Thursday, April 15, 2010

Why I Despise Obamacare

You might've noticed my lack of response about a horrendous bill that was recently signed in to law. The Obamacare nightmare has really upset and scared me so I've waited a little while to think about what I want to write and how to not completely go off on how terrible this bill is for all of us. Not only is the bill life-threatening, it was passed without any regard for the proper procedures for approving a bill. Obama and his team forced this atrocity down the throats of the American people. They had to, though, I guess. Because no one wanted it. No one except for him, that is. The good ol' Almighty Obama.

I am not saying that we don't need healthcare reform. And don't let yourself be fooled that this IS anything of the sort. A vote for this bill was merely a vote for higher taxes, fewer benefits, higher premiums and bigger deficits. And as Herman Cain said so eloquently, this is not a healthcare reform bill, rather it is a healthcare deform bill.

While cruising the Internet in search of details tucked away in this bill, I came across the article below. I couldn't sum it up any better. Please take a minute to read it and hope that you don't get sick. Ever.

The most remarkable immediate result of the vote is, well, nothing much at all. Next year is already slated to be a tough year for Americans, as the expiration of the Bush tax cuts promises to suck billions from the private sector. Now ObamaCare's mandates will increase health spending by businesses and households -- with more "health-reform" tax hikes set to hit in the years ahead.

That's not to say there will be no short-term effects. The bill immediately redefines youth to age 26, mandating that group and individual health plans cover adult "children" up to that age. This will certainly increase premiums, as will the new law's ban on policies that have lifetime and annual limits on health-care services.

Americans will also start to pick up a portion of the $20 billion in tax hikes imposed on medical-device companies, as well the new taxes on drug manufacturers. And we'll no longer be allowed to buy over-the-counter medications with our flexible-spending accounts.

But the most onerous of the bill's taxes start to take effect in 2013. Families with incomes greater than $250,000 will pay a higher Medicare Payroll Tax up to 2.35 percent, plus a new 3.8 percent tax on interest and dividend income. With this stroke, Democrats have managed to punish both work and the savings of American families.

Congress radically cuts the annual contribution to flexible health-care spending accounts from $5,000 to $2,500 and limits deductions of catastrophic health-care expenses. Both moves promise hardship for families that face costly, chronic medical conditions. Half of those who take advantage of the medical-expense deduction earn less that $50,000 a year.

By 2014, the new law will certainly put the health-insurance market in full crisis. That's the year insurers will have to offer polices to all comers -- charging healthy people the same premiums as those who waited until they were sick to buy a policy. That reform has devastated the private-insurance market in every state that has adopted it -- pushing premiums so high that more than half of individual and small group policyholders drop their insurance altogether. These people will have nowhere to get except the federally created and subsidized "insurance exchanges." Meanwhile, fines of $2,000 per employee will fall on businesses with 50 or more workers if any employee gets a subsidy from the federal government.

Starting in 2018, "Cadillac" insurance plans will be taxed -- individual polices over $10,200 a year and family plans over $27,500. The way the tax is "indexed," in time it'll cover more and more Americans -- just as the Alternative Minimum Income Tax, first targeted at the super-rich, now hits millions in the middle class.

The individual mandate is laughably weak, with fines starting at one-half of 1 percent of income in 2014 and topping out at 2 percent in 2016. Many Americans will game the system, paying the fine until a major health expense hits, and then buying insurance at government-mandated rates as if they were healthy.

It is clear from the polls that 56 percent of Americans don't want the government to take over their health care. But Obama, Pelosi and Reid don't care: They believe that government should be bigger and is better able to make decisions than individuals about how to run their lives.

There's no doubt that under this plan, taxes for all Americans will go up, deficits will climb, care will be rationed and all of us will be on their way to living under a government-run system of "Medicaid for all.

If you still TRULY believe that the current administration was trying to help more people afford health insurance, rather than redistribute wealth, then you are sorely mistaken. You must either be a true socialist or you just aren't paying attention.

Insurance premiums will go up, taxes will increase, healthcare services and quality will be rationed, and we are all screwed. Now THAT is change that we can believe in.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Happy Tax Freedom Day

Up until today, you've been a slave. Your work, time away from family, stress, and intelligence have all been payed to one entity: our goverment. Hooray.

Enjoy your freedom as you are now, for the remainder of 2010, allowed to keep what you earn. Who would've thought that we could reap the benefits of our own labor? Or that we are all, in essence, federal slaves for more than one quarter of the year?

And don't think that it's getting better any time soon. As large deficits have proven in the past, the "Tax Freedom Day" will likely move later and later in the next few years. Our administration is increasing the deficit and taxes so feverishly that I have no doubt that we'll all be slaves for progressively longer amounts of time each year. Yay.

While the word "free" typically evokes positive feelings, when you tell me that I've been working for free, in essence, up until today...well, let's just say that I have some not-so-positive feelings about that. Unless being positively pissed off counts.

The silver lining here is that as of today, you can relax, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. You get to keep what you earn. Well, that is, until next year.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An Eggstra Special Easter

This Easter was eggstra special. My parents drove down on Friday afternoon and are staying with us until Wednesday morning. I will be so sad to see them leave but I have really enjoyed their visit. Connor has, too.

Against all odds, we hosted Easter lunch (Martins and Langs gone wild) at our house. Yup, we used our dining room table for the first time. AND we used our china for the first time. We were faaancy! With too much delicious food to consume and the margarita machine chugging along, we were all in good spirits. Plus, the Easter bunny brought Connor a baby pool all the way from Missouri. That's a long trip for a bunny!

Lucky for us (or maybe for Connor), he love, love, LOVED the baby pool. He played it in Saturday and Sunday and provided us with plenty of excitement. We were happy to be sitting on the patio, sipping our margaritas and letting our food digest as he splashed and played and kept us all - himself included - entertained.

I imagine our stove is pretty pissed at us right now because it has worked harder in the last few days than it has ever had to work. Seriously. I probably should give it a break and not cook for a few days. Or weeks, maybe. I am just thinking of what is best for the stove, of course. I'm always thinking about what's best for others...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Let's Get Stoned

If you had to venture a guess, what would you say is in this photo?

Well, apparently about 10 kidney stones. (You are undoubtedly thinking Krista, are you kidney-ing me? And the answer, my friends, is No, no, I'm not.) I went to the doctor because I thought that I may have a bladder infection early last week. That may be TMI and if so, get over it.

Ok, so I had a bladder infection. I picked up my antibiotics and the world seemed right again. On Thursday, though, the world was ever-so-slightly off-kilter. Again. The pain in my abdomen led to another phone call - and visit - to my physician.

After going through the normal list of questions and poking and proding in my abdominal region, I was given the glorious opportunity to pee in a cup to assess the situation further. Yessss.

"Well", the doctor started out, "I think you may have a kidney stone".

"A what?!"

"A kidney stone."

"Well, tell me this: On a scale of 1-10, what is your current pain level?"

"Uh...well, I'm not really good at that. You see... when I was in labor, my doctor asked me that same question and I told her that I was at a pain level of 3 when I was having horrendous contractions. I was probably more like a 12 or 15 when I said that. So, I guess I'm at a pain level of 4 right now. But this isn't more painful than giving birth."

", uh... well, that doesn't really help. Let's get a CT scan to see what is going on."

The scan was completely painless and I walked out of the digital imagining clinic an hour after I walked in.

On my way home, my phone rang. And, I was completely surprised to hear that I have not one, not two, but TEN friggin' kidney stones. One is stuck and is partially blocking one of my ureters. The other NINE kidney stones were dispersed pretty evenly between the right and left kidneys.

As one of my friends pointed out, my body doesn't just "do" something. No, when it "does" something, it REALLY does it well. Take making eggs, for example: I made 78 billion of them during the IVF process. Not normal but we accepted it and moved forward. Let's talk about having kidney stones: not one, oh no, that's boring. HOW ABOUT HAVING TEN.

Being an overachiever gets so old.

Hopefully I have passed this bad-boy-kidney-stone by the time that I speak with the physician on Tuesday. If not, I may have to get it crushed so that it won't cause kidney damage. The other nine are OK to stay in there as long as they stay out of my ureters.

Man, I feel like I say that all of the time: PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM MY URETERS. Ugh.