Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No new taxes for those making under 250K and the health plan

Remember during the presidential campaign the slogan, "no taxes for people making under 250K?"

With the new health plans being discussed in Congress, there is talk of taxing YOU on your private insurance plan provided by your employer. Previously, health benefits are non-taxable, however with the new plan it would be subject to your tax bracket.

For instance, we contribute $164.58 every two weeks to our health plan, and my husband's employer contributes $352.56. Combine those for a total of 517.14 EVERY TWO WEEKS. If it were taxed at a lower tax rate of 15%, that would be $77.57 LESS takehome pay every two weeks for a total of 2016.58 cents less takehome pay every year for our family.

No new taxes? This is a tax for us. But those only buying the new insurance, or Health Insurance Exchange, would not be subject to the same taxes, as it is written.

The good news?
Far more than half of all Americans would be eligible for subsidies, but we have not yet been told who would pay the bill.

Why is this a problem? Those who previously paid for their own private insurance will see how buying the federal option with the subsidies is less expensive and switch, even though it's not necessary. This will put an even larger burden on the federal government. Who will pay for it?

I find it ironic that the federal government does not want to support a voucher system because it would weaken the public school system, but cannot possibly see how the new healthcare bill will destroy the current insurance and health arena. People, competition is GOOD.

No new tax? Let's wake up and realize that ALL insurance premiums WILL go up. There's no way around it. So the subsidies provided will not be enough to balance out the increase. What will happen to the private sector? It will be so over-regulated that the premiums will become too high and people will have to opt for the federal program to survive.

I've also read the argument that "why shouldn't the federal government refuse to treat people who are engaging in risky behaviours causing their medical condition?" and yet in the bill outline, an insurance company cannot charge a higher premium for those engaging in risky behaviours. So those who need to use the system more often will be supported by everyone else's premiums.

"Guaranteed issue and renewal combined with modified community rating would dramatically increase premiums for the overwhelming majority of those Americans who now have private health insurance. New Jersey is the best example of health insurance mandates gone wild. In the name of protecting their citizens, premiums are extremely high to cover the cross-subsidization of those who are uninsurable."

Group health plans with 250 or fewer members would be prohibited from self-insuring. ERISA would only be for big businesses.

Depending upon which bill is ratified, we would either only allow legal individuals to receive the healthcare benefits, or anyone. The house bill has no specific requirements.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rewards Letdown--Choice Hotels

When we signed up to earn hotel rewards with Choice Hotels, we really thought we were entering into a good program. In addition for the month of April, if you stay two nights you earn a free night.

Ah, but if only it was that simple! For instance, we stayed one night in Henderson, NV. We earned 790 points for a hotel stay costing 79.99. The second night we were in Anaheim California. We stayed three nights in Anaheim at 71.99 the first night and 79.99 the second and third nights. We should have earned 2290 points. Since it was the second night stay, they automatically put in the bonus points....we got a total of 7300 points for Anaheim.

If you read the "Freeville advertising" you initially believe that after two nights stay you would earn 8000 extra points for Comfort Inn and 6000 points for some of the lower cost hotels.

This is not true. Choice Hotels will add enought points to EQUAL 8000 from your first PLUS second stays. For instance, we received 790 points in Henderson and 2290 points in Anaheim, so they added 4910 points to equal 8000. Not much of a bonus considering the advertising.

I went back and read the advertising. It's not how I read it the first time, but I can see how they are adding the points now. What a disappointment, really.

"If it seems to good to be true!"


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Obama/Hillary Posters

When the Obama and Hillary posters first arrived on the scene, I couldn't figure out why they evoked such a feeling of dread within. I knew SOMETHING was wrong, but what?

I figured it out after the election:

"Shepard Fairey, known best for his ObeyGiant poster, recently came out with a Che Guevara/Lenin-style poster of Sen. Barack Obama."

Want to see how stunning the resemblances are? GO HERE

Hmm...and the agenda is NOT a socialist society? A Marxist America? Do you still believe that?


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I don't usually do tags from other blogs...because it takes time I'm not always willing to give. But Kimberly tagged me to post my 6th picture from the 6th folder in MY PICTURES. This was tough because I have two computers, one with two hard 3 pictures to be posted.

My Desktop Computer.
Here's the first from my C: drive. The 6th folder in explorer view is my graphics folder, but alphabetically this is the picture:

This is the picture from my grandmother's 75th birthday party. I was 6.5 months pregnant with Dani, my 2nd child.

From my D: drive:

Papa and Juliet passed out on the chair.
I'll post from my laptop later.

This one is from my laptop.  Ironically, I have a new laptop and only 4 folder so far! LOL  So I posted the 6th picture in the general part of My Pictures:


In turn, I am tagging:

1.  MARY

shoot, gotta run!


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Healthy Recipes: Apple Breakfast Bars

This is a recipe my girls love!  It's a great one to make a big batch of, then put it individual servings in the freezer.  For a moist bar, add milk (or Almond/Rice drink).  If you're feeling really creative, add 1/4 cup of pumpkin or butternut squash puree.


Healthy Recipes: Apple French Toast Casserole

Many recipes I find are high in sugar and low in protein.  I "tweaked" this one to increase the protein content and decrease the sugar.  My youngest daughter is very sensitive to egg--the original recipe called for 4 eggs;  I cut the eggs in half and used applesauce.  You might also try butternut squash puree or pumpkin puree.  As usual, this recipe has also been altered to leave out any milk or soy.


8 slices High Fiber, whole grain Bread  (I found a bread with Quinoa)

4 tablespoons Butter (many milk allergic people can have butter)

Large apples, peeled and sliced thinly

2 TBSP brown sugar + enough Agave Nectar to equal 1/2 cup

2 tablespoons Water

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

Large eggs  (or 2 Large eggs + 1/2 cup Applesauce)

1 1/4 cups unsweetened Almond milk (or any type of milk)

2 teaspoons Vanilla extract

1 cup Chopped pecans   (I use 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans and 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds to boost protein)


1. Melt the butter in a large skillet and add apples.

2. Cook and stir for 5 minutes.

3. Add brown sugar & Agave, water, chopped pecans and cinnamon and continue to cook and stir for 10 minutes until apples are tender.

4. Spoon mixture into 13x9 baking dish.

5. Cover apples with bread slices, making sure to cover the entire surface.

6. Trim the bread to fit if you must.

7. Beat eggs until foamy, then beat in milk, applesauce and vanilla.

8. Pour egg mixture over the bread slices.

9. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

10. In the morning, remove the dish from the refrigerator and let it stand while oven is preheated to 375 F.

11. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until bread is golden and firm.

12. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

13. To serve on a platter, run a knife around the edges of the casserole, place platter on top of casserole, and carefully flip.

14. To serve individually, use a spatula to remove serving, place serving plate on top of serving and carefully flip so apple side is up.


Healthy Recipe: Crockpot Sloppy Joe's (Milk and Soy free)

This is a favorite the whole family will eat! I puree the red, yellow and orange peppers so they are not "obvious" to my four year old who has issues with food textures. I also finely chop the carrots, which end up resembling the meat. If I have sweet potato puree or cauliflower puree on hand, I add a half cup to a cup (depending upon the size of the batch). Most times, I make a double batch: 1 lb of lean ground beef and 1 lb of turkey (double all of the other ingredients).

Healthy Sloppy Joe's



1 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup Chopped red onion (or yellow, if preferred)
1/2 cup Chopped celery
2 cloves Garlic, minced + 1 clove minced for cooking hamburger
1 lb Ground turkey or beef
1/2 cup Sweet potato puree or cauliflower puree
1/2 cup Butternut squash puree
1/2 cup Shredded carrots
1/2 cup Minced red, yellow, orange peppers (steam or lightly sautee, then puree)
1/2 cup Beef broth
1/4 cup Tomato paste
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (for soy allergies, we use A-1 Steak sauce; watch the imitations, they often have some pretty nasty ingredients)
1/2 tsp. Crushed dried red pepper
1/4 tsp. Dried oregano
1/2 tsp. Ground cumin
1/2 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Black pepper

8 Whole grain hamburger or hot-dog buns  (we love Rudi's because they have no high fructose corn syrup or preservatives)


1. Coat a nonstick skillet w/ cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. Add the onion, celery and garlic, and cook until the onion starts to soften (3-4 minutes)

2. Add the meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, cook until no longer pink.

3. In a crockpot, add the browned meat and all other ingredients, mix. Set it on low and let it simmer for 3-4 hours.

Spoon over buns and serve.


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