Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Things to Think About

Last night, I joined Tanya Ward Goodman and the poet Helena Lipstadt for a reading at a very cool independent bookstore in Echo Park. A small, intimate crowd came, and we sat outside in a funky light-stringed courtyard behind the store. I can't tell you enough good things about Tanya's book Leaving Tinkertown, and even though I've read it in different incarnations over many years, it's still a thrill to hear her words. Helena is a new friend whom I met in my new writing group, and her poetry is so intelligent, lyrical and powerfully erotic. I read a few of my How We Do It posts and realized as I was doing so, that they might make a book if they are strung together in some skillful way. I need to get on that.

Other thoughts today concern my struggles with obtaining a better health insurance policy, how I'm realizing just how insidious the tentacles of the Insurance Industry really are --at least for those of us in the independent market. A few years ago, when the whole healthcare reform movement began and the rumblings started about Obamacare, I wrote of how ridiculous it would be to "shop" on the free market for healthcare. You can read about that here.  I'll give you a moment, because it's pretty prescient, if I do say so myself.

Are you back? What I'm finding is that while I can certainly add Sophie to our individual policy  because the ACA has done away with the preexisting condition clause, the drugs that she takes are not on the formularies, and I'm terrified that we'll have to go through some crazy labyrinthine system to get those drugs covered. If you can recall from my Canadian drug mule days, we finally found a non-profit foundation that picks up the co-payment of one of those drugs, but the other one is equally expensive and was only covered after months-long wrangling with the insurance commissioner and my local congress person. For those of you who have written me with the suggestion that Sophie go on Medi-Cal, well, she is, secondary, and those drugs are not picked up by them either.

Hey, like The Tan Man says, The United States has the best healthcare delivery system in the world.

Why the hell do we not have a single payer system? Why the hell is socialized medicine a less attractive alternative to a plutocratic system?

What a clusterf#*ck.

I'm also thinking about the Congressman from Virginia who was stabbed by his mentally ill son who then shot himself and died. Evidently, the son had been admitted for mental health treatment earlier in the week, but a bed wasn't available for him.

Again, let's recite the powerful Tan Man's mantra:

The United States has the best healthcare delivery system in the world.

That being said, Michael Tomasky has a great, brief piece on how the Affordable Care Act addresses mental health coverage for the first time in history. You can read that here.

Finally, ya'll might want to come on out and visit the estate sale of Dr. Arnold Klein, the dermatologist who worked on the face of Michael Jackson. He lives in my neighborhood (the fancy part), and evidently his estate will be liquidated over the next four days. Rumor has it that an extensive collection of Star Wars memorabilia, as well as Picassos and other celebrity crap will be auctioned off. There's a line snaking out the door as I type.

Good Lord.

Reader, what are your thoughts today?


  1. I told you to make those a book!!!!! See. It's different when you hear the words out loud.

  2. I left a comment on another post, but it was great to hear you last night.

  3. Yes, they could be a book, and they absolutely should be! I bet if you put them together, you'd have more to work with than you remember.

    I wish I'd been able to see you all read.

  4. I was so sad to hear about the boy who was denied a bed for his mental health issues. While it may not serve any purpose whatsoever, I wouldn't be surprised if the family sued the state for not detaining him. Perhaps what the Tan Man meant to say was that the US has the best healthcare system in the world if you're an elected official or otherwise independently wealthy. I am so thrilled that you got to read your work last night and saw it for what it is (brilliant), and I wish you and Tanya would take that show on the road - at least as far as Seattle ;-). Here's hoping you find some solutions to your own healthcare dilemmas. I can't imagine how complicated it must all be and I echo your shout out for a single payer system. If only.

  5. Elizabeth, How We Do It is a book. That is all. And you're beautiful. I love that picture of you and the other two women writers. Now that is really all.

    (I have no energy plus she said what I wanted to say and perfectly. As always.)

  7. My thought is that the tan man is not in charge....what a cf is right! I cannot believe the whole thing is so screwed up but as they keep saying "It is the law".....another example of be careful what you wish for. As I desperately try to find a plan that has not tripled in price.....This was like one big Christmas present wrapped up with a red ribbon for the insurance companies....

    1. Not sure what you mean by "another example of be careful what you wish for," ain't for city girls, although your inference is clear, and I know from your past comments that you're a libertarian and that I have very little in common with you politically. I agree that the insurance companies are calling the shots, but Boehner and the rest of the people in thrall to the Tea Party are at the center of the clusterfuck that is, at this point, funded by the plutocrats (those billionaires that I believe you professed loving in another post). I do like a dissenter, though, so keep those comments coming.

  8. Scared to death I won't have a place to live come January. Terrified that Medicaid won't cover the basic meds I need for my mental illness. The feeling the known feeling that I write about these things but no one really knows what dire straits I'm in.

  9. We all just need the health plan that our senators have...

  10. Glad the reading went well! As you know, I agree with you 100 percent on the health care thing. A single-payer system certainly makes sense to me. As for the Star Wars figurines, I feel like figurines that were paid for by surgery to the face of Michael Jackson must surely bear some sort of curse.

  11. We don't have single payer because the money is on the side of insurance companies and the health care industrial complex! Arg!

  12. i can't even start ranting about the health care system. it's not pretty and it's really not much prettier as you get older. now that i am medicare eligible, and i realize what 'old people' have been dealing with all these years, even the we-should-be-so-grateful-for medicare is no damn picnic to understand and make function for an individual person's benefit. moving on, you look lovely with your women friends, relaxed, among your own kind. you work so hard, elizabeth--it's good to see you just enjoying the moment.

  13. Congrats on the reading! And yes, you better "GET ON" that book!



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