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Let's start off the week together with a little Wendell Berry.


The approach of a man’s life out of the past is history, and the approach of time out of the future is mystery. Their meeting is the present, and it is consciousness, the only time life is alive.

The endless wonder of this meeting is what causes the mind, in its inward liberty of a frozen morning, to turn back and question and remember.

The world is full of places. Why is it that I am here?

—Wendell Berry, The Long-Legged House


Hoping for you on this Monday that you catch a glimpse of the wonder that is the present moment; that you sense, even so very briefly, why you are here, today.
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8 hours ago

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Best way to start the week, brilliant man. And it is always a good idea for self-reflection.

Professor- I was given a second chance. So I came across The Educated Mind. So on to living and learning and to squander what was done for and given me.

You had me at "Wendell Berry."

That is such a lovely wish for us, and so kind of you to share. I really needed to hear that. We are on arather hard visit here to VA from Jtown and it is both difficult to be present and difficult to think of going back, precisely because of the past and the future. Thank you for reminding me to be fully here, to find the joy in this moment.

Always a good time for some of Wendell’s words. ❤️

Sometimes I remember on Sunday and forget by Monday morning.

Thank you for sharing this with us!

Thank you and thanks to Wendell Berry.

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It doesn't matter whether you fall to the left or the right of our current health care policies: Just admit that they're broken.

This isn't a tragic story, because we have good health insurance and we have the resources to pay what the insurance isn't (that's the broken part) picking up. And many people are in worse shape, I know. I just think it's important that we keep pointing out the idiocies in how our system now works.

Today's consult: Child needs to have wisdom teeth extracted. Lower wisdom teeth are impacted. Upper wisdom teeth aren't impacted, but will be once they grow in a bit more.

My family insurance policy, which we've had through Anthem for over thirty years (and which is not cheap, that being the understatement of the century) will pay for the impacted teeth.

I have to pay for the uppers, because they're...not impacted yet. Or I could wait for the uppers to get impacted as well, put the child through a second round of sedation and a second procedure, and insurance would then pay for it.

I'm going to pay, because I can. I hate that this is our system. I hate that other families are having to make another, less compassionate, less medically responsible decision because they don't have the money on hand to choose the healthy, medically reasonable option.

I hate our insurance system. NO candidate has offered a solution. I hate that too.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
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4 days ago

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We have Medicare currently and we don’t use it except in emergencies because that’s about all it is good for. The doctors are terrible and I have no choice in finding a better more knowledgeable provider.

We haven't had health insurance for 10 years, going on 11. We pay out of pocket for every single thing. 4 of us. I get to say what they'll do and what they won't do, because I'm paying for it all, govt isn't. I'm sorry it's so messed up, but paying self-pay is a blessing in disguise.

Here's another: in some states, it is illegal to walk around with a mask over your face... yet we're being mandated to wear face masks! Granted, the laws forbidding face masking were from a different time with different aims, yet they are still laws. These health care mandates are not laws, and contradict some actual laws, yet here we are...

We also have BCBS (NC). My husband was recently diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease, a dangerous one that needs constant care and treatment, some expensive. Our BCBS seems to change every year b/c it's ACA (Obamacare). We try to get the cheapest variety with low premiums. We've often been without insurance for years. Now I'm contemplating how to be sure my husband gets constant care, and I'm kinda scared. A friend did a GoFundMe. I'm hoping for help from a foundation or a clinical trial. But so many nations do a better job than this by far, and it doesn't destroy their economy. It's very, very broken.

I hate that insurers essentially try to play doctor by gatekeeping what people who can't pay out of pocket can and cannot access for healthcare, against the recommendations of the actual supervising physician.

Not broken; working as they were intended, to benefit corporate interests rather than people. Dismantle corporatism by voting for change. NB, both major parties support, because they are supported by, corporatism.

We were on Medicaid when our children were young. When one daughter turned turned 21, she lost her Medicaid coverage. At that time--before Obamacare--adults without children were SOL. She had Type I diabetes. We worked low-wage no-benefit jobs. She attended college and worked part time. We struggled to cover doctor visits, test strips, blood sugar meters, and insulin. My brother lost his job and his insurance when his factory closed. He couldn't afford to see the doctor or get medication for his high blood pressure. He died of a heart attack at age 55.

Yep....I pay more per month in health insurance premiums here in the US than I paid in 26 years of medical expenses in Canada. And my taxes & premium costs here far exceed the taxes I paid in Canada. The system here is whack!

We are with Medishare. Anthem prior - got tired of giving them a brand new car's worth of money each year. The honest answer is that one can save to pay for the upper wisdom teeth procedure. the condition is not life threatening. Yes, the healthcare system is broken. It starts with us. I hope your child is one of those that can eat steak the day after having the wisdom teeth removed. Beware, though, I swear I lost some wisdom when those teeth departed.

Our healthcare and insurance systems are so completely screwed up and most people don’t realize how screwed up it is until they or a loved one gets a complicated disease or is severely injured. I don’t wish that mess on anyone but boy would it give people perspective. If you have never had to argue with an insurance company to get very necessary care that a team of doctors is saying is needed, then count yourself lucky. We should not have a health care system that is set up to make hospitals and insurance companies rich and has employees whose job is to say no to things that are medically necessary because it’s bad for the company’s bottom line to pay for it.

The Affordable Care Act TRIPLED our health insurance premiums. TRIPLED. How on earth do people pay this? Also, our deductibles skyrocketed. We literally were for years unable to go to the doctor because we couldnt pay the first 6000.00 out of pocket. There is no good solution right now. We were finally able to get on a “grandfathered HMO” but still have a 3,000 deductible with a 6,000 family out of pocket. No dental insurance. No eye insurance. We called our congressman and his office said, yes, that is the affordable care act.

One way to make the cost of this particular procedure more affordable is to forgo the sedation and request just a local anesthetic instead. Dental surgeons often don't offer this up front, possibly because it's a lot less convenient for them to operate on a conscious patient who can feel pain and hear conversations. Also, this only works for patients who can handle the sounds of teeth being crushed to bits. But it does reduce the cost significantly, as I can attest.

The whole pharmaceutical & medical insurance arena is a sham. I’ve had to pay hundreds for scripts that are life saving on top of Insurance premiums and deductibles. It’s not right.

I'm grateful I had a dentist I trusted in the Army who was able to remove all four of mine even though they weren't impacted, because it was only a matter of time.

I agree. There is so much I could share about how our health care and insurance doesn’t work.

Here’s my two cents because I’m sure everyone cares and I’m on the internet...😂 I have come to think that we should have health insurance be like our homeowners insurance. We don’t file a claim for general maintenance. I would like health insurance to help with big things and pay out of pocket for everything else. If insurance offered an incentive (rate reductions possibly) for getting various annual exams depending upon your age, I would be on board for that. Instead of paying for my kids well-checks and basically nothing else. I think that if everyone was allowed by the federal government to have a health savings plan and could shop around, that the free market would work its magic on driving down costs in the US. This combined with getting rid of onerous government regulation would likely be an enormous help to the system and keep the medical innovation for which the US is known. Just my thoughts.

I completely agree. Just got back from getting a device that lets me walk without pain and eventually run for the first time in 30 years. Had to pay 9k out of pocket because only 3 plans in the country even consider paying for it. Meanwhile these same plans will repeatedly pay out for ankle surgeries that don’t relieve pain and don’t restore function at roughly 80k a pop. In what world does that make sense? I will say that I wish the public option had made it. Federal insurance is SO good. If the regular plans had to compete with that it would be game on, but that’s exactly why it’s not.

Let me tell you from a nurse's perspective...I hate it too. I work in women's health and I have women who bleed for months, until they need a transfusion, because they can't afford to get the care they need. They have to wait until they have lost so much blood that they are admitted through the ER...and then I hold them while they cry because they don't know how they will pay the hospital bill. It makes me crazy!

I don’t understand the fear of the federal government running things when why we have what we have is because of for profit businesses.

We haven’t had health insurance for almost 3 years now. Because we are self-employed. Once our income hit a certain amount, we no longer qualified for income-based reductions. So if we want health insurance, we have to pay over $3000 each month! That is almost 1/3 of our income! I think it is ridiculous that, after three years, nothing has been done about our situation. Why are small business owners being penalized like this?

I agree but would expand to the entire healthcare system. If you look through a hospital bill there are outrageous things on there. I had guilliane barre syndrome after my daughter was born. They did a spinal tap to be sure the diagnosis was correct. After I went home to a 2 month old baby and working husband I forgot the pain meds on the right schedule and had the headache of the century. There was a fix for the headache (why not just do that when they do the spinal tap?) so our neurologist sent us back to the ER. No one was available to help. That ER visit cost $1000 to the insurance company for a “history diagnosis” at the same hospital I was in 24 hours prior. It’s ridiculous.

Crazy, since it would be more expensive to the insurance company to pay for sedation twice. They don’t make decisions with logic.

From someone who had all 4 wisdom teeth out at the same time..... I would never recommend it. It was a horrible experience for me. I honestly think it would be preferable to do the two that are a problem and leave the other two alone.

All the enamel on my husbands teeth is just about gone due to acid reflex. The procedure he needs isn't covered by our insurance and is $13,000. I can't believe they won't cover any of it, and that it's that expensive!

Anthem’s refusal to cover my pregnancy 9 years ago was what led us to jump ship to Samaritan. It’s basically theft.

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To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Mary Oliver, “In Blackwater Woods” from American Primitive (Back Bay 1983)

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