Category Archives: health care

Quiet, Masters Thesis in Progress

I am diligently working on my masters paper on a Friday night. I have been transcribing interviews from my research today and making notes about themes that are starting to come up. There is certainly nothing glamorous or sexy about this kind of work.

It is very similar to the kind of mindset one needs to finish a marathon. Sure, people may see you cross the finish line in a marathon… but it is hard to appreciate all the work that went into training before the marathon. Sure, someone may see my final masters paper… but it will be hard for them to appreciate everything that went into its creation. Traveling to the Philippines, doing interviews, transcribing the interviews, analyzing the interviews, reading lots of literature, and writing the paper. Friday nights sacrificed… many nights sacrificed… in the hopes of finding something to improve healthcare.

I have been transcribing for approximately 5 hours, with a bathroom break and a pizza break. And now a blog break. But now, back to transcribing for at least another hour.

If people ask you if they should go to grad school, tell them NOOOOOOOOOOO!!

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Did I do Something Wrong?

Today I met with my adviser for a little over an hour. I am always a little intimidated when I need to speak in depth with someone about my research on poverty and healthcare. It is not that I am afraid of my adviser, but I want to be a rock star when it comes to doing really good research.

After talking to my adviser, I felt like I did good research… but I need to focus on what does it mean? I did several interviews and observed a lot of things during my time in the Philippines. But … so what? Why does my research matter? What is my big discovery (or my small detail) that I can add to the piles of research that already exist?

I don’t know. And that is scary. I feel like I asked good questions… but did I ask enough in-depth questions? Did I ask enough any great questions? I am still in the process of transcribing my interviews… but I feel uncomfortable. Did I really spend five weeks in the Philippines during the controversial passage of a health bill and the country switching to Universal Healthcare, but not find something important?

Where is the big “research” question that my research will answer? My adviser did not appear worried (a good sign), but my adviser also did not summon a marching band to celebrate my triumphant success.  Hopefully something emerges in my data analysis.This feeling sucks.

“Is it Better or Worse to know ME?”

Having put considerable thought into it: I am still unsure if it is better or worse to know ME.

I have returned from the Philippines. And already I feel like my research will add to the existing discussion on healthcare in the Philippines, and for third world countries in general. I also believe my research will establish a solid foundation for my PhD dissertation. Everyone probably feels that at some point. If my research actually contributes something is still hard to know until I reach the finish line. First step: I must type out and analyze the 100+ interviews I did in the Philippines.

If you have never done transcription before, it is simultaneously an interesting and painful process. Not as interesting or painful as seeing a dentist perform your root canal live via a ceiling mounted widescreen television… but still interesting and painful. The painful sensation in transcription is similar to sitting in a dentist chair. In a dentist chair, sometimes the dentist will hit a nerve or another tender spot in your mouth… and there really is no warning. You go from sitting in a tedious position with your mouth open… to sudden pain, and then back to sitting in a tedious position… wondering when the next painful moment will happen. Continue reading “Is it Better or Worse to know ME?”

PhilHealth and the OFWs health insurance doubles … Day 5 in the Philippines

This is a strange time to be traveling in the Philippines. Apparently two days ago a protest began. Hurray for my great timing?? It lasts from July 20th to July 25th.

The protest involves Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are facing a steep increase in the amount they pay for health insurance. The facebook page OFW Voices is trying to get over 1 million likes.

Being in a different country when a protest begins is a new experience. Because this is currently a social media protest I do not feel my wife and I are in any danger. But it is still awkward.

Because I am an outsider, I am not even sure of the amount of the increase… although I do understand it is ridiculously high. One source I found said 150-percent, and another source listed the increase as 167-percent. Either way that is a huge increase for a health insurance premium. For those who are not familiar, Overseas Filipino Workers already pay remittances to the Filipino government for any salary they earn in another country.

In America people are already upset about paying for Obamacare. I cannot imagine what people would do if it went up 150-percent!

Obamacare is OFFICIALLY LAW – Supreme Court’s Landmark Health Care Decision

Thursday morning the Supreme Court delivered its ruling on the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s greatest achievement. After the Citizen’s United Ruling I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from the Supreme Court.

The Individual Mandate

Is it constitutional for the government to require people to have some form of health care coverage or pay a penalty? According to the Supreme Court, yes as reported by CNN… it will be upheld as a tax, because the IRS would be the ones who enforce the penalty. Therefore it was not upheld as part of the commerce clause but as a tax.

They voted 5 to 4 in favor of the law.

The Medicaid Expansion

Is is acceptable for the expansion of Medicare to cover even more people? According to the Supreme Court’s vote, yes.

Pre-existing medical condition

Will Americans with pre-existing medical conditions still be able to get medical insurance? According to the Supreme Court, yes.

Overall, I was surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision. They upheld the entire law. This is very important for poorer people who CANNOT afford health insurance. But I am surprised they upheld the entire thing. Based on news reports coming out in the days ahead of this, I was expecting parts of the law to be upheld and other parts to be thrown out. So getting up this morning to hear the news (7 a.m. on the West Coast), I was expecting a very confusing ruling with some parts of the law upheld and other parts to be thrown out. But they kept the entire thing. Wow!

What did you think?