Monday 129: Uber Frugal Month & Dentistry

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Monday, 16 January 2017

Uber Frugal Month with the Frugalwoods is actually proving to be rather thought-provoking, but not radical.  Because we have made the commitment to focus on our money, we are thinking more consciously of where we spend our money and how we waste it.  Yes, you read that right:  waste it.

Wasting money is so, so easy to do.  We waste money by letting food spoil.  Sometimes that just happens because life interrupts life, and what you plan to do does not or cannot get done, such as using up food before it spoils.  Example about food:  we bought blueberries.  They were forgotten about, and now here they are, a bit softer than we like.  So, I will salvage what I can this morning and make a banana-blueberry-almond milk shake for breakfast.  It may or may not taste great, but it will do the job.  But if the blueberries are gross, forget it.

When we started cleaning out our house – closets, sinks, garage, etc., – we threw away a lot of things which might have been sold, donated, or given away.  That is waste in the eyes of many.  The key, though, is who is making the choice?  The answer is, we are.  We have to decide if we have the time or energy or motivation to do any of those things.  Selling takes time.  Donating is a drive up the road.  Giving things away means find someone or something that will take the unwanted.  At times, the energy and focus of cleaning would be lost to those decisions, and the act of simplification could be lost.  There is a price to pay there, and the decision to just dump in the bin is the best.  Environmentally conscious?  Perhaps, perhaps not.

We are also looking at our cell phone bill, which is ridiculously expensive for four people.  The unlimited data plan costs mucho, and we are going to review it this month – all thanks to Uber Frugal Month!

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The blessings of insurance!  I have been having some dental issues, and the bills are likely to mount up.  This is one of the problems with getting older – new teeth don’t come in after your molars move in!  Last year I had my first root canal, and more dental work is on the way this year, enough to go beyond the annual allotment very quickly.  This means there will have to be adjustments to the budget and the debt snowball, but that is the way it is . . . wah!

The repeal of the Affordable Care Act may please many, but as someone who has worked in the medical field, it is worrisome.  The U.S. has, in my opinion, a very poor viewpoint of healthcare.  It is a capitalistic adventure, not one which benefits the members of our society, unless they are CEOs and stockholders.

Pre-existing conditions, being a woman, just being alive, were all reasons to prevent an individual from getting insurance at an affordable rate, and may become the norm again.  The move to derail it will once more shift costs to individuals, hospital emergency rooms, public medicine, and put much-needed medical care into the last-ditch, last-gasp emergency room visit for many.  The economic cost is considerable, to the hospitals that will not get adequate compensation, to the person who, even if normally healthy, has a health crisis and then becomes broke trying to pay off medical bills.

The cost is also considerable for society:  a failure to care for the individual fails to care for the country.  States that promote the right-to-life (read anti-abortion) have a disconnect between healthy prenatal care and a healthy child.  So, here is a question:  doesn’t “right to life” mean we all have a right to a healthy life, not to just be born?  Shouldn’t we put all the dying on life support until a cure can be found for their illness, to use cryogenics to freeze people?  Why should only the “rich” have access to medical care?

Medicare helps many, but it is also flawed.  Its biggest flaw is a failure to authorize dental work.  A healthy mouth leads to a healthy body.  In the old days, if your teeth were bad, you had them pulled, and got dentures.  Problem solved!  But today we know differently – good dental care is essential to overall good health.

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For many, declaring medical bankruptcy will become the norm, and then the costs are borne, once more, by the medical community, both public and private.  (Parts of the legal community may like this.)  This means increased costs to the individual, an unhealthier population, and all resources stretched further and further.

We have such a fear of “socialism” in this country!  For many people of the baby-boomer era, and older, this means Communism in its worst form.  Social programs, though, pave our roads, bring us clean, safe drinking-water (unless you live in Flint, Michigan), provide public schools, provide police and fire department, social welfare, and so on.  There are benefits to “socialism” that capitalism cannot do as well.

Social medicine may not be perfect, but is letting a child die from a tooth infection because of a failure to provide dental care to the poor an acceptable result?

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