I have a friend, lets say she is in her 50s, a single mom and has been out of work for quite a while. She created her own business through hard work but has been unable to purchase insurance for a while. She has one adult child that lives at home with her. I believe that she deserves affordable insurance and that she has a right to coverage regardless of her disease state. From time to time, she gets frustrated with my positions on ObamaCare thinking that I am advocating for its repeal and that even the changes I speak of will harm her ability to get affordable insurance. This is not the case, but I can understand how she feels and why she feels this way. It is my friend and many others like her that need the very sections of ObamaCare that I think should stay in place and this is why I do not support a blanket repeal.
She is a very good person, intelligent and industrious. She is a strong supporter of ObamaCare. When Covered California, opened yesterday I went to the site to see what the new deal will be for people like my friend. It took two attempts to get into the site, although it was not a long wait, perhaps 20 seconds. My friend will be able to get insurance, as the law promises, and because of her circumstances she will be able to get subsidies as well. In fact according to the site (which provides estimates only) she has options under the Bronze plan that after subsidies she will be paying just $1.00 per month. Yes, you read that correctly $1.00 per month for the premium. But she will also have a deductible of about $2500. before she gets to coverage. Some items are exempted from the deductible so in some cases she doesn’t have to pay anything.
I have not spoken to her but I would bet that she will think this is a good deal at this point. Depending on how the actual deductible plays out in her circumstances, she may or may not find this is a good deal 6 months from now. While this is a good deal for her, is this a good deal for most? Or the better question is this a good deal for America inclusively? And, it is here that there is a rub. While the government is simply printing money out of thin air to pay for the bills, this new money still comes out of our pocket by reducing the real value of the dollar. And as we age, we disproportionately cost rise more and more for the care we need. From birth to age 70 we cost about $100,000 for care, and from 70 to 75, we cost about $500,000 for care. The same curve happens from birth to 50. So at mid 50s we cost significantly more than someone who is in late 20s early 30s. As a result those later life spiraling costs get disproportionately allocated to the younger insured. And the actuarials are not static numbers. Due to many factors they continue to rise and they will rise exponentially under the current rules. This is not due to greed, corporate profits, or expensive technology, it is due to simple mathematics. As we live longer that curve of costs goes ever higher. And under the current law the costs, are neither constrained nor controllable. They simply get reallocated.
I am truly very happy that my friend is able to get coverage, but I am also very concerned that we are hiding the overall cost and stacking increasingly unsustainable burdens on these future generations. The math is clear, even if we just don’t want to see it. We not only are placing the rising cost burden on the young whose own costs will get exponentially higher as we continue to extend their lives beyond our own, but we will also present them with a huge moral burden as well for while this generation will not create the death panels as promulgated buy the extreme edge of the republican party, the will have to made a determination of at what age quality of life care is suspended for elderly under government programs and their parents and grandparents own savings or additional private policies pick up the costs. Otherwise the cost for them in their early lives will be increasingly unpayable and the nations economy will collapse under the cost..
The Affordable Care Act is often called ObamaCare but I think from now on it should be called “DemoCare” because it’s going to demolish care in America and along with that demolish America’s Middle Class.
There are quite a lot of things about the way this law works that make it undesirable. Mostly, the causes are not in the debate that we hear so much about nor are they in the parade of facts that we are about to be inundated with over the next 90 days from those selling the benefits or arguing against them. Like most debates the truth in the rhetoric is somewhere between the extremes. Continue reading
Light summer reading
In his latest book, Inferno, author Dan Brown explores a world where past symbols and artifacts from Dante Alighieri’s Italy, and his famous work The Divine Comedy, become the vehicle to unravel a diabolical and deadly plot of a modern day bio-terrorist. I originally grabbed this book because we were coming to the close of summer and I just finished working on a series of articles about the current issues of our healthcare system that will be appearing later this fall. Frankly, I was looking for a diversion from the complicated world of healthcare reform and Obamacare. I wanted a respite, a brief mindless romp in Dan Brown’s always entertaining world. Having read much of his prior work, I was confident that Mr. Brown would not let me down.
I found this work characteristically suspenseful, interesting, thought provoking and fun to read till I got to the following section which, in the story, lays the groundwork for the epic conflict between the antagonist, Bertrand Zobrist , a world renowned biochemist and leading geneticist and the protagonist, Elizabeth Sinskey, M.D. Continue reading
The rising rate of addiction for women in America seems at first blush a historically startling event. But its not! America has had a long, long history of dancing with the devils of hard drug addictions.
While the article calls these rates historically the highest, they factually are not. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the addiction rate to cocaine, Continue reading
“Nought from the Greeks towards me hath sped well. So now I find that ancient proverb true, Foes’ gifts are no gifts: profit bring they none.” So observed the great philosopher and teacher Sophocles about 430 BCE. Today we loosely translate this as, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!”
No quote could be more apropos in regard to the supposed $500 million in insurance rebates being sent to 8 million Americans under #Obamacare. Like most ponzi schemes, at first blush this appears to be a great deal for America and Americans. Continue reading
An interesting article caught my attention this morning titled, States make ‘disturbing cuts’ to unemployment benefits, authored by Jake Grovum, Pew/Stateline Staff Writer. You can read the article by clicking the link of the photo above from the article.
The irony of this article, is that the continued stretching of unemployment benefits have, in the words on some economists, perpetuated unemployment. How can this be? people ask!
On the one hand, some people (how many I do not know — likely not the majority) just do not really seek work once they get on unemployment Continue reading
Ever since Samuel Hopkins Adams first exposed the evils of the patent medicine industry, in 1905 in a series of articles published in Colliers Weekly, it has been ‘patently’ clear that women have often historically been the prime target for the sale of prescriptive and Continue reading
Perhaps Mr. Snowden is in the process of learning what both President Obama, and Joe Biden learned as they moved from the position of candidate to the top two executives in our government.
When you think you know something based on only a few of the facts and realities of the situations, you are free to speak and act more freely & criticize others in leadership with impunity, because you simply do not know the detailed reality of the situation. If something goes wrong, there are myriad things that you can use as an excuse because you “didn’t know” this or that. Unfortunately, in recent weeks we have seen this lack of understanding or knowledge excuse played out way too much. Continue reading
As this story rapidly begins to unwind, I have to wonder about poor Susan Rice. For the first time in her life she gets the opportunity to address a national forum and elevate her creds and national visibility in order to move to her next career milestone.
I wonder if she ever asked herself, “Why is Hilary not doing this?” Was she so caught up in the moment that her ego prevented any cogitation? Did she really believe that her ‘friends’ in the #ObamaNation were recognizing her abilities and finally giving her, her just Continue reading
John M. Gonzales reporting for the California Healthcare Foundation Center for Health Reporting wrote a must read article called, How the U.S. tax code will drive Obamacare implementation, starting April 15. I strongly suggest all read it.
The negative effects of Obamacare on costs and care were immediate, and the ongoing negative effects are just starting to be disclosed and to build. Yesterday, I participated at a Health Care Summit put on by Continue reading
Sometimes I get to thinking that there are a lot of relatively young arrogant tech writers, which spend a lot of time floating agenda based premises in order to try to show some company that they need to get these writers permission before they try to succeed with anything.
But then I am not a conspiracy theorist. But I can see how people jump to that conclusion. There are no less than 10 articles today with basically the same headline that Microsoft and Windows 8 is a flop because it did not stop the erosion of PC sales and PC and Laptop sales are slowing as mobile devices Continue reading
Recently I have been wondering how we have arrived at the point where our desire for unfettered, and unlimited access to health care is rapidly outstripping our ability to pay for the care we desire. Our understanding of our supposed healthcare system is so specious that the myths of our expectations far outweigh the reality of the system we think we have to deliver it. In fact, we have built an entire culture of props and supports around patently false beliefs that underscore everything we expect and require from healthcare. To a great extent we are obsessed in Continue reading
When my good friend Ellen Brown speaks I listen! You should also. I do not often reference others works as it is so easy to rely on the efforts of others to build a blog. I believe that one should do their own thinking and work. But sometimes, there are articles, like this one by Ellen, that say it all so well and elegantly, that Continue reading
Every time I think the lunacy that is becoming pervasive in America has gone as far as it can, I am again astounded by another extension of instability of thought.
This article attempts to conflate the effort of researchers to use cellular material harvested from an African America woman during a cancer treatment procedure, with involuntary sterilizations that Continue reading
First let me apologize for the personal tone of this article. I typically try to focus on issues and solutions and not on my own personal reflections. This past week, among other things, I have been working with a group of parents from the school where our 8th grade children are about to graduate. We are working to create a video that captures the 8th grade class’ experience from kindergarten to graduation. In essence, to marvel at the growth and maturation of these modern examples of humans as they move from cute cuddly yet blissfully ignorant small animals, into wonderful, intelligent motivated, caring examples of the best of humanity. And, to wonder at this progression as it prepares them for the next steps of their own lives and time Continue reading
In an excellent article, Charles Blahous, one of Medicare’s Trustees, warns states of the dangers of the expansion of Medicaid. He makes many of the same arguments that I have been making for quite a while, his warning, as a Medicare Trustee, may finally cut through the background noise and get some people to actually pay attention. You can read the full Report by Mr. Blahous here: http://mercatus.org/sites/default/files/Blahous_MedicaidExpansion_v1.pdf
Mr. Blahous reminds me of Wilbur Mills who Continue reading
A new world revealed!
20 years ago, when most of us were still dumb kids despite our relative ages, I was at a meeting with Bill Gates of Microsoft. He gave a presentation on the future of computing as he saw it. He predicted how we would interact with the things around us. He spoke of three devices; a personal interactive device, a portable interactive device and a social interactive device. He explained how all three of these devices would deliver the same content in roughly the same manner from any point on the globe. He predicted that the underlying system would be ubiquitous and the information could come via wire, or through the air in a variety of forms. The most Continue reading
Names aren’t supposed to mean much. They’re simply a title that our minds link to an appearance to create recognition. Heroes on a history book page would still be heroes, no matter what you called them by. Who we are and what we do isn’t decided or defined by something that insignificant. It’s the kind of thing that’s just there, making no more difference than the decision of what umbrella to take with you on a rainy day. Sometimes, though, a name is all you have left.
Roughly 58,195 names fill the shining black marble wall of the Vietnam Memorial. There are no pictures, no lists of heroic acts for any one of them; nothing that draws your eye to one particular person, and yet it’s still powerful. Names aren’t especially meaningful, but people die, the sadness over it comes close to dwindling out, and every memory eventually fades like an old family photograph, but even after all that time, a name Continue reading
Time Magazine contributor Steven Brill has created a bit of a sensation due to his recent, February 20, 2013, article and Time Magazine cover story entitled, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us: http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/20/bitter-pill-why-medical-bills-are-killing-us/#ixzz2LkTuy5lv. Mr. Brill caused controversy both due to the length of the article, 26,000 words, and his revelations about the high prices and seemingly arbitrary pricing methods in our so called healthcare system. His article has prompted a number of other reporters to pick up the themes and provide both points Continue reading
The President’s Plan
In the State of the Union speech last evening, the president said many things. He offered a real plethora, yes a plethora, of programs, benefits, stimulus, taxes, and other things that he believes will improve the lot of Americans–at least some Americans. Many were struck thoughout his speech by the breadth and depth of the things the president wants to spend money on. He offered programs for immigrants, college students, environmentalists, women, minorities, the elderly, the sick, the middle class, teachers, the unions, the poor, the underserved, the military and just about every Continue reading
This morning as I did my news walk, I came across this article talking about the most important chart in American politics. And as you can imagine it caught my eye. I find charts and graphs to be either extremely informative or extremely deceptive. Seldom is there a middle-ground. Often the deceptive charts are constructed specifically for that purpose. It is seldom a surprise to find such charts in an article about politics.
This chart was one of the exceptions that prove the rule. But not in the way you might imagine. “The Chart” is deceptive, but I do not believe it is purposeful in its deceit. Why not, you may ask? Because the story it is trying to communicate would be stronger if the authors actually new the truth behind the problem. But, like so much today, the surface suffices to make an argument. The other details make the argument more difficult to communicate as the story can get Continue reading
Having heard of the controversy over the Super Bowl ad by Coca Cola the past few days, this morning I was captured by the above article. I expected it to be along a similar vein of remarks showing how Coke was insensitive to Arabs and painting them in a bad light. When I first heard this argument on the TV news, I was looking for the Association of Los Vegas Showgirls to show up any minute and complain, followed by the African American Cowboy Association, National Hispanic Cowboys, etc…
What stopped me in my tracks was not the casual assertion of racism due to insensitive stereotyping in the pursuit of parody that I was Continue reading
After reading a recent spate of articles on how the president should, could or would ban or regulate football, I started to wonder what my father or grandfather might say? Then I wondered, how we got to this place where things that others choose to do to themselves is now our responsibility to monitor, manage, restrict and pay for?
50 years ago if we spoke to our parents about the federal government making laws regulating football, or restricting peoples access to cigarettes and punitively taxing soda, they would think we had lost our minds. Cleary, Continue reading
A week or so, at the request of some long time friends and readers, I wrote a review of Windows 8. I wrote the review not only because they had asked my opinion but also because I was disgusted by the lack of real work in using and understanding the system by the many so-called reviewers I had read.
I briefly spoke of the MS Surface RT. While I have been using the RT since it first came out, having given my Apple iPad to my 14 year old son, and I have not looked back, this week I had to go to Boston for the week for work. It portended to be a fairly complicated endeavor, one that in the past I would have brought my fairly Continue reading
By now, we all know that the Supreme Court upheld the insurance mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as Obamacare. To recap, 26 states brought action to have the mandate, declared as an unconstitutional expansion of federal power under the commerce clause, the necessary and proper clause, and as a minor point its taxing authority. The Supreme Court agreed with the states and found the mandate unconstitutional under the commerce clause, and the necessary and proper clause. However, in what many felt was a stunning decision by Justice Roberts—and judicial over reach, the court upheld the mandate as a Continue reading
Authors Note: While the main purpose of this blog is to discuss healthcare and related issues like the economy, and political implications and drivers, I have had a long history in the PC industry going back to the dawn of what we call the modern pc era. As such I have had more than a few people asking me what I think of the new computing trends for touch-based tablets and pcs as well as Windows 8. Please forgive this digression to my past life. Indirectly the trend toward individual personally centered transactions systems is key to our future healthcare needs. Perhaps I will write an article on that as well in the near future. Regardless, I hope most of you will appreciate this article and forgive its intrusion into the healthcare dialog.
I have been both fascinated, and appalled, at the recent reviews of Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system. I have been fascinated by the continuation of the journalistic trend to initially bash anything from Microsoft or at a minimum begin reviews with lead lines about where or how their products simply Continue reading
A recent article in Discovery News reports that lobsters and crabs feel pain. While this has been suspected for quite a while, due to the primitive nature of their nervous system, it has been very difficult to quantify or qualify what their sense of the pain would be. Recent research at Queen’s School of Biological Science, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, under the title, “Painful Feelings in Crabs,” tested crabs and showed that when shocked at a specific desirable location, soon they modified their behavior to avoid that location. The Discovery article, Continue reading
A Reuter’s article today again illustrates the disturbing trend in our biochemical battle with other species, like the bacteria mentioned in this article–we are losing this war! In the last few weeks, we have seen a number of articles outlining the discovery, or at least public disclosure, of new superbugs. Here is just a recent listing of articles on some superbugs: Continue reading