Thursday, August 12, 2010

Random stuff I'm thinking about

"The Ground Zero Mosque" -- Why is this a controversy? Evidently, it's a Muslim community center, envisioned as similar to the 92nd Street Y. Why are Republicans (with Gingrich the scary "intellect" at the center) decrying it as some kind of sign of the impending Muslim apocalypse? When I first heard about it, I thought it a bit ballsy, but then I thought  it's New York City -- and having been a New Yorker, well, the city can handle it. Hendrik Hertzberg wrote a beautiful piece (as always) about it in The New Yorker magazine, with a wonderful quote of George Washington's:
In a famous letter—the one that holds that the United States “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens”—George Washington offered a benediction:

May the children of the stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants, while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

Health Insurance bulls#$%$#: I spent about one hour on the phone today with Anthem Blue Cross, trying to straighten out an innocuous claim that I'd mailed in over a month ago for a doctor visit for Sophie. I won't bore you with the details, but I finally got a supervisor who assured me that there had been a mistake, we apologize for the inconvenience and I will fix this right now, today. I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but I swear there's something systematic going on at Anthem with Sophie's file. I can't remember a single claim in the last five years that hasn't been contested, had some sort of "error" or needed to be argued. I eventually always get a check or the situation fixed, but it makes me wonder... I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me there's a large binder with a big fat X on it, under Sophie's name. Wear the mother down, it reads on the first page.

Today I read an article in the business section of the Los Angeles Times newspaper about the insurers' power over state legislators and, therefore, rates. Only 19 states in the country (and California is NOT one of them) have 'prior approval' authority over medical premiums. What that means, in a nutshell, is that insurance companies can pretty much do as they please and hike up rates however much and whenever they choose. How do they do it? Well, according to this article " Since 2003, insurance companies and health maintenance organizations have given more than $42 million in state-level campaign contributions, often targeting lawmakers who sit on the committees that decide how much power regulators will have. "

That  makes me sick. And I think it's perfectly apropos that the formatting of this whole section is weird and beyond my control. It's the insurance company, dammit!

On Brain physiology and politics: After spending three weeks in the south and with my family, many of whom are very conservative, I'm convinced that one's political leanings must be something predetermined and fixed in one's brain. I don't think I'll ever agree with a damn thing that my parents believe regarding politics and I'm sure they feel the same way about me. Attributing our differences to brain chemistry is, honestly, the only way I can deal with it without going completely mad.

Words and phrases I love right now: going mad, madness, dreadful, Holy Moly, Holy Crapola, 


  1. i'm SURE i read something, somewhere, about political leanings having far more to do with nuture as opposed to nature.

    that being said, count yoursef as luck(or brilliant?) that you have risen above the conservative leanings of your upbringing.

    i am certainly glad to know you, elizabeth.

    i have nothing to add about cospiracy theory/insurance. humph.

  2. I can't figure out the whole deal with the mosque, either. Another example of the insanity of the way we view religion.
    As to insurance companies- hell yes, that file is marked. You better believe it.
    And the older I get, the less I understand about why people are the way they are and I am, like you, far more apt to give credit to genetics.
    Hell, the answer to EVERYTHING may end up in one of two categories: genes and viruses.
    You read it here first.

  3. The mosque thing blows my mind, too. Kind of insulting to blame the whole 9/11 thing on Islam rather than terrorism. Like somehow it is an organically bad religion.

    And Holy Crapola might just be my phrase of the day. Thanks. I think.

  4. what a lovely interesting post
    just found you through thismom's blog

  5. I don't get the mosque thing at all. Nor do I understand the insurance companies. I've had one stupid little $48 charge from a physical therapy appointment haunting me since February. The insurance company swears they paid it, but the PT continues to bill me. If this is one tiny little inconsequential glimpse into the paperwork hell you must deal with, let me just say: holy crapola!

  6. Insurance companies. Bah!!!

    I spent a similar afternoon this week having a very Alice-in-wonderlandish conversation about "bills that were being rejected due to pre-existing conditions on my policy which I do not have but it's okay because they have removed the pre-existing condition which I did not have but why did they pay all the other bills for the last 8 months oh that was just a random computer glitch so can I expect more random computer glitches no I've fixed that it was all due to your pre-existing condition."

    As to differing political leanings, I've come to the conclusion that all that matters is "faith expressing itself through love."

  7. Dear Awesome One,
    Grrrr. I will not paralyse anyone with my tirades about insurance co.s Suffice to say *&$^#@)$*~+=%$$$$*#@>?
    Holy Crapola is one of my all-time favorite exclamations from my sons'growing-up. Hilarious to note that I still pepper my language with teen-boy. Honest, it's an accident.

    Yes. Sad and unfortunate that the whole of our religious experience in this country seems to bypass/ignore the spiritual experience. The events of 911 did not appear out of nowhere. That day does not define Islam.

    What if all that energy of Right was set to putting it right? Yes, I mean really right.

  8. a mosque near ground zero makes perfect sense - both logically and heartwise too.

    I hate insurance companies vicariously through your tales - and so thankful we deal so rarely with them (fingers crossed here)

    ... and maybe there's a drug for that - a sort of prozac for politics

  9. Insurance companies try to minimize payouts as much as possible, because they interfere with their margins. I think that they just deny coverage for items on the gamble that policy holders will not dispute their decisions. They probably have more incentive to do that now, because income from investments is down.

    @kristenspina: you might try sending the explanation of benefits supplied to you by your insurance company to your therapist. It should list the billed amount, the allowed amount, the amount they paid (and often the date paid) and your obligation (if any). Make sure you have either a fax log or proof of delivery when you send it.

  10. correction: a COPY of the explanation of benefits ... keep a copy for yourself!



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