Monday, November 14, 2005

Price Gouging--Reprise

As you may recall, in a previous post Wang suggested that he was shamelessly and egregiously overcharged for a post-hurricane hospital visit. He also suggested that the insurance company would say the reasonable charge for the services rendered is a half or a third of what the hospital billed, and the hospital would accept their determination. I'm going to have to admit that he was wrong about that.

He got he bill from the hospital today. Here's what it said:

Billed Balance 21,808.23

Account Balance 1,159.44
Estimated Insurance Liability 0.00
Patient Responsibility 1,159.44

They didn't say a reasonable charge was a half or a third of what the hospital billed. It was a fourth.

So if Wang's experience is any indication, all those uninsured folks who get taken to the emergency room get billed an unconscionable FOUR TIMES the reasonable price.

And these are the same folks who are telling Congress that they need special legal protections to save them from all those greedy trial lawyers.

Labels: ,

Wang's outta here.

Ol' Wang got a little tired of all the jokes about his name, so he asked me, Jack, to take over the House of Pancakes' newsletter.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Wouldn't it be funny if....

As I mentioned in a previous post, the plain language of Texas's recently enacted anti-gay marriage amendment would also ban conventional marriage. Or, more precisely, prevent the State from according marriage any legal significance.

So here's what I think would be a real hoot-- As long as Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle is busy persecuting Tom DeLay, why not call Mr. DeLay's wife as a witness against him and ask her what he's told her about all this?

Prior to November 8, 2005, it was clear that she wouldn't have to testify against her hubby due to the application of the marital communication and spousal privileges. But if the State of Texas can no longer "recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage," how could it possibly recognize legal privileges based on marriage?


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Proposition 2

A while back in another blog, I mentioned a constitutional amendment purportedly dealing with "gay marriage." Well, the damn thing passed.

Here's what the voters of Texas approved today:

SECTION 1. Article I, Texas Constitution, is amended by adding Section 32 to read as follows:
Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

Yup. You read it right. The plain language of the amendment prohibits the state from attaching any legal significance to the institution of marriage. Not just gay marriage, but any legal status "identical or similar to marriage."

Do they know what the word "identical" means? Here's a hint-- It mean "the same." Marriage is, by definition, identical with marriage. And marriage, by definition, is "the union of one man and one woman." And anything that resembles marriage but deviates from the definition is "similar to marriage."

One of the primary rules of construction is that if the plain language is unambiguous, you don't look at legislative intent. Which means, in a case like this, that you look only at what they actually said, not what they meant to say. And in this case, the plain language of the amendment defines marriage and then prohibits the state from affording marriage (or anything resembling marriage) any legal status. (There's another rule of construction that says that you presume that the legislature did not intend an absurd result, but what's the fun in that? And besides, what's so absurd about the state declining to recognizing marriage?)


I wonder.

(My first thought about this was that it's an amusing example of legislative ineptitude, but wouldn't really change anything because marriage is a fundamental right protected by the United States Constitution. On further reflection, I'm not so sure. The Supreme Court of the United States held in Loving v. Virginia (and other cases) that the right to marry, at least as it has traditionally been understood, is a fundamental right protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. But the plain language of the amendment wouldn't interfere with people's right to marry; it would only prohibit the state from affording marriage any legal significance.)


Friday, November 04, 2005

What I learned from Rita

You can always get new friends and family members, but reapiring the damage and replacing all that stuff is expensive as hell.

Labels: ,