It is my personal intention to die before I ever go back to the hospital, which could actually come before I finish paying the last bill. However, as a person-citizen (as opposed to a corporate-citizen), I hope they raise rates for malpractice protection, overutilization, and overcharging so high we all need federal assistance for housing and food.

The state Insurance Department said Friday . . . Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina was approved for an average 32.5 percent rate increase. Aetna is approved for an average 24 percent increase, while United HealthCare can raise premiums by an average 20 percent.