Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ACA? Not OK!

So there’s no doubt that we need some sort of healthcare reform in this country.  When prices are so high that ten minutes with a doctor costs more than double what the average person makes in a day, we have a major problem.  Our politicians are scrambling to figure this issue out, but as usual, politics get in the way of a real solution.  So they ‘compromise’ to make a plan they think their opponents will agree with, and you know what, the American people suffer as a consequence.

Right now, the ‘solution’ we have to the healthcare problem is this Affordable Care Act.  Which basically says that all Americans are legally required to have their own insurance, or they are punished.  So we’re being forced to buy into the system that already doesn’t work.  Add in the fact that businesses are responsible for subsidizing this, and you can see how this act is going to collapse our economy even further.  We need to change the system, to repair it, not put more money behind it. 

Insurance companies have been ripping off the American people for decades.  Whether they deny a claim due to pre-existing conditions or just trying to say you’re not covered for a random ailment.  Or just that they won’t cover you for the one pill that will actually best help your condition.  So why are we creating a system that will reward these companies with more clients?  In a supply and demand economy, we can seek alternatives to this corruption. But with this bill, we are forced to go with the companies that have screwed us in the past. 

So the bill does say that insurance companies will be forbidden from denying you because of pre-existing conditions.  But what if you’re not covered for a certain ailment?  The bill doesn’t make insurance companies cover every last thing.  We’re not doctors, we can’t always tell what we need and what we don’t need.   Insurance companies, like they have, are still going to try to find loopholes and exceptions in order to deny your claim.

What about deductibles?  The act doesn’t make any provisions about these.  Just because you have insurance doesn’t mean it kicks in right away.  You first have to pay off the deductible amount.  Some of these insurance plans have deductibles in the tens-of-thousands range.  Who says the insurance holder is going to be able to pay for that?  Even if it’s a few hundred dollars, there’s no guarantee one can afford the deductible.  And what about the otherwise healthy person who gets sick once?  Are they going to go to the doctor, knowing they have to still pay the full bill because they haven’t covered their deductible yet?  At this point, you’re better off holding onto the cash you’d spend on insurance to go to the doctor once or twice a year.

Our economy works on supply and demand.  Which, in essence, says that if prices are too high, people will not buy the products, and if the company wants to stay in business they will need to lower prices. Insurance is like an endless bank account that circumvents this rule.  Instead of pricing medical services or medicine at a price point people can afford, doctors/pharma can lift the price to whatever they feel like.  After all, consumers aren’t paying for it.  A billion dollar company is.  So why not price it to what the bottomless piggybank can cover?

And who’s to say what is affordable?  The bill says healthcare will be subsidized for those who make under $44k.  What about those who make just over that?  Should people cap their own salaries to make sure they don’t go over this amount?  This kind of goes against our economic system of opportunity and capitalism…

For those who won’t be covered, how can everyone afford this additional amount?  Average health insurance is over $400 a month for an individual, and it keeps going up.  It’s even more in cities that already have overwhelming rent costs.  Kinda sucks for those who live in San Francisco or New York, or one of the other many overpriced cities in the US.

So maybe you’ve cut back all your expenses so you can actually pay insurance and not have to move.  How does this help our economy?  Instead of spending on normal purchases, now this money gets funneled into the insurance industry.  Want to watch your city die?  Take away people’s ability to spend at local establishments.  Shouldn’t we be in charge of where our money goes?

This bill will kill entrepreneurship in this country.  Entrepreneurs need months, if not years, to put together their businesses.  How can they afford coverage for themselves during this time?  Force them into government assistance?  And to start the business, they now need to raise even more capital to subsidize their employees’ coverage.  Not easy, especially for those trying to start a business from their personal savings.  What’s an entrepreneur to do?  Either understaff or go bankrupt.  Or just say screw it since the costs won’t be worth the risk.  

My name is ACA.  I have come for you, entrepreneurs...
Granted, if the business is very small, they get around the mandate.  But then they’ll have to face the threat of turnover.  Why would someone stay with this company (or get a job there in the first place) if they first have to get their own insurance?  This bill is going to make the hiring process very difficult for entrepreneurs…  the job creators… the people our government is trying to push right now. 

You might be thinking, well, I have a job with a big company and I’ll be covered.  Well, I hope that stays true.  Because you better believe there will be massive layoffs once this bill is passed.  Trust me, your employer wants to keep costs as low as possible.  Now that salary expenses have risen, they’re going to be stingy with hiring.  And very likely, they’re going to look to cut workers to make up for this new expense.  Or cut you down to part time.  I hope your job is one they decide to keep.

(Let's also not forget that companies will begin raising their prices to cover new healthcare costs...)

The ACA will end up destroying our economy.  Instead on trying to work on a system, why don’t we focus on cutting costs in healthcare?  This way, a person can afford to go to a doctor, or get surgery, without spending their life savings.  This needs to be where we start if we truly want to reform our healthcare system.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Diary of the Unemployed: Common Courtesy

I know I’ve written in the past about common courtesy in the world of business communications, but it seems like things are just getting worse.  Especially when it comes to applying for jobs.  Are things so bad in our economy that all the power is with the HR people and they can dick around whoever they want?  Apparently so.

Let’s get this straight.  I put in the time and effort to look up your company.  Customize my resume.  Write a specific cover letter that addresses every need you have in the job description.  At least an hour of work on my part, often more.  All this for the 1% chance that you actually get back to me.  And it seems like it’s only about one in every hundred applications that does get back to me, whether it be yes or no.  Thank you to those companies, you’re obviously run better than those who can’t take five seconds to say “Sorry you’re not what we’re looking for” just so I’m not hanging on to that bit of faith that I might actually be your wage slave one day.  Hell, send me an automessage.  Just something to justify the careful work I put into honoring your company with my application.

What makes it worse is when these companies blow you off for an interview.  Especially without notice.  What, just because I’m unemployed means my time is worthless?  What the hell!?!  These days it’s imperative to spend hours of preparation for these interviews so you seem competent and actually know what the inner workings of the company are like.  Otherwise you’re going to be unprepared and seem like an idiot, especially when your competition has done this research.   What about the time it takes me to put on my suit and drive to your place, let alone the price of gas and dry cleaning these days?  It seems like this doesn’t concern the HR goons from these businesses.  They already have jobs, so why even give you a call to reschedule?

It would be one thing if an emergency came up, or they gave you advanced notice.  But that’s too much work for them.  Chances are they will not even call you until after the appointment, and you most likely have to call them first to find out what the fuck is going on. 

If they do reschedule, that’s still a disadvantage to me.  The research and preparation I have done is no longer fresh in my head.  Even if I re-study everything I have done, the momentum and energy I had is gone.  Now I have to move things aside, often at times inconvenient to me, just to fit them in for a second block of time.  On their end they could care less.

Don’t forget the emotional toll this has on the applicant.  I’m obviously not worth your time, even five seconds of it for a heads up that things need to be moved.  So that’s the mindset I am now going into the interview with…  I am not worth your time and you don’t care about me.  You’re basically giving me a pity interview at this point.  How do I take this seriously?  Why should I care about the company if this is how you treat people?

And you know what the worst part is?  I have to pretend like it didn’t happen.  I have to just be happy that I have the interview.  I have to be all nice and friendly about it and have the attitude that ‘oh, accidents happen, it’s not a big deal’.  I don’t even get so much as a ‘sorry’ when this happens, but they expect me to laugh it off and kiss their ass for the opportunity to interview with them.  I want to tell them that I demand an apology and a thank-you for my patience, but I’m pretty sure that will end the interview right there. 

And I also have to pretend that it doesn’t bother me when you can’t accommodate me to reschedule.  I actually had someone tell me “I can’t do it then, that’s my lunch time”.  Your lunch time?  You blew me off, made me waste an entire day of my life expecting this interview, and you can’t eat your fucking lunch an hour later?

Oh, and that in that case it was the second time they blew me off.  The first time the interviewer was in a meeting, and this time they simply put the wrong day on the calendar.  How the fuck do these HR idiots have jobs when they can’t even schedule people properly, and I can’t find shit for work?  FML, or better yet, fuck them…

So now I have an appointment with them at a future date.  Who knows if they’re going to actually go through with it this time…  I’m sick and tired of the lack of respect these companies show their applicants.  It’s rubbing it into our faces that companies have all the power in this economy and we mean nothing to them.  I’m thinking about using this interview to curse them out and show them just how upset we are when we get fucked over like this.  I mean, they already blew me off twice, I have to assume that I’m not being seriously considered for the job anyway…


Monday, February 13, 2012

Republicans, Wise Up!

Are Republicans just fucking crazy? It’s almost like they go out of their way to not make sense. Right now the hot debate is on whether birth control need be covered by health insurance. Now, I could see if their point was something like “as little should be covered as possible”… that would be a logical point that aligns with Republican philosophies. But that’s not the argument in this case. Instead, they’ve gone right to the big guns… that’s right… religion.

According to the current GOP candidates, this whole thing is about religious oppression. That’s right, OPPRESSION. They’re saying it almost as if the point of the mandate is to go out of our way to overthrow a religion. It’s the exact opposite. Denying people this service would be religious oppression. It’s like saying “my religion doesn’t allow this, so you can’t do it either”.

And just because your insurance covers birth control, doesn’t mean you have to take it. It’s as simple as not asking for it when you go to the doctor. Wow, that seems really hard. This law isn’t going to force pills down your throat, it just makes it easier for those who want it to get it.

Do you support coverage for AIDS? Herpes? Syphillis? Other STDs? You do? Good for you. Because that means you've been supporting FORNICATORS!!!  Last I checked that was against your religion too.  And those medications make your insurance costs skyrocket.  So why is it such a big deal to include one more inexpensive pill? Is being a hypocrite part of your religion too?

It’s funny, the same people who denounce insurance companies for offering birth control are the same people who demand that Viagra is covered. Well, I just hope every time you have old man sex it is for procreation. Sinner…

So you know what? Make it optional for insurance to cover birth control. After all, there won’t be any consequences. Like abortions. Yes, I’m sure there will be fewer abortions if women can’t just take a pill or a shot to prevent their pregnancy. Come on Republicans, pick one, birth control or abortion. You can’t get rid of them both.

Republicans, it’s time you start making sense. Really, a lot of people have lost respect for your party because of bullshit like this. Stop making things a religious agenda. We have religious freedom here in America, which means yours doesn’t get to make the rules. No religion does. So stop trying to force everyone else to live by it. If you spent more time coming up with logical explanations than faith-based proclamations, people might begin taking your politics seriously again…