Twitter Updates

What People Say:
"I never thought I'd read the phrase Crazy Politico's Rantings in the NYT. I'll bet they never thought they'd print anything like that phrase either." TLB

Blogroll Me!

My Blog Rolls

American Flag Bloggers

American Flags

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Why We Don't Trust Congress

Need a(nother) reason not to trust Congress on health care reform? We've all heard about HR 3200, the House version. Well Chris Dodd's Senate committee also has a 1,000 page bill that they've voted on.

No one on the committee has even seen the full bill, much less the whole Senate getting a chance to read it. The only thing up on their site is 790 pages before amendments. According to this Wall Street Journal article, committee staffers have said it probably won't be posted by October.

We were promised a new era of tranparency in government not long ago. Evidently the only thing transparent is that promise, not the process of health care reform.

Labels: , , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Friday, August 28, 2009

I wonder

I was just in Massechuetsetts last week, and had to smuggle in a bottle of wine from our favorite Wisconsin vineyard to one of my co-workers up there. There is no legal way for anyone but a liquor distributor to get booze to that state, unless you bring it in for "individual use". Weird. As I've written here before, it's the same state that doesn't allow the serving of doubles in bars.

Now that they no longer have to protect Teddy Kennedy from himself, do you think they'll loosen some of those rules up?

Too soon for such a joke? Sorry, I don't see; and never have; Mr. Kennedy as some iconic great grandfather of the Senate. He was a drunk, a womanizer, and a man who left a woman for dead to protect himself and his family name. Later in life, when his nephew followed his lead, he tried protecting him.

He was a man who railed against the rich not wanting to pay "their fair share", while he kept his money in offshore trusts to avoid the US taxes on it.

Ted was a man who couldn't believe people wouldn't want to stem global warming, but fought tooth and nail to keep a wind farm from his sight lines on Cape Cod. Wind farms are evidently for folks who can't afford a beach front compound.

Now the Senate, it a full blow version of hypocrisy wants to rename the Health Care Reform Bill after Teddy Kennedy. They claim his battle with brain cancer shows we need reform. What they don't say is that Mr. Obama's Comparitive Effectiveness Review Board would probably deem a 74 year old (his age when the cancer was discovered) to be too old for most of the treatments Kennedy recieved. There wouldn't have been enough "quality adjusted life years" available to Mr. Kennedy to make it a worthwhile use of scarce health care resources.

Labels: , , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Continuing Contradictions

Could someone please tell the Democrats to get their stories straight! One day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tells the world that health care reform won't leave the House without a public option. The next day Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says that the bill probably can't leave the House with a public option.
And of course the president is still swaying too and fro on the idea of it being either a necessity, or a single piece of a bigger puzzle.
If the Democrats want to know why American's are confused, and therefore distrustful of their plans, all they have to do is read their own words. Confusion seldom breads concensus and is never the foundation for trust.

Labels: , , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lack of Competion, or Rules?

A new study claims that lack of competition among insurance companies is one of the reasons for our high health care costs. As an example the article points to Maine, where one company has 71% of the market.

What they don't mention is that MaineCare, a "government option" plan, and Maine's guaranteed issuance laws, along with community ratings laws have driven health care providers from the state. The Wall Street Journal just published a nice article about the failure of MaineCare.

The markets these studies find the least competition in are the markets in places like Maine, New York, and New Jersey, where guaranteed issuance and community ratings have made premiums high, and choice low as insurers leave due to losing too much money.

Since the Urban Institute did the study, and is a proponent of public option, it's not surprising that they chose Maine as an example. What better state than one who's public option (and other rules) has destroyed the private market place to claim "lack of competition" without including the public plan as part of the equation.

If in fact we want competition in the insurance marketplace here's a novel idea. Make a level federal playing field for insurance companies, and get rid of the laws that prevent sales of policies across state lines. Then see what happens. My guess would that Maine would no longer have it's insurance problems.

Labels: , , , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Out of Beantown

Finally made it out of Boston last night after at two hour weather delay. The delay wasn't as bad as some. Evidently the Boston to Milwaukee flight earlier than mine told passengers a 90 minute delay, and let them off the plane. Some came back after an hour to find the gate empty. Evidently it left after 45 minutes, and the PA announcement couldn't be heard in the restaurants at Logan.

The wait wasn't bad. I had a new Navy Chief on board, who I talked with for most of the delay. Poor guy, stuck in the middle of Nebraska for his initiation. It was a great conversation, and I hope he learned a little bit. Thanks for the coin, it's awesome.

There was also a two year old, Charolette, who was a doll. Peek-a-Boo is still fun at my age with the right kid to play with.

And, if you are going to get delayed, get the delay when you have a signature seat on Midwest Airlines. That seat is much more comfortable that waiting in the gate area.

Labels: , , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No Love

Poor Brent Farve, oops Brett Favre, he's getting no love from the media these days, except the guys in Minnesota.

It seems they are spending as much time on the fact that he's had one really good season and a bunch of subpar one's in the last 4 years. They keep talking about his still ailing shoulder (rotator cuff) and will it hold up; and his lack of off season conditioning, and the effect of that on a near 40 year old body. They even question is he's a big game QB worth having anymore; since 2001 the answer would have to be no, many have done much better.

And of course, they've been pretty tough on him as a person. Headlines like "Favre takes self-centered behavior to a new extreme", "The Ego Has Landed, and "The World According to Favre" are all over the papers and web.

Fans seem to be falling into three groups. The one's who are truly pissed he went to Minnesota and take it as a personal slap to the Packers. When he went to New York there was anger, and some forgiveness. But going to the teams second biggest rival has gotten them in an angry, burn him in efigy mood. I even suggested such a thing for a purple number 4 jersey.

Favre tried to explain that away a few months ago, saying no one wanted Vince Lombardi dead after he went to the Redskins. Of course Vince didn't try and destroy the organization first, and the 'skins weren't one of the Packers biggest rivals. Had he decided Detroit or Chicago was the place to be, Vince would have gotten just as big an earful.

The best suggestion from that group has been to give the back up punter #4.

The second group are the 1970's Elvis fans. If you are my age you remember them, even though he was fat, out of shape, looked ridiculous in his outfits and not up to his old standards, they'd still pay to see him, and women would still try and get a scarf from him. Never mind that the scarf was wet with sweat and nasty, it was Elvis. Around the same time those women's husbands were probably convinced Joe Namath could take the Ram's to a Super Bowl with shot knees and a bad arm.

In Favre's case these folks are stuck on the fact he's a 3 time MVP, never mind that run ended a dozen years ago, went to two Super Bowls (again, a dozen years ago), and was late game magic, which hasn't been very true in the last seven seasons.

They are the folks who call Aaron Rodgers a bust, even though he had a better statisical year last year than Favre. In fact, Favre has had a year as statistally as good as Rodgers 2008 campaign twice in the last dozen years. Maybe that's why Ted Thompson wasn't willing to get on his knees and beg him to come back for 2008.

Then there are the train wreck folks, they are going to watch just to see what happens. Most probably don't care, and with the exception of October 5th and November 1st, may not even watch him play. They just want to see what happens when he meets the Packers for the first time, and shows up in Lambeau.

I suggested to the wife that we host a Packers Vikings game party on October 5th, but she didn't think so. Something about our 25th anniversary being that day. Guess I should check the calendar.

I think Brett will make it an interesting year, one way or another. Minnesota is already happy wiht the signing, even if he never makes it to the field. They sold 3,000 season tickets yesterday. But how will the fans, and media up there treat him if he turns out not to be the savior? New York's media didn't give him the kid glove treatment last year when it was obvious he was hurting but insisted on playing.

A trip to the playoffs won't be enough in Minnesota. They did that last year with Tavaris Jackson and Gus Ferrotte at quarterback.

Labels: , , , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Public Option is Back

Is the "public option" back, or did it never go away? Is it negotiable, or something that won't be coming off the table any time soon?

To figure out the answer to those, and other burning health care questions you'll need a Ouija board, some dead chickens to toss blood on and chant over, and possibly two or three dozen glasses of scotch.

As seems to be the norm with the current administration one member goes on the Sunday talk shows and floats an idea. Depending on the reaction, others(or the President) come out and say "Yeah, what (name here) said!", or as is the case with the public option, "our cabinent member either misspoke, was confused, or was misunderstood"

This is what happens when your strategy sessions aren't predicated on doing what you think is the right thing, but instead what will get the numbers to track the right way. Say what you will about George Bush, but he at least spent more of his time trying to explain why something was right, instead of backtracking and covering his ass.

The other problem with sessions like that is you have to decide which tracking poll is the one that matters. In Obama's case dropping the public option hasn't moved the right towards accepting the other reforms, but might help with center. However, it's pissing off his base on the left.

The administration's reaction shows that it's more worried about keeping the base happy, by claiming that the public option is still a big part of the plan, even though that will move the center away from them.

Here's my suggestion for the President. Decide what YOU want. Tell your leaders in Congress what you want, instead of letting them put together the legislation. Then explain exactly what you sent up. You'll look more Presidential, and more like you care about doing the right thing, instead of the thing that will do the best for your poll numbers

Labels: , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Next Angry Mob

If you are looking for the next angry mob in the health care debate they are easy to find, head over to BenGoshi's page at DailyKos. With word coming out that Team Obama might be ready to dump the public option, the netroots are moving back to nutroots mode rather quickly.

Folks from Obama's team were all over the Sunday talk shows doing damage control on the President's signature domestic program. Since I've had a lot of damage control training in my life, I could tell by the efforts that they are at the stage of either save the ship soon, or abandon it. Right now I'd still give abandonment a 50/50 chance.

The folks at Kos are livid, taking the public option off the table and having them replaced by the Co-Ops the Senate has suggested makes getting to single payer a longer road. In fact, the Co-Ops might be the death knell for single payer.

Once the public see's that Co-Ops, operating under the rules the administration would like, are lead zeppelins that can't stay aloft they'll wonder how the government would make single payer work and not bankrupt us.

So what is the Co-Op that the left fears so much? It's basically an insurance pool, where groups or individuals can buy insurance, but with their combined buying power. They work great in many other areas of the economy, like agriculture, where farmers combine to buy seed, fuel and other commodities with group buying power. You can even look at Wal-Mart as a co-op, since the combined buying power of their thousands of stores gets the company lower prices than if they negotiated prices for each store.

Co-Ops can work, and the idea of funding them with a few billion to get them off the ground is a good idea. The problem will come if they are hamstrung with the pre-existing rules, instant coverage rules, etc. that Democrats would like to impose on all insurers. Under those rules they won't be able to break even, and keep premiums lower than buying individual policies.

The plus side to them is they do become a large insurance pool, helping to offset some of those loses by giving smaller employers and individuals the option of being in a group. But they can't offset all of the loses if they use the New York and Massachusetts rules.

How can they help the uninsured? Easy, use a refundable tax credit, based on adjusted gross income level, to help people pay their premium to the co-op if they don't get employer based insurance. Or, if employers wish to provide coverage to their employees through the co-op they would get the same tax write off that other employers do for what they pay for insurance.

Watch the blogs in the next few days, and get your laughs watching the left have fits over the idea of co-ops,

Labels: , , , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Inappropriate Tweet?

Just updated my twitter page, and as I hit refresh this showed up from Jermichael Finley of the Green Bay Packers:

JermichaelF88Everyone think mike vick will stop dogfighting or he will continue doing it as long as he want get caught what yall think?? LOL

WTF?? The truth is it's a question on a lot of people's minds. However, I'd think that an NFL player might be a little quieter about asking the question.

Twitter, blogs, Facebook, etc, are great outlets for your thoughts and ways for folks to socially network. At the same time, you have to take a little breath before you post things. I, like most bloggers, have gotten bitten by the bug of immediately posting something, then regretting it later.

I wonder if Mr. Finley will have the realization later that his question, even with the LOL at the end of it, will bite him in the butt.

Labels: , , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More Health Care Nonsense

As usual, Charles Krauthammer finds the truth instead of listening to the rhetoric. This time it's about the myth of preventive medicine saving money. More Health Care Nonsense (via Real Clear Politics) goes through the CBO's dispellation of the idea that preventive medicine saves money, as the President claimed in New Hampshire.

The conventional wisdom; which CK points out is wrong via math; is that if we provide the preventive care for everyone to keep them from having some disease, we save the money we'd have spent treating that disease, therefore saving money. Except, not everyone will get the disease in the first place.

So, if we take 100 people, and spend $500 on each for preventive care, it costs $50k. So long as five people are prevented from getting the disease, where the care costs $10k, then we've done okay. But if only 3 people are prevented, then we've spent $50,000 to save $30,000.

Here's part of what Charles published on this:

"That's a hypothetical case. What's the real-life actuality in the United States today? A study in the journal Circulation found that for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, "if all the recommended prevention activities were applied with 100 percent success," the prevention would cost almost 10 times as much as the savings, increasing the country's total medical bill by 162 percent. Elmendorf additionally cites a definitive assessment in the New England Journal of Medicine that reviewed hundreds of studies on preventive care and found that more than 80 percent of preventive measures added to medical costs."

Elmendorf is the director of the Congression Budget Office. A guy who's getting little love in Obamaland because he won't tow the line and say that the Democrat's health care reforms are going to save us money or make care better.

"In an Aug. 7 letter to Rep. Nathan Deal, CBO Director Doug
Elmendorf writes:
"Researchers who have examined the effects of preventive care generally find that the added costs of widespread use of preventive services tend to exceed the savings from averted illness."

Thanks Charles, for looking at the math, and past the rhetoric. We need more people involved in the debate over 15% of our economy who actually look at the costs of what's going on, instead of spewing skewed numbers.

Labels: , , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Hugo Obama Hates the Media

Now we know the real villain in the health care debate, it's the media! At least according to President Hugo Barack Obama.

The president has decided that the reason there is so much contention over health care reform is that the media only covers raucous debates at town halls, not the productive ones. Of course the folks who have such meaningful debates are the one's who are stacking the meetings with there supporters. The folks having lotteries with pre-screened questions seem to be getting pretty friendly receptions to the ideas floating around DC.

I get a laugh out of Obama's indignation with the media. He didn't have a problem with two years of softball questions on the campaign trail. Evidently though, if Chris Matthews forgets to mention his tingling leg once a night, we have an evil media conspiracy going on.

Somehow (even though the Congression Budget Office calls it a untrue) the President is now claiming that two thirds of the cost of any new program, is going to come from efficiencies in the health care industry, so he'll only have to raise $30 billion in taxes a year. That would cover 38 million people, the number he used in Montana yesterday as requiring insurance. By the way it was 47 million last week, evidently 9 million folks found insurance recently.

I'm not sure what bung hole he pulled his numbers from, consider the conservative estimates have 50 million folks losing their private insurance if HR 3200 were to become law. The CBO estimates don't take that number into account, since they work with "static numbers", acting as though no business or person will change their behavior based on a new law.

So even if the President were right (and if pigs fly tomorrow), he'd actually have to cover around 85 million people, meaning more than double the tax increases. Where's that money coming from Mr. President?

Labels: , , , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Good Bye, Lester

Unfortunately today is a very sad day in the music world. Lester William Polsfuss, know to most of us as Les Paul, has left the stage for the final time, and he will be missed.

Four years ago I posted about his Grammy award winning album, Les Paul and Friends, American Made, World Played. It's still one of the five or so CD's I keep on hand all of the time, just in case I need a little screaming guitar to pick me up. (Clapton, The Who, Johnny Cash and Larry Carlton are always on hand also).

I've known about Les Paul for years. You couldn't help hearing about him if you grew up in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The main bypass around the city is named for him.

But in my youth music was huge in our house. I'm not sure how many needles Dad wore out on the stereo playing "Chester and Lester", Paul's collaboration with Chet Atkins from 1976, but it was a bunch. That album may have been the one to get me interested in listening to jazz guitarists, not just rock and country. If you look at the song list on that album, that seems strange, it's mostly older classics, not modern jazz arrangements. It was Paul's playing that lead me to explore that end of music, it was the only place where his sound seemed to come through regularly.

Everyone from B.B. King to the Beatles to Frank Zappa was influenced by Paul's music, and his inventions. Would the White Album be what it is without Paul's multi-track recording set up? Would the thunder in Jimmy Page's guitar be the same on the crescendo of Stairway to Heaven with a hollow body guitar? The guitar opening of Hell's Bells wouldn't, couldn't sound right though a single coil pickup.

Rest in peace, Les. I'm sure tonight there is a huge crowd for the big gig in the sky, waiting to hear a quick rendition of Caravan.


Read The Full Post!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Good Reading on Insurance Reform

The Wall Street Journal does what most local papers and other national media outlet's haven't been concerning President Obama's newest phrase "Health Insurance Reform"; they point out the facts, in two different editorials.

The first "The Truth About Health Insurance" points out something I did a few days ago, the reforms wanted by the administration won't save you money, they'll just drive your insurer out of business and cost you MORE!

They point out that New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts all have both guaranteed issue insurance laws (you have to sell a policy to anyone, even with pre-existing conditions) and Community Based Ratings (can't use a pre-existing condition to set premiums). Not surprisingly, those are the three most expensive states to by individual health insurance in. In fact, rates are two to three times higher than the rest of the country.

Evidently "fairness" only works one way in those states. It's more fair to require no wait insurance for the folks who get sick and need it now. Unfortunately the rest of the insured end up paying for them to be covered.

The second piece you should read is by John Mackey, CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods. They've reformed their insurance program, and save both the company and employees money. "The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare" lays out how they've done it, and why even their Canadian and British employees, with goverment provided health care want into the system.

The biggest reform they enacted? They turned employees into true consumers of health care. They actually shop around for services and treatments instead of just going to whatever doctor or clinic someone recommends.

They use a high deductible ($2500) policy paid for by the company and a Health Savings Acount, with another $1800 from company. The HSA rolls over each year, so if it's not spent, they don't lose the cash, and can save for a catastrophic event.

What they've found is the employees don't use the HSA money up every year to cover the deductibles, they instead do spend out of pocket for smaller expenses, and end up shopping and saving themselves money.

Mackey has some other great ideas on how to actually bend the curve down, as the President would like to do, but the CBO has pointed out, ObamaCare won't. Check out his ideas.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kill All The Lawyers

As I mentioned last night, one of the best ways to start on the road to health care reform would be tort reform. I also said with Democrats in power it won't happen. Point in case was made on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal today.

It seems Arlen Specter, the newly minted Democrat from Pennsylvania, is trying to gin up more business for trial lawyers, and even a big tax deduction for them.

First, he's trying to get a law passed to provided a legal means to sue a company that really does nothing wrong. The Supreme Court ruled a few years ago that secondary actors in fraud schemes couldn't be sued if you couldn't prove they were actual parties to the fraud.

It stemmed from Charter Communications cooking it's books on what it paid for Scientific Atlanta and Motorola cable set top boxes. The court said the two companies, who kept legal books couldn't be sued for selling to someone who committed fraud they weren't aware of.

To most people that makes sense. How can someone be liable for something they didn't know was going on? To the trial lobby it's a horrible injustice. How can they reap huge rewards for consumers (and 33% commissions) if they can't sue the unknowing co-conspirators?

His other wet sloppy kiss to the trial lawyers is getting them a tax deduction for the money and time spent on such contingency cases, before they ever get tried!

It's no wonder Specter is trying to gain (more) favor with the trial lawyers. He needs their money for next years primary election. He was never liberal enough to get elected as a democrat, and had lost so much conservative credibility he had to leave the GOP. Now he figures he'll try and get re-elected the old fashioned way, he'll buy the election since he has no principles to stand on.

Labels: , ,

Read The Full Post!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Krauthammer's Idea

Charles Krauthammer has a couple of brilliant ideas for the start of health care reform. Neither have a snowballs chance in hell, which is too bad because they make sense.

The first is extreme tort reform, get rid of jury trials for malpractice suits and have them settled by a medical panel of experts. Why do this? Because doctors admit we waste $200 billion a year on "defensive medicine"; tests designed not to necessarily cure you, or find your ailment, but keep them out of court.

You can see this has no chance with Democrats in power. Trial lawyers are some of their biggest donors, and telling them that the jury jackpot system could go away isn't going to keep that cash flowing into election warchests.

The second is eliminating the tax benefit to employers for your insurance, and instead having the money go to YOU to purchase coverage yourself. That would immediately make your coverage portable, which is supposedly one of the things ObamaCare is supposed to bring us.

Unfortunately, as Charles points out, this won't happen either. Obama spent so much time berating John McCain for the idea of taxing that benefit that he can't do it. Just ask Max Baucus.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Read The Full Post!

The Guise of Consumer Protection

The AP has a story today about how the health care arguement is focusing too much on government control and reach, not enough on the consumer protections built into legislation in various parts of congress.

The protection that's talked about the most is the one most likely to drive your private insurer to drop health insurance, or jack up everyone's rates. That's the idea that you can't deny insurance based on pre-existing conditions, or charge higher rates based on them.

For those who don't realize it, and by listening to people argue about this for years, many don't, insurance is a risk pool. That means that the company's are trying to take in clients where the risk of paying more than they collect in premiums is low. The more risk factors you have, the higher your premium is, to hedge their bet. At a certain point you aren't worth insuring because the company won't be able to charge enough to not lose money.

The idea in HR 3200 (the big one in the House) and other bills is that the company would only be able to charge premiums based on age, not pre-existing conditions, which is insanity at it's finest. It basically requires companies to either raise all rates to a point where they don't lose their shirts, or quit offering health insurance. My guess is that point wasn't missed by Congress, in fact it's one they probably love especially with a "public option" plan out there.

If you look at insurance from a different angle, it's easier to see my point. Think of insurance companies as investment houses. Both are risk based businesses. Now, suppose your investment broker decided that instead of going with low to medium risk investments, he publicly said that the company was going to start putting large amounts of money into a group of investments that were sure to lose money, with no hope of ever returning your original investment, much less make a profit.

The SEC would investigate them for fraud, the Elliot Spitzers of the world would be filing suits, and the entire board of directors would most likely be fired by the shareholders.

Yet for some reason that same scenario sounds not only good, but somehow "fair" when it comes to health insurance companies. We now want to demand that they operate at a loss for a segment of their clients, when any other business would be investigated for it.

While Nancy Pelosi and others rail about the "obscene profits" of insurance companies, they really aren't that high. Aetna will make about $640 in profit from each of it's 19 million policies this year. That's in the area of one month's premiums for most folks, about an 8% profit.

Compare that to your mortgage. For the first twenty years of a 200,000 loan you'd pay more than that in interest PER MONTH! In fact, if the mortgage industry were to operate like Congress wants the health insurance one to work, our housing crisis would probably be even worse. I'm sorry, Barny Frank liked exactly that scenario, then held hearings when mortgage writers went belly up.

Labels: , , , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

I'm a Number in the Federal Health Machine

I forgot that it's that time of year again. Time for me to be counted, not by the census, but by the Veteran's Administration. You see, I was put into their system in July of 2003. Now, annually I need to be counted by them to make sure my local VA hospital gets funded for treating me.

I didn't make the appointment in July like I was supposed to, so in my weeks worth of mail I'm sure there is a frantic letter reminding me that I need to get it before August 31st (my actual retirement date). If, probably by the end of next week, I don't make an appointment I'll start getting phone calls reminding (badgering) me to get in.

This year we'll find out what happens when I don't make it by that day. I don't have a day off in my schedule until mid-September.

They call it an annual physical, but it's not. Physicals take more than 15 minutes, and consist of an exam, not asking me what my actual doctor has been doing for the last year. Most years they don't ask me about my service connected disabilities, the reason they are supposed to see me.

This illustrates one of the reasons I don't like government managed health care. It's not about providing good service, it's about numbers. You call in as many people as you can in an 8 hour day, talk to them for 15 minutes, and call it a "wellness check" and suddenly you are practicing preventive medicine, and "saving money for the system".

What you are actually doing is the same thing as public schools do on Attendance Day; getting your numbers up high enough to get more money from Uncle Sugar.

Direct government employees, like the VA doctors are trying to make a quota, they have to see X number of patients to justify their existence. Indirect doctors, like those who provide for Medicare or Medicaid need to see that number to make the abysmal reimbursement rates pay enough to cover the bills. Neither is as interested in providing good care as they are making ends meet, they don't have time to be interested.

Labels: , , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Apology Accepted

I received the following this evening, following my Adam Andrzejewski post. I accept Bruno's apology, and probably won't toss him under a bus, unless one of Adam's flacks calls my work phone again.

I just saw the blog post.

If you were going to throw some one under the bus, it should have been me
for not protecting information better.
Adam stands for things that we both agree on, and the fault for your being
on the list is entirely mine, not the candidate's.
I hope that you post this e-mail as a response, as it I am to blame. Why
Adam should suffer for my lack of action is unfair.
Read his policy page and tell my why he should be lumped in with the 99% of
politicians when this race is his first foray into politics.
Again, I am the one to blame for your troubles today, not Adam, who was busy
campaigning today.
Bruno Behrend
Adam for Illinois

Bruno probably is right, I shouldn't toss the candidate under the bus for the over-zealous work of a few campaign workers. However, it is the candidate who's ultimately responsible for the workers they employee and the voluteers they select.

During recent campaigns, especially national ones, lots of bloggers, commentators and pundits rightfully assailed candidates who hid behind the idea that "it was an over zealous worker who said that, and not the position of the candiate", when many of us believed that the candidate would have said it, if they could have gotten away with it.

I'm not lumping Adam in with those folks, either. I'm just saying if one wants to be the candidate of principle and position, then all the staff needs to know that, and know it means all the time.

And I have read, and do agree with a lot of the things on Adam's policy page. But there is a long way until there is even a primary, and I'll withhold judgement on who I think is the best candidate until election time gets a lot closer.

PS.. Hammer the idiot who called me the first two times. A public flogging would be most entertaining. (/sarcasm)

Labels: , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Health (S)Care Stories

Here's the health care story I put up on barackobama.com today.

I'm pretty sure it won't be there long. Let me explain it. As a retired military veteran I can get coverage under Tricare. The great advantage is cost. I do pay less per year than most do per month for coverage. (Never mind that when I joined the military I was told it would be free for life, the back end payment for 20 years of substandard wages, crazy hours and long deployments.)

The downside is that unless you meet certain criteria, if you live within distance of a military treatment facility that becomes your primary care provider. Because there are also about 5,000 active military and their familie's in the area, Great Lakes has a hard time keeping up with demand for services.

So here's what I wrote to the folks on the web over at Health Care Stories for America:

I've been subjected to government managed health care for the last 27 years. To get treatment for a sore throat with lesions my wife has waited for over six weeks. Sorry, no chance to get a different doctor, we live to close to the treatment facility, and just get wait listed.

Why would I want to subject the rest of America to this kind of care?

I'm pretty sure it won't stay up there long. But I suggest everyone who want to gripe about health reform blast the "Health Care Stories for America" site.

Now, some of you I'm sure are questioning why I'd stay in that system when both of our employers offer insurance. The truth is we are both fairly healthy, and don't use the system that much. So the trade off in money saved is worth the inconvenience that we put up with.

When the wait for appointments begins to exceed our desire to save some money, we'll chose (if we still can) one of our employer based plans.

By the way, that's the same reason a lot of the 40 million or so without insurance don't have it. They figure they are healthy, and can deal with using acute care clinics and ER's and the associated bills. When they have a family, or start worrying about health issues, they start looking for insurance.

Labels: , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Adam Andrzejewski Can't Take A Hint

So the folks from Adam Andrzejewski's campaign are evidently not real bright.
I asked a while back to be removed from their e-mail list, and was. Then this afternoon, I got a call from someone at his campaign, on my work phone. I said that this is my work phone, please don't call it, and please don't bother me anymore. Within a minute my phone rang again, this time without caller ID, and it was the same guy.

Adam, if your folks can't follow simple "please don't bother me on my work phone" type instructions, how much good are they going to do for us if they are trying to assist a governor?
I think I know why they are calling and the answer to the question is "no, I wouldn't be interested".
Thanks though, and have a great day.
*** UPDATE ***
At least the third caller, Veronica, didn't block her number and identified herself. But she called within minutes of the other callers being asked to NOT CALL MY WORK NUMBER.
One more call from them and I'm bitching to the state.

I guess his campaign is proving the old adage, 99% of politicians give the rest of them a bad name.

Labels: , ,

Read The Full Post!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Funny Poster

Seems that these posters are turning up all over Los Angeles. Maybe Someone could find out where I can get a few for Chicago. (H/T to Newsbusters)

Labels: , , ,

Read The Full Post!