Archive | July 2012

You Don’t Get What You Pay For

It’s a crappy time to be an American. The economy is in the toilet, and despite what a few obviously over-medicated cheerful economists are saying, it’s not going to change any time soon. Poor Kim Kardashian may even have to sell some of her Birkin bags on ebay! Certainly the downturn has most consumers looking to get the best bargain on every purchase. I’m not much of a shopper myself, but I when I do crack open my wallet I want to get the best possible deal, which is why I get really irate when I spend money on something I can’t use. Something like… health insurance.

Now, I know you thought I was going to say one of those fancy-schmantzy smartphones that are supposed to do everything but pick up the dry cleaning and instead make it impossible to even make a phone call, but no. I’m talking about the hotly debated subject of American healthcare. You see, I have a job that fortunately puts me somewhat above the poverty line (although it usually doesn’t feel like it), and each and every time I get paid a nice chunk of my earnings goes toward health insurance. Health insurance that I can’t afford to use. Yes, I realize I’m lucky to even have health insurance. Nearly 50 million Americans have none (yet). Still, I’m left wondering if I’m getting what I’m paying for.

Gel capsules filled with shredded currency

Photo by Lisa Yarost via Flickr

A few months ago, I tripped going up the stairs to my condo (it’s Snark Diva, not Graceful Diva, you know). I came down directly on my right knee and bruised the heck out of it. A couple of days and lots of swearing later it stopped hurting, so I forgot about it. That is until I went to kneel down to pick up my kids’ toys off the bedroom floor a few weeks later and an excruciating pain shot through my entire leg. Realizing this was not a good thing, I made an appointment with my doctor who charged me a twenty dollar co-payment to “manipulate” (torture) my knee and order an MRI, since she was fairly certain that I had torn a ligament or something equally as ominous.

I took the order for the MRI, called the radiology facility and made an appointment. Two days before my appointment they called me to tell me the insurance company had denied the MRI. Okaaaaayyy. Now what? I contacted the doctor’s office and they suggested I come back in to have it looked at again. Hmmm. What was she going to see now that she didn’t see before, besides another twenty of my hard earned dollars? I politely declined and decided to simply not kneel down ever again. That should solve the problem, right?

A month or so later I found myself again shelling out co-payments for my “well woman” exam (such fun!) and a mammogram. While I was in the office I again asked about my knee. This time I was given an order for an x-ray. If the x-ray was negative, the doctor would again order an MRI. Of course the x-ray showed nothing, and the insurance company still won’t pay for an MRI (presumably because I am not yet to the point where an amputation is imminent). So apparently what I have to show for the many dollars I pay each month for health insurance is a bum knee that isn’t going to get better anytime soon. American healthcare at its finest.

This is the situation many low to middle income families find themselves in. If they are fortunate enough to have health insurance available to them, they often cannot afford the copayments, or even more commonly the prescription costs. As a result, appointments are canceled, medications are left on the pharmacists’ shelves, and we as a population become sicker and sicker until we can no longer avoid seeking care. Of course, by that time the costs are likely to be exponentially higher than they would have been if we had been treated much earlier.

The truth is, no matter how well we take care of ourselves (and admittedly many of us don’t), people are like cars, they’re gonna break down once they get some miles on them. We get injured, we age, and sometimes we just want to prevent ourselves from getting sick in the first place. Our government has finally been pulled kicking and screaming into the 21st century by passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but just how “affordable” will it be? Will Americans actually be able to use the health benefits for which they have fought so dearly, or will we remain just as unhealthy despite having coverage? Just thinking about it is enough to drive a Diva to seek therapy. If only I could come up with the forty dollar per session co-payment!

Not My Kid!

Nothing pisses me off more than perfect strangers who think they know how to parent my kids better than I do. No one has the right to tell me how to raise my children. I gave birth to (and in my case also adopted) my kids and I don’t need other people pointing out my parental failings, especially in a very public forum. That is why one of the online news stories about the Aurora, Colorado, mass shooting last weekend really had my blood boiling.  It appears that some people felt the need to attack the parents of the youngest shooting victim, a 4-month-old boy who was attending the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises with his parents and an older sibling, insisting that he shouldn’t have been there at all.

The majority of the comments left in reply to the CNN.com story suggest that babies don’t ever belong at the movies, especially not at midnight. While I may have my own opinion about rug rats at the cinema, the current subject of my fury is the cruel and self-righteous horde of people who feel that this debate is even worth having in light of what has just happened. Why are they not more focused on the horrific individual who could even think of shooting a baby?

I know the world is a sick and twisted place, but I hoped there was still some kindness left out there. I’m sure that the parents of that young boy don’t need to be told how ill-advised it was to take him to a late night movie. You can bet they’ve been regretting that decision every minute of every day since it happened. Chances are it will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

After reading all of the comments about how babies disturb other moviegoers and how their rude parents refuse to remove them when they cry, not to mention how irresponsible it is to bring any child to a midnight flick, I was left wondering why this type of knee-jerk response is so common following a tragedy involving a child. You see it whenever there is news coverage of a kid being abducted or murdered; the public response is nearly always to find fault with the parents.  Some people will insist that the parents weren’t supervising their child well enough or they allowed the child too much freedom.  Parents are certain such a horrible thing would never happen to one of their kids!

This thinking is what I believe is behind all of the finger pointing and allegations of neglect.  It’s the little voice that whispers, “If you don’t parent your children the way those people did, then nothing bad will ever happen to them.”

Of course this isn’t the case.  Any one of us could turn our back at a critical moment, or worse yet trust the wrong person around our kids. The truth is, no matter how fiercely we hold on to our kids the unthinkable can happen.  When it does, shouldn’t we turn our outrage toward the monstrous perpetrators of these crimes instead of blasting the already anguished parents? Ridiculing other families during their time of grieving won’t protect our own and it just adds insult to unbearable injury.

So tonight I think I’ll save my opinions about crying infants in public places for another less sensitive time, and instead I’ll just be thankful that my kids are sleeping safe and sound in the next room. Anyone wanna join me?

 

Welcome to the snarkfest!

Got snark? T-shirtWelcome to the Snark Diva blog! This blog is all about looking at the world through snark-colored glasses.  The Urban Dictionary defines snark as:

snark (noun):  Combination of “snide” and “remark”. Sarcastic comment(s).

While Dictionary.com prefers Lewis Carroll’s more literary definition:

snark (noun):  A mysterious, imaginary animal.

Both of these definitions are apropos of this blog, since its blogmistress is clearly a mysterious animal prone to sarcasm. Things in the the world annoy me, and I feel the need to give my not-so-subtle opinion about them.  Any topic in the world is fair game for the Snark Diva. So read, enjoy, and by all means snark back in the Comments section. I can’t be the only one who finds myself in a world where truth is often stranger than fiction.