Like a lot of people, I’m frustrated, terrified, and absolutely appalled by the passage in the House of Representatives of the AHCA.  With provisions that allow state governments and employers to strip away patient protections (things like pre-existing conditions and lifetime limits) and punish people for being old or poor, it’s a nasty piece of work from top to bottom.  And the joyfulness, the smug glee the Republicans took in crafting and passing this piece of legislation, is sickening (which is a problem, given what we know about the way they’re treating health care).

Now, I currently have pretty decent health insurance through my employer, a public school system in Northern Virginia.  Assuming everything goes well, they’ll keep providing that quality coverage for the rest of my career, ensuring I get to keep taking all the medications I need to take to remain alive and stable.

Oh, what’s that?  You didn’t know that I needed medication just to live?  Well, it’s true.  I’ve diabetes, depression, and an anxiety disorder, all three of which are on the list of things from AHCA that could get me dropped from my coverage.  And if pre-existing conditions make a comeback, there is no way I’d ever be able to get on insurance again.  The medication that helps keep my diabetes in check would go away.  The medication that keeps my anxiety and depression manageable would be so far beyond my ability to pay for (it’s not available as a generic, and all the generic ones I tried didn’t work for me) that it might as well not even exist.  If I were to lose my health insurance tomorrow, I’d be dead before the next presidential election, I can almost guarantee it.

And I don’t even have it as bad as other people I know.  I have friends who suffer from Type 1 diabetes and have to be on an insulin pump.  Insulin is a tremendously expensive medicine to have to take on a daily basis, as it turns out.  Too expensive for most folks to handle paying for without the benefits of insurance.  So those friends are dead.  I have other friends who suffer from bipolar disorder.  Medication helps keep them functioning, though for some it feels like it only barely manages that.  If they have stop taking their medication because they can no longer afford it (because they’re no longer covered)…well,suicidal ideation is one of the common components of bipolar.  Some folks aren’t able to sleep because of bipolar.  If you aren’t sleeping, you will die.  That’s just how the human body works.

I could go on, but it makes me too angry to.  We are at a crossroads as a society.  If Republicans are going to insist they’re Christians, they should probably start acting more Christ-like.  Jesus went around giving away free health care, folks.  And he wasn’t too keen on the super-rich.  Maybe something for members of the House of Representatives to keep in mind.

Back in the Saddle

As of this moment (Friday, August 26, about 10:30 in the morning), I’ve been back at work for a little over two and a half hours.  I know what classes I’m teaching for the coming school year (team-taught World History II and Government), what classrooms I’ll be in (I’m a nomad this year, bouncing from room to room like a man without a homeroom), and who I’m teaching with (one veteran teacher and one fresh-faced second year).  It looks – admittedly, from what little information I have so far – like it will be a pretty good year.  I’m feeling re-energized after my summer off, ready to tackle new topics and get down in the trenches, as it were.

Of course, that means we should probably review the summer’s activities and assess my performance, yes?

I had three primary goals this summer:

  1. Start exercising again so I don’t die of a heart attack or something similar before I hit the age of 40.
  2. Drive for Uber to make some extra cash.
  3. Edit book 2 and maybe even finish writing book 5.

I can say item #1 has been going pretty well.  I’ve been exercising consistently, and I’m up to running a mile most every day.  Should be up to two miles by the end of September.

I did a bit of driving for Uber, but it wasn’t as productive or profitable as I’d imagined it would be.  Part of it was because I was usually busy chauffeuring my wife to and from school during the times when I’d have been able to make the most money, part of it was I didn’t really want to drive in DC much (where the demand and thus pay were usually higher than out in the ‘burbs), and part of it is just the flaws inherent in the ridesharing app and business.  I’ll probably continue to drive for Uber once in a while during the school year, but I don’t see it being something I do as a steady source of income.

I edited a grand total of 11 (eleven) pages of book 2 this summer!  That’s…not great.  However, I did do a lot of plotting in my head for book 5 and beyond, and came up with a couple of short story ideas in the Hazzard universe, so it wasn’t completely wasted time.  And I tend to do better when I’ve got a full schedule anyway.  My ADD brain just works more efficiently when there’s the pressure of lots of external deadlines, so I’m sure I’ll get the edits done on book 2 pretty fast now that the school year is upon us.  Heck, since my classroom is already set up, I may even be able to get some editing done today.