January 2011 Archives

January 13, 2011

Health Care & The Best in the World - Truthiness isn't Truth...

I'm healthy. I like my doctors, and get to pick the doctors who provide my treatment - I don't have an HMO because I want that choice, and I pay extra for such a plan and the extra gives me great coverage - I almost never pay for anything. If my insurance company doesn't like my doctor, I could pay anyway, charge it on a credit card, and fight with them over the treatment. If I get really sick, I could fly to Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, or somewhere else where they treat a lot of cases like mine. These are all my choices. I am fortunate enough to have the choice. Of course most of society doesn't have the same choices.

But, You can't fool me into believing two things: [1] That the U.S. has the best health care system in the world, and [2] I am better off having my insurance company's bureaucrats and rules between me and my health than a government employee. At least the civil servant has to follow rules that the government decides will benefit the general health, and not those designed to make profits and pay for advertisements. The civil servant doesn't get a bonus for turning down claims, and neither does his boss.

It may feel good in our gut to tell ourselves we are the best, but let's deal with facts, not stomach issues. Such a feeling is what Stephen Colbert calls "Truthiness." That's something that feels like it should be true, or what we want to believe is true, but isn't.

Here's the CIA's study on life expectancy: THE DATA. In case you don't have the time to digest that information, it is summarized on Wikipedia.

Let me cut to the chase: the U.S.A. is 36th in the world in longevity. In 35 countries, people live longer than we: Such evidence is where Truthiness hits a brick wall. We are almost tied with Cuba [which is 35th]. And a lot of the countries higher up on the list have high infant mortality, otherwise their numbers would be a lot higher. If we have such great health care, why are we dying so fast?

OK, so people do come here to go to a particular hospital, medical center, or doctor who, by reputation, is perceived by these people to do a better job than anyone in their own country - that's the right wing/corporate/business/bought-off-politicians response to reality. But, these people aren't flying to San Diego to go to a local public hospital. They go to a particular doctor, or a particular hospital, where they think they can get the best care. Heck, one of my friends flew to London to have her eyes lasered so that she could see better without her classes. She heard from someone that this guy is the best, and he has a song and dance about why he can't use his techiques and tools in the U.S., even though he is a U.S. citizen.

And, of course, my employee's health insurance cost [which I pay] just went up another 15%, and not because of "Obama Care." Heck, if Obama had done what he promised we would all have coverage and at lower cost - put us all in Medicare and health care costs will stop being a major economic problem in this country.

January 11, 2011

Gay Marriage, Divorce, and Common Sense....

Irrespective of your position on Gay Marriage, you have to wonder what is going on in Texas - that's a recurring question among family law lawyers, since Texas seems to routinely dance to its own drummer.

Two Texas gays got married, in Massachusetts. Residents of Texas, they later tried to file for divorce - just like straight people. You would think that dissolving a gay marriage would appeal to those who didn't like gay marriages in the first place, but not in Texas, apparently.

The marriage of Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly was dissolved by the trial court. The Texas Attorney General decided to appeal, claiming the state didn't have the power to dissolve their marriage, citing a Texas law prohibiting a state agency or political subdivision from giving effect to a "right or claim to any legal protection, benefit, or responsibility asserted as a result" of a same-sex marriage.

The legal position of the AG was that getting a divorce conveyed on these two a right or benefit - since they were gay, they couldn't get divorced. Since the marriage wasn't recognized by Texas, he reasoned, it couldn't be dissolved. I guess he intended they go to Massachusetts "where such people belong." :)

The court of appeal ducked the issue in true Texas form: It ruled that the AG hadn't intervened in the case soon enough, so he couldn't later complain about the result. That leaves to others the job of getting a divorce so they can defend their right to do so.

Is it just me, or is this carrying opposition to marriage between homosexuals to an extreme? Is it just me, or should the appellate court have just bitten the bullet and told us the answer? Or is this just Dumb and Dumber on a higher level.

January 10, 2011

Dogs, Divorces, and the San Diego Lawyer.

More on Doggie Divorces from the Huffington Post.

I'd previously posted about pets and divorce. Since then, we've adopted Emma, also known as The Office Mascot. Now I see the issue. No one is prying her away from me, except from my cold, dead hands :) She is wonderful.

Amazing how many of my friends and colleagues either take a pet [dog, cat, or bird] to their offices or want to but can't. Being self-employed and owning my office condo, I have control over my office policies, and we are "dog friendly." When in residence, there is a water dish by the front door.

The criminal defense lawyer across the courtyard doesn't like Emma being here, but she is a lot more desireable than his average client. :) And she leaves smaller messes. When we were out of town on vacation before Christmas, someone or something left "a present" on the back steps - probably one of them, since Emma was in Doggie Day Care, where she plays on her days off [i.e., when I'm in court and the staff doesn't need the distraction].

Her "new puppy" picture is in a prior post, showing her gazing at some big dogs for the first time. I've tried to take her photo since, but she is so blazingly fast she turns out to be a blur even with my Nikon D3 camera and a fast lens. :)

I had to go to New York City in September to meet with clients, and walking around was amazed at how doggie that city is - dogs go everywhere, including Bloomingdales. Noto Bene: Bloomies won't let you take pictures of dogs in the store, go figure. But, they are everywhere; and their parents are always happy to stop, let you pet the dog, and tell you the pet's story. Whereas in Southern California you might see a sign in a store window that it is "dog friendly," in NYC that seems to be assumed, although there is occasionally a sign that says "No Pets Allowed."