in. It's a crazy gap week between musical theater/dance camp (which she ADORED and wants to do forever) and the start of school for her. Her parents work in two different county school systems, they start work tomorrow. For some entirely inexplicable reason our county decided to do "Meet the Teacher" in the middle of the day on Wednesday next week. See the problem?
I live down the street from her school. I have bravely volunteered to take the day off and take her to Meet the Teacher. Then we can do lunch and have a lovely day to celebrate her launch into big kid school. I'm also going to be on school drop off duty for the foreseeable future. Her parents are both staff in two different counties and have to be there early. So starting next week, Delaney will tossed onto the driveway, backpack in hand, at 6:30 a.m. I will drop her at school around 7:30, then head on to work. I am actually down the street from the school and can drop her in ten minutes or less. Fingers crossed that this juggling act works out. It works out just fine on paper.
Also keep fingers crossed that she gets the most fabulous of the fabulous teachers in this A+ rated school. I needed a break at work and browsed their website, and holy crap, it really does sound amazing, and like they will be able to serve her ridiculously over the top little self.
She'e been drafted for the JV version of performance dance team at her dance school. She'll be doing 3 classes a week this year. My daughter is NOT a stage mom. They'll do this as long as Delaney loves it, and if/when she says she's tired of it and wants to do something else, it'll end. But for now, it's 3 classes a week, and God knows how many performances. Oh, and she's been invited to audition for the Episcopal Church annual play.
It's going to be a crazy, busy year.