Why does NOTHING work in England any more?

Sep 24, 2011 | | 0 comments |

I bloody hate the UK. The country is broken and everything in it is broken. Seldom do I have to rely on anything from England - I make it a point not to because relying on anything there ultimately ends up in disappointment. Today was no different. Sadly I'd placed an order with Interflora to deliver a spray of flowers to my mum for her birthday. (There are times when you don't have any other options). The order was placed four days ago, and of course, nothing turned up today but Interflora did send me an email telling me they would deliver, and they did take the money out of my account. Naturally, being England, their customer service phone number costs an arm and a leg, and leads you two minutes into the phone tree before you get a curt "customer service is closed at the weekends" message. They don't respond to emails to their 24/7 helpline either. Their own website has a plain English guarantee. They've broken that. I've halted the payment. Bloody England.

This is how corrupt traditional healthcare insurance is in America

Sep 21, 2011 | | 0 comments |

Since April this year, I've been struggling with frozen shoulders - it's an ailment I wouldn't wish on anyone. In order to diagnose and treat the problem, I've incurred one surgeon visit, an MRI, two steroid injections and more physical therapy appointments than I care to remember. Here's the rub. With 'traditional' healthcare, I would be paying a $20 flat fee for each visit and the insurance would pay the rest. But we're not on traditional insurance - we use a health savings account. It's sort of like a high interest savings account that your company pays into, that can only be used for medical bills. It circumvents the insurance companies (up to a certain value) and instead, you get the bill directly. Bear in mind the company pays the same amount into my private insurance account as it would do into a traditional healthcare fund in my name. So we had "the big one" today - the main bill for all my visits so far. If billed to a traditional insurance company, it would have cost them $6487, and they would have paid it. Billed to me, through an HSA, it "only" cost $2745. Paying the bill was a bit of a sting, but the money was there in my insurance account to pay for it. The only difference is if it had been traditional insurance, I would never have seen the final bill, but would have been out-of-pocket the same amount each month in terms of salary deductions for insurance. So in my particular case, in this example, the bloat of the healthcare insurance system would account for a staggering $3742 of the $6487 bill. Or put more succinctly, 57% of the bill has nothing to do with the treatment I received. For those of you in England, this scenario would have played out a little differently. You're taxed more at source to pay for the NHS, but then the medical aid is "free" in return. In this case, at the cost of at least $6487 in taxes, because there's no way the NHS is lightweight.

I think road construction bureacracy is everywhere

Sep 19, 2011 | | 2 comments |

You know the old story - why is it as soon as a road is filled in, it's no sooner dug up again. Why can't the utility companies and construction crews get in sync? Where I work there are only two ways out of the research park; an area the size of a university campus that employs some 10,000 people - perhaps more. There are only two ways out of the park by road. One is two left-turn lanes, the other is a single right-turn lane. Today, less than a month since the intersection at the right turn lane was dug up and finally resurfaced for the first time in 10 years, it was closed and dug up big-time. We don't know what's going on but they've cut that exit route off completely. This means that the other way out is now trying to cope with all the outgoing traffic in the afternoon and because of the layout of the road, the only way to get on to it is to turn left across traffic coming into the park. Of course, drivers being what they are, none of them leave any gaps when the traffic stops moving, so you can't turn across traffic to join the exodus because there's nowhere to join. The result is obvious. Mile-long queues to get out of the park and queues 40 to 50 cars deep on all the feeder roads because nobody can turn left to join the main exit. And the result of that is obvious too - crashes galore - reducing the two lanes down to one. So basically, we have just lost 2/3 of the road capacity for leaving work in the afternoon. Guess I'll be coming home at 3pm for the next 3 weeks then ....