We Need Change

A few weeks ago, I had a prostate biopsy. You can click on the blue link to see what’s involved in that. My father and my brother both had prostate cancer, so it’s something I have to be concerned with. So far so good, no cancer. Two days ago, I got a “Claims Summary” from my insurance company. I pay a lot of money every month to have this insurance. The total charges for the procedure were $7,163.40. It took twenty minutes to do this procedure and I had to drive 80 miles round trip to have it done. Twenty minutes with my Doctor costs $7,163.40.

On the Claims Summary there is an interesting column called, “Discounted Balance.” The amount in that column is $3,248.48. Beside this amount it says: “(my insurance company) negotiates discounts with doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.” The interesting thing about this is that even though my medical provider charged me $7,163.40, they knocked off $3,248.48 from the bill. Almost half. And the even more interesting thing about this is that my medical provider is still making money off this procedure. If they wern’t making money, they wouldn’t be doing it. They charged me almost twice as much as they needed to. My insurance paid. $1,747.03 leaving me with a bill for $1,501.45. If I didn’t have insurance I’d have to pay the entire $7,163.40 bill.

Have you ever gone to a “Half price” sale. The store will have big signs all over stating, 50% discount on everything! This is a great time to buy things. But the underlying meaning here is that for the rest of the year they have been charging you twice as much as they needed to. They are still making money off of the sale. They wouldn’t be giving you a 50% discount if it meant the were losing money on it. My medical provider wouldn’t knock off half my bill if they would lose money doing it. This is what capitalism does for you. Sure, it gives you the freedom to start a business and maybe do really well with it, providing the opportunities are there for you. But on the other hand it gives you the opportunity to be ripped off by other people starting businesses who want to charge outrageous prices for their services. Now this may be a controversial thing to say but here goes: Capitalism only works for the few, not for the many. And it is for this very reason that it is not sustainable. Eventually, given enough time, the system will crash.

The problem is simple enough. The lure of money is too hard to resist. If a rich person showed up at your door and handed you a million dollars for free, who would turn that down? “No thanks, my Social Security check each month is enough for me. Keep your million.” That wouldn’t happen. We may not like to admit it, but we all want more. How long can the country, or the world sustain unchecked capitalism? How long before the whole thing crashes? Do I have a solution? Not really. I don’t know that much about other systems to speak on them. But I do know this, any time you put some one in charge, in a position of authority, they need to be watched, closely. Remember the lure of money? It is only exceeded by the lure of power.

A favorite author, Douglas Addams once said this: “The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.” Those who seek power are the least suited to handle it. It’s one of the reasons why I get charged twice as much on my medical bill than they need to charge.

So what are we to do? I think we all need to admit that the system we currently have in place doesn’t, for the most part, work for most of us. We need to consider this when we decide who we’re going to vote for and what we’re going to vote for. We need something new. Government needs to be re-done from the top down. It’s time for change. Most people are not comfortable with change, however. We need to get over that. For the good of us all, and the future of our country, we need change.



power to the people
I’m sitting here at my computer today with my foot resting on a bottle of frozen water. I have Plantars Fasciitis in my right foot. I’ve been hobbling along for several weeks now, the pain coming and going, but yesterday was really tough. And this morning it was so sore and swollen that I couldn’t go to work. I hate to let down my boss and co-workers so I don’t miss much work but today, well it had to be. I need to stay off it and get the swelling down. Maybe I’ll mow my lawn this afternoon. A couple hours on the riding lawn mower won’t hurt my foot. But it’s supposed to be 90 degrees today so we’ll see. 80’s and 90’s are too hot for May. We should be having 60’s and 70’s for highs in May in Minnesota. Oh well.

Thinking about my foot and how the pain shoots up my leg while the rest of me feels pretty good is reminding me of how things are going in the U.S. today. Our country is in flux, no doubt about it. Having Fasciitis causes me to walk different. I’m favoring my right foot, trying not to put too much pressure on it. This in turn is causing me to use muscles differently than I normally do. So now I have leg and hip pain. I suppose you’re wondering how this relates to the country? Well, there are a lot of things going on that are causing people to think and act differently than they have, and it’s causing some pain.

The coming presidential election is defiantly causing pain throughout the country. People are arguing about the candidates, about who’s best and worst. About the political parties, how they have changed, and what they will accomplish. Should we get rid of them, should we have a three party system, Should we even have democracy, or do we still have democracy? We have so many things on our plates these days. Politicians, the NRA, Monsanto, GMO’s, the Koch brothers, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Syria, ISIS, LGBT people, Transgender people, pipelines, Native rights, Black Lives Matter, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. All of this is causing us pain in many forms and causing us to act in different ways than we normally do. We are dividing ourselves with all these issues.

Our constitution allows us many freedoms. But with over three hundred million people you are bound to have differing opinions about what those freedoms mean. It’s always been that way, right from the start. And it causes pain. Maybe past generations thought that things were getting to be too much. In the Sixties, when we were fighting for civil rights did people wonder how things could get much worse? I’m sure some thought it couldn’t. When white people first came here did the Native people wonder how things could get worse? Each generation has had its pain and some fought hard for change while others sat on the sidelines. Change is the thing that causes the most pain. People are reluctant to change.

So here we are in 2016. Change is called for from many different factions. Tolerance and acceptance vs intolerance and rejection. The battle lines are being drawn in the news headlines every day. Gun control, Transgender rights, the environment, climate change, refugees and more. We’re all taking sides on these arguments; even if you’re sitting on the sidelines, you’re still taking a side. The pain is growing and forcing us to act differently than we would like to. And it’s causing other pains. Where do we find our answers? People used to find comfort in their religious beliefs but statistics show that church membership is losing ground and more people are leaving religion behind than ever before. So now where do we look to find answers? Our government? Well I think most people know the answer to that question.

I’m getting control of the pain in my foot by staying off of it and using ice to reduce the inflammation, which makes my leg and hip feel better. So how do we reduce the inflammation in our country? How do we feel better? By accepting change? By informing ourselves about the issues and deciding which ones are really important and which ones we should not be so worried about? Understanding that we are all given the same freedoms from the constitution even though some have had to fight for these rights a lot harder than others because some people are so reluctant to change and so reluctant to give up control helps us to know what we’re fighting for. So what are we fighting for? Hopefully we are fighting for a better, more just America. Hopefully we are fighting for acceptance and freedom. Hopefully, we are fighting for our lives.