Monthly Archives: January 2017

You think repealing the Affordable Care Act won’t hurt you financially? Think again.

People like me are worried about the GOPs promise to repeal ACA aka Obamacare, because even though the president elect has promised to repeal and replace simultaneously and not leave people with pre-existing conditions uninsured—Congress appears to be focusing their attention primarily on the repeal part.

For those out there who are confident you will be okay—maybe you have good insurance through work and hope your premiums might even go down—or those of you who don’t believe you need insurance because you’ve always been healthy and resent being fined for not having insurance—you could still feel the pain—the financial pain, if ACA is repealed before being replaced to address those with pre-existing conditions.

When your uninsured neighbor down the street is diagnosed with cancer and ends up losing his house in foreclosure because of it—that will adversely impact your property values, meaning the value of your home could drop thousands of dollars.

If you work in a restaurant, those potential diners now struggling with medical bills will be eating out less—and those who do, will be less generous in their tips.

If you work in a beauty shop, your clients who find themselves now struggling to pay their medical bills will be looking for ways to trim their budget, which will mean less trips to the beauty shop, coloring their own hair, or no longer having their nails done.

If you have a house cleaning business, yard care business, or pool service—you’ll find those customers who get sick without health care now struggling to pay their medical bills, which can mean cancelling their service to budget their funds.

I could go on and on, but the fact is, when your neighbors are wiped out financially when faced with catastrophic medical expenses they are less likely to make purchases like new appliances, new furniture, new cars, boats, or anything beyond the basic necessities.

I’m not just making this up—I am speaking from personal experience. Before ACA we struggled to pay our mounting medical bills—and not because we didn’t have insurance, but because the insurance cost us $1,200 a month yet had a $6,000+ deductible and did not cover any doctor visits or pharmacy. It only covered major medical. This meant each month I worked to pay off medical bills, like doctor visits I had to have in order to get my thyroid medication refilled—or that that trip to the eye doctor. With the history of glaucoma in my family, I could not afford to miss my annual appointment–yet my husband regularly missed his.

I avoided things like trips to the dentist and my annual pap smear—because I didn’t have the money to pay for the dentist/doctor visit (I was too busy paying off other medical bills) and even though the insurance covered mammogram screenings, I couldn’t get one of those until I visited my doctor—a visit not covered by my insurance back then.

Because of the ACA, which gave me better insurance for less money, I was able to pay my outstanding medical bills. Because of the ACA I was able to visit my doctor and schedule my mammogram—the mammogram that detected my breast cancer. Because of ACA, the deductible I had to come up with prior to surgery did not wipe us out.

Because of ACA, while I was dealing with my cancer, I did not have to worry about how I was going to pay the medical bills. I did not have to worry about my cancer pushing us into bankruptcy. I was able to focus my energy on my work—writing my Haunting Danielle series, which became a success and turned our family’s finances around.

And while our increase in income meant we had to repay a significant portion of the tax credit that initially helped us pay for that health insurance we purchased through the exchange—we were okay with that, because we had the money to cover it—and we had the medical insurance to pay our medical bills.

We also had money to pay off our credit cards and begin paying off any outstanding debt we had. I could now afford a housekeeper, enabling me to spend more time on my writing. We were able to buy a new vehicle. We were able to remodel my 88-year old mother’s bathroom so she could safely use her shower—something we couldn’t afford before. Don and I were able to eat out more—tip better. I joined WNEA and could afford to do things like sponsor the upcoming Bunko event which will help raise money for local scholarships. The list goes on

The real trickle down economy works when your neighbors can pay their bills and have extra money to spend.

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Happy 125th Birthday!

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Today Grandma Hilda turns 125. At least she would be, if she hadn’t passed away in 1978—a year before having a chance to meet my firstborn.

Grandma may have left this world almost 39 years ago, but I think of her every day. In my bedroom sits her old-fashioned dressing table. I remember sitting at it as a little girl, poking through its messy drawers, filled with random personal items like bobby pins, hair nets, and pop beads. Grandma didn’t wear pearls; she wore pop beads. Today women of my generation don’t use hair nets—at least not that I’m aware of, and the last time I saw a pair of pop beads was over a decade ago.

The set of apple Franciscan ware I have didn’t belong to her, yet it’s like her set—and a few of the pieces I got after my aunt passed away may have once belonged to Grandma. But it doesn’t matter. I think of Grandma whenever I use it. Even my painted kitchen cabinets—not quite white with a hint of soft yellow, were inspired by Grandma’s kitchen.

91A couple years before Grandma passed away she went into decline and my uncle put her in a nursing home. When my mother came into town we went to visit Grandma, and we were horrified at the home. They had Grandma drugged up and the place smelled. We made the split decision to kidnap her.  I can still remember the staff saying—“You can’t do that!”—we hadn’t been the ones to check her in.  We said, “Watch us,” and took her out of there.

We took Grandma to my aunt’s house. I was newly married and had recently graduated from college and didn’t yet have a job. So, each day, I drove from Covina, California to my aunt’s house in El Monte, to help take care of grandma. She got better and moved back home with my grandpa Pete.

When Grandma passed away a couple years later, she was ready to go. She told my mother, “I hope they won’t be mad at me.” Mom didn’t realize what Grandma meant until after she slipped off in her sleep.

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In my Haunting Danielle series death is never the end. And who knows—perhaps it is the same way in the real world. I like to think Grandma is surrounded by all those who she loved—and have since departed.

A few years back I discovered altered books—where an artist transforms a hardback book into a work of art. As an author, I supposed I should be outraged at the thought of violating a book in such a way—making it unreadable—not as the original author intended. But the truth is—I found altered books utterly enchanting, especially how they stimulate the tactile senses.

For my Mother’s birthday one year, I created an altered book, wholly inspired by Grandma Hilda. As you will see by the posted pictures, it even has a little drawer filled with pop beads. What you can’t smell, is the package of gardenia fragrance wax chips—which when one opens the book, still gives off the scent of Grandma Hilda’s favorite flower.

Happy Birthday Grandma Hilda

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