Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rob Teilhet Breaks a "Rule"

"Stay in your own lane." That's one of the cardinal rules of a successful political campaign. Rep. Rob Teilhet, who is running for Attorney General, broke that rule last week when he endorsed Stacey Godfrey Evans, a phenomenal young women who is running for his soon-to-be vacated House seat. That Rob endorsed Stacey means that, for him, there's one rule that trumps all the others: "Do the right thing." Rob's passion for doing what's right has been the hallmark of his service in the state legislature, and it is one of the many reasons he has my full support in his campaign to become Georgia's next Attorney General. (More on that in another post.)

Why was endorsing Stacey Evans the right thing for Teilhet to do? Because there is no doubt that Stacey will be an outstanding representative for the people of Georgia's 40th House District. Stacey is bright, accomplished and, at the same time, down to earth. She has also followed one of the "other" rules of a successful campaign: she raised a significant amount of money right away. She reported raising over $38K as of June 30th, and still had almost all of it in the bank, just over 36K. (If only the Governor had managed the state budget that well!) Stacey was able to raise that money because, for years, she has been involved in professional, political and philanthropic organizations, and the people she has worked with learned quickly that they could count on Stacey. As this article from EMILY's List affirms, Stacey is an leader to watch.

So, Rob, you might have broken a rule, but you did the right thing, and I'm proud to support both you and Stacey!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

For the Woman Who Has it All...

Text from my birthday card from Daryl (accompanying the DSM-IV-TR AND Desk Guide birthday present):

Buy me, Lady, said the dress, and I will make you into a BEAUTIFUL and WHOLE and COMPLETE Human Being. Do not be silly, said the Man, for a dress alone cannot do that. TRUE, said the lady. I will have the Shoes and the Bag as well.

P.S.: Lauren says that giving the DSM to a marriage and family therapist is the
equivalent to giving a blender to a housewife.

P.S.S: I should tell the
whole truth and admit that the DSM came with jewelry and a Coach bag...

Happy Birthday Amy!

Everybody should make sure and wish Amy a happy 50th today!  (Amy - don't beat me!)

Lauren Logan Benedict

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Beautiful Arteries

Is it just me, or does this strike you as sheer irony? Last Wednesday, when we arrived at the MCCG Heart Tower for the cath the doctor ordered, the person at the registration desk handed Daryl a pager-just like the ones you get at the restaurants where the problem likely started in the first place. Sort of drives home the prevention point, doesn't it? They need the pagers because the staff told me they do about 40-60 of these caths every day. That's a lot of folks to keep up with. The menu prices at the hospital are just a touch higher than your favorite chain restaurant, though.

I haven't actually seen the bill yet, but I do have the smelling salts ready. The MCCG billing folks called me a couple of days before the procedure to tell me that their facility fee for a basic heart cath was over 19K figuring their BCBS discounted rate. That did not include the doctor's fee, labs or anything else. In plain English, that meant that the 19K+ was a negotiated rate with BCBS. I suppose that means their 'list price', the amount someone with no insurance would be charged, is even higher. For me, I would be expected to pay my deductible plus 20% of that amount. You can do the math. We could either pay it all on the day of the procedure, or pay a portion and set up a 90 day-same-as-cash contract with the hospital. If we paid it all that day, then they would discount our co-pay (not the deductible) by 20%. Fine. I wasn't thrilled, but I wouldn't have to sell the house to pay the bill. But, I can think of plenty of points in my life where there just would not have been enough money to take care of this bill, in the long term or the short term. I would have had to cancel the procedure and live with uncertainty. As it is, I benefited from a state-of-the-art facility, a competent and caring staff and an excellent doctor. Most of all, I got to hear the doctor say that I have beautiful arteries and needed to look for other causes for the chest pain I was experiencing. That was great news for me, but the question remains: should ability to pay determine whether or not someone can get the medical care they need?

I've been trying to figure out how everyday, 9-5, working people, even those who HAVE insurance (like my kids) could afford the kind of excellent care I got last week. The short answer is, with even a 20% co-pay, they can't. And what happens?If the procedure is non-emergent, like mine, they don't get it done, and then, maybe walk around with a time bomb in their chest. Or, if they have a heart attack, maybe they become one of the many people who are forced to file bankruptcy because of medical bills that would no doubt make a 19K cath look like a Blue Light Special at K Mart. Those unpaid medical bills then get plowed right back into the cost of doing business and contribute to the overall cost to patients. Who pays for it? We all do.

That's why it was ridiculous to me yesterday as I listened to Republicans argue that people should be "free" to choose whether or not they have health insurance. Just like uninsured motorists, people without health insurance impact the rates we all pay. I favor making sure everyone can get coverage and then mandating that we all get covered. I have no problem at all with charging a fine to those who do not comply with that law. Why? Because there's nothing "free" about being uninsured.

And, by the way, the cholesterol medicine the doctor prescribed to help keep the pipes clean cost over $100 a month with insurance. That medicine may help me avoid health problems and more extensive, expensive procedures, but I know plenty of families for whom that monthly cost alone would be a non-starter. So, I am glad that Congress acted last night and took a clear step toward health insurance reform. It is past time.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where DOES the NRSC Get Their Lists?

I am sure that you all remember this gem from a couple of weeks ago. The RNC made a piece of mail look like a census form and invited my Democratic husband to be in charge of Republican voters in the 8th congressional district. Quite an offer that has created quite a stir.

Seems they have yet to purge their lists. Today, they called wanting $60 from us. Read below to see why I think we all ought to give the $60 to Georgia's WIN List in honor of Sen. Cornyn.

Today, as I sit home in bed recuperating, the home phone rang-always a bad sign. NOBOBY calls the home phone. A male voice on the other end of the line said, 'Hi, may I speak to Mr. or Mrs. Morton? Against my better judgement, I said, "This is Amy." He said, "Hi, I'm calling today on behalf of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. As you know, thanks to your support, (What?) we had great victories this week in New Jersey and Virginia. Especially great in that really "democrat" state of New Jersey." (I'm not kidding, he said it just like that. He seemed afraid, like he might go to hell just for uttering the name of the state.) "Sen. Cornyn was wondering if you could contribute $60 today to help us make sure our conservative voices are heard in D.C."

I took a breath. Hang up, or play? I thought, since I'm home sitting in bed, and he called me, I might as well slay the evildoers. "Sen. Cornyn wants me to give him $60? Why?" He replied, "So we can fight the liberal agenda and keep "Obama" and "Ms. Pelosi" from nationalizing health care." "So, what are you going to do with this money?" He didn't seem to expect questions. "We're going to make sure your conservative voice is heard. (What?) And, you may be interested, we also will fight for the right to life." (That's the pitch to ME?) It was a throw away, an add on, and I'm sure he tossed it in because the whole health care scare thing didn't have me spouting credit card digits and, mostly, because I am a woman. "So, you want me to give you money so you can fight against health care reform and try to push a pro-life agenda?" "Yes, and so our conservative voice can be heard." This call is now officially funny, and I am now done playing.

"Where do you get your lists?", I asked. "Because you, well, actually your husband has supported us in the past." "No, actually, let me tell you who you are talking to and why this call is a colossal waste of your time. My my husband is the 8th congressional district chair for the Democratic, or in your vernacular, "Democrat", Party of Georgia. And, I chair the the state level equivalent of EMILY's List in Georgia, so no, we won't give you money to fight health care reform or push an anti-woman agenda." "Oh," he said, realizing that he had stepped into pile of poo and wasted precious call time. "And, by the way, her name is Speaker Pelosi. But, here's what I want to know. I want to know who sold you a list with my husband's name on it because ten seconds in the voter file or in a contribution database would tell you that neither of us have ever voted in a Republican primary or given to a Republican candidate or committee. So, tell me, from what list did you get his name?" Stunned silence. "It's the list they give us of contributors. You know, you can go to the website and get contact information." "That's not going to tell me who sold you a list, is it? And, here's the deal. We both own businesses, and we are suspicious that perhaps an organization (fill in your guess here) that is supposed to be nonpartisan has provided you with our names. We can't figure out any other way you would have this information."

He didn't know, of course. The poor guy was just some paid phone banker, but I still want to know: is my husband having a secret relationship with the Republican Party, (that would officially be considered an affair according to our marriage contract) or did an organization like say, the Georgia Chamber hand over their list to the RNC? I'd think surely not except for the nasty very-Republican-like fear-evoking anti-health reform mailer produced by a self-described Republican firm that he also got directly from the Georgia Chamber a few weeks ago. I'm sure they wouldn't turn over their list to a partisan organization, but the timing of all this is certainly interesting.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

By a Nose?

Looks like Darrell Black has found his way into a run-off with Rusty Kidd, assuming that his margin of 16 votes over Angela Gheesling-McCommon survives what I believe will be an automatic recount. Black put his campaign together in a short six weeks, and regardless of the outcome of the run-off, given the weight of the Kidd name in Baldwin County, keeping him under 50% in this race is a remarkable accomplishment. Yes, this is a bright blue district, one that Obama carried, as I recall, at about 58%, but I know first hand that many big D dems in Bladwin presumed that Kidd was a Democrat. Not so much.

Seriously, assuming that Black is in the run-off, in addition to the House Caucus, I hope that the DPG weighs into the run-off with resources. This is a Democratic district, and the only way we lose it is in a special where people get to play hide the ball with their party affiliation. Losing this district would be the political equivalent of me getting elected in SD 18. Come on. Get out the checkbook.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Since I've Now Earned the Right

Since the MCCG was kind enough to phone this afternoon to let me know that the estimated after-insurance-discount price of the heart cath I have scheduled for Wednesday is just over 19K, this seems especially ridiculous.