November 8, 2009

November 8, 2009

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Sunday and is a travel day for Dab the AIDS Bear and me. I hope you are having a safe and great week so far.

I am headed home to Jacksonville for three days after being on the road and raising donations for our Teddy Bear Touchdowns for children with HIV and AIDS around the world. I have a doctor's appointment, a World AIDS Week committee meeting, two conference calls and a couple of meetings this week while I am home. So even though I will be in Jacksonville, I have a ton of things to do while I am there and hardly any time to spend with friends. Hopefully after the first of the year, I will actually get a week or so where I can just relax, see friends and catch up on my rest some. It would be nice to get a real vacation some time soon also. All my travels for the past five years have been HIV/AIDS related which I greatly enjoy but are rarely if ever true relaxation time.

We are also headed into the big holidays of the year. Before I know it Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here and quickly followed by New Years Day. I know many of you will be traveling over the next ten weeks so I wish you safe journeys and great times visiting friends, family and loved ones. I will be so busy with my children's events that I probably will not make it home to Pensacola to see my own family until after the first of the year. I know I hate already seeing Christmas commercials on the television since Halloween was just in the last week.

But the big news for today is the health care bill 3962 passing on the hill yesterday! In a victory for President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled House narrowly passed landmark health care legislation Saturday night to expand coverage to tens of millions who lack it and place tough new restrictions on the insurance industry. Republican opposition was nearly unanimous.

The 220-215 vote cleared the way for the Senate to begin debate on the issue that has come to overshadow all others in Congress.

A triumphant Speaker Nancy Pelosi likened the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later.

In the run up to a final vote, conservatives from the two political parties joined forces to impose tough new restrictions on abortion coverage in insurance policies to be sold to many individuals and small groups. They prevailed on a roll call of 240-194. Ironically, that only solidified support for the legislation, clearing the way for conservative Democrats to vote for it.

The legislation would require most Americans to carry insurance and provide federal subsidies to those who otherwise could not afford it. Large companies would have to offer coverage to their employees. Both consumers and companies would be slapped with penalties if they defied the government's mandates.

Insurance industry practices such as denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions would be banned, and insurers would no longer be able to charge higher premiums on the basis of gender or medical history. In a further slap, the industry would lose its exemption from federal antitrust restrictions on price gouging, bid rigging and market allocation.

A cheer went up from the Democratic side of the House when the bill gained 218 votes, a majority. Moments later, Democrats counted down the final seconds of the voting period in unison, and and let loose an even louder roar when Pelosi grabbed the gavel and declared, "the bill is passed.'

Mentally, this has been a very tough month for me. I have lost several close friends, most of who were long term HIV/AIDS survivors like myself. Not sure exactly why they all are dying so close together; but it has really played hell with my emotions. It is always hard to lose friends but losing so many so close together has been especially rough on me. I must admit I am having survivor guilt for the first time in many years. Not sure why my friends are losing their battle when I have been around for more years than I could have ever hoped to be. Maybe the saying only the good die young is true. That was an attempt at humor but seriously do not know how I have survived for almost thirty years with HIV, AIDS, cancer and all the other problems I have had and other have not.

Getting ready to head out for Jacksonville but wanted to get an entry done since I am sure I will be wiped out by the time I get to the house and probably to tired to do one.

I hope you have had a great and safe weekend. Drop me a line and let me know. I greatly appreciate all the great emails I receive from the readers of my blog and your comments, well wishes and opinions.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab