Two weeks ago our daughter, Bree, wed Dan Cormican on a perfect Northern Michigan day on the beach at the Good Hart church.
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Everything went off without a hitch, even the butterfly release, which is commendable given all the little things that go into pulling off a wedding these days. I know why wedding planners earn the big bucks -- keeping track of all the details is enough to keep you occupied 25 hours a day.
Once you've arranged all the variables through the pros -- Jackie at Sky's the Limit, Maria at Sweet Maria's, Kris at Rental Express and Ralph at Nub's Nob, who wonderfully handled all questions from the mundane to the profound -- you just have to sit back and enjoy the day.
We did all that.
As is fitting for a woman who loves to travel the world, the guests came from very far and wide. Nancy would have topped the list from Mexico City but she was in the South visiting family.
The best part was being surrounded by the warmth of the people who attended. There really was a feeling of love at the gathering -- perhaps in part because the Nepali prayer flags strung throughout the room were wafting everyone's cares and wishes away but more likely because Bree and Dan have surrounded themselves with loving and supportive people.
So it was hard to say goodbye when they loaded up the car with Dylan and Leah and their pooch Ayla to head back to Colorado.
It was a whirlwind of the very nicest kind.
A broken system
The article last week about the payment shortfall being faced by McLaren Northern Michigan is but another sign that the U.S. medical care system is broken.
Without health insurance, patients get charged the whole cost of a procedure whereas the insurance companies pay a steeply discounted rate to the hospitals for their clients. Around here, given the recession and high unemployment, there are many people who find themselves without the ability to pay hospital and doctor bills.
That means millions in written off debts and charity cases. The Affordable Care Act is an attempt to stop that through requiring insurance of everyone or putting them on Medicaid if they really can't afford insurance. It's a step in the right direction for hospital solvency.
The health care system across the country is chaotic -- the cost of certain procedures vary greatly from state to state and even within the state. And the amount paid to doctors through Medicare and insurance is based on a confidential panel of the American Medical Association that The Washington Post recently reported exaggerates the time involved for many procedures. If you base the pay on a certain time and doctors regularly take less than half that time to do it, then is it really worth that much?
When the officials of McLaren say the state should approve expansion of the Medicaid system to cover some of their debts because patients will be covered, you know the situation is getting out of hand and the federal program could help fix part of it.
Kendall P. Stanley is retired editor of the Petoskey News-Review. He can be contacted at email@example.com.