Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the catching up edition

It's been three weeks since I wrote a rant here, so brace yourselves. I have some catching up to do. There's a lot to cover.

The $200,000 British Baby Bill
A British couple came here on vacation, their last big trip before their baby was due this Spring, something that many couples choose to do before everything changes with the addition of a newborn. As babies sometimes do, though, the baby opted to arrive much earlier than planned and was born here in the United States instead of back home. The couple was told that the baby would have to spend several months in the hospital, and that the bills would likely be well over $200,000 when all was said and done.

The story made headlines, many of which were actually a bit misleading. The actual financial issue for their specific situation has been settled, apparently, but there is a piece of it all that seems to be missing from the dialogues going on. While most people seem to be worried about the supposed injustice of having a baby on foreign soil and being expected to pay for it, there is a much bigger issue here - the fact that thousands of families here in the United States declare bankruptcy every year because of medical bills.

Even the so-called not for profit hospitals are pursuing patients relentlessly for payment of bills that could be discharged, that arguably should be discharged, that are supposed to be discharged as part of their agreement with the IRS to provide charity care in exchange for their tax exempt status.

We need to talk about that.

Our system is broken. This couple, had they been back home, would have had the delivery and the stay paid for by the government provided insurance. That system, unlike ours, is one of universal health care.

We labor under a delusion here that the free market is the best way to deliver something essential to survival. We fall for the lie that profit incentives can be trusted when it comes to life or death situations. We imagine a world where individuals are adequately risk averse and carry (and can afford) the insurance that they need. We know all too well that medical care is too damned expensive, that some people just simply cannot afford it, but still insist that the system is better than one where everyone would be covered automatically.

Anyway, I could go on forever about this. But I won't. Because there is other stuff to rant about today. Besides, I'm far more concerned with the citizens who live here being hounded to death over hospital bills than I ever will be with one family who accidentally had a baby while on vacation.

The Lady at the Health Food Store
A few days ago, a friend posted this link on my page and asked me to write about it. Fine. I'll be your Huckleberry. Basically, the article is about a woman shopping in a health food store while being ridiculed by another shopper for being overweight.

If you read the post, which you should, you'll see what all happened and how she responded.

Things like this piss me off. SO MUCH.

They piss me off because I've been there. I've been mocked, made fun of by an oblivious asshole who seemed to think that just because I carry a few more pounds on my frame than she believed that I should made me fair game, an easy target. I may be fat, but I'm not deaf.

I can lose the weight, but you'll always be an asshole.

In my particular situation, I was pointed out as an example of "bad" fat by a mother to her child. How sweet.

What that bitch didn't realize was that I'd finally made my trek out to the pool that morning for the first time in months after losing my first child. I was overweight to begin with, I had gained weight while I was pregnant, and I had gained in the months afterwards too. I was struggling just to function. I was mourning. I was deep in the thick of trying to get pregnant again, every month another reminder that it wasn't working.

I was a mess. A fat mess. But for some godforsaken reason, I decided to go to the pool that morning to lay in the sun, just to have her make fun of me, use me as an example to her 6 or 7 year old daughter.

This. This is why I hate humans sometimes.

It's been 14 years and it still hurts.

Don't make fun of people. Don't judge what you don't know. Don't believe for one second that someone's physical appearance is all you need to know to understand their situation. Don't use strangers as lessons for your children. Don't believe that the number on a scale is somehow equivalent to your worth as a person. Just don't.

The Thin Blue Line
I've been wanting to write about this for weeks, but haven't. I haven't for a few reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I have many friends and family members in law enforcement. I worked for the district attorney. I fully support law enforcement and fully believe that the vast majority of people working in it are good, honest people doing the best they can in a dangerous profession. Having said that, the NYPD officers turning their backs on the Mayor, refusing to do their jobs...it just pisses me off.

Yes, those who work in this profession risk their lives every single day. Yes, they are being unfairly targeted right now. Yes, there were two officers killed in NYC just for wearing the uniform.

No one is questioning any of that.

Police work is hard work. Dangerous work.

To believe though that those deaths are the fault of the mayor, or the president, or anyone protesting is wrong. The mayor has mixed race children, and it's well within his rights as a parent to be concerned about profiling. Profiling very much so exists. To wave it off, to say it doesn't, to dismiss it is perpetrating the injustice.

Professionals should act like it, and I believe that law enforcement is a profession. If some within the profession are acting in ways unbecoming to the profession, that needs to be addressed. You don't see every other doctor in the country automatically running to the defense of those who commit malpractice, demanding that society turn a blind eye. The other doctors don't summarily refuse to do their job.

No. They don't. When someone in your profession screws up, you should want it to be dealt with. You should want others in your profession to operate at the highest standards. You should want them to be fair and just and treat others equally, and you should want all those things because their failings reflect on the entire profession.

It isn't just the solidarity of the officers standing in the way of progress here, it's the media as well. The media is implying that every interaction between officers and civilians is racially motivated now, as the direct result of the unsettled nature of police interaction, even when it isn't at all. Just yesterday, two officers were shot at during the pursuit of a robbery suspect. That's the danger of doing the job, not anything related to race.

Instead of saying that two officers were fired on while pursuing a suspect, though, the early reports by the media just said two officers were fired upon, leaving the biases of the populace to fill in the blanks. It's wrong. Period. It only adds fuel to the fire and it needs to stop.


  1. I concur whole heartedly!

  2. Wow! You have so much here today, Kelly, I'm not even sure where to start. I thinj, I'll just go with. Keep writing the rants. Keep telling the truth about our country and the (mis)hape it's in! :)

  3. 150% agree on all of this!

    Regarding the situation at Whole Foods: I'll admit to having had a judgy thought or two but I quickly slap myself realizing that 1. I'm not perfect and 2. I'm also overweight. I have no room nor right to judge anyone based on their appearance. Thankfully that thought has not happened for a long time and I'm far less of an asshole these days.

  4. I think we are long lost twins! Agree, agree, agree! It's too bad that you live 13 or more hours from me because I would love to buy you a drink, dessert or lunch (what the heck, all three) and just commiserate about the things that piss us off or make us laugh hysterically! Well done.


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