|I'm looking forward to a "day off" today. Gonna catch up my blog, get to the gym, and maybe cook myself some filet mignon for dinner. #nice|
I did get to all three today, although not in that order.
My first accomplishment was the gym, where I did a 60-minute "heart healthy" pace walk burning off 425 calories, and all the while listening to a recent episode of This American Life via podcast.
I don't know about you, but I've pretty much been avoiding the raging health care reform debates, mostly because I'm never certain of the "truth" or "accuracy" of the rhetoric—from either side or angle. So, this gem of an episode really helped me think about the potential "root cause" of our country's health care system problem and the (most surprising) way that the system came to be what it is today—all very much told in a way that even a layperson like myself can understand.
"Act One. One Pill Two Pill, Red Pill Blue Pill" really opened my eyes to a conundrum I wasn't aware of, all exposed through a story about a guy' prescription for some "pimple medicine." I found the entire one-hour episode well worth a listen, and in particular that first act, which is 13.5 minutes long.
It made me think of my "Purple Card" sent to me by the manufacturers of Nexium, which offered a discount big enough to cover my co-pay, and wondering at the time why they would do that. Aren't they trying to make money on me from their product? The answer is as counter-intuitive as it is disturbing.
|Someone Else's Money (Click here and then on the "Full Episode" icon under the image, to listen yourself.)|
This week, we bring you a deeper look inside the health insurance industry. The dark side of prescription drug coupons. A story about Pet Health Insurance, which is in its infancy, and how it is changing human behaviors—for example, if you have the pet health insurance, you bring your pet to the vet more often, and the vet makes more money and...well, you can see the parallels. And insurance company jargon, frighteningly decoded.
This show was a co-production with NPR News, and was one of two shows we did on health care: the other is More Is Less. We also have more health care resources here.
Host Ira Glass talks to Rob Lamberts, a doctor and blogger in Georgia, who describes the crazy world of medical billing, where armies of coders use several contradictory different systems of codes...and none of it makes us healthier. (5 minutes)
Planet Money's Chana Joffe-Walt explains why prescription drug coupons could actually be increasing how much we pay, and prevent us from even telling how much drugs cost. (13 1/2 minutes)
Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson recount how four accidental steps led to enacting the very questionable system of employers paying for health care. (11 1/2 minutes)
Planet Money correspondent David Kestenbaum investigates the growing popularity of pet insurance, and what it reveals about insurance for people. (14 minutes )
This American Life producer Sarah Koenig reports on a very surprising reason why insurance companies dump members, and how this reasoning contradicts President Obama's argument for what will lower health care costs. (11 1/2 minutes)
After my workout, I shopped at the Harris Teeter grocery store next door to my gym, where in line the young, enthusiastic, Asian cashier said with a little excitement to the lady in front of me whose order came to $72, "And you saved $7.00 on your order today with your VIC card!"
I didn't offer my VIC card at the beginning and he didn't ask for it. He rang up my order and said, "That'll be $101.55," to which I said, "Let me give you my VIC card number." I knew, as always, that just about everything I bought got some kind of discount with a VIC card. That's just how I shop.
He punched it in and I enjoyed the look of excitement growing on his face as the screen displayed its calculation of the discounts intermittently displaying the dropping total: $92... $87... $78... $72... ending up on $68.05.
"You saved $33.50 on your order today with your VIC card!!!" he ejaculated.
I held back from saying, "It was good for me, too, bro. Got a cigarette?"
At home, I did a load of laundry—whites. Have I mentioned lately that I'm absolutely loving my Dirt Devil/Dust Buster/hand-held vacuum (whatever) that I bought specifically to keep by my dryer in order to clean the lint trap after each use?
The dark side of it, though, was using a nearby plastic fork to pull the lint that was stuck in it a little bit when I emptied it tonight, because some time since I emptied it last I'd sucked up two dead crickets with it, and I truly did not want to grab a clump of lint to find my fingers touching decomposing cricket parts. I'm just saying...
I did cook up that Filet Mignon tonight, but it was so not like the brochure. I had two small ones, and I cooked them both, one to eat tonight and one to enjoy for tomorrow night's dinner. I decided to broil them in the oven.
Let's just say that the combination of meat, the bacon wrapped around it, the proximity of both to the red hot broiler tubing, and the closed oven door made for a huge billow of smoke pouring out of the oven when I finally opened it to check on their progress.
I left the door open long enough to find out that the grease from the meat and bacon was hitting the tubing and the smoke just kept streaming out even once the initial cloud dissipated. Seconds after I figured that out, my smoke detector at the top of my stairs leading to the second floor of my townhouse did as well.
I tried lowering the shelf, but the alarm kept going off intermittently, so I just took the damn things out. I had initially "butterflied" them to cook better on the inside, and cutting a little further into them now, I saw that they were close, but not completely done. I put one in the fridge the way it was for tomorrow night, and put the other one in the microwave for three minutes.
I checked it at two minutes, and it still looked slightly pink on the inside, so I let it go the other minute. When I took it out, it was very well done and the size of a quarter. Fortunately for me, I like it well, well done, and it was delicious in spite of the drama of cooking it. I enjoyed it with a big ol' baked potato with some I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Butter and a little bit of Ranch dressing on it. Good shit.
After cleaning up all that and playing a good portion of an online Scrabble game with Robert, I caught up my blog entries from Friday and Saturday. I hate getting behind like that, but did enjoy the writing process in catching them up.