Thursday, July 31, 2008

Don't Get Sick!?: Healthcare and it's costs

I had to laugh a little late one night I Carol and I were on the interstate coming home from a wedding in Knoxville. We passed a car whose bumper sticker read, "Republican Healthcare Plan: Don't Get Sick". It made me chuckle a little, but the bumper sticker is a little unfair to those who truly believe that the private sector and innovation eventually will pay off in the long run. However, the bumber sticker revealed an existing belief that some in our society hold about the private sector -- its a phrase that people hide behind so they don't have to do anything about injustice (again not fair or entirely true).

Whether believe that healthcare should be left to unrestricted free market or if you are of the opinon that government should become increasingly involved (about 20% of healthcare costs are subsidized), the real cost of healthcare is this: we get sick. However, many if not most of the diseases that cost us the most are preventable.

Heart disease, diabetes, lung and mouth cancer, and high blood pressure are all very costly conditions that can be avoided by simply taking care of oneself. Its pretty simple really: eat healthy, don't use tabacco, and get moderate exercise. Save yourself and everyone some green.

"Don't get sick" is a wise plan reducing the costs of healthcare, and how those reduced costs are paid is another debate entirely. I'd rather pay the same or a little higher for my healthcare and allow for those 7 - 12% who don't have insurance and couldn't pay the bills if they did be taken care of too. I'm still hopefully for the private sector to get creative and make progress, but its hard not to be jaded.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Money, Your Money, Our World...Transformed

Yesterday I aksed for input about where I should give money. One of the joys of having a budget is being able to give.

Since Adam was the only one to comment so far, and I need to take care of July's giving before the end of July, I took one of his suggestions and headed over to and chekced out what they do. Basically, they are a place that lets people lend money to others who need it to develop themselves personally or professionally. This is called microfinancing.

Microfinancing is all about helping people that banks either cannot (too risky, not enough money to be worth it) or will not (it's in thier interest to keep people only partially successful). A small loan helps people "prime the well".

So I am using my "giving" money to microfinance through Kiva. When they pay me back I will either reinvest in someone else, or donate it to another cause.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To Whom Should I Give Money?

I got a job. Now I can / should give away some money.

Where should it go? Where do you give to? How do I get there? What are the biggest needs?

Comment so we can spotlight some places that could use it.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

A Knife Is Better Than a Gun

While in Montego Bay, Jamaica I met a man named Michael. The first time we interacted with him he was yelling at us something about how white missionaries come to the island, use the beach every day and never clean it up. He continued on his way spouting off something about colonization and how there can be no peace without justice.

I went back to where we saw him first and waited. Eventually he came back and we started a real conversation. That led to a few of our students becoming his friends and sharing time, clothes, and food with him.

Michael and I talked and sat along the Hip Strip during our short week on the island. One topic was violence and how the rasta fight with words instead of weapons. He reminded me over and over of the prophesy of weapons being pounded into plowshares.

"A knife is better than a gun because it can be used to peel fruit."

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