It is hard to imagine that there is someone who is not enjoying, if not behind a tear or two, the current presidential election. Although in recent history the Republicans have offered up some highly creative and entertaining presidential candidates, this election cycle tops all previous contenders for most entertaining. Starting at the bottom of the heap, one has to consider Dr. Carson.
In a college commencement speech 17 years ago, Carson told the graduates of Andrews University in Michigan that it is his “personal” belief that the pyramids were built as storehouses for grain and not, as archaeologists say, for the interment of dead pharaohs
Down the line a little bit from Marco is John Kasich who seems rather normal. Because of this, I have to come to the conclusion that he is not a viable Republican candidate. He has not said anything totally off-the-wall so it is hard to place him with the rest of the candidates.
Now to my favorite two contenders; Ted and Donald. Let’s start with Ted. I do not believe that any of these presidential challengers is scarier than Ted. The things he says make me think of those old holocaust movies when the president flips out and pushes the big red button to end the world. When I researched quotes from Ted, I was surprised that one person could say so many incredibly insensitive and stupid things. My suggestion to you, if you are a Cruz supporter or just curious, is to go to the following site and read some of the outlandish statements he has made. Just too much for my tiny blog!
Now on to the main course, potential president of the United States of America, Donald Trump. This is the man, who claims he made it the ‘hard way,’ when the reality is that his father loaned him one million dollars to get started in business. He is, for reasons unknown, allowed to say most anything he wants to This I believe, in a world sick of political correctness, is his ticket to the republican presidential nominee. There is little doubt we are all tired of the incessant cry for political correctness, but to allow a man into office who could possibly offend almost every world leader is patently insane; it defies common logic! The fact that ‘ The Donald’ can say anything he pleases has lifted him above the other candidates. He does not have to answer to any major corporation; he could care less what any major union says about him and so just speaks his mind with no filters while the entertainment-starved American public eats it up. Because of Donald, the debates were some of the most watched events in the history of TV debates!
Recently a friend of mine experienced the pain and discomfort from a back injury. Actually the injury occurred several months ago and since then he has been to several doctors, had a MRI, along with a few x-rays. As of today he is not sure what is wrong with his back or if anything can be done to ease his pain. He is stretching and doing exercises to help control the pain but is still not back to his normal active self.
Now enter, the healthcare system. During his last trip to the doctor he was informed that the first MRI did not extend low enough to observe the problem. I don’t know, dear reader if you have ever had an MRI, but they are terribly expensive in this country. So, he was instructed to have an additional MRI done. After scheduling it at Hampshire Memorial Hospital, he received a phone call from his insurance company informing him that if he had the MRI done at Hampshire, which is part of the Valley HealthCare System, it would cost him close to $800 out-of-pocket; but if he was willing to drive an hour to Berkley Springs Memorial Hospital, (which is part of WV University Healthcare) then it would cost him less than $200 out-of-pocket. Valley Healthcare as well as WV University Healthcare are very large and ever-expanding mega-healthcare systems.
Now, I want to make sure you understand what I am getting at. If my friend is willing to drive an hour to another hospital rather than use the hospital right down the street, he can save almost $600. He chose to drive an hour. The question here is: why? Why would one hospital work well with an insurance company and the other would not? I assume the equipment costs are similar. Their operating cost should be similar as well, so what is the reason for this huge difference in out-of-pocket expense? Get ready for this! I was told by one individual that Hampshire Memorial Hospital was owned by an out-of-state company and the Berkley Springs hospital was owned by an in-state company. The obvious question here is, why does that matter? I have watched TV shows that explored this phenomenon of variations in cost, but never actually saw it in real life. Stated another way, we need to shop around for a hospital system that charges more consistent reasonable rates. This is rather bizarre if you think about it enough, but we never discuss money with a doctor when we have something done medical. It is not in our culture customary to ask the hospital or the doctor how much a procedure will cost, so we just pay, along with the insurance company, whatever they ask.
To sum up, my advice is to shop around. Ask the hospital what a procedure costs. Ask the doctor that same question. Talk to your insurance company as well about different cost options. As usual, you are the only one watching out for you!