Friday, February 24, 2006

Champion a Cause

Make your life more enjoyable by finding a cause to champion. There are organizations that pull at our heart strings giving us a desire to step up to the plate and donate our time and money. One of those organizations is the American Red Cross; they will take your time, money, blood, your vehicle, even your body after you die.

The ARC needs volunteers in order to meet with the 1927 congressional mandate to organize relief efforts in the event of a disaster. Volunteering means there is no monetary payment for your service; however, the life changing experiences volunteers encounter are worth more than money.

Training is provided on evenings and weekends; this allows their volunteers to do their jobs with confidence. ARCDSAT volunteers are trained in Family Service, Damage Assessment, and Mass Care; the primary jobs needed when a disaster strikes.

Imagine having the opportunity to fly to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Nassau, Washington, Houston, Miami or New Orleans all expenses paid. The perks of volunteering for this and other organizations are great but the real life changing experiences happen when the volunteer helps make life easier for individuals and families devastated by disaster. Long hours will pass by and the weeks will expire quickly but the experience will forever be written in the hearts and minds of the volunteer.

The chance to make new friends is around every corner; in fact meeting one's mate is even possible while serving. Take it from someone who knows first hand; volunteer today and take a step toward experiencing a life changing event. Volunteering can change your life for the better.

Monday, February 20, 2006


As always I try to sit down reflect on the blessings both big and small that God has allowed me to experience the past year. This last year he has blessed me with more friends and more family.

Going back to school at my age can be somewhat intimadating but back to school I went as God opened the doors for yet another life changing experience. God's plan in my life often makes my plans dull in comparison. I was happy were I was, not to say I'm not happy now. Grow where you are planted is my motto.

The challengs of life were going to be easier as last year's challenge was the election (I thank God I did not win). Then I enter the halls of higher learning, what was I thinking the campaign trail looks easier all the time.

Now I have the opportunity to set an example to my children and buckle down to get good grades; at the same time keeping my integrity when it comes to dealing with liberal professors. (Another Challenge of Life).

I am making new friends and becoming "Mom" to many of the younger students who seem to face the challenges this world continues to bombard their lives with every day. My heart often goes out to them as my prayers go up once I learn of their horrific life. Today's kids have so many more challenges than I would have ever imagined. Life in my sheltered up bringing kept me from many of the evils of the world, but most of these kids have witnessed or experienced at least one thing that I have only recently learned about, (Things I wish I never would have had the opportunity to know about).

The greatest challenge of returning to school was the math classes. (I hate! Math!) With the help of several young members at church (mostly Michelle) I was able to squeeze out a B in the first clas and a C in the second class. I have one more to conquer and I am not looking forward to it at all. There are just a few things God makes us do so he can laugh I think. Why Math would ever be in his plan for me just baffels the mind.

I am learning everyday more things that make me thankful for the path God has led me through as I have matured. (Yes I have) Looking back at my life I think whoa, Lord I never expected to be in this spot. Yet this is were he has me and it is so comforting to know his plans for me cannot be thwarted and that I am where he wants me to be when he wants me to be there.

One of the grandest blessings God has given me is the Church Family at Bethel. To be specific the Singles II Bible Study Class. You are such a blessing every day to my heart. The storm we have weathered left us battered and tired in many ways yet the Holy Spirit sustains us. The love our class has for oneanother is why I think those who have graduated have a hard time leaving our midst. I never wanted to be "Single" but I am so glad that God has placed me where I am because the blessings overflow in abundance.

I thank God for all of you being there to provide a listening ear an encouraging smile and a comforting hug when I need to have them. My prayer is that God blesses your life a richly as he has seen fit to bless mine.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Playing the game of Health Care Russian Roulette

We are living in a generation of extreme games ~ for instance fear factor and survivor. I have been playing the most extreme game of them all and had been playing for years before I realized it was an extreme game ~ one where you put your life on the line. On the last day of March in 1999, I was jolted from a peaceful slumber and awakened to a real life nightmare. The game took a turn for the worse and my husband who rarely sneezed was having a full-blown grand mall seizure.

Time moved in slow motion ~ like in a dream ~ emergency workers came, I stood in the hospital, I looked at the CAT scan, listened to the doctor, heard the dreadful word ~ CANCER ~ all the while wondering what we were going to do? For the last three months we had been living on unemployment, there was not any insurance, Insurance was a luxury we could not afford. With a baby on my hip and my five-year-old daughter, grasping my hand my heart screamed “What Now?”

For us playing the game was not a choice, we had to play the health care form of ~ Russian Roulette.

As in any game, we each take our turn ~ with Health Care Russian Roulette we spin the virtual cylinder on the revolver of health loaded with a bullet of sickness. Sometimes we are lucky and when the chamber locks into position, it is empty. However, under some circumstances, the barrel is loaded and if you have insurance, are unemployed or underprivileged, you can get the care needed.

Nevertheless, what happens to the multitude of uninsured who do not qualify for assistance? Three main groups are playing the Health Care Russian Roulette game: low wageworkers who do not receive insurance from their employer, healthy people who want “Pay as you go” health care because of the continued rising costs and people who are denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. The solution to end the game will be found in more than one idea.

National Statistics provided by the Kaiser Family State Health Facts website gives insight to the National Crisis we are facing when it comes to health care. In 2003 over 38 million people were hospitalized with an average cost around seven thousand dollars. Of those hospitalized twenty – eight percent were uninsured and unable to receive state assistance in the form of Medicaid. This twenty-eight percent reflects those who are above the poverty level. How much above? The heartland institute examined the current population survey and their findings reflect that close to one third of the uninsured have annual incomes of fifty thousand dollars or above.

These players want to beat the odds, and are willing to take the chance that when the spinning stops ~ the sickness bullet will not land in the barrel.

According to the Census Survey, low wageworkers generally work for smaller companies who are unable to provide health insurance because of the escalating costs. Insurance companies are becoming more stringent in the requirements, discriminating against less profitable patients. As an example, I was speaking to a friend recently who was trying to get individual care insurance from Blue Cross and Blue Shield. They denied her coverage because of a history she had of a frequent runny nose. She was a cost risk the insurance company was not willing to insure. She currently has filed an appeal and is waiting on a decision. In the mean time, she like so many others will take their turn at spinning cylinder on the Health Care Revolver.

In the 1992 JAMA an article entitled “Socioeconomic status and risk for substandard medical care” looks at the iatrogenic events uninsured are likely to suffer. “The uninsured poor are twice as likely as those with private insurance to delay hospital care; among those delaying care hospital stays are longer and death rates are higher” Those with major health risk factors as well as ailments that are treatable have a twenty five percent higher Mortality rate than those with insurance.

Is there one solution that will solve the health Care crisis? No. but if we take a look at the plan President Bush is promoting we will find that in the whole it provides great strides in making major adjustments on how health care benefits are distributed throughout the nation, so that everyone will be able to receive preventive health care, as well as treatment for their ailments. His plan, which embraces several ideas, will enhance what is currently available and make it user friendly. This plan will empower consumers, allowing them to choose doctors hospitals and treatments.

In his proposal, President Bush wants to expand the Health Care Savings Accounts allowing larger deposits and making them available to the self-employed. His plan will provide both income tax deductions and credit on income taxes for any payroll taxes associated with the premium. Employers will be encouraged to offer portable Health Care Savings Accounts thereby allowing employees to move or relocate and keep their accounts with out loosing any previous contributions. In the President’s plan, Health Care Savings Accounts will be treated as IRAs and there by rewarding those who take advantage of the Health Care Savings Accounts opportunity.

Look at it this way if you or your employer contributes to the Health Care Savings Account you will only have to tap into the account for your own ailment not for the ailments of everyone else including those who tend to abuse their bodies.

To answer the problem of patients not receiving preventive health care President Bush wants to Expand Community Health Centers adding an additional 1,200 new sites, which would serve and additional six million patients. Federally funded grants will be made available for non-profit and faith based organizations who will provide health care services. Medical pools where groups of individuals pay for each other’s medical expenses over and above their contributions into their Health Care Savings Accounts can receive start up assistance from federal funds made available with the Presidents plan. Insurance will still be available, catastrophic policies will become the norm.

Playing the game of Health Care Russian Roulette is a game millions of Americans play every day. The national Health Care Crisis affects us all with higher costs and restrictive screening by insurance companies. Uninsured patients are having a difficult time surviving when the trigger sends a bullet of sickness out the barrel. The President’s plan will take a huge step towards solving our national crisis in establishing preventive care and alternate sources besides insurance.

You want to hear the rest of my story. Alternate treatments were not available and after four months my husband died, he lost the game.

The health care revolver is loaded and ready; will you be the next player?