Sunday, October 26, 2008

Carnival of MS Bloggers #22 - Election Edition

Welcome to the Carnival of MS Bloggers, a bi-weekly compendium of thoughts and experiences shared by those living with multiple sclerosis.

Election Edition

Ushering our Daughters into the White House
from Breaking the Dress Code

One of the most memorable things that was said during the campaigning this year was when Hillary was speaking at the convention and she said that her mother was born before women had the right to vote but that this year her daughter had voted for her mother for President. That really struck a cord for me. We’ve come so far and we’re getting so close. Puddin’ and I early voted earlier in the week, and in four years we’ll go again and take FuzzyHead with us. This is one of the many traditions that I’m proud to be passing down to my daughters.

While I don't agree on all issues with Senator Obama; I agree on most. He has my vote because he is cool, calm, and collected. THAT is the hand I want shaking hands with our allies, reaching out to our enemies, saluting our troops, holding our nuclear weapon codes, and raised in oath to carry out the duties of the President of the United States of America.

Political Signs
by Serina

I’ve seen McCain/Palin Signs around, and while they definately aren’t my choice, I would never physically ever take someone’s sign out of their yard, or do anything to disfigure it. The beauty of this country is that we have freedom of speech and the freedom to express our opinions, and everyone is allowed their opinion.

That being said, I have seen a few different signs around town that have been disfigured.. and I kind of wonder what “Political Sign” that the disfigurement represents. Personally I would not want to be part of a group that did that sort of thing. I hope its not a “Sign” of our times, or a “Sign” that people think they did something cool by defacing other’s property. All it does when I see that kind of thing, is make me think of what a small mind the person who did it must have…

Palin Campaign Rally 
by Word Salads

This is the Palin Rally we all attended early Monday morning! Here is Sarah and Piper, they were only a few feet from us!

Whoo hooo!

My first Rally!!!!

Hank Williams, Jr. reached out and shook my hand! WHOOT!

Your vote for McCain is a vote against me
says Nina at Planning the Unpredictable

My family and some friends read this blog so I urge those thinking about voting for McCain to think again. The Wall Street Journal had an article on Monday about McCain’s ideas on how to change the health insurance market. Here are the points made in the article:

McCain’s Plan

McCain’s health plan would cover 5 million Americans.
McCain’s health plan would cost 1.3 trillion dollars.

McCain wants less regulation, here is a direct quote from a paper he wrote:

"Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation."

McCain would start taxing your employer sponsored health insurance plan. Let’s say your company spends 10,000 a year on your health insurance. McCain would charge the employee income tax on that 10,000. The cause and effect of this is unknown but the belief is young, healthy employees would pass on the employer sponsored plan and go for a cheaper private plan. This would leave employers with older and high risk (me) employees on their plan. This might cause employers to end their health insurance plans due to high costs.

McCain’s solution for the above situation is to over a high risk plan for the broken (actually they already have this) but it is very pricey and the benefits are horrible. There is a good change my medication would NOT be covered under such plan.

McCain would over a tax credit to individuals of 2,500 and 5,000 for families in order to purchase private insurance. I have been self insured before and it was 400 a month with no drug coverage. I would NOT be able to afford the 2,000 a month for Copaxone. The chances of a private insurance company actually insuring me is pretty small anyway. Pre-existing conditions would prevent me from qualifying. I probably have 2-3 different conditions… obesity, MS and thyroid issues.

Obama’s Plan

Obama’s health plan would cover 34 million Americans.
Obama’s health plan would cost 1.6 trillion dollars.

Obama’s plan would be regulated by the government.

He would create a new government-run plan as well as an “exchange” in which private companies would offer insurance to compete with the government plan. New rules would require that insurance companies provide coverage to everyone, at consistent prices, even those with existing ailments. Parents would be required to cover their children, and large employers would be required to cover their workers or pay a fine.

Obama’s plan would regulate the benefits so that minimum standard would be set up. Additional benefits would be offered at a higher premium.

Obama’s plan would most likely require companies to offer these benefits to their employees.


Are either plan perfect? No, of course not. Is Obama’s plan a step in the right direction? YES! McCain’s is going in the WRONG direction! The tax to the health insurance benefit will effect millions of American families that can’t afford it. The cost of McCain’s plan will keep increasing along with the number of uninsured. Yes, it’s pricey but everyone should be able to see a doctor and have basic coverage. That is why I am voting for Obama.

Because we have universal health care in this country we often don't think about what an illness can do to families financially. This is much more evident in the US but it does affect Canadians as well.

My mother was quite ill when she was pregnant with me. I wasn't a very good guest apparently. As a result of not being able to keep anything down and the threat of miscarriage a few times, when mom went into labour, the specialists were called in to help with the delivery and to care for what they thought was to be a tiny baby. The minute I was born, they wheeled the incubator out of the room and the specialists all started to leave. Mom asked where everyone was going. She was told they weren't needed as I was big and healthy (and screaming), at 7 pounds, 14 ounces.

My father is fond of reminding me it took them 3 years to pay for my birth because of the precautions needed and the specialists required to be there. I never understood that statement until I was a teenager and learned about our health care system. Canada has only had universal health care since the mid '60s (I was born in '63). Yes, they had insurance, but that only covers so much. My parents have been adamant over the years that I have insurance for everything, and I do.

I have been a consumer of health care since before I was born. All the usual childhood diseases, tonsils came out at 10, occasional trips to emergency for sprains, stitches, etc., regular doctor visits (they now call them "well woman" visits instead of paps), irregular doctor visits for severe colds or flus, MS onset and diagnosis and most recently my surgery for ovarian cysts (I can't imagine the costs associated with that whole experience).

If I added the costs of my health care together, I'm sure I'd be at the million dollar mark by now. But it has basically only cost me parking. And the occasional over the counter medicine.

When the MS diagnosis came along, I signed up for the Avonex drug study. For the duration of the study, the drug company, Avonex was going to cover the costs associated with the study: MRIs, blood work, etc. That was for almost two years. Then after the study, my insurance at work covered the prescription. But it would only do so for two years. This was in the midst of lobbying the various provincial governments to cover the enormous expense of the DMDs. Nova Scotia came on board with the plan around that time along with New Brunswick a few years later and eventually Newfoundland and Labrador. The rest of the country had already covered the drugs.

I get my prescription for Avonex filled every three months. I call the hospital pharmacy, give them my ID number and go pick it up the next day. They send me a bill for $9.54 for "dispensing fees" or some such thing and that's it. So for about $40 a year and parking I get Avonex. In September it will be 9 years that I've been on this drug. Since diagnosis I haven't missed any work because of MS. I have worked full time for the past 8 years (I was part time for several years before that), volunteered, and in general contributed to society (and to the government coffers).

A lot of folks complain about the government's take of income tax. I understand their frustration as I used to be one of them. But not now. I know why I pay taxes and my health is to show for it. I also sock away as much money as I can for retirement because I know that my retirement may one day be forced on me because of the MS.

I have repeatedly said over the years that I am one lucky duck. Not everyone can say that. Some folks may not be working full time or have full health coverage for other prescriptions or they may not be working at all. They may not be living where they want because of financial strains. Maybe they were the sole breadwinner before disability and can now no longer afford to look after their families the way they had been. Whatever the case, even in Canada, getting sick can cause great financial hardship, though it may not be because of the cost of the actual health care.

The Wookie moved to Canada from southern California when he was a teenager. His father (now semi retired) became a professor at one of the universities here. A few years after they had moved here, the Wookie's youngest brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Sadly, it was discovered too late and he passed away, but not before undergoing surgery and treatment. Both parents were working professionals but admitted that if they had still been in the US, the brother's medical care would have bankrupted them.

We have wonderful care in this country, wonderful doctors, and wonderful facilities. We also have problems with our medical system that we're trying to work out. The biggest complaint people have is wait times for tests or to see specialists. If your condition is emergent you will be seen and assessed quickly. If it turns out that you don't need emergent treatment, well, you'll wait...

Over the past several years I have watched walk-in medical clinics open up to help ease the strain on emergency departments. There is a shortage of family doctors and as a result, longer waits to see one even if you have one. That's part of what was driving folks to the EDs. The other part is that many people aren't proactive enough with their health, engaging in risky behaviour, not following doctors' advice , that sort of thing. The government and our doctors are not responsible for our health. We are. And we have to educate ourselves about...ourselves. We must become more knowledgeable about our health, we must lead healthier lives, and we must not take for granted the great things we already have.


This concludes the 22nd edition of the Carnival.

The next Carnival of MS Bloggers will be hosted here on November 6, 2008. Please remember to submit a post (via email) from your blog of which you are particularly proud, or which you simply want to share, by noon on Tuesday, November 4, 2008.

Thank you.
Comments for this post.


  1. Lisa, another great compilation. Thanks.

  2. I don't want the government messing around in my health. Period. People say they don't want the government in their uterus (abortion) but they are so willing to hand over our health care system to the government. I sure as heck don't want them telling me what kind of treatment I can and can't have! And if they're paying for it it'll be up to them. And I think it's bad now with the insurance companies telling me what to do...

  3. Shauna: I see your points however I sure don't want someone else to tell me what' they think is an emergency and what they think can wait. I don't trust anyone but myself with that all important decision. Not a risk I'm willing to take. Just my opinion...

  4. Couldn't have said it better than Shauna All true

  5. Miss Chris, Medicare: I go to whatever Dr. I want.

    I pay taxes, I paid into Social Security and Medicare for 30 years, now I get my money back in monthly pmts and health care; America. I also was in a labor union and that afforded me a pension. I have no complaints about the program, just suggestions for improvements.

    This was a fun carnival to read, Lisa. Such an exciting and stressful year---Thank GOD I'm not a politician! Whoever wins will have a mess to deal with. We will all have to join together and support our leader, however we can.