Friday, September 18, 2009

Being a Female is a Pre-Existing Condition!

*** First Posted on Feminists for Choice ***
Even people who are against healthcare reform realize that insurance companies regularly screw over decent hard working people all the time. Insurance companies take exploitation another level of women. This week there has been a lot of talk about how insurance companies in several states consider domestic violence a pre-existing condition. This is a ridiculous policy, but is unfortunately not the only way women are
Thirty-eight states offer absolutely no protection for women purchasing insurance in the individual market. Women are charged higher premiums than men for identical plans. This higher cost is compounded by the fact women still earn approximately 78 cents to the every dollar a man makes. Therefore, programs such as employer financial assistance and tax credits for buying insurance unfairly leave women behind monetarily.
In addition, certain medical expenses that affect women more often than men usually is considered a pre-existing condition, elective or not mentioned at all. One of the biggest additional medical expenses for women is pregnancy. Due to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 employers are not allowed to charge a woman more for insurance if she is pregnant.
Now the individual market has no regulations concerning treatment of maternity in most states. Very often pregnancy is seen as a pre-existing condition. An already pregnant woman has almost no chance of getting maternity coverage is she looks to purchase insurance in the individual market.
If a woman seeks maternity coverage for a future pregnancy she often has to buy a supplemental benefits package (called a rider). These cost additional money and are often very limited in what they provide. Riders can cost anywhere from a $100 to over $1000 a month. Some rider benefit caps are so low that they don’t quite cover the cost of a vaginal birth without complications. To add insult to injury, as of 2008 four states offer zero options for maternity coverage in the individual market.
When it comes to eating disorders, women’s health is again pushed aside for the sake of a healthy profit margin. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, 90% of people inflicted with eating disorders are women. This health problem leads to detrimental physical issues, but can be treated before it gets to that point. However, health insurance companies will not cover any cost of treatment until in entails physical damages.
As the government debates issues of healthcare, the inequity in healthcare for women vs. men is among the issues that need to be resolved. Decades ago insurance companies stopped charging different prices based on race. Women should not be left behind and demand fair treatment in the healthcare industry.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The L Word Lives

As I was watching the news coverage of Ted Kennedy’s death and subsequently his life, I saw him quote his brother John Kennedy about being a liberal.
"If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”

I love this explanation of being a liberal and I am also proud to be a liberal. I’m tired of people avoiding the label of liberal because it seems to have a bad reputation in the media. The demise of the liberal name was a calculated campaign by conservatives and I’m taking back the word!
Here are some quotes from the conservative fear mongers.
Empathy" is the latest code word for liberal activism.
Karl Rove
I’m sorry Mr. Rove, but keep off of empathy. Without empathy our country, our world will be sad and miserable.

“A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.”
Robert Frost
Ok, so we are open minded, I really don’t see why this is such a bad thing.

Another famous quote by Winston Churchill and later used by Reagan:
“If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”
Well, if this is true, may I never grow up!

Now here is a voice from a long time ago that I think is very appropriate for modern liberals.
“As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.”
George Washington

Finally, Here is another quote that need to be implemented now!
“Democracy is an impossible thing until the power is shared by all, but let not democracy degenerate into mobocracy.” Ghandi

Teddy Kennedy and his liberalness will be much missed!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Miracles Really Do Happen

On most topics such as reproductive rights, gay rights and many other feminist issues, churches are often an obstacle to progress. Misinterpretation of religious texts and rituals are the main causes of strife in many cultures. Violence in God's name really gets on my last nerve.
However, today is new day. Faith groups and I actually agree on something! More and more religious organizations are turning the healthcare debate into what it should be: A Moral Argument.
Simply, those who are against universal coverage aren't moral. Or as religious people would say, they aren't taking care of all of God's children.
Which ever way you frame the rhetoric, religious groups and I agree that access to quality healthcare is a human right that should be available to everyone.
Leaders from Christian, Muslim, Jewish and other religions will participate in a call-in webcast with President Obama next week. For now, they are holding prayer vigils and planning to lobby their representatives in Washington in favor of healthcare reform.
My God, Allah, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Jehovah, Shiva be behind you in your fight for healthcare rights.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Honey Doesn't Catch Money

Money matters are a consistent stress for about 90% of the U.S. population above 13 years old. The part of the population that I think doesn't stress as much about money is the one where people enjoy what they are doing and make enough to buy a retail price outfit from time to time without feeling guilty.
My problem is that I am not sure if I'll ever find a career that allows me to be both happy and debt-free. The reason being simply that I am an uber ethical person. I empathize with others to a fault. If someone is hurting in any way I feel their pain in some form. (Expect people that have betrayed or hurt my best friends. You all can hurt as much as you like and I won't feel anything.)
However, in the world of jobs and incomes those who have no fear of stepping on toes or stealing the limelight are the ones that get paid. Those people who relish in controlling others and being the ones with power to dismiss or praise their subordinates. These are all qualities associated with a go-getter aggressor that many organizations would love to hire.
I'm not saying that all my problems boil down to being nice, but it certainly doesn't help. Anyone that tells you that you can rise to significant leadership positions without a little of this attitude is lying!
Nice people are needed to make the world better and we should be respected. I can't see myself changing any time soon. I believe the world needs nice ethical people like me and maybe you. I just wish there were better avenues for a financially secure existence. It would be nice to travel more and buy clothes that aren't all from Goodwill, but even if I just knew that I have the capacity to save for something special that would make me feel better.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Suggestions for Serving Justice Better

I began my jury duty service with mixed emotions. The prospect of being relegated to $40 dollars a day for a stretch of time was frightful, while the idea of serving on a real life jury was in fact intriguing.

We gathered in the jury room to watch our introduction film. It began with actors in bad costumes portraying an archaic trail of an accused community member. Wrapping them in chains and if they sink to the bottom of the lake they are innocent, if they float it’s a guilty verdict. Next, we learned about the evolution of the jury and judge system into what we have today. Soon, Diane Sawyer was prepping us for our own journey into the jury box.
Throughout the entire film there was an emphasis on the civic duty and privilege of being a juror. For a moment, I was struck with a small burst of pride in participating in an imperfect yet respectable system of law. However no matter how much pride or even desire I had to become a juror, I still couldn’t shake the fear in the pit of my stomach.
Thoughts about projects at work and most of all the financial hardship that serving would cause overshadowed every positive emotion. Not to mention that the majority of the time was so extensively boring and it often felt like I was in hospital waiting room, which only added to my anxiety.
This sucks!
Our justice system is so important to the maintenance and progression of our civil liberties that we should be excited about jury duty. But how can we be under these circumstances?
Here are my suggestions for improving our jury duty procedures in order to ensure due process and essential freedom in this country.
• Most importantly, there needs to be payment reform. Perhaps subsidize employers to provide full wages for days out for jury duty or offer better government funded compensation.
• Schedule cases to allow for people to work a part day. Many people have pressing projects at work and dismissing at 2:00pm would allow them at least some time to work on them.
• Be more courtesy when calling a group of potential jurors into a courtroom- aka DO NOT call them 5 minutes before they have been told they will be dismissed for lunch! I get mad easily when I’m hungry and I am positive that I am not the only one.
• What would help in the above scenario is to provide FREE snack food
• In the lounge put some comfy lounge chairs or couches to create a more relaxed atmosphere
• Maybe paint the jury room a calming color like sky blue and have chairs that aren’t brown…it really did feel too much like a hospital waiting room
• Have more entertainment option: A larger supply of magazines, maybe some board games or playing cards, have more than one television (which was off every time I went into the juror’s lounge!), just get creative people!
• Maybe have a raffle where people who get chosen for trials get the chance to win something exciting like Broadway show tickets or gift certificates.

I think if these suggestions and other improvements were made to the jury system people would be more eager to serve. Even calling friends to brag because they got picked! The real winner would be all of us in this society because the more impartial and less disgruntled a jury the better the outcome.