Starting our second year at Hilton Head

We have been here over a year now, and the local annual cycle has started to repeat. The SERG booklets that offer two-for-one discounts came out awhile ago and everyone is hurrying to use them before they expire at the end of February. And last night, just like last year, Suzanne treated her entire staff to the annual Crew Team benefit dinner. The HHI Crew team is a rowing team for local high school students and this is one of their big fund-raisers. (In the midwest the high school sports teams are football and baseball; here it's rowing and lacrosse.) The entrance ticket includes a buffet dinner and a bingo card. To support the cause more, you can buy drinks and 10 additional bingo cards. The bingo games had some nice prizes and we won one game! But after that we called it quits; we were really tired, and I had to work today.

Not much going on in February

I haven't blogged anything for awhile because it seems like I haven't done anything worth remembering. Randy was sick for a few days, then I got it. No wonder, with this weather; it still swings 20 or 30 degrees in a day, and won't stay either cold or warm. It stays pretty wet, though. The ground has been soggy all month. Plus we have been working on our taxes, which is no fun. In fact, "no fun" pretty much sums up this month. 

But the past couple of days have been warmer and dryer, taxes will wrap up eventually, and we are planning our big trip North. That will be a lot of fun, so all I have to do is hold on until then!

One year ago: A look back at Mardi Gras
Two years ago: Back in Riverside!
Three years ago: Catching up in Riverside
Four years ago: Apache Trail in Arizona

6 years ago: Cruizin' to Cozumel and Progresso

The Affordable Care Act

The past few days I have been fighting my way through the new Health Care website. I promised myself that I would avoid it but I find I am not able to. Our independently-purchased insurance usually runs a year before renewal, which would end it in April. But the new regulations ended it early and we were offered a new plan with a 75% increase in premiums! I thought "well, I can't afford that so I'll find a new plan on-line". But I discovered that plans that used to cost under $200 are now over $800! I never bought those plans because they were only valid in one state, but I know they were offered because I kept seeing them and wishing for them. Now even those are at least $800, and plans I could use are even more! Now nothing in the general insurance market that affordable. Is the plan to drive everyone into the new system, or is it an unforeseen result of the new rules? Right now I have three big concerns about this new Healthcare world.

(1) The government has passed rules that make it impossible for companies to compete with with government-offered insurance. In any other sphere that would be called monopoly-building. The organization that creates the rules should not allowed to complete against others for customers bound by those rules.

(2) The biggest selling point of the Health Care website is that it offers subsidies which, thanks to those new rules, are needed to make insurance affordable. They come with huge deductibles which will devastate some families, although I won't claim those are a result of the new rules; we've had to deal with those ever since we started buying our own insurance. What bothers me so very, very much is that I have to shop for government-subsidized insurance. What kind of a government thinks it's a good idea to put more people on government subsidies? We have worked hard for years, saved carefully and stay within our budget, but are now being financially forced into a subsidy program. So much for the American concept of standing on your own two feet! For some reason the current government doesn't want people to do that. It has often been a challenge, but now our own government is making it almost impossible. I can't figure out why anyone thinks it's a good idea to have millions of people on a government-subsidized program? Which leads to my next point...

(3) This thing is obviously non-substainable. One of the major stories in the past few years is how unsustainable Social Security is. Every working person has been paying into Social Security since 1937, yet thanks to our government's habit of using that money for other things, Social Security resources are low.  So now they want to call it an "entitlement", as if we are spoiled children who want big government to take care of us. No, we were forced into the Social Security system; a lot of people (like me!) would have opted out if it was possible.  Since that was not allowed, we want government to keep their part of the bargain. And now, even as they look for ways to short-change Social Security,  government has created a huge subsidy-driven insurance engine. To make sure they can say that this thing is necessary, they have forced the price of insurance up to the point where it's unaffordable without subsidies, forcing reluctant Americans to buy subsidized plans.  

I changed my mind; the whole thing had to be planned this way. But I cannot imagine why anyone thinks it will end well.

15 years ago:  Florence, home of "The" David