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I, too, am a caffeinated force for good!

Somebody shoot me!
I just turned down a dollop of Lily O'Brien's white chocolate, offered to me at the Graduate Council meeting by another professor on a diet. In lieu of said CHOKLIT, I ate a cookie... and had three cups of coffee.

Besides the upcoming accreditation visit, we discussed a serious issue today: medical insurance for graduate students. To wit: it's expensive, coverage is poor, most every HMO-averse scenario portrayed on ER is evoked - and we are losing students to this. That's right, people: prospective M.S. and Ph.D. students are electing to go elsewhere because someone in the State Legislature (among other places) cannot be bothered to give our future shining stars of intellect a measly, paltry little bit of health insurance. As Matt Dwyer once said upon being "welcomed to the real world":
This isn't the "real world", this is the ivory tower!

Three packets of Equal, one of Sweet 'n' Low, and two of sugar later (you remember this idiosyncrasy of mine, eh?), I am also a caffeinated force for good.
At least for now. Like the handy tanto for committing seppuku, I have the can of Diet Mt. Dew for the final exigency. I do need a second1 to stand by to, er, "assist" at need.

1 ETA, 08:55 - masaga informs me that the term for this assistant is kaishakunin.



( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 2nd, 2005 01:47 am (UTC)
Feb. 2nd, 2005 01:54 am (UTC)
For I have promises to keep...
... and milesdays to go before I sleep.

Self-operated guillotine, that's what I need...

Feb. 2nd, 2005 02:48 am (UTC)
Re: For I have promises to keep...
You need to be beheeaded again, fishie?

Where's that tall beardless dwarf when you need him?

Feb. 2nd, 2005 02:50 am (UTC)
Self-operated guillotine
Well, this was more in the way of
masteralida: Sleep!

Give me a finnished gnart porpoisal or give me deeath!
aka</b> banazir's war-cry: finnished-land or bust!

Feb. 2nd, 2005 01:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Self-operated guillotine
You know, for a smart guy.... you'd think you would be smarter than to tell ME no when I get on a nagging streak!
(no subject) - megruder - Feb. 2nd, 2005 02:08 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 2nd, 2005 02:22 am (UTC)
Three letters: GEO
Someday, please remind me to tell you the story of the Graduate Employee Organization at Illinois.


Actually, they have a web page, so you can read for yourself. Many of the things that happened to the Teamsters and other big labor organizations in the middle of the 20th century happened to this organization c. 1996-1997, when I was a Ph.D. student at UIUC. These included not being recognized, the election results being ignored because it was a non-binding referendum, etc. As you may know from the story of UC Berkeley's TA organization, the right of grad students to unionize is still oftentimes contested at many universities.

There was never a strike when I was there, and it looks as if they never had one. It does look as if collective bargaining power has done the grads some good as far as dental benefits and paid training, though.

Feb. 2nd, 2005 02:20 am (UTC)
one of the reasons i was happy to come here, despite the fact that nm is not exactly on many people's list of where to go to grad school... was that they fairly good health insurance. i actually can choose ANYONE i want to be my doctor, and they even cover a few chiro visits, and blahblahblah.
Feb. 2nd, 2005 02:35 am (UTC)
Chiropractic coverage - wow
Now that's pretty sophisticated.

This is UMN that you go to? What program are you in (degree and department)?

Feb. 2nd, 2005 02:21 am (UTC)
The health insurance I get as a grad student isn't the best ever. And they keep trying to jack up what I pay for it. But my coverage means that if something does happen, I don't have to find a way to pay for ALL of it out of my very, very shallow pockets. And I've had to use it a few times.

But I'm not at all surprised that a uni that doesn't provide insurance is losing out on prospective students. It MATTERS.

My union (CWA) is not perfect. But it is far, far better than nothing.
Feb. 2nd, 2005 02:40 am (UTC)
Students "selecting out" over insurance
See my comments in the thread started by megruder above.

Today the chair of the Grad Student Organization came in to go over some statistics. We're already having attrition from M.S./Ph.D. to Ph.D. due to this. You'd think our legislators would take a hint, but right now it's a struggle even to get research assistants funded with full tuition.

TAs get a 100% tuition waiver in addition to their stipends here; RAs get in-state tuition, which comes to about 40%, as zengeneral (my RA), masaga (a TA, sometimes mine), and istari_ala (an undergraduate web developer) can tell you. We have to give TAs and hourlies a bonus to make up for it. The state legislature sometimes takes on this attitude of "what kind of a fast one are you educators trying to pull now?"

Feb. 2nd, 2005 03:12 am (UTC)
Re: Students "selecting out" over insurance
Yeah, I looked at that link. We're still trying to get a new contract -- the state is not terribly interested in meeting with our union representatives, apparently.

I would guess that SUNY and you guys are pretty much drawing from the same potential grad students, divided perhaps by geographical considerations. Here:

Every grad student in good standing, TA, GA, RA, has the cost of in-state tuition waived.
Every grad student in good standing gets health insurance either as a TA/GA or through the Resarch Foundation (RAs).

Students out of good standing (low grades, inadequate progress toward degree) lose this support. And nothing is guaranteed after five years.

But overall something like 1000 of 1300 grad students are covered by this in one way or another -- I think a lot of the remaining tend to be in programs like education or management, although I would not go under oath with this paragraph, as the information I can find on the grad school's site is not particularly transparent.
Feb. 2nd, 2005 06:35 am (UTC)
Medical Insurance
Since 9/11 all insurance has shot through the roof. Medical insurance is extremely high-priced. Drugs are high priced, everything. Why is this? 1. Doctors who scam the system---charging outrageous prices if you are on medical insurance. 2. People going to the ER for a paper cut---somebody's got to pay for that. 3. More people are getting sick :(. I could probably come up with more...
Feb. 2nd, 2005 06:45 am (UTC)
Re: Medical Insurance
OK, I buy your reasons, but what causal relationship do you posit between 9/11 and those?

Feb. 2nd, 2005 07:18 am (UTC)
Re: Medical Insurance
people are more likely to keel over and die? apparently?

ps -- you're my hero. CAFFINATED FORCE FOR GOOD.

that's going right up there in my book of quotes with "it's diffie-hellman, bitch!"
Feb. 2nd, 2005 07:50 am (UTC)
Caffeinated force for good
Credit where credit is due: the phrase was recently coined by deire. I'm just borrying it.

Feb. 2nd, 2005 02:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Medical Insurance
Well apparently the insurance industry took a big hit around 9/11 (or at least claim that they did)...
Feb. 5th, 2005 07:07 am (UTC)
Re: Medical Insurance
Doctors who scam the system---charging outrageous prices if you are on medical insurance.

Actually, it's been my experience of the past 21 months, as someone with a serious eye disease, that the doctors and insurance companies are scamming the people who DO NOT have insurance.

For instance, for every panretinal laser photocoagulation surgery I've had, my ophthalmologist bills $1500. (That works out to basically $100/minute, btw.) Because of the agreement he has with my insurance company, he only gets paid $900-something for this procedure and must write off the balance. But, the unfortunate patient who does not have insurance will be forced to pay the full price, and/or file bankruptcy, and/or just not get treatments at all.

Also, insurance companies jack up the cost of premiums every year and have been doing so for years, long before September 11, 2001. I don't know who's claiming the costs are rising primarily due to the attacks, because that's a load of bullshit. Costs are probably rising because the US population is aging and sickly. All those Baby Boomers are middle-aged now and starting to fall apart. (^_~)

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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