Oh And Another Thing…

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There’s a rather ugly strain of snark going around right now that speaks from a place of high intellectual assessment of pop culture & its various depravities. Instead, it betrays the snarkist as medically ignorant.

I get that some people are on diets because it’s trendy & fashionable. But those diets exist because some of us would die or at least experience tremendous discomfort if we ate the foods that aren’t on them. Yes, a Norm that goes gluten free is kidding herself, but for those of us with celiac, it’s not us making a fuss or being difficult or precious. It’s that we don’t want to crap ourselves in your presence in the immediate future, & we don’t want diseased bowel cut out of us at a later date.

If someone has a nut or wheat allergy, they frequently learned this after showing up at the ER because they stopped breathing. So let’s not be dicks about this. You may as well deride someone for being averse to drowning or falling into a wood chipper. Should we poo poo those who aren’t keen on being hacked to death by Jizzy The Marvelous Murder Clown? Well then seriously. Calm your tits. Don’t be offended if someone can’t eat something you made. It not their fault any more than it’s yours. And if they’re over the age of 7, they usually get that.

(If they do throw a fit & you didn’t know, however, feel free to assume their blood sugar is low & that all this stuff is coming up from the time their brother poured soy sauce in their Coke when they weren’t looking & they missed Thanksgiving due to near death. We all have baggage.)

I am also weary of people who mock those that look different or behave differently without first ascertaining if there’s a medical issue before assuming they’re a slovenly entitled jerk. I’m fond of saying “Most people don’t have Asperger’s; they’re just dicks” but some people do. They’re not dicks; they’re just kinda difficult to get on with. I use that saying so often because I’ll meet women dating a somewhat awkward, neglectful, inappropriate guy but he’s hot so they put up with it cos they saw a thing on Dr. Oz about “Aspergris or whatever” & I’m like “Child, no.”

The same goes for people in the grocery store sick of a child’s flapping or strange utterances (after 20 seconds, not imagining the parent deals with it all day). And my other favourite, the impromptu weight counselor. This has never happened to me, but it has happened to friends losing a significant amount of weight.

The most mortifying example was a gal in a fibro support group who had lost 40 lbs eating right & going to the gym, but she had about 120 to go. She was at the supermarket loading her basket with lean protein & veggies, wearing a sweatshirt from her gym.

An extremely well put together & elegant woman approached her. She was very slender & my friend thought she was beautiful. Then she opened her mouth. She sorta grasped at the sweatshirt & said “Did you get this from Goodwill? Cos your ass has surely never seen the inside of a gym.”

My friend was dumbstruck. She stopped by the pizza & ice cream aisles, went home, cried, & ate. We all got her back on track, but this hideous Beast of Prey did enough damage to make the gal no longer proud to wear her gym sweatshirt out any more.

My response, as I’m this kind of a bitch, would be “I can imagine why you’d think that. I still have a ways to go, but I’ve lost 40 lbs, & I’ve in fact just come from my 3rd gym session this week. I think I have pretty good food choices in my cart, but you’re so slim, maybe you could recommend some others?”

I’ve been known to completely destroy a person’s life with meek kindness.

This all boils down to think before you open your giant flapping hate hole. You don’t want to have to shove your foot in there, do you?*

*Foot fetishists need not answer.

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My Ongoing War With That Fucking Guy From “The Mentalist”

If you follow me on Twitter you’ve already seen me have bursts of righteous ire any time I catch even a millisecond of The Mentalist. Aside from the fact that it is a typical American procedural with utterly no regard whatsoever for actual police procedure & a penchant to hyperdramatize nonsense, it is a show entirely designed to make twits fall in impossible stupid girl love with a floppy haired blond boy bimbo (who is probably a very nice bloke in real life).

Women, TV thinks you’re stupid. A bunch of executives hopped up on vegan cruelty free triple shot skinny lattes got together in a room one day & said, “What do middle aged women want?” After pitching a show where Gary Sinise & David Caruso strut around shirtless & oiled carrying babies & healing people w/ lupus, they said “Lets have really sensitive Robert Redford solve crimes with sensitivity & feelings.” And all their eyes lit up & they high fived each other & started taking lunches with central casting and every blond blue eyed guy on the planet. Then they came up with simperingly cute That Guy From The Show. I have such disdain for this show I’m not even gonna IMDB that for you. He’s Australian & my middle aged friend is in untempered uberlust with him.

In a fit of unbridled pandering, they devised the following characters: Patrick Jane, a tough broad who will never love him that female viewers can hate, a beefy cop guy, & a token Asian. They made Jane have the ability to read body language & neuro linguistic cues, as far as I can tell, so it seems like he can read women’s minds. Sigh. Then they made him a widower so he’d appear difficult to reach but unencumbered by some bitch exwife & bratty step kids because that is the personal hell of half of middle America.

YOU’RE ALL SUPPOSED TO SIGH NOW. ISN’T HE DREAMY!

What set me off today was a horse episode that came on while I was peeling a great deal of Trader Joe’s sweet potatoes exactly the size & shape of the average male penis. I heard horse sounds, & I love horses, so I peeked out of the kitchen to see what was on. Lo, the manufactured dreamboat Patrick Jane leaned forward toward a horse’s face, kissed its muzzle, and whispered to it. Fucking whispered.

For the sake of fuck are you assholes kidding me?! This was the pitch session: “Broads like horses. Tomatoes get fuckin’ wet for guys who are good with horses. Let’s make Jane a good body language expert of fuckin’ horses.” Cos we all learn that in psychology courses, by the way. Fucking horse body language. Then they all high fived each other, banged out an insulting script (where he also saves a young girl SIGH), did an 8 ball, & jerked each other off. I don’t know. I assume. It was probably for sweeps.

They think you are stupid, women. Stop watching this fucking garbage.

I’m a writer, as you might have guessed from the few decent pieces in my foul mouthed rants. When I write a male character, I want him to earn your love. I started a book with the male romantic lead shooting a woman in the face with a shotgun. He is a selfish dick workaholic with a stupid hat. And by the end of this book you will beg him to impregnate you with his mind babies. Is this because I think you harbor fantasies of being hurt? No. It’s because I think you’re smart & you can handle a flawed character who screws up sometimes. Like a real goddamned man.

I hate you, TV. I hate you so hard.

Wherein I Set Down the Kool-Aid and Take Up A Cup of Tea

Last week at theblacksphere.net I confessed to having been a sick and medicated idiot. This week, my allegiance to the Dark Side is complete. You can think of Kevin Jackson as the Emperor from Star Wars. “Give in to your hate!” I am hatin’ right now, and it’s not because my stupid girlfriend died, Darth Whiner. It’s because I paid my taxes.

I’m writing this on June 12. Yes, I filed for an extension, because during my move to Los Angeles from Reno, my 2008 return got irrevocably sucked into a wormhole or something. I hear there are a couple of those on the 5.

Obama told Tea Partiers on Tax Day that they ought to be grateful that he’s lowered taxes. Well, I just paid three times as much tax as I did during each year of the entire Bush administration. So how does that work, Mr. Precedent? Why am I calling him that?

Because it dawned on me I hadn’t paid more than $100 in taxes since Clinton was president! The first black president also screwed me, though not in the way he normally screws tubby white girls.

MIND. OFFICIALLY. BLOWN. I realize I may be a little slower than the rest of you.

Obama let Bush’s tax cuts expire, so while he didn’t exactly raise taxes, he didn’t exactly do anything to keep me from being screwed either. You may think, “Well, white girl, you probably made more money than me last year.”

I doubt it. I am firmly entrenched in lower middle class status, just like most of you. I did not receive a raise last year because my company froze all raises, and I did not earn extra income in any other way. I currently write for free, y’all (but won’t complain if Mr. Jackson wants to kick a little sugar my way for my stuff on theblacksphere.net). I haven’t gone to school for a while, so my tuition credit hasn’t been a factor in years.

I made just as little money as the rest of you good folks, and thanks to our glorious lefty Congress, I paid three times as much in taxes than I ever did during the entire war in the Middle East, and a couple of years before that. Holy crap, that crazy old white dude was right. Obama lied!

When Clinton was president, I made $5.00 an hour as a supervisor at a record store, and I was paying over $200 at tax time. In installments. Because Democrats clearly care about the lower class, I guess?

What is the point of allowing tax breaks to expire on the lower middle class? Well, it certainly helps to drop us down to the level of “poor”. Poor folks of all colours are then eligible for more programs, which guilts the rich white Left into backing more Leftist candidates, whose solemn single wish is to take care of all of us…by raising taxes and creating more programs.

Well, I don’t want any damn programs. I want my damn money!

Don’t you? When you last went to the bank to deposit your check, did you say, “Gee, I sure wish they’d taken out more taxes to pay for nebulous programs I may or may not ever use!” Or did you say “Gee, I’d sure like more damn money to spend as I damn well please”?

Some of you may be pausing over your grande frappuccinos or your bottles of pinot to say “Well, you see my dear, programs help those less fortunate than us, and it’s good for the government to wisely distribute funds and services where they are needed.” Do you hear yourself? When the government decides whom to distribute funds and services to, they have the power. They take the power away from you to decide how to take care of yourself and the folks you care about. You could spend your extra forty dollars a week in tax savings on dinner with your grandma, or beer, or a savings account, or home renovations, or crack, or a carton of smokes, or the tithing plate, or whatever the hell you want. Yes, you could be greedy and hoard it all for yourself, but that’s your choice.

When we let the government decide how to be nice for us, it steals not only the power away from us, but also the responsibility. It’s easier to let the government be nice to your fellow man than actually go out and donate to charity, put in time as a volunteer, or help out family. Yes, Mr. Lefty VonZinfandel, it’s all well and good to sit at dinner with your friends and tut tut over Republican greed, but you make enough money where you don’t seem to notice where your taxes go. You pay the government to be nice for you without the bother of having to meet actual folks and care for them. And you make enough money where it’s no skin off your back.

To me and the Mr. Six Packs of the world, we are so close to the wrong side of town that we see where it goes, and we feel it being taken from us. It goes to some people who do use welfare to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and get ahead in life. It also goes to people who know that they will lose what little income they have if they even make the slightest effort to help themselves. It takes power from them. It removes choice.

What was I going to do with the extra $156 I would not have had to pay under Bush? I was going to start paying my mother back for helping me to move down here. Now the government gets it, and they probably won’t even have it left to give her in five years when she’s old enough for Medicare. I would rather have given it to her now, thanks.

OMG, I hate the government!

I guess that puts me firmly on the damn Right now, doesn’t it? I’m proud to be here! When’s the next Tea Party? I’ll bring my finest damn Target china.

With love, The Angriest Girl in America Right Now.

(Damn!)

Your Intolerance of Intellectual Diversity

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been confronted with the alarming reality that many of you do not know what Adam Baldwin is doing when he tweets “Your intolerance of intellectual diversity is noted. Farewell.”

Now I don’t claim to read Mr. Baldwin’s mind, & I sure as hell do not speak for him, but I will let y’all in on a little secret. I enjoy reading, & I am fascinated by discourse. Twitter lets me participate in both at the same time, with millions of people. Fricken’ score!  I enjoy reading & discourse because it helps me to understand people’s intentions and ideas. It’s pretty clear to me why he posts that parting remark.

The first time Adam posted that, I thought, as many of you still do, “Whiskey tango foxtrot, what’s that all about?” so I clicked on the “in reply to” dealie & was confronted with the first of many tweets like this:

@yayzomg6969 I’m not following @adamsbaldwin anymore cuz he’s a republican & eww already. Makes me sick. Meanie!

We can deduce, based on the content of the crass “I’m not following you any more” tweet (look at me, I’m bossy & important!), that the tweeter is not Republican or Libertarian or Conservative as such concepts, which Adam Baldwin does admittedly espouse, make the tweeter “sick” & they think he’s a “meanie”. No engaging him in conversation as to why they don’t agree or think that’s mean, just out & out dismissal. Hoo. Rah.

This person probably either clings to no political philosophy, or the opposite of Adam’s. Or, if they themselves are what they hate, nuts. So anywho, the idea here is that this person has a set of ideas & doesn’t even want to be exposed to the other set.

Some of you, without irony, have expressed bafflement so I will break it down for ya (& if you think this is in response to you, it’s probably not. No shit, like 8 people over the past 48 hours have been questioning this very sentence, for different reasons, in different ways):

Your = possessive you

Intolerance = unwillingness to even see tweets from the other side, let alone click on ’em

of Intellectual = thoughts

Diversity = different from yours

is Noted. = I see your obnoxious unfollow announcement, you dolt. Like anyone aside from you, even the 153 Jo Bros fans & porn bots following you, could give a shit.

Farewell = But I wish you success & happiness. And KABLOCKA!

Does that make sense now? This person with different ideas than Adam doesn’t want to hear different ideas. They are intolerant of intellectual diversity. This is a very pleasant way to respond to the Twitter equivalent of “Fuck off even though I chose to listen to you.”

Those on the receiving end are lucky they’re getting Baldwin & not any of his characters. How would Casey respond? “Yeah, get outta hear, ya moron, before you get lead poisoning of the brain.” How would Jayne respond? “I don’t like folk following me no how anyhows <blammo>.” How would Animal Mother respond? Well, I think there’d be a lot of “motherfucker” and then some machine gun fire & then quite possibly collateral damage.

So…that should make sense now. He isn’t claiming he’s posting a bunch of different perspectives (though he does give the opposing view point airtime on occasion, for which he is rewarded with “Fuck off”); he’s saying that the trog announcing they are unfollowing him appears to be intolerant of even the concept of other ideas. Because on Twitter, you click on the links you want. You can look at Metallica photos or you can read about sustainable development. It really is up to you.

When he says “intolerance of…” in chat rooms (ahem), he is A. being snarky B. responding to you making a disrespectful comment about his views. If you get to be funny at him, he gets to be funny back. Fair’s fair.

When I say “intolerance of”, I am giving you shit. This is something you should be used to by now if you talk to me a lot. It’s fair to say that the more shit I give you, the less afraid I am of you & the more I love you.

Please don’t be intolerant of my amicable expressive diversity.

*kisses*

An Open Letter To Teh Mens

It’s not you; it’s me.

I apologize in advance for my abject fear. While your kind attention does not go unappreciated by me, it is also admittedly met with trepidation & a measure of suspicion. This is not your fault. Previous representatives of your gender were either ill prepared to deal with this model or grew tired if it’s many bugs. Rather than be returned, this model simply quit working. It’s built into the code.

Wait.

I just realized this is not an open letter to MEN. It’s an open letter to boys. In which case…

Holy crap, I am over you goddamn people. Seriously. If the sole content of your conversation, in person, on the phone, or tweeting is your brilliant mastery of the word “dude”, how you’re a sensitive modern guy or how ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’ was life changing, move on. I will listen politely & giggle at your jokes on rare occassion, but I will never sleep with you. Unless you are screamingly hot. But I’ve found that doesn’t matter & simply leads to “What was I thinking?!” moments later in the evening when I realize I’m just as bored looking at your pretty face as I am hearing you talk about anything. And that I, a finely tuned responsiveness machine, have failed to come. So get out of my house.

I have historically complained that the feminist movement failed women because instead of obtaining equal regard for what women naturally do quite well, we are scorned for it more than ever before. If you have the audacity to be a stay-at-home mom, pretty & delightful, or even the slightest bit (unintentionally) seductive, you’re just nowhere near as much of a woman as the gal in the surgical mask, the judge’s robe, the pantsuit. If you’re “just a girl”, you are somehow betraying your gender. Rather than being celebrating for being a girl how men were once celebrated for being men, you are denigrated as a race traitor & also a crazy person.

No? You’d never do that to someone? Hah! What would you say to a woman who says “I make no purchase without his permission. It’s his money, afterall”? Oh, are you about to claim pity for that poor misguided creature? Then suck on this: I was the primary wage earner for the past eight years and I STILL asked him if I could get something. That’s how deeply ingrained my respect for his earnings were to me, because we shared a bank account.

I feel begrimed by your pity. Now I’m going to have to shower again. Knock it off.

Yes, feminism denigrated women by trying to force us all into male positions, robbed us of the choice of being stay-at-home moms (since so many are now dependent on dual incomes), and then attempt to elevate us over men by making us superproducers. Instead, we are more tired, angry, & dependent on the insipid “Does he want me?” quizzes in Cosmo than ever before. Because now that men feel they can’t communicate their desires to us any more, we have no. Fricken’. Clue.

Feminism turned men into idiots, and by idiots I mean you boy types. Many of my generation were latchkey boys who were raised by The Great Space Coaster (psychedlic inculcation of retro t-shirt admiration forevermore) and Super Mario Brothers. Admit it, you sniveling man-child; you hear the music RIGHT NOW. I know because I hear it too. But I have an excuse; I AM a 14 year old boy. Ish.

You, in your 30s, think Jack in the Box is acceptable adult cuisine because you had more pizza nights than kids of the prior generation. When I cook you something gourmet or damn close, you have utterly no appreciation because your mom took most of your meals out of the microwave or a crockpot. Newsflash: lasagna does not traditionally come out of a box; salad dressing does not come from a squeeze bottle.

Holy crap, I had no idea I was this angry.

You are woefully unequipped to handle someone whose simplest wish is to make you happy, so her every attempt is met with confused scorn. If she stops cooking, cleaning, and doing THAT for you because you don’t seem to notice either way on the first two & have been poisoned by porn acting on the last, you may develop a mild resentment or you may just stay the same. The first is unfair since you never rewarded her with affection & protectiveness, instead insisting on still calling her by her name like a business associate (because baby, kid, kitten & honey are sexist) & letting bolder male friends harass her because you figure she can handle herself OR your apathy is like daggers through the heart because her sweet attention has gone unnoticed.

She is effing sick of you and your ilk. And your ilk are everywhere.

You’re a whiny, bloated series of stains on the fabric of this nation. Sort of like that Spiderman t-shirt you insist on wearing out to DINNER for Christ’s sake. What are you, three?! And it’s your big boy Spiderman birthday?!! PUT ON A JACKET. Wear clean TROUSERS, not shorts. You are not going to the sandlot to play whiffle ball, you retard.

Holy crap, I’m angry!

Oh also? When I’m angry, don’t get huffy back like my 13 year old daughter. I am guaranteed not to have sex with you if I start thinking of you as my 13 year old daughter. Instead, fix it like a man. If for some reason you feel you have a right to dress like a toddler for a party, explain it to me like a man. Once you realize how stupid you sound, you’ll change into a sport coat & jeans at the VERY least.

Learn to grill. Stop insisting that Halo somehow made you a man. Initiate sex like a grown up. I’m not 15; you don’t have to “trick” me into it. Fix things when they break, or hire someone. Tell me what wine goes well with that. Talk to me about politics. Be man enough to say grace. Tell me there’s no way in hell you’ll sleep under that bedspread. Understand tools better than me! How hard is that?! I only took one semester of woodshop for Chrissakes!

What’s a man? Someone who’s taken responsibility for his existence & is willing to take on the responsibility for his family’s existence. No, really. That’s it. When I’m ready to date again, I will only entertain offers from men. In the meantime, flirt with me only if you think you deserve my undying devotion. If you have the slightest doubt you can’t handle it, move on to some cynical faux feminist who will play Xbox live with you & who agrees the government should take care of both your carefree, adorable arses. I want no part in your prolonged adolescence.

Why now? Why this now? I was going to write something like this (less, er, pointed) before my trip, but being out here alone & among my friends I’ve chosen has shown me my preferred lifestyle is not what I’ve been living & it sure as hell is not worth forsaking in the interest of not being alone. I thrive best in a service environment, but I don’t want to service a table full of frat guys who don’t tip. If you’re gonna slap my ass after I put a plate in front of you, you better offer to buy me a Sapphire tonic & be able to extend your discourse past the point of the last SNL Digital Short. If not, I will stop that hand before it reaches my behind and break that wrist. I am over cheap admiration.

Figuratively, figuratively. I’m not offended by such things, just don’t expect it to lead to anything, dingus. I mean, look at you. When did your mom last wash that sweatshirt?!

Gonna be single for a good long while, I’m thinkin…

Gimme Gimme Gimme

Do you have Abba in your head now? Good. You now have a modicum of the pain I have endured today thanks to California’s glorious state Medicaid fund, Medi-Cal.

If you are still a proponent of state run health care after this, I’m guessing you probably could not wait for ‘Survivor’ tonight, & you are really concerned about whether Paula regrets leaving ‘Idol’. Pat pat.

Anyhow…

As I have ranted before, Medi-Cal is the Three Stooges of all the state run health plans, and I am not sure how the Sovereign Dimension of California got it that way, but it must have been a magical process involving Shriners in those little cars, shrooms, that weird speech impaired kid down the street who kept saying he was gonna beat people up, and lemmings. Here is what got my hard earned goat today.

A few weeks ago, Medi-Cal discovered that one of our patients had Medicare primary. Our patient apparently did not know this, either, as she neglected to tell us. No matter, Medi-Cal, like all Medicaid programs, is supposed to cover the disabled & look out for them. How it does this from riding on the short bus itself is a mystery for the ages, but ya know. Medi-Cal, obviously by some administrative screw-up, had already paid our claim, so the letter telling us that the patient had Medicare primary was also requesting a refund.

What did we do, as a compliant practice? We cut an effing check, didn’t we? We sure did. We also mailed it immediately to the address indicated on the letter.

Yeah, so, today…we get the check back. WE GET THE CHECK BACK. With a letter. There was a lot of Medi-Calese on this letter, so I will translate for you what it said:

“You don’t get to give us money back, even when we ask you for it. Instead, we get to take it out of future payments, even though we won’t send you any future payments, as we send you maybe $47 out of the $14,789 you bill us a year.”

Yes, California, which is broke, is not accepting MONEY IT ASKS FOR.

Are you making the “I would so, could so kill a goat” face yet? (see psychotic photo below from the last #wtfwednesday)

Wait. It gets SO much better.

In addition to returning our check and then telling us they were not going to pay us for whatever the amount in the check was for however long it would take to make up the amount of the check, they also sent a form. “When Medicare pays you, complete the following form to retrieve your secondary payer funds.” REALLY? Really, Medi-Cal? Knowing full well that you nearly always allow 50% LESS than Medicare, you want us to fill out a freaking form that violates MMA & completely flies in the face of the simple act of sending the claim with the Medicare EOB attached like EVERY OTHER FUCKING SECONDARY PAYER IN THE COUNTRY??!!!”

REALLY?!! How stupid I are!

I advised our intrepid state plans gal to check the allowables and, should they teh sucks, kindly introduce that fucker to the shredder. Which was of course taken on with delirious glee. I’m pretty sure the whole rest of the office thinks billing is on drugs now.

Anywho. If this is the mentality of the people running the medical funding for persons who are the sickest, weakest, and most defenseless people in society, how in the hell are they going to treat the REST of us? Like one more bleedin’ pot hole, that’s how. Ignore, rinse, repeat.

What else is wrong with gimme gimme? It cripples us. Shut up. If you’ve even babysat a child, let alone raised one, you know what spoiling does. Sure, you can have a pop. Sure, you can have a lollie. Sure, you can have a Little Debbie. Sure, you can stay up and watch T2 on HBO while I talk on the phone with my boyfriend. Wait, why am I surrounded by children stained various shades of purple, wielding knives & crying? I can has headache! I can has fired!

Oh, but we’re not children! We can has thinkings! No, we cannot. Observe, my sweet little friend who believes in the inherent intrepidness of the human spirit <snicker>.

When I was feeling particularly martyr-y and decided to leave private practice to do hospital work, I at one point did a stint in customer service. Customer service plain blows everywhere, but customer service for sick & dying people that you just sent a $400k bill to is not anybody’s idea of a career high. Here’s one of the lows of that stint.

Girl calls me. She was about my age, which at the time was 25 I think. She is furious. “Why you guys keep sending me this $70k bill? I don’t got $70k.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am, let me check that for you.” After the unholy torment of trying to get her account number out of her (anybody who’s been on that side of the phone knows what I’m talking about), I finally find her account & within 3 seconds  of reading the notes, ask, “Ma’am, I show you probably qualify for Medicaid. Did you take your application in to the Social Security office?”

Big dramatic sigh. “Yah, I did, but there was a line. It was like a 5 hour wait. Can’t you just write it off?”

*aside: You pay your fucking credit card bills for your goddamned Nascar tickets, people, but somebody saves your LIFE, delivers your CHILD, and you want us to write it OFF? Pri-ori-fucking-ties!*

Anyhow.

I say to her, “Ma’am, I don’t understand. Why couldn’t you wait 5 hours to get free health care?” You could HEAR the blinking.

I continued. “Ma’am, I sit at this desk 50 hours a week, and it would take me something like 3 years to make $70k. I strongly suggest that you go to the Social Security office, wait the five hours or more if it takes that, and get the free health care. It will last you until you are able to get your own health care.”

She was approved within two weeks. It was paid two weeks after that. The bill had slid 120 days, though, so it was in danger of going to collection. REALLY?

So that’s part 1 of why Gimme Gimme fucks you over by turning you into a whiny child.

Part 2: The Plucky Pole. I am well known to folk in the Depeche Mode/Recoil online circle, as is The Plucky Pole. She is a dear girl, beautiful, vivacious, adorable, completely insane like most Depeche Mode fans (particularly the kind that glom on to Martin), and she appalled half the DM mailing list by announcing that Poland was better with Communism.

I defended her, stating that she grew up with everything being given to her, and it’s not her fault that at 18 she was now at an American university on scholarship, but having to buy her own concert tickets, food, $15k Gibson guitars…anyhow this did not go down well. She did not understand why we did not understand why she was not dropping to the floor in front of a tapestry of Reagan every day praising his name. Didn’t she like being able to say what she felt about the government?

“I always said what I felt about the government.The government was great.” *headdesk*

My immature 14 year old boy response is always to go “The Whatever is Your MOM” and in this case, it would have been appropriate to scream “THE GOVERNMENT IS YOUR MOM!” because it WAS. The government was her overburdened, highly stressed mom who had no dad in the house to help, way too many children, and had to lay down a strict code of behaviour or kill ’em all (as any sane mom would snap in that situation). The Plucky Pole didn’t know any better because Mom = love & that’s all she knew.

Cold, horrible, “You have to buy it” America was expecting her to pick her clothes up off the floor, do her own laundry, make her own lunch, and walk to school. As she had never done this, she was horrified. She was ill equipped to deal with the basics of survival. It was awful to read in her emails. Her priorities were, to put it mildly, whack.

Part 3: Overheard today: “Unemployment pays me more than a full time job at Starbucks would. Why would I go off unemployment?”

WHY INDEED?!

Sigh.

*kicks a puppy*

Hey Mr. President, Tally Me My Health Plan (repost, but yeah)

Reposted from July 11. Because yall seem to enjoy this one (& only this one). 😉

Health care. It affects you even if you think you are the healthiest little creature in the whole widely world, because even those of you in high school will be working soon, & will be paying into a system that could collapse in on itself like a giant achey souffle full of boomers.

First I have to say I am terrified that my stupid blog may be the only source of non-popstar-death related news or commentary in the world for a while, so I am sorry I have not paid it more attention for you. The amount of press this nonsense has been given is not worth even an ounce of commentary, so I.

[That was me, dramatically cutting myself off at slightly less an ounce. Did you catch that? You probably did. You are much smarter than I am.]

Anyhow, today Rick was suggesting that in order to prop up Medicaid (whoo boy, more on that later), the rich, who do not like paying taxes (because, you know, the poor line up for it, it’s more fun than fire eating all nude strippers at Disneyland), should be asked to “make a donation” of a million dollars or more to Medicaid every year, & hence have their taxes reduced in that fashion.

I said, “Dude, that’s a tax.”

“No it’s not,” he said. “It’s a donation.”

“Dude. A forced or even suggested donation is a tax.”

“Oh. Well, can they be asked to consider donating…”

“Ok, let me explain the free market economy to you from the rich person’s standpoint. Hi, I am Richy Wigglebottom McHumphries the Third. I have a million dollars. It’s my money. I want to donate it to the charity I choose. I, Richy Wigglebottom McHumphries the Third, happen to want to save abandoned long haired teacup Pomeranians. I like them better than I like little children of races that are not my race. So I am not donating that money to Medicaid.”

“Races that are not my race?”

“Yes.”

“Teacup Pomeranians?”

“Yes.”

“Did that just come off the top of your head?” Rick asked, laughing.

“Of course it did,” I said, serious as all hell, “Because this shit is always at the top of my head. I am always thinking about this conundrum when I am at work,”

How DO we get everybody to want to pay for other people’s healthcare? Other nations seem to enjoy doing this, enjoy reaping the benefits of it, and don’t really bitch about all that much, These nations are all very cold, populated by hot blonde people, and their dearest ambition in life appears to be getting to the next coffee-oriented mixer. So that might have something to do with it.

People from these freezing cold countries ask me, “Kay-lee, how come in Amereeka, nobody wants to buy me an Einsterzenden Neubauten CD?” Ok, so that’s just one guy. His name was Jan (pronounced Yahn) and he was from Norway, & he called me a fascist because I would not spend every dime of my babysitting money on his CD collection & M&M addiction. But he is a perfect example of how people in America, including English people like me in America, are not into subsidizing everybody else’s wants & needs.

In cold countries, it’s hard to survive. Those people have Viking survival genes where sharing is caring & huddling around the fire (or in the nekkid hot tub) and hacking up a reindeer & roasting it over a spit (nekkid) and forcing guests to drink unholy quantities of coffee (nekkid or otherwise) is extremely important in order to live in those ridiculously cold ass countries. It is now hardwired into their genes to fork over 70% of their money to pay for everyone ever.

Now let’s look at America, a people that, a little over 200 years ago, were being oppressed by a king who had syphillis. There was a lot of unfair taxing, and now American people are predisposed to hating all tax ever for any reason whatsoever. I actually worked with a woman who said to me, and I quote, “I am at the tail end of the boomer generation. I better get my damned social security money & I better get full Medicare benefits,”

I responded, as any sane person would, “Well, barring a plague that only strikes people born between 1945 & 1960, they’re going to have to raise taxes to make all of you happy.”

“Raise taxes?!” shouted the sun spotted, gap toothed, rural Nevadan. “Raise taxes on ME?! I’ll bet them Demmy-crats would like that, them fat cats in Washington.” Because I swear to you, all rural Nevadans talk like Grandpa Simpson.

I said to her, “Wait, you want your benefits, but you don’t want the government to get the money to give you your benefits?”

“Well, they can’t take it from ME!”

And that, right there, folks from other countries, is the problem. Americans are so vehemently opposed to taxes, even the kind that pay for stuff we actually do badly need in this country, that they fail to apply logic to the situation. Tax everybody but me & my kind. Tax Mexico. Tax them fat cats. Um, there’s more of you, moron, than there are fat cats, and the fat cats have better lawyers who find all the loopholes. Lots of morons, so let’s just tax the morons. Well, nobody thinks they’re the moron, do they?

Sigh. So first, you are dealing with a populace that doesn’t want to pay for squat. Living in America, I can kinda see their point. In Nevada especially, paying taxes does not necessarily mean that the canyon that has developed in your street will ever been repaired, nor that literate people will teach at your kid’s school, nor that Medicaid claims will be paid. In fact, it seems to us in the health care industry that Nevadans pay tax specifically so the state can hire people who spend all day denying Medicaid claims for weirder & more frustating reasons.

So Americans don’t necessarily get a lot of bang for their buck. Californians, who are suffering so violently from this economy, are actually getting gigantic state sponsored funeral processions for PRIVATE CITIZENS (ok, just the one) with their tax dollars, so they have every right to be extremely confused as to why they are paying over 10% in sales tax. And MediCal (California Medicaid) fucking blows. I can say this from vast experience with the program. I live ten minutes from California, so we get a lot of MediCal patients. I am happy to explain why MediCal is the 3 Stooges of Health Care if you are willing to read a rant.

How can I put this? When The Governator was running for office, I wrote him a letter. I said I was not an American citizen & couldn’t vote, but I would urge everybody I know with my various powers of persuasion to vote for him if he would just reform MediCal. It is a gigantic money wasting behemoth of nonsense that virtually guarantees no doctor wants to take Cali state aid patients, meaning these people can’t see anybody. What good is free heatlh care if nobody participates? Why don’t we want to participate?

1. The phone books every month. It’s not as bad as it was before Governator took office, but once a month, MediCal sends what is basically a yellow pages to every single MediCal provider. They have a website, but they send the paper updates. That are as thick as a phone book. Is this to prop up the federal economy with postage payments? Is this because the California Department of Healthcare hates trees & wishes upon the world a nice crusty carbon monoxide death?

2. Failure to comply with MANDATORY FEDERAL MODERNIZATION & STANDARDIZATION ACTS. Believe it or not, the federal government has actually done a lot in the past few years to make federal health programs like Medicare & Tricare faster, cheaper, and better. And it’s WORKING. Even reluctant doctors’ offices that bitched & moaned about the upgrades we all needed to make to our systems are now realising that it is actually better in the long run. But MediCal, while paying lipservice to the MMA by adopting NPIs (but still having their own weird PINs, rendering the convenience of NPIs useless), still makes up and enforces their own modifiers. WHY? TO WHAT END? There is no REASON for it except to delay payment, but in the meantime they are wasting even more money mailing out denials, and asking providers to submit appeals ON SPECIAL FORMS THEY PRINT AND MAIL YOU TO…with carbons! Like you can’t do this shit online with Medicare & print as many copies as you need!

Some of you are confused. Medicare is a federal program. Medicaid is a federally FUNDED program, but it is state run. Each state has its own Medicaid guidelines & sometimes calls it a different name. California Medicaid is called MediCal. Nevada has TWO. Southern Nevada calls their Medicaid program SAMI. We’re just good old Medicaid in Northern Nevada.

MMA = Medicare Modernization Act, which dragged Medicare kicking & screaming out of IRS land & into high speed internet wonderfulness. NPI = National Practitioner Identifier. Before NPI, all the Medicaids in the country, Medicare, & all the private insurances all had separate provider IDs. There was no good reason for this except that everyone in the insurance business is a prick. True fact, cannot be disputed. So the federal government actually had the ganas to say, “You know what, this is stupid. Let’s give each doctor in the United States one 10 digit number that works for everything. The doctor must update the NPI database with new info any time it changes, & that will be that.” Well, in theory. NPI is my friend, I love it. I adopted NPI immediately. I was actually the NPI touchstone in town because other offices in town were calling me to ask how to get one & how to use it (which was silly because the website takes you through the whole process easily, but I like to help so whatever).

MediCal has adopted the NPI, but that’s it. And then there’s the stupid PINs, which,again, since they are MediCal specific, renders NPI’s purpose impotent with that program.

Part of MMA was to make sure everybody in the insurance industry was using the same modifiers on codes. For example, if you have an office visit with me (99214) and we do a study on you on the same day, because during the visit it seems like a good idea (93880), we get to add a 25 to the visit so that your insurance knows the visit is separately payable from your carotid ultrasound. It is billed out as 99214-25 & 93880. We are telling your insurance company “Mrs. X came in with headaches & intermittent left sided weakness. After taking a history & physical, we thought she might have some carotid stenosis. Our tech was available, so we had him do a carotid study & we found that she has 80% & needs to be managed to prevent a stroke. You will pay us for both services, please.”

A normal insurance company says, “Ok. That makes sense. Here’s 25% of what you billed. Muahahaha! There’s nothing you can do about it! Muahahahah!”

MediCal says, “Oh no, here is your claim back. 25 is not a valid modifier in the Holy Sovereign Dimension of California. It is not even a number here. In California Medicaid World, it goes 23, 24, BoomBoomPow, 26, 27. Also you need to add ZA and &!# to your carotid study, whatever that is. We’ve never heard of a carotid & we are pretty sure you are making that up. Also people don’t have strokes. You stroke the kitty cat. You do not HAVE a stroke.”

Commence ME having a stroke.

3. DId I mention MediCal’s thing where they have their own appeal forms? They come as a pad. They also have special prior authorization forms but lie about when you need to use them. They also tell you need them after the fact even when they told you that you didn’t need them before. Also, if you want to call their appeals department, you are told they don’t have phones. I shit you not. I actually asked them one time, “What happens if there is a fire? How do they get the fire department to come?” The rep said, ‘Well, they can call out, but they can’t get calls in.” I asked, “What if their child is sick at school, & the school needs to contact the parent, working, I imagine, in your appeals department?” The rep sighed. “We are not allowed to give out the number.” Ah HAH. Fuck me.

4. When you get a denial, it says things like this. “Service is not payable because it is a duplicate of an identical service paid on XX XX XXXX.” It actually says XX XX XXXX. I am not using that as an example. There is no DATE there to take the place of the XX XX XXXX. It’s just XX XX XXXX. Or, you get something like, “Please resubmit claim with an RTD.” This is will be after the NINTH FUCKING TIME YOU’VE SENT THE CLAIM BACK IN WITH AN RTD. Or, you will get this inexplicable charmer: “Claim denied. This provider is not qualified to provide Charpentier services.” WHAT THE FUCK IS A CHARPENTIER SERVICE?!!! And when you call them, WHEN YOU CALL *THEIR* FUCKING CUSTOMER LINE… THEY DON’T FUCKING KNOW!!!!!!

5. Next year, when you DO get a payment, for the 47562 laparascopic cholecystectomy you billed out, that was $2030.00, you get $327.00.

Yah.

Nevada Medicaid, unfortunately, is going the way of MediCal in this economy. They are pulling the “we don’t recognize that modifier” bullshit & also denying claims but not actually saying why they’re denying them. They don’t even come up with something as creative as a Charpentier service. They just say “Claim denied because: ” and then there’s no “because”.

So Dear Rick, how the fuck do you expect to get rich people to donate $1,000,000 for THAT?! Really?

So Dear Obama, if we’re gonna do a public option, please make Medicare available to anybody who wants it. Medicare only has 2% overhead, opposed to 30% for some private health plans. Medicare patients can see any doctor they like as much as they like for any reason they like. They do not need pre-auths. They do not need permission. They do not have to tell the government what they’re doing (that’s MediCAID, not MediCARE). The only thing Medicare doesn’t cover is cosmetic procedures. And really, duh. Medicare also does not cover drugs well, but I have a solution for that. Get rid of Medicare HMOs. They drain patients dry. They are horrible. They are run by the same assholes that are clobbering you and me with deductibles & copays. Imagine having nice, sensible, nobody-tells-me-what-to-do

Medicare except this time, instead of the patient paying 20% of allowed, add a bigger deductible, and co-pays, oh, and prior authorizations, and have the HMO tell the doctor & the patient that they can’t do a whole hell of a lot.

Stop subsidizing Medicare HMOs. They cripple Medicare. Just abolish them. Completely. Please.

DO NOT put a limit on how much treatment a patient can get, Mr. Biden. You are not a doctor! Medicare does not put a limit on the treatment a patient can get. Medicare has a program for people with end stage renal disease called, you guessed it, the ESRD program. For 31 months, Medicare is secondary to your employer’s insurance, but after the 31 months when you are too sick to work much, Medicare kicks in as primary. People with ESRD sometimes have surgery EVERY MONTH because their dialysis fistulas occlude, they bleed, the caths get infected, whatever. If you limit how often ESRD patients can see their surgeon, you will straight up kill them. It’s that simple.

So those of you Republicanny types that are bitching about one payer healthcare (which the President has NOT endorsed), simmer. Those of you thinking Medicare will be like the government telling you what to do, you are clueless. Medicare is THE most free form plan in America, period. It pays for shit, but doctors sometimes don’t mind because they know they don’t have to argue with a bunch of suits to get a procedure done on a patient. Medicare will deny anything they consider as medically unnecessary AFTER the fact, and NOT ding the patient. It’s true!

So those of you Democratty types that are bitching there’s no one payer healthcare, trust me, that’s ok. Competition IS good, & I have seen shitty HMOs fall apart because employers stop using them & go with better plans. The better plans are like Medicare but pay even better if allowing slightly less freedom of choice. In this economy, however, employers are sticking with shitty plans if they’re cheap, which kinda blows, so @HaemishM ‘s idea about all of us buying our own insurance is a good one.

So Christ. Lemme tell ya. Health coverage has to be more affordable because everybody deserves to be healthy. Everybody. If Americans don’t want to pay for it because they have this knack of dumping things into the ocean when they have to pay too much for it, fine. I don’t want my doctors to get dumped in Tahoe, with the manatees & the Lochness Monsteresses. But that means private plans have to be regulated, which means more government, or maybe less government, but smarter & more direct. Because right now, many private plans are getting away with murder, literallly, because their members are dying from lack of treatment. I won’t name names in writing. Gimme a call if you want me to tell who NOT to send a cheque to every month. And there are some you should avoid like…like a Norwegian who insists you buy him dodgy industrial music on a nigh hourly basis.