Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What Your 1040 Says About You

This week's harvest:
Hakurei Salad Turnips
Purplette summer onions
Summer Squash, Zucchini and Patty Pan Squash
Garlic Scapes
a taste of Cucumbers

Radicchio is a bitter green that tastes great grilled or roasted with olive oil, salt, garlic scapes and a little balsamic to finish. It is also delicious raw mixed in a salad with other greens....lettuce and spinach perhaps.
Kohlrabi....we are working hard to convert you, to exalt the virtues of kohlrabi. Slice off the tough skin, chop into matchsticks and serve with a nice dip as an appetizer. It travels well, like carrot sticks, in camp lunches and to the beach. It's also great sliced in the round and grilled.
Fennel.....many people tell us they are new to fennel. It is lovely raw or cooked. Consider a grated fennel and kohlrabi salad? I don't do much with the fronds except feed them to the pigs. Its the bulb I'm after.

I read this article in the Press Herald on Sunday, right after reading one about George Zimmerman's acquittal (that's another post altogether). The article I read:  Bill Nemitz: ALS sufferer, husband in health care limbo, totally broke my spirit.

It paints a story of a retired couple who apparently did all the things you are suppose to: worked hard, saved for retirement, bought long term care insurance, and looked forward to retirement. Unfortunately, the wife is struck with a fast moving, very debilitating form of ALS that renders her in need of full care for all her activities of daily living. She is hospitalized and the claim to the insurance company for her treatment and care is denied. Over a million dollars in hospital charges have been accrued by the family. For her children, it is a part time job just communicating with the insurance company to appeal the ruling to deny coverage.

This is a family who chose what we are told is the right path. They bought in to the health insurance fairy tale only to find out there are no guarantees. Where is the dignity? Where is the reward for good citizenship? Where is the reward for following the recommended game plan?
What if we all boycotted the insurance system? What if we all said no, you can't have my money?
Will she be covered once the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is enacted or is that some fairy tale too?

For our family, who teeters on the poverty line, the ACA initially looked like a silver bullet. We could run a business that creates jobs (13 jobs this year), feeds our community, creates beauty and also afford to have health insurance. However, with the denial by our governor to accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid, we may not even be eligible for the subsidy and we may continue to be without insurance.

I know we could choose to leave the farm, work better paying jobs with benefits, run a different kind of business that produces a greater profit selling widgets, but when I read stories like the one in the paper this weekend, who am I kidding? Even with insurance, there's no guarantee. And, we are at least $15,000 out of pocket each year before any insurance company would begin to offer coverage.

How come we are not more incensed as a society? Where's the health-care-is-a-human-right movement? The most affected populace is too sick to march. Shouldn't we do it for them? That's a pro-life movement I could stand behind. It's only a matter of time until my mother and father are the ones I spend hours on the phone with the insurance company advocating for.

I have spent some time reading and listening to news about the ACA, calculating our subsidy, trying to budget for the year to come. When I was sick, I went to the doctor for the first time in about a decade. They wanted to perform a throat culture. They couldn't tell me the price. What if we sold products that way? "Don't worry ma'am, just eat the spinach, its the right thing to do and we'll bill you later." Where are the rules? How come there's no price sheet? Its seems about as effective as trying to catch a chicken.

This article, in Time Magazine, made my head spin. If we aren't interested as a nation in single payer health care and we believe that the strength in our health care system is in its ability to innovate as a result of competition, then how come we can't shop around for services? Why can't we demand a price sheet? Or the about a sliding scale at McDonald's?

I would love to offer all of our employees health insurance that is effective at allowing them to afford access to the health care system. When October rolls around, and the insurance exchanges open, I look forward to good news.

But as it looks now, we are the family that will fall between the cracks thanks to the denial by our governor and Republican controlled house to accept Federal dollars to expand Medicaid. We are what you might call the working poor. (I hate that term, mostly because I know we are wealthier than most of the world.)

We are the best fed, most well educated, and excessively blessed working poor out there, but by our 1040 definition, that's us.


Blessings on the meal-

PS....a little what's-to-come preview of the following weeks' havests....


I was going to write about my new fascination with zombies after watching World War Z.... very entertaining! John encourages me to keep it light on the blog. I told him my guess is that of the CSA members that read the blog....90% of them will only read the harvest list and maybe look at the photos. Of the other 10% who read my rant, 8% will agree and the other 2% will disagree. With projections like that, we agree to disagree and he says I can go ahead an publish.


  1. Stacy, the photos are wonderful in this post, and the share this week barely fits in my bag- yum! Most of all, I appreciate your very insightful comment that we are the most well-fed and well-educated working poor. That is our household as well. It's an odd feeling, for sure. xo

  2. I read all of your commentaries, just FYI ;).

    As for a fee sheet for health care, you should note that there is, at least, one doctor in Maine who is willing to put his prices right out there ... and he doesn't take insurance. You might look him up. His name is Michael Ciampi, and he no longer accepts insurance at his practice. It's all pay-as-you-go, and you will know from the get-go what any particular procedure will cost. True North, in Falmouth, is also a cash-only medical practice.

    Well wishes to you and your family. I love what you do ... envy, almost ;).

  3. Yes, I agree wholeheartedly. Even though we took a break this year from the CSA, I still read your blog every week - rant and all. And we've been a zombie family for years! After watching I am Legend with Will Smith, I couldn't sleep for weeks! I'm too chicken to watch World War Z, but Rich has read the book and loves anything Zombie. cheers!

    Ps. Maya and Sophie say Hi to Flora.

  4. I'd love to read your take on World War Z... Cheers!

  5. The health care is a human right campaign is right here!

    and the fight for Maine Care isn't over, but in order to win this time, we need more people to speak out and get involved. :)

  6. Hi Stacy,

    I live a few too many states away to be a member of your CSA, but I really enjoy coming here each week and reading both the harvest list AND your insightful, common-sense observations.



  7. For the record, I came here for the rant. I live in Canada so there is no way I am part of the CSA. I love your insights and opinions. It gives me yet another glimpse of the state of our world and what I am willing to do about it, or sacrifice in order to pursue the life I dream.