odd time signatures

Time out, Max Baucus

 That’s right, Senator Max Baucus. I’m talking to YOU. Let me tell you a little about the past 30 days of my life.

You see, I have this kid. He’s a good kid. A great kid, in fact. He’s my birthday present…born on my 31st birthday at 1:11pm (13:11 if you’re number superstitious). He’s really talented, too. He produced his first CD this summer, which he considers to be the beginning of his long and productive musical career.

For the past month, he’s been really, really sick. He can’t keep food in him, is in constant middle-bending just-shoot-me kind of pain, and has lost 20 pounds (he only weighed 165 to begin with).

The pain he’s in makes it impossible for him to play his beloved drums for any length of time. He has a great job but hasn’t been able to work at all for the past 30 days. He’s stubborn though — while he’s been fighting this, he taught himself to play bass and even built one from scratch. See it just below?? That’s the kind of thing he does. He doesn’t know how not to be creative. He’s the guy who will push jazz back into our daily music lexicon, who will maybe write a movie score, who is already composing works for ensembles, trios, and big bands.

Last week his mystery disease was identified as ulcerative colitis. It’s not curable, only manageable. He was put on some medication to help with the inflammation and told he should begin to see improvement within a week.

Things have gone steadily downhill since then. Instead of better, they’re worse. Can you imagine seeing your son moaning in pain every single day and not being able to do ANYTHING to help? Imagine it. Do it for just a second.

Today his blood work came back. Never mind my fight with my COBRA administrator who cancelled me for some inexplicable reason 10 days ago, here’s the real problem: It would appear that my always-fit, always active 20-year old son is diabetic, probably as a result of my genetic contribution. The music he gets from his dad; the diabetes from me. Now he gets to learn to manage UC and diabetes in concert with one another while struggling to regain the ground he’s lost being sick for the past month.

Here’s the catch, Senator Baucus. Listen carefully. My sonthedrummer may not be able to BE a drummer, because these two diseases make him UNINSURABLE at AGE 20. Where I held my breath hoping for health care reform to happen, now it’s become an imperative, no longer just about me or our house, or some scary maybe heart thing with my husband. This is real life you’re screwed if you don’t get this done kind of living. Reform isn’t just some ‘nice’ thing to do.

So, Senator, what do we get from you? A pile of crap wrapped up in pretty red Republican paper with a little bipartisan bullshit on the side. Under your plan, his premium could be up to 5 times the normal premium for someone without pre-existing conditions. Let’s see…right now it’s $230/month. You think it should be five times that? Under your plan, he’d probably land in a high risk pool with that surcharge/front-end load kicking in right away.  Oh! And because my premiums for the family coverage would be over $21,000 a year (assuming I can straighten out my COBRA admin and get my coverage back at all…) I’d be TAXED on the excess? And if I *can’t” get insurance, I’m forced into the 5x pool or the $3800/year fine, for which I get exactly nothing. Not one. damn. thing.

If we’re going be hammered with $3800/year for failing to feed United Health et al’s greed machines, the very least you could do is let him buy into Medicare or a public option. But no. Insurers wouldn’t like that, and insurers are your friend. Not mine. Not his. Yours.

So…for the privilege of going bankrupt either via unaffordable insurance or via unreasonably high sanctions with absolutely no price controls or competition, you want my kid to shell out $3800/year? This is reform? How? California has co-ops already, by the way. Look how good they are at controlling costs! Only $21,400/year for a family of 4! Well done, Senator Baucus. How proud your keepers must be of you.

Imagine having to face not doing what you love, what you were gifted for, because it means medical bills will always dog you.

Imagine having to make a choice between talent and health.

Imagine having to give up what you’ve been passionate about for over one-half of a short twenty-year old life.

Imagine having to choose. Imagine having YOU CHOOSE FOR ME. OR HIM. Worse yet, why should that choice be made by Blue Cross or United Health?

Your pathetic effort to appease the unappeasable just rendered you irrelevant. Step back, get out of the way, and let your colleagues who actually understand this is not a game of “richest lobbyist wins” get something done.

Bipartisanship is not an option here, by declaration of the teapartiers, the birthers, the tenthers and all the others who have no balls or courage to answer this problem with a real solution. My son cannot live on rhetoric. He cannot build a life or a career on your lack of courage. If and your buddy Kent Conrad think it’s a good idea to cater to the money guys, that’s your problem. Don’t make it mine.  You had your chance to do this right. More than your chance. We put up with the lunatic town halls, insane finger-biting incidents, and racist drivel so you could have your chance. That’s done now.

Get out of my kid’s way and let the big boys forge a realistic pathway for him to work toward his goals. He has been a taxpaying contributing member of society since he was 14 years old. He pays his own way through school with no loans while remaining on the Dean’s list and representing his college at jazz festivals around the state. At the ripe old age of 20, he deserves a better future than indentured servitude to an employer with a health plan and a Senator planning his retirement on insurance company payrolls.

I still have the naughty chair I used to make my boy sit in when he was two or three when he would defy me or behave in a way that wasn’t safe for him or others. It’s right over there. Please sit down until you learn your lesson.

If it weren’t so serious, I’d be laughing. My kids know I’m not laughing because I’m too incredibly furious. I’ve had enough. Shut up and sit down. You’re in time out.

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