Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Dinner was Ruined

I'm home early so I have some time to blog. I'm home early because I walked out of a dinner meeting that was supposed to be a congenial gathering of estate planning professionals (you may not realize this...but that's what I do for a living! Entirely different website and eventually a blog for the other life of mine). Instead, after a very pleasant dinner I was subjected to some bloated, pompous, braggart of a CPA (hint: if someone starts a presentation with  "I represent only extremely wealthy clients with net worths in the hundreds of millions of dollars, probably even a billion" and he's standing in a small country club talking to maybe 40 people in my part of southern California....he's making s*^% up and really, truly, madly needs to get over himself). He then launched into a diatribe expounding his personal views on the Health Care bills. You know, the ones that didn't pass? The ones that have nothing to do with estate planning? The ones that are still the topic of extensive debate because, and here's a shocker, there is more than one point of view? Yes, those bills (House and Senate). Apparently he felt we would all be so thrilled to hear his extremely one-sided, shallow, uninformed and completely irrelevant opinion on what he called (because he's oh-so-hip-if-only-it-were-still 1992) "The Health Care Bill from Hell."

Perhaps I'm a bit sensitive, as a single, self-employed woman who now has a "pre-existing condition" which can be used to exclude me from health care coverage for, oh, ever if this guy has his way. Why would someone walk into a room and assume his views were so perfect that of course everyone in the room was going to not only agree with him but acknowledge him for the genius he so clearly feels he is? I never understand that sort of behavior. Maybe because I live in a town where my politics are clearly in the minority, I tend to not assume folks will feel the same way I do. Isn't that sort of common sense and, um, decency anyway when addressing a room full of folks?

So you might guess, I didn't exactly agree with Mr. Bloat. It seems highly likely to me that I will one day need some form of national health care option. I'm not likely to be able to maintain a lifetime of private insurance without some drastic change in our system. (Currently, my insurance costs me about $850 a month...but you watch how fast they increase that! And I still have co-pays up to $4,000 and a deductible of $500. Do the math.). And while the bills pending before Congress may not be perfect--and I ask you, in our current system, could there ever be a perfect bill--they should at least be considered without all the ridiculous rhetoric of "expensive" and "taxes" and how much it will hurt small business (right, like the current insurance scam going isn't hard on small businesses! And who exactly thinks our current system is reasonably priced?? And what, the war has been cheap??). Can't we talk about the benefits? About actual health care? Even about healthy competition? The  CPA quoted an insurance company discussing how expensive coverage under the new plan (ahem, the one that hasn't been finalized, let alone passed into law) would be for a healthy 25 year old male, or some such example. No cite to where this made up statistic is coming from, but hey, if an insurance company said it, well it must be true! Why would the existing insurance company have an ax to grind with the health care legislation being proposed? They wouldn't be trying to eliminate any competition would they? Gosh, no. They don't have a pretty good cash cow going now that they'd maybe like to protect? Nah. Never! They're just looking out for our best interests! Sort of like they do when they deny coverage.

I don't know how I feel, really, about the current legislation. I just know I'd like a rational discussion about options and changes and some form of national health care without everybody retreating to their respective usual corners and throwing out shallow rhetoric. I'd like to hear people discuss health care. I'd like to not see all the wealthy and healthy folks lined up on one side yelling about taxes and costs when the discussion should be on health care first.

Remember how your mother taught you not to discuss politics and religion in polite company? Somebody forgot that tonight.

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