Poverty and Dental & Vision Health Care

Saw this unfortunate article in the Post about a young boy who died because his abscessed tooth was not removed and the bacteria got to his brain. What stopped me early in the article was “A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him.” I had a molar extracted about 2 years ago and it cost me around about $70-$80, and I have health insurance.
Let me give you a little of my dental health history. I didn’t have any, any health insurance growing up and I had cavities. Every once in a while mom would drag me to the dentist and if it wasn’t about finding cavities, it was filling them, so each visit was expensive, and not often. It didn’t help that I hated brushing. A far as I know, mom never bothered with Medicare. Jump forward to undergrad, still no insurance, and the needing to remove a wisdom tooth. I waited for hours, and hours, and hours at the university teaching hospital. So long, that I swore then and there that when I got out into the real world I was going to have health insurance so I would never, ever, ever have to spend a full part of a day waiting. I did get it removed, but the student dentists nicked a neighboring tooth, taking off a chip. I can’t remember what I paid, or if I had to pay. The grad school I attended required students to have health insurance, so I got the cheapy non-dental only useful if you get hit by a bus insurance and used the campus health facilities. It was at the campus clinic I first heard the word “abscessed” in relation to my teeth. After borrowing $200 bucks from grandma (and learning never borrow money from grandma unless your next option is loan shark) I fixed another wisdom tooth problem, sans insurance.
Fast forward to now. I have a decent job and health insurance which I pay over $100 a month for individual coverage. If I had a family, dependents, it would be about $300 a month. My employer chips in for a significant portion of the premiums, which in total are $400 a month for an individual. I don’t have one of the extra dental or vision plans. Going to the dentist still costs me, just not as much. I swear I pay $40-$50 for cleaning but my plan says I’m supposed to be paying less. I’ll find out why there is a sizable difference my next visit. I also plan to get some new glasses this year. My health plan will save me with the eye exam but the frames and lenses will be cheaper if I go to an Americas Best or other like place. I expect to blow $200-$400 on a pair of glasses, mainly because of the lenses.
Last year, I chipped in to get my niece glasses. Medicare should have covered some part of her glasses, but because her mother, my sister, didn’t want to bother with whatever Medicare hoops needed, which the Post article talks about in relation to the young boy, I and my mom wound up paying for her glasses.
After much typing and deleting and typing and deleting, I’ve decided not to make a political argument out of it. As some of you know I identify myself as moderate conservative, and I know many of you, my readers and my friends are a diverse group of liberals, and this could get political in the comments section. So what I challenge you with is to avoid theory, if you have something to say, talk about your own experience, your reality of health care in America. And to comply with my screwy interpretation of HIPPA you may just use initials or fake initials to be somewhat anonymous. Not completely anon because I’ll start confusing one anon with another anon and that will just drive me nuts.

Wifi, and farmers, and bears! Oh my!

Over on the Eckington Listserv there is a flutter of hope about the corner of 1st and R Sts NW. Hopefully in a few weeks ANC Stu will open up Big Bear Cafe. ANC Stu also wants wi-fi. But the big thing that has everyone aflutter is the drive to get a farmers market on that little strip of R St that is between 1st and Florida. It would be a perfect staging area for an open air market, when the cafe opens.
This interests me and probably folks in the northern end of the TC because this is right on the border between Eckington and the 1973 boundaries of Shaw.
The chatter on the listserv is contacting the Stu crew about helping with the market. Apparently some emails got lost, or more than likely buried (with me its the spam filter, which is why you should have a decent subject line). So if you want to help ANC Stu contact him at his gmail account at studavenport@ .

Mayor Fenty to be at Woodridge Comm Mtg

From Jim:


If you are interested in hearing from Mayor Fenty at a community meeting that will focus on the debate over changes in the governance structure of the DC Public Schools (DCPS), you may want to go to the Woodridge Library, 18th and Rhode Island Avenue, N.E., on Monday, February 26, 2007, between the hours of 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Specifically, the Coalition for Concerned Neighbors will be holding their monthly meeting at which Mr. Fenty will be the featured speaker and the DCPS issue will be the subject matter about which he will be examined by community residents.


Jim Berry
Bates Area Civic Association, Inc.

Emergency Management Agency Tabletop Exercise in Our Community on Thursday March 8, 2007, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

From Jim:


This is to remind you to mark your calendar for the evening of Thursday, March 8, 2007 to participate in the emergency exercise described below. The event is being held in our neighborhood, at Mount Sinai Baptist Church, 3rd and Q Streets, N.W.; hence, it is important that residents of Truxton Circle/Shaw East are strongly represented. Should a manmade or a natural disaster occur in our neighborhood, we need to know now to prepare to the maximum extent for the sake of ourselves and our family members. So, I urge you to register for this session today or if you don’t want to register in advance that you make it your business to attend the session and to require your family members to do the same.


Jim Berry
Bates Area Civic Association, Inc.

Be Ready, DC!—Plan ahead. Be prepared. – On Thursday, March 8, 2007, between the hours of 6:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., the DC Emergency Management Agency is sponsoring a tabletop exercise in our community to help you, your family, and your neighbors to take appropriate steps to prepare for an emergency as well as understand recovery measures during and after a manmade or a natural disaster situation. The event will take place at Mount Sinai Baptist Church, 3rd and Q Streets, N.W. and involve residents from the Edgewood , Bloomingdale, Eckington, Truxton Circle/Shaw East neighborhoods, also known as Community Cluster No. 21. We all need to be prepared, as individuals and as a community, for whatever emergencies may occur. Experience has shown that after a major disaster, requests for fire, police, medical, and other public services begin to mount. At some point, the increased demand for services will likely result in delayed response times. For this reason, neighborhoods should learn to be self-reliant in an emergency. Individuals and organizations should be prepared to be without assistance for 72 hours or longer. A neighborhood that has organized prior to a disaster will know what to do when the disaster occurs and not waste precious time figuring out who can do what. Individuals and neighborhoods that are prepared will know what to expect during times of disaster, what to do, and how to come together in an organized, timely response. Therefore, please reserve this block of time on Thursday, March 8, 2007 now, in order to participate in this exercise with your neighbors. To register early, please call 202-448-9672 or visit www.bereadydc.org. Refreshments will be served.

[Insert offensive yet snarky title involving death & metrobuses]

I nearly got run over by the Georgetown Circulator walking home from work.
Lady, there are people on the street, in the cross walk with the right of way!
The driver had stopped for the light and I began to cross Mass Ave, when the driver decided to inch up two feet, bringing the front of the bus into the crosswalk. She (the driver) was looking north as she inched up. She was had moved the two feet before she bothered looking south, and saw me.
Lady, there is a big friggin line before the crosswalk lines, stay there!
The lights are on a timer. Your inching up ain’t gonna make the light change any faster.
There are pedestrians running around on the street. Some of them are in the crosswalk. Where, I suppose, pedestrians are allowed to walk. But considering what’s been going on lately….

Holes in the wall

I’ve been putting holes in my walls. Just to see how much wiggle room I have in creating a new space.
Well, now I know. And now I know why I can hear things so well. There was like an inch or two between my drywall and the party wall. With no insulation.
When I get insulation I see that I’m going to lose some floorspace and some square footage. I don’t know how I feel about that. It’s has yet to really sink in. I want quiet. I like space.

Idle finger food chatter

Tuesday night I attended a private event over at the Old Dominion Brewhouse and ran into Shaw Rez, as well as Kevin Chapple, and some other ANC people. Alex had tipped me off about the event and I did see him but we never got around to speaking.
Someone had asked if the food served up was from the restaurant or was it catered. The food I had seen on the menu before. The time I did go out to ODB with a friend I ordered the shrimp wrapped in thin strips of fried potato. They are good but they need a little something, like ketchup. I saw crab cakes on the menu in some form (maybe as a sandwich) and the mini cakes floating around were okay, but I’m picky about my cakes. Someone else had mentioned the chicken bits were excellent once they were dipped in the honey mustard.
Anyway, there was some mention about ANC stuff. One was something I don’t even want to report on but it involves a deposed mini-dictator and his plans. Another was a sentiment from Gallery Place to not be in the 2C-verse and join up with that area that calls itself Penn-Quarter. I totally understand that sentiment, as GP has a heck of a lot more in common with PQ than MVS. Then speaking with an ANC from 2F, he supposed that once the Whitman and other places fill up there may be a rearrangement of borders. I gather that won’t happen until the 2010 Census.
And lastly, ODB is a minority owned business.

A couple of thoughts

Yes, I did see the Post articles on the Convention Center, 9th Street, the Chinese New Year Celebration down in Gallery Place and the proposed merger of Sirius and XM, which may impact Eckington.
I’d been thinking about Gallery Place/ Chinatown since I’ve been running a number of errands ’round there lately, and the article just more or less confirmed a bit of my thinking. It seems that a fair number of Asian American attendees at the street celebration were from the ‘burbs. Face it, on any other regular day when running around Gallery Place many of the faces are Black, White and Latino. I thought of the Jewish quarter of Prague that the city hawks as a tourist area, which though having a Jewish graveyard, and monuments, but few Jews*. The buildings and signs say something in Chinese, but the spirit of the street says “Gallery Place”. When the MCI/Verizon Center was still off-gassing its new paint and floors there were a larger number of Chinese restaurants, that were later replaced by the Legal Seafoods and like chains. The impact wasn’t sudden, and the Gallery Place area is still changing. A place opens, then it closes and is replaced (hopefully quickly) by some other operation. And maybe it is still a little too soon to expect great things of the Convention Center.
Or maybe not. We’ve got our own set of problems and conditions north of the Square. For one, MVQ and the 7th and 9th St corridors are and were far more residential than Gallery Place. Yes, you compare condo to condo but there are also a lot of fee simple, low density housing, garden apartments and lots of non-luxury units. I mentioned that I lost the faith in projects yet to come, those things are on 9th St. Some of them are in the process of ‘becoming’, some are waiting for their developer/owners to get their act together, and while they aren’t yet what they are to be, you got ugly on the streets at present. Unlike Gallery Place we don’t have that huge office drone population crowding up the counters at Shaw eateries. I guess we were supposed to get a huge convention going populace, who aren’t staying in any Shaw hotels because, oh right. And last time I went to a convention I had lunch inside the building or ate at places I saw between the hotel and the center. Which would mean, if your hotel is at Gallery Place, you’re probably eating in Gallery Place.
Don’t even get me started on Shiloh. Senior housing. Not plain old affordable housing, because face it many of y’all moved to the burbs to get away from the affordable housing crowd.

*Yes, the population is growing but it is miniscule compared to its early 20th Century, pre-Holocaust numbers.

BAA meeting

| Blagden Alley Association |
| Monthly Meeting |
| |
| THURSDAY, February 22, 2007 |
| 7:30-9:00 pm |
| Marthlu and Hal’s |
| 905 M Street, NW |

The newsletter is at

[short cut]

1. A relaxed meeting, centered on discussion
of where we see the neighborhood going:
Residential, commercial, and traffic.
2. Police.
3. More.