A rough week


So tired of financial thin ice


By Caitlin Kelly

By December 15, any American who doesn’t have health insurance has to sign up for it.

If you want to change plans, same.

I had to make four separate calls to get the information I needed. We are keeping our plan — now going up to $1800 a month.

There are no bargains.


If your plan costs less per month (and I’m talking $800 a month, not $200 to $400), you’re hit with huge “deductibles” — more money to pay out of pocket.

A plan that would offer dental “coverage” would limit us to basic care, and charge us a $25 co-pay every time we actually used it.

This is absurd, and our dentist is fine letting us pay over time. No co-pay.

American health insurance, when you work for yourself and it’s not subsidized by an employer, is a crippling cost. We’re reduced now to using retirement savings for it…wasting our hard-earned money to stave off potential bankruptcy.

I’ve recently been told to add two new medications, so a comprehensive plan is essential.

Having grown up in Canada, this “system” is just barbaric. But I left Canada seeking better work opportunities, and until recently, this was true.

Journalism, now, is in free fall.

Freelance pay rates are one-third of the 1990s.

And this is not the time or place to suddenly re-train for some whole new career. Just not going to happen.

Plus this week offered a nasty surprise financial disclosure that stunned me, not in a good way.

Not feeling the holiday spirit at all right now.


25 thoughts on “A rough week

  1. I would be interested in seeing what Canada’s Healthcare system would look like if four hundred million people, with a socioeconomic cross-section similar to the United States, lived there. I get my medical care through the VA, but I paid for that and I still am, every day. Cathy and I pay for her insurance, out of our pockets and it’s a pinch but we do it. It means we haven’t had a vacation that wasn’t outside driving distance in a decade or more and a new car is totally out of the question. For all that, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Buena suerte.

      1. I spent 3 months, spoke to 30 sources. No one has done this work here. Hope you — and many others! — will read it seriously. It’s an online mag (early January) and in print late January. I will definitely link it here and blog once it’s live,

      2. Great. They should pay you a friggin’ fortune! I have a tough time believing most of what I see is thought out for three minutes,, just a reaction to the most recent reaction. I read EVERYTHING you write seriously,, even if we disagree.

  2. Frances Sullivan

    Seems like highway robbery, those monthly fees, but at least you have options being Canadian. As essentially the only advanced industrialised nation without universal health care, I find the continued resistance to it mind-boggling. Growing up in a politically active CA/US household, I suffered debates on the topic for decades. I won’t disclose who the winner usually was in these oft heated back and forths, but you might be able to figure it out since you’ve done your homework. Anywho, thank you for making the effort and taking the time to inform us. Despite the pitfalls of freelancing etc., your efforts are appreciated. I only wish I could put a monetary value on my thanks. xx

      1. Frances Sullivan

        No, I suppose. Moving is never easy. I left and came back. Plan to go again soon. Easy now, but had it’s challenges in the beginning. Anywho, you’re welcome. All the best.

    1. Hiya Beth. I agree,, medical care when you need it is a basic right. That’s why it’s against the law to throw someone out of the ER because they can’t pay. Businesses, including hospitals, have a right to be paid for their services. The costs associated with the treatment of those who can’t pay are recouped at the expense of the “Privileged” People talk about fixing the system with “Government money” but there is no such thing. Personally,, I would rather incur a debt I could potentially pay off than be stuck with a big fat tax increase I will pay for the rest of my life.

      1. Every nation BUT the United States sees the human body and its care as a HUMAN right — not a profit center from which to extract as much income as possible for profit-making companies.

        NO other nation does this.

        Yes, that is paid for through taxation; 1) much higher rates on the wealthy; 2) taxes come in many many forms — payroll, corporate, not ONLY personal. No American seems to remember this.3) Totally different priorities — NOT spent on a huge military but healthcare and education.

        You resent taxes for health care? I resent taxes that offer me NONE.

        This is where I part ways with you on this issue.

  3. We part ways,, understood. It’s not the first time. Here are a couple questions: Do you believe corporations lighten their tax burdens by passing those costs on to consumers? I do.
    Do you believe clean food and water are a basic Human right? I do. Do you believe the Tavern on the green should have to reopen as a soup kitchen to uphold the human rights of the hungry? I’ve never been there so I don’t know. How about the right to a safe, decent place to live, with running water and a toilet that works? I pay my filthy capitalist pig of a plumber whatever his estimate says and I’m glad to do it. I’m happy to pay my taxes,, for whatever. I reset paying for the support of those who won’t even try.
    There has been some talk here of human rights but none of responsibilities. Where’s the line? Lots of people don’t buy insurance because they would rather buy alcohol or drugs. Then, if they get hurt or sick, it’s off to the emergency room, where their rights become my responsibilities. That’s a fine example of paying taxes and getting nothing.
    Still love ya, please know that. I’m sure you have another post cooking up, perhaps something a bit more festive; a bit of journalistic mistletoe to help us all remember why we like one another most of the time. If you like, we can continue this discussion after your magazine article comes out. I still embrace the possibility that I will read something I need to re-examine but, whatever it may be, it wasn’t in this comment.
    One more question: Who loves ya, baby? Thanks, Kojak.

    1. I believe everyone has the right to healthcare and paying taxes to support that belief is how every other nation handles this issue. So, in this regard, Americans are very much an outlier by insisting only the “deserving” should get care and no matter how costly, pay through the nose for it.

      People die in the U.S.because they cannot afford insulin or cancer treatment or whatever else they need medically. I think this is truly obscene. I don’t care what they do to their bodies — we’re ALREADY paying the costs of so so many opioid deaths! I don’t admire addiction but I admire letting people die even less.

      We all make lousy choices about our health and need care.

      Some of us (me, for breast cancer, my husband for diabetes, both of which hit us in June 2018) are simply genetically loaded for serious illness.

      I absolutely resent — seething with rage — the WASTED taxpayers’ MILLIONS for the security detail for Trump and his grifting wealthy family. MILLIONS.

      There are tremendous other wastes of taxpayer money and we have NO SAY in these.

      When it comes to healthcare, this matters to me and to millions.

      And how exactly are you getting stuck with others’ ER bills?!

      1. I’m cleaning my house so I’ll answer the last part and then, the bathroom calls. When people come to the ER for treatment they can’t pay for, in a for-profit hospital, which not all hospitals are, by the way, those costs are not absorbed, but passed on to other patients in the form of higher bills. That may as well be a tax. I have no love for robber barons or bullies of any kind, including those who would call my humanity into question for my lack of sympathy for their self- imposed problems. You’re doing it right, I knw, and you still have to struggle. I’ve been in that position more than once. That doesn’t change the fact that people are playing the system all day, every day because they don’t want to pay,, and you can’t blame that on the hospital. As for our huge military,,, we have one so Canada doesn’t have to. No slam on the courageous soldiers of Canada, I admire them all, But we are the reason Vladimir Putin is not the king of Europe and that costs a lot of money.

    1. It’s not rudeness. It’s my personal conviction. I see this happening a lot in the U.S., especially now — an intellectual/disagreement has to mean someone dislikes the other.

      No. We disagree.

      Nice is never my goal. That’s probably pretty obvious! I don’t aim to be unkind but I will speak my mind.

  4. “Prickly” describes the entire tenor of this discussion,, but doesn’t apply to either of us personally, as far as I am concerned.
    I know the difference between assertive and rude. I field a lot of complaints about the things I say and the way I say them but, since I am just as likely to break someone else’s balls over the same matter,, it doesn’t bother me. Only a fool takes the opinions of a stranger personally and I don’t engage in discussions/arguments with people who don’t care what I think. Well, I try not to but sometimes I get it wrong.
    I have said, in the not so distant past, that I’m not all that easy to like. Most people agree. It’s up to them to decide whether or not I’m worth the effort.

    1. Few issues are as divisive in American politics. I came to the U.S. for a better job market and found it.

      I did not come — and cannot stand — the attitude that only some people “deserve” health care.

      Everyone deserves the right to live in dignity.

      1. Everyone has that right, that’s not the problem. And money isn’t, either. What’s Donald’s cash:dignity ratio? If you want to live in the company of dignified people, you should be one yourself. Dignity is not a passive state, it’s an active way of living. A homeless person in San Francisco who takes a dump in a paper bag and throws it in a dumpster is living with dignity in spite of their circumstances, as opposed to someone who just drops one on the sidewalk because “San Francisco sucks, man”. I don’t suppose I could ever convince that person that they might be contributing to the problem.
        Jeez, Kenny, why do you have to be such a hard ass all the time? Well, If I am cruel, it is only to be kind. Misquoting Hamlet, talk about your ugly Americans.
        The fact is, my heart overflows with kindness and compassion. The other thing is, these things, though I am very free in giving them, are still mine to give or not. A lot of people benefit from my generosity who may not deserve it, but none do who come to me claiming they have a right.
        I have been in need of compassion and forgiveness I didn’t deserve and received both, because of the strong Christian faith of the man who forgave me. I could have written him a laundry list of scripture to make forgiving me some kind of a moral imperative but, miserable cretin that I was, I was still trying to have a little dignity. Sometimes less is more.

      2. My friend Ray just corrected me on one point. It’s mathematical rather than ethical, but still important. Donald can have a ratio of dignity to cash, but not the other way around. It’s impossible to divide by zero.

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