I've been feeling loads better lately, although I am a bit depressed right now. See, when I had the surgery, I took a long, hard look at the health insurance offered by the school. It really isn't terrible insurance, at least not by the way insurance works in the US. It's a $100 deductible (great, right?) and 80% of everything is covered. So that is pretty damned awesome. Then I thought about it a little more. First up I had several doctor's visits before the surgery, with several Cat scans and blood tests. The Cat scans with the weird dye run about $800 normally, and I have no clue how much blood tests cost. Emergency visits are expensive too, and I had one of those before the surgery. So let's round that all to a low number, saying I owe about $500 for pre-surgery visits after insurance. The average pre-insurance cost in our area for laparoscopic gallbladder surgery is around $10,000, with another $5,000 tacked on for anesthesia, medication, and outpatient care. Add to that my second emergency room visit the next day, and my overnight hospital stay, the second Cat scan, more blood work... and the total right now pre-insurance is $24,500. If that's roughly accurate, that means that I will be responsible for about $5000 of my surgery (and etc.) costs. It's probably going to be more, because I took the lower average costs for things. I also didn't factor in the costs from the doctors themselves, as our hospital is one where doctors act independently of the hospital, so they charge you independently.
I do not have $5000. Yikes. My insurance doesn't feel so great anymore. I suppose I am grateful for it though. I could have to pay for it all myself.
Let's get to it. I've got a busy day, and I bet you do too!
-- [Chuck] Democracy Now! is an interesting TV show where they discuss any and all things related to Democracy. Yesterday, they had some great discussions about Wikileaks, Julian Assange, and Corporate Legislature. It's fairly long, but I really enjoyed (read: was mildly disgusted at some parts of) it. The first link is to the Democracy Now! website, where you can watch each piece individually. The second link is the entire show from yesterday, if you'd rather watch it all at once.
-- [Chuck] Are you one of our readers from outside the United States, and want to know if and how you can get involved? Well, we love you for coming here, and here's a link from GlobalNoise that shows multiple protests across the world! There are dozens of events listed and described from at least 20 countries.
-- [Chuck] As European countries are swarmed with protesters due to their austerity measures, one has to ask: Why are they doing these measures anyway? Enter New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who writes a piece to explain what is really happening in the governments of countries like Spain and Greece. What can be done about these serious issues? What caused them in the first place? He writes understandable explanations and offers his advice and opinions.
-- Great news out of Chicago today. A judge has ruled that due to the differential enforcement of a park's curfew hours, over 90 protesters will have their arrests thrown out. The judge ruled the arrests unconstitutional, citing a rally for President Obama in the park that also broke curfew, but brought no police action.
-- The last-ditch motion to stop a judge and prosecutors from receiving an Occupier's tweets has been denied. Twitter had fought back against the demands for the tweets, citing their policy that tweets belong to an individual, not the company. The tweets will now be available for use in court, causing great disappointment to both Twitter and the Occupier facing charges.
-- The city of Austin has lost their case against Occupiers, as the judge ruled that their ban on protesters attending demonstrations was, in fact, unconstitutional. The judge provides a list of stipulations required to be followed in order to provide such a ban, and notes that the city did not follow them, instead opting to prevent individuals from attending an open-forum in a park through threats.
-- London's new anti-squatter laws are officially in effect, and one man will be spending up to 12 weeks in jail after breaking them. Many feel the punishment is excessive, and that he is having an example made out of him. The new law makes it illegal to occupy someone's property without their consent. The man was squatting with two other people while they looked for work in the city. Those two are also facing trial soon.
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