From Behind Enemy Lines

Health Care

Do you want health care, or do you want health insurance?

I spent a number of years living in Canada during my youth. I learned that guns were bad, Canadian healthcare was perfect, and that Americans were assholes. Years later, I was living in Maryland and learning more about the US healthcare system and politics, and I realized that Canada was not the utopia it pretends to be.

Most Canadians will tell you how amazing their healthcare is. If pressed, they will then explain how horrible it is to have to pay for healthcare in the States. In the same breath, they’ll laud their own experiences. This is because Canadians are indoctrinated to believe that their healthcare and schooling, and indeed their entire way of living, is vastly superior to the United States.

There are so many complexities to this topic that it’s hard to know where to start. I’ll begin with this: the Canadian healthcare system is broken, but in very different ways to the US system. The US system is also broken, but most of the breakage has to do with insurance, not actual medical care.

And therein lies the problem. It’s the problem everywhere, by the way. People in general seem to equate health CARE with health INSURANCE. While they are connected, they are not the same thing. Everyone seems to treat them as if they are the interchangeable, and there is nothing farther from the truth.

Health insurance in Canada is okay. It’s not great, and not horrible. The set-up is very similar to how HMOs are used in the United States. There are limited numbers of doctors available at any given time. No one is taking new patients, but new patients are arriving in a constant flow. Emergency rooms aren’t permitted to turn people away, but the waits range from four to twenty four hours.  At the point of service, Canadians pay nothing for their medical care. They do pay for prescriptions and certain other things like some types of therapy and such. There are set fees for the majority of medical procedures that require payment, so it’s not too complicated. Most jobs include insurance that covers such things as prescription medication, eye care, and dental care. The average Canadian pays very little out of pocket, and almost nothing at all at point of service.

Canadian medical care is lacking. Doctors and other medical staff are underpaid and overworked, much moreso than here in the States. They are required to do their work under very strict guidelines. For instance, the last time I was in Canada, the length of visit allotted to a physician to diagnose you going in for flu symptoms was only ten minutes. They had ten minutes to get in, order any tests, talk to you, examine you, and come to conclusions. Specialists have different rules, of course, but they aren’t all that much better. I don’t have the actual details for current conditions, but friends in the Great White North do report that wait times have gotten even longer in the past ten years. 

A woman on TikTok (don’t judge me, it’s a fun little platform) was describing her most recent visit to a Canadian emergency room. She had a problem with her calf, it being swollen, and hot to the touch in one specific area. She provided pictures. My first diagnosis, upon seeing it, was deep vein thrombosis. That’s definitely an ER trip. She waited in the ER waiting room for ten hours before being seen. She lost her leg because of the length of wait, because by the time she was seen, the damage was too severe. Complications due to the late nature of the surgery mean she may lose not just her leg, but her life. 

American health care is several steps above Canadian, in my very strong opinion. I’ve never had to wait more than a couple of hours to be seen at an ER, and then only in appropriate times. America has something called Urgent Care, for things that are more emergent than seeing your family doctor tomorrow or Thursday, but not as emergent as needing the emergency room. This takes pressure off the ER and the family doctors enough to keep the system from getting gridlocked. 

On the flip side, American health insurance is a complex and convoluted crapshoot. I say that in the most polite of tones. The VA and Medicare both provide some insurance coverage and medical care coverage for people, but reported care under both programs is poor. If you want to know why, look at all the commentary about Canadian socialized medicine above. For those Americans who either choose to not have insurance, or who cannot afford it, self-pay is a perfectly valid method of going through life.

The problem with self-pay is that there is no way to know how much anything costs. An office visit for a sinus infection may cost $150 this week, $300 next week, and $50 the week after that. There are no explanations, no oversight, and no way to know what is going on behind the scenes. All attempts to make medical care costs transparent have, thus far, been for naught. 

The behind the scenes insurance mess is even worse than the self-pay mess. Insurance companies exist in order to make money, and that’s something many people forget. It is their job, quite literally, to turn people away for services. Doctors, dentists, ophthalmologists, and specialists of all types are required to fight tooth and nail to get paid for their services. In order to get enough money to cover their own expenses, medical practices often have to charge insurance companies outrageous amounts, because they get only pennies on the dollar in return. It’s a vicious and horrid cycle wherein the insured pay the price for their own torture.

The care in America, though, is so much better! I have had medical care in America, Canada, and Britain. America wins on the care side, by far. When I broke my ankle, I was treated quickly and compassionately. I received not only emergent care at the ER, but appointments after the fact to check on my progress, and I was given access to physical therapy to aid in my recovery. Did I pay for all of this? Yes I did. It was expensive. I winced. It hurt to open the wallet that widely. But I received excellent care. Had I been in Canada, the outcome would have been vastly different, and likely would have ended up with me having unnecessary hardware in my ankle.

When my appendix burst and ultimately dissolved (that’s a whole other story), I was rushed into the ER by my family. Every doctor and nurse there listened to what I had to say, and I was treated with gentle hands and expertise. Due to the nature of the emergency, I ended up being in hospital for five days. As someone who was paying out of pocket, that was panic inducing. I could see the dollar signs stacking up. Instead of sending a bill to me, they send a financial advisor to talk with me. She helped us to come up with a payment plan that was reasonable for us. When I had a panic attack at 2am on the third day, the night nurse came and sat with me. I managed between sobs to explain that I was still in a lot of pain (I had managed to go septic due to how my appendix committed sepuku) and I was terrified to be going home in the morning. She talked to my doctor, and it was agreed I should spend another day in care. It made all the difference. In Canada, you go home three to five hours after your surgery. Let that one sink in.

Do I wish we had a country where the insurance was as straightforward as the medical care? Yes I do. It’s a desperate wish. Forced to choose, though, I will choose good care over okay insurance every single time. 

It is unfortunate that I see America quickly following in Canada’s footsteps, both in care and style of insurance. I’ve lived in New England now for over ten years. In that time, I’ve never had problems seeing a medical practitioner… until 2022. I have had four appointments canceled out from under me, because the doctors have left the practice. I have been trying to see someone in a non-emergent way, for over a year now. It’s not something worthy of going to Urgent Care, and definitely not worth a trip to the ER. All I can do is continue to wait for an appointment I hope will eventually happen. 

If you want to fight for health care, fight to make insurance and medical payments clearer, more transparent. Fight for decent pay and hours for doctors (because, while doctors here get paid fairly well, they are swamped with unconscionable fees for malpractice insurance). Fight for nurses being allowed to do their jobs and not be treated like servants. And fight for private insurance to be either fixed or regulated, but NOT by the government. Fight to keep health care out of the hands of the government. 

 

Heuristic Hagar

Harvard Offers Class on Treating LGBTQIA+ Infants

As a person who sits in the middle (or even “slightly left of middle”, if you prefer, which I’m sure some of you do), I often run into articles from the left or right of the divide that are poorly researched or make vast assumptions without providing any background or context. It’s been pointed out to me numerous times by Right friends that the Left is incredibly bad about this, and that they twist and turn and manipulate words in order to change the meaning of what’s being said.

This might be true. I am personally of the belief that it is true about the Left, to a point. I don’t think that it only happens on the Left, however. I see enough of it on the Right to make my head spin. To highlight this, I offer you an article from the Washington Examiner.

In it, the author speaks rather strongly about how horrible it is that Harvard Medical School is offering a course on how to treat LGBTQ infants. This is one of several articles on the course that have hit the air in the past week. 

Legal Insurrection offered their own spin on the same information. Fox News jumped on the bandwagon as well. Then there’s this one from Sandra Rose.  All of these articles seem to stem back to a single source, and some even name that source: College Fix. Their article on the topic is pretty pointed. 

I found this mess when I was slumming on TikTok, and ran across a video purporting to be by Dr. Jordan Peterson (it was not, and was subsequently taken down and the user deleted). Since Dr. Peterson is someone I’ve repeatedly been told is an authority I can trust, I watched with some level of horror that a medical school so near to me would be teaching that infants can express sexuality. 

Unlike most people, though, I didn’t take (who I thought was) Dr. Peterson’s word for it. I went investigating. I found all of the above articles first. Then I went looking for specifically Left leaning news outlets. There wasn’t a lot out there, probably because they haven’t been inundated with the news yet. The divide between Left and Right news feeds tends to be about 5 to 7 days, for things which cause people to be “indignantly righteous” about their given cause. The College Fix article only came out a week ago, so we may see more information from the Left in the next few days.

It was only after a lengthy search that I found some more balanced articles. First, AP did a decent job on their write-up, being much more balanced and fact based. They leave aside the moral pearl clutching and stick to the fact that the course catalog and teachers do not actually say what College Fix says they do. Out In Perth is a bit more in your face about it, being a firmly Left leaning news outlet. But in my strong opinion, the best information on this mess is from The Daily Wire. Facts speak for themselves.

What’s the truth? Well, Harvard Medical School has discovered that infants who are born with genital anomalies require special care. There’s some interesting stuff in there, and the course covers such information as what to do when those anomalies are life threatening or may cause serious physical damage or discomfort, long-term. It also touches on how to talk to parents of infants, who are now dealing with exhaustion and concern for their child, and have to figure out whether it’s right, moral, or possible to be made to choose which gender their kid ought to be. This entire section, the one on infants, is one day out of a month long course. 

Whether you’re interested in the comfort or affirming care of LGBTQIA+ individuals as adults doesn’t really play into this. The infants in question, who do exist and have existed for as long as we’ve been pumping out babies, require special medical care. There are all sorts of issues that those children with genital anomalies are going to face, first as infants, then as toddlers, and eventually as adults. Frankly, it doesn’t matter if a gender is chosen for them by their parents or doctors, or they grow up with their anomalies intact until they’re old enough to choose. It’s going to be tough going. Knowing how to care for them is a good thing. 

I am sharing this, because I wanted to highlight a bad habit of the Left as being done by the Right as well. The repeating of information from a single source (a source, I might add, with a bad reputation and who didn’t check all their sources, as well as altering some of their statements and carefully editing replies) is never a good practice, no matter who is doing it. Taking news from a single source and not investigating it further is never a good practice. 

And it doesn’t matter if “the Left does it more”. That’s a schoolyard game play. “Johnny did it first!” It doesn’t matter. If Johnny jumped off a cliff, would you follow him? I’m sure many of you have said that very statement to your own children or grandchildren. 

This is exactly the kind of news reporting that causes the Left to cringe and say how horrible the Right is. It’s time to stand up and either say you’re not with those people, and walk away from them, or to admit that you’re not so different from the Left after all.

Heuristic Hagar

Classified Papers


The average American has very little idea of what the word “classified” actually means. Most seem to think it indicates that a paper or idea listed as “classified” simply means “very private” or “for the listed parties only.” I doubt they have much concept of the importance of governmental and business information, or why something would be considered classified or confidential. 

The news is rife today with media reports about how classified papers were found at Biden’s office from 2017. “His personal lawyers found the classified material while packing files in a locked closet at an office that Mr. Biden used beginning in 2017. After the discovery, the National Archives was notified the same day, and the papers were handed over the following morning. Some of the documents were designated as ‘sensitive compartmented information,’ which means they were classified above Top Secret (Biden’s Classified Document Stash).”

As pointed out by the Wall Street Journal in the above article, this is rather poor timing for Biden, as well as being somewhat comical. It puts the Left into a rather uncomfortable position, where they are forced to either push forward with charges against Biden, or walk away from the current press against Trump for his own papers held past his tenure as President. 

There are differences between Trump and Biden’s cases, however, and they’re not small. I’m sure someone with a better grasp of the political system will do a more involved discussion of the details, but let’s look at some basics. 

The Democrats and the Left are currently downplaying Biden’s role in holding onto the papers. The story currently being pushed is that Biden’s lawyers discovered the papers, ones that Biden didn’t even know about, and that they immediately handed them over to the National Archives (How the Discovery of Classified Files in Biden’s Office Compares With the Trump Case). Trump, as we all know, hid the papers, fought returning them, and impeded investigations into his holding onto the papers in question.

What the Dems and the Left are leaving out is more interesting to me. Whatever your personal feelings are on Trump holding onto classified documents and fighting their return, he had a right to see and hold them. As President, and as a former President, it is entirely legal and permissible for him to read them, have them, and hold onto them. Those rights are outlined in the Presidential Records Act. 

Vice Presidents are not covered by the PRA. Biden did not, at any time prior to being named President himself, have any right to see, hold, or keep those documents. His being President now does not give him retroactive permission to have the papers in question, either.

The Left’s argument is that Trump was hiding “vast numbers” of papers, whereas Biden was only guilty of holding onto a few. Trump didn’t want to return his papers, and Biden’s people reported it immediately. Those differences are what the Left want you to see (Biden classified docs vs. Trump classified docs: What’s the difference?).

The problem is quality versus quantity, however. The files that were found in Biden’s old storage closet were ones from the Obama Presidency, files he should never have had. Sources (unnamed, see the articles linked below) say that they had to do with the Ukraine and were not all that important.

The question not being asked by the Left is, why did Biden have classified files about the Ukraine? On its own, it doesn’t feel like much. When you bring in the very real possibility that Biden’s son was involved at that time with the Ukraine, and the events surrounding Hunter Biden’s laptop information, it suddenly makes much more sense.

It points to a rather nepotistic abuse of power. 

That abuse of power is vastly different than the boxes of papers Trump didn’t feel like returning to the National Archives. But no one on the Left wants to talk about that. In fact, if you bring it up, if you talk about how Biden should be treated the same way Trump was, there’s a sudden lull in conversation. It’s not the same, you’re told. 

They’re correct. It’s not the same. I see no evidence that Trump was doing anything nefarious with the boxes of papers he had. While I wish he’d just returned them to the National Archives, I can easily put that off as his personal pig-headdedness. Biden, on the other hand, should never have had access to those papers to begin with. Now that is something that everyone ought to be investigating.

 

Heuristic Hagar

FBEL: Author Intro, “someone is out to get you”

I live with a person that was very left of me.  She has slowly come over to the right side, we have cookies.  There are still subjects that we strongly disagree about but they are fewer and very different than when we first got together.

I often find myself at the breakfast table speaking about something that has me upset and I ask “What are you seeing in your feeds?”

Her feds are very different from mine.  There have been times when my feed is full of a story.  Often being presented from a leftist point of view.  I’ll ask her “What are you seeing in your feds about story?”  At which point she’ll tell me that she’s not even heard the story.  I’ll send her links.  Or she’ll give me links to something that came across her feds that isn’t showing at all in mine.

She is a great resource.

And yes, I did pick her category.

-AWA

From Behind Enemy Lines

I want you to understand that I did not pick the title. It rankles, and it bothers me, because I don’t see myself as an enemy. I should be an ally, but I often feel I’m not let in, so it doesn’t happen. 

I am here to present different sides to your stories and narratives. Though I am definitely left of the people I live with and love, I am very right of most of my friends. Because of this, I’m everyone’s enemy, apparently. 

One of the worst things we can do, as human beings, is get caught up in our own thought processes. When all you hear is an echo of your own ideologies and topics, you become unbalanced. You lose perspective. You lose your ability to connect as well with your fellow man. Too many people today are unable and unwilling to see what The Other Side has to say on any issue. They’ll read the 120 characters allotted to the Twitterverse, and then apply that to “everyone on The Other Side”. 

The first topic I want to touch on is the idea that someone is out to get you. I know that people on the Left tell me all the time how horrid and aggressive people on the Right are. The Left truly, deeply believes that the Right wants to hurt them. The Left are firmly convinced that the Right actively seeks out ways to damage liberty, freedom, and the Left, not necessarily in that order.

The Right doesn’t seem to harbor that belief to the same level that the Left does. Of the Right leaning people I connect with, none are interested in harming anyone, or causing problems. All they want is to be left alone, to live life however they see fit. The Right camp that hits my media stream seems to be slightly more aggressive in their communications. I hear about how awful the Left is on a regular basis, a lot of whining, a lot of complaining about how they’re tired of being “the bigger person”. What I don’t see, outside of extremists of the Right, are people who want to take away freedom or liberty from the Left.

I hear from a lot of people that the Left are people of feelings and emotions, and the Right are people of logic and facts. It’s my opinion that both of those positions apply to both sides. You just have different things on which you’re emotional and logical.

For instance, when it comes to Second Amendment confrontations, the Right is highly logical. There’s no emotion in it. I have watched countless people on the Right hold up the Second Amendment, and pull it apart in a very rational way. What’s the right being discussed? The right to keep and bear arms. And who is that right recognized for? The people, it says so right there: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms…” And what’s the action applied to that right? “…shall not be infringed.” All very neat and methodical. And correct!

For the Left, it’s a matter of fear. “But what if someone gets hurt?” It’s all about emotions. The Left, as a body, often express disdain for the Second Amendment, but will not organize enough to try and logic their way through removing it. After all, they can do so by working the problem the way the Founding Fathers set it up for them to do. 

When it comes to other issues, though, the Right’s feelings and emotions begin to come to the forefront. Abortion is the hottest topic I can think of, for the Right at the moment, with immigration coming a close second. That logic and rationality seems to go right out the door the moment either topic comes up. 

Without getting into the details of either of the aforementioned topics (let’s leave those for another day), let’s look at whether or not someone is “out to get you.” The first question to ask yourself is, are you personally being attacked? Is there someone telling you, the personal, singular you, that you are a bad person? Is that attack, if you so perceive it to be, a danger to yourself or others close to you?

Please note, when I say attacked, I’m not meaning verbally. It might hurt when people throw words at you, but it’s not damaging. I understand that there may be legal wrangling in there that could put it over the line into the ‘damaging’ category, but that’s not the norm, and I’m avoiding the extremes here. 

And there it is. I’m avoiding the extremes. Why? Because it doesn’t do any good. Because extremes aren’t where we, the vast majority of people on all sides, live. Most people on the Right are not interested in taking away your right to bodily autonomy, birth control, or adults making decisions about their own bodies. Most people on the Left are not interested in burning down courthouses, forcing gender transition on anyone, or indoctrinating little kids.

Friend on the Left says, “Those damn Republicans are trying to take away my bodily autonomy again! They want me to die in a pool of my own blood! The whole lot of them just want women to be hosts for fetuses and nothing else!”

Friend on the Right responds, “Hey, I’m all for birth control, age appropriate sexual education, and everyone being as healthy as they can be. I don’t want women to have to be pregnant if they don’t want to be.”

Left returns with, “Then why are you hanging out with those people who forced a 12 year old girl to carry a child to term, damaging her internal organs?”

But it isn’t just the Left, you know.

Friend on the Right says, “Stupid leftists want little kids to be taking birth control, and everyone to be subverted to become trans!”

Friend on the Left responds, “Not at all. I’d like to see birth control available for those who are sexually active, and I’d like to come up with a way for teens who are not in safe families to get access to that birth control without telling parents who could hurt them. And I don’t want to force anyone to be trans, I just want people to be accepted if they are trans.”

Right returns with, “Then why are you advocating for drag queens in libraries, and having teachers making kids talk about sexual stuff?”

I think that most of what actually goes on tends to get lost in the fracas that happens among the extreme ends of the political spectrum. We’re all so busy looking at the left hand that we don’t see what the right is doing (and that has nothing to do with political sides). It’s really hard to see the actual facts, when every “news” outlet appears to be regurgitating the same thing, word for word. Add to that, common sense doesn’t sell news; drama does. It’s important to keep that in mind whenever you’re looking at what purports to be news today.

Just as an example, I am a person who would love to see marijuana legalized in my state. I believe that everyone has the right (and responsibility, though that’s a whole other article) to own and use a firearm, and that our Constitution guarantees that right. I think our healthcare system is broken in a lot of ways, starting with the insurance companies, but that the care offered is still so much better than every other first world country that it’s unreal. I’d like to see women and men offered reasonably priced birth control that is effective and not harmful to them, without any strings or emotional manipulation attached. 

I’d like to see women have access to abortion up to the 12 week mark, no questions asked, and an admission that after that point, a fetus is no longer “just a clump of cells” and is much more akin to a baby than a virus. I’d like to see people stop caring about sexual orientation, gender, and expression, while doing educated medical study on the process of gender transition and what it does to a person’s body, brain, and personality, and how to best implement it, and who it’s best implemented on. 

I’d like to see the word “organic” mean something again outside of a government patent. I’d love to see sustainable energy models be more used, but in a reasonable and scalable way as we discover the ins and outs of them. I’d love to see paperwork on the environmental impact of each and every sustainable energy model, to see what the pros and cons of each are. 

I’d like to see the Federal minimum wage dropped. After all, if the cost of living in one part of the worldcountry is 65% higher than anywhere else, either we doom certain people to poverty or we are forcing companies to pay more than they can. I’d like to see unions become positive, employee led institutions again that are there to help out the people, not the union. I’d love to have businesses learn from one another to discover models that allow for higher pay and better benefits for employees without messing with the company’s profit margin (Costco comes to mind). 

Some of the things I’ve mentioned above are very “left leaning” ideas, and others are quite “right leaning”. I’m guessing that none of them are disgusting in the eyes of most readers. The fear is not the reasonable idea, but what else might happen because of a badly worded idea. 

I hear talk about “the pendulum”, and it worries me. The Right acknowledges the pendulum exists, and point to it as reason to want to ban abortions entirely, restrict or ban birth control methods, and take away the rights of those who aren’t interested in “one man, one woman” marriages. The Left doesn’t even seem aware of the existence of the pendulum, but just keeps pushing it more in retaliation. 

At this rate, we’ll be at one another’s throats in no time. 

I don’t think it’s because we are all that different from one another. I think it’s because we’re being told we’re different, scary, wrong, sinful, or pick another negative word you’d like to use. I think it’s because we’re being manipulated, sometimes nastily and sometimes subtly. 

I think we all want to get to a similar end point. The goal is a world where people can live in peace, not have to worry about their kids at night, and have enough money even if they aren’t rich. The problem is we have different ideas about how to get to that end point. The media knows that, and pushes all the buttons to make people react. 

So don’t see me as your enemy. Or do. That’s up to you. I’m not interested in fighting you, though. I just want to live my own life, in peace and quiet, and know that my neighborhood is safe and my kids can play and date and learn to drive without concern. 

I’ll try and give an outsider’s perspective on events and goings on, as they happen. I’ll attempt to answer questions as fully as I can, when I can. But I’m not here to argue. I’m not here to change your mind. I’m here to overturn your echo chamber.

Heuristic Hagar

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