Wednesday, November 04, 2009

What do last night's election results mean nationally???

Nothing, at least for the most part. New Jersey didn't go Republican as a rebuke to Obama. it was a rebuke to a Governor, Corzine, who could not stem the tide of a bad national economy in his home state of New Jersey. The public did not have a sense things were getting better in New Jersey even as they read that the national economy was starting to improve.
If anything had broader implications, it was the New York upstate special election for the New York House race, in which the Democrat won--- a feat not accomplished in 100 years in that norther New York Republican bastion. The fact that Sarah Palin came to push the Republican only sweetened this rebuke of the Conservative Right.
Last night only showed one thing, with the close election for New York Mayor, and the win for a Democrat upstate----no one, not incumbents, or parties in power, can take votes for granted unless they help make things better for America; the country as a whole---or their little piece of it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Community Health Plan

There are ways to use health coverage plans themselves to lower costs, add to competition, but leave the government out of directly offering these health plans. My design is called the Community Health Plan. I have been working on these for sometime, and while I am going to leave most of the specific details for the book, I believe i can outline the workings and advantages here. The plan would be anchored by a local full service hospital. Preferably it would be the local hospital that was already providing most of the services to the uninsured for that given community. They would offer a subscription plan for a very affordable price. The pricing would look something like one third the monthly going rate for health insurance in the same area. A small part of the fee would go to a reinsurance pool to cover health care needs when traveling away from the hospital locale, and another part would apply towards a government subsidized umbrella policy to cover unexpectedly large outlays or catastrophic illnesses. The rest of the monthly fee would go directly to the hospital system offering the plan, providing them much needed cash flow and some contribution towards the cost of caring for these people. The government would provide funds to help support these plans in the way they provide funds now to hospitals serving the uninsured, but with an anticipated reduction in these amounts. If people see the plans are a good fit and value, enough of the public will subscribe to potentially erase any deficits these hospitals use to face from caring for the uninsured. Since the government would provide guarantees for the reinsurance umbrella policies, these could be offered by traditional insurers. To encourage people to purchase plans including these, seek out care earlier and take preventative health measures, the current 7.5% floor before these expenses are deductible would be removed from the tax code. This limit was imposed during the Reagan administration and only hurt the middle class because they are the ones who will base health care decisions on costs. the rich can afford the care, the poor have government coverage, the working poor and illegal uninsured s simply do without the care. Now, everyone from working poor to middle class could afford a good plan, and would have the government helping them afford to purchase it and receive care. By offering all of this, at least it would be a more fair and reasonable proposition that the current health reform plan does not include an affordable government option, does not require employers to offer coverage and requires a fine for people who do not purchase coverage.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Health Care Reform...hardly reform, but baby steps are better than none....

It is looking more and more like Government initiated health care reform is coming. That is, possibly, good news. It will cover, hopefully, all Americans. If it does, that will be its only real reform achievement. It basically leaves the system as it is, puts in more price caps and allows for buying cooperatives to get coverage through group buying power. All decent ideas but nothing that will improve or change a system that is rife with abuse, excess costs, poor governance and inconsistent standard. Cost caps can unfairly hurt some good practices and agencies. Pay for performance can help improve systems, if there are requisite education and helpful tools made available to those organization that struggle with improving their quality of care. The most bizarre and idiotic health care ideas, such as the Republicans calling for the ability to purchase insurance across state lines...were blissfully left out. If I were able, I had a good post for that idea. I've been involved with health insurers in the past. The reason health insurance is so much cheaper in a place like Utah, is because it is cheaper to get care in Utah! If you allow New Yorkers, with some of the highest insurance and care costs in the country, to buy coverage from Utah, and then get care in NY, you would eventually drive up the cost of Utah insurance much closer to NY's. All you would accomplish with that poorly thought out nonsense is to hurt citizens of Utah. Unless you don't like Utah, why would you do that?
I propose a lot of things, some written about here before, that would fundamentally alter the cost structure of health care, now and going forward, increase competition for health plans with agencies better able to deliver quality yet cost-effective care than the insurers who often pay for it now and try to manage the care with new cost layers of review and management. In the coming days and weeks I will review what i have already proposed here, and offer a lot of new material that I have been working on. In the longer run, once a minimum plan of reform is implemented, I believe we will run into many of our past problems if we do not take the current opportunity of the drive for reform, to truly improve our system. And I mean improve. I have said here many times before...I like our system, but we need to fix it to keep it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I see LHWRITES is back.

I am glad to see that. I have been bored because not a lot of bloggers are so in need of assistance that they will give me such a prominent role. They shun me from the spotlight, but as we have seen---they utilize my special skills behind the scenes. Here is quite the opposite. I get the spotlight---I appear right in the blog---but my special skills are not used to enhance the prominence of the blog or increase its hits. Thus you have had, for some years now, a fine blog that no one knows about! Keep up the good work LHWRITES! With a little more effort perhaps you will be the only one reading this.... Ha Ha

I'm Baaacckk!!!!!!

Hi Everyone,
I have been on hiatus, forced by a variety of issues, and trying to finish my piece on Health Care Reform before it is rendered irrelevant by current events. I wish to be a part of the process not a hindsight quarterback. A lot of work and effort has been put into that the last few months and I will begin posting the fruits of my labor as well as my thoughts and discoveries here. Stay Tuned!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Stimulating the economy.

It’s not complicated, but that doesn’t make it easy. There is no secret why people aren’t spending money, which is why the economy has tanked. First it was dropping home values and stocks coupled with rising gas prices that made people leery of spending money they might need for essentials, while watching their nest eggs and equity (traditional sources of backup) dwindle. Then the expected rise in unemployment made even those with money insecure about spending it lest they find themselves in dire need in the near future. To turn the economy around quickest, we need job creation, which will remove the fears of unemployment that get exacerbated when jobs reports show growth in unemployed instead of employment. Then we need the stock market to start rising. When people feel secure, and that their safety nets are okay, they will start gobbling up deals—whether in stocks or housing, and prop those up as well. However, for them to feel that way, not only do jobs need to be growing, but stocks and homes need to show a bit of a rebound on their own. Enter the government. Obama’s job creation plan seems like a sound beginning. We also need to bailout the states with ballooning deficits or we could lose as many jobs as Obama’s stimulus creates. I keep mentioning this, but I am not hearing much about it from anywhere else. This is one of the cheapest things we can do (less than $100 Billion for part of 2008 and all of 2009) that would give greta returns in saving jobs and building consumer confidence. We need to continue to help the car companies weather the storm while they retool. We need some of the financial bailout to be sued to ease credit and also refinance mortgages and give extended terms to those unemployed by the recent downturn so we can stop the foreclosure morass. If we bailout the state governments, they will be able to stop their own layoffs, stop layoffs from their contractors and suppliers, and continue to invest their pension system assets into the stock market, helping to push that up. It will be expensive, but this multi-prong approach will help the economy get in the black before the end of 2009. When America's economy is humming, the world will follow close behind. Then we can focus on the savings and improvements that HealthCare reform will bring!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy 2009! and … My Year End Dinner with Satan. (part 1)

I was sitting here contemplating how far behind I’d fallen in my blog. Among other things, there was no election night coverage with Satan, because election night had gone much quicker and smoother than I had anticipated. Luckily, at least for the possibility of getting something interesting up on the blog, my cell phone rang and the display said Hell.
“What’s going on?” Satan asked. “I noticed you didn’t post our election night coverage.”
“Post what? How we sat there and watched the returns as they came in, smooth and steady to the conclusion projected by the polls? That would’ve been particularly boring, even for this blog.”
“We enjoyed that nice Chianti and some fine cigars.” Satan retorted
“Yeah, but that’s more interesting in person than it is for people to read about.” I responded.
”You think?”
“Duh!” I responded. “Not a lot has gone on lately. The economy is still having a rocky time, we’re in that after election lull--- politically. There’s just not much to do.” I said, disappointed.
“Are you burning out, man? Because if you are, you came to the right guy.” Satan laughed.
“No. I would just like some material for a post. Election night didn’t give it to me.”
“There’s more to this world than the election.” Satan said.
“Which reminds me, I’ve been meaning to ask you, are republicans dumber than dirt? Or is it that they just think everyone else is? And what do you have to do with it?”
Moi? And, whatever do you mean?” Satan asked innocently.
“Well, let’s look at this whole automobile companies bail-out. The Republicans blocked it, because they said the greedy unions, and thereby, greedy union workers, would not make enough concessions. Now, while admittedly, the unions are going to have to continue to give concessions on benefits, current, and especially in the future, where do the Republicans get off stopping the bailout and calling these workers greedy? Even with the limitations on executive compensation in the $700 billion financial services bail out; an executive can make as much as a score of auto workers, or more. Also, we can blame a chunk of our current financial woes directly on the financial sector---that we had to bail out. While the auto companies certainly could have done a better job of remaking themselves for the future, if the economy hadn’t tanked so suddenly and credit tightened up so, completely, the auto companies would have continued getting by, while they continued their own attempts at turnarounds. So, again, are Republicans dumber than dirt, or do they just think the rest of the American public is? Clearly, they have no sympathy for hundreds of thousands of union workers who----tend to vote Democrat. But for them to do all of this so blatantly and arrogantly, it makes me wonder if there are outside forces contributing to this nonsense?” I paused at this point, waiting for Satan to fess up.
"I take it you are pausing, waiting for me to confess?” Satan asked.
“Sure.” I said.
“I had nothing to do with it. It was a plan conceived and implemented by conservative Republicans, to appear fiscally responsible, if you can believe it. In reality though, it was also a move to force President Bush to act, so that they could embarrass and blame him if it went awry, for handing them the loss in the presidential election, which of course they blame entirely on him, because it is more palatable than them ever having to take any responsibility themselves.”
“I see.” I said “It reminds me of a song, but not, of course, Obama the magic negro.”
“A lot of people were upset with Obama the Magic Negro. I understand upset, but surprised? If I have had anything to do with any of this, it is helping many politicians open up and face the light. I help them to let everyone get to see the real person inside, instead of just let them hide in the shadows and do things behind the scenes. From singing about Obama to, can you say Blagojevich?, I like to see people be themselves. It's very entertaining." Satan laughed. "Besides, I understand you have been working on a tune of your own, which I assume was the song you were eluding to.”
“How did you know?” I asked.
“Demonware on your computer. Better than spyware and hey, at least, I helped you finish it! You did not seem able to find a suitable ending, so I gave it one only I could!”
“You mean, I should have entitled this post “Satan is my co-author?!”
“Yep! Here we go….”
(To the tune of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, sort of, loosely)

Republicans, the Red Necked Failures

Republicans, the Red Necked Failures
Had an 8 year collapse
First they brought down the nation
Then helped the world fall on its ass.

They spend us into oblivion
Then blame it on Democrats past
Ignored all the warnings
Blame everyone else until the last

Invade Iraq for no real reason
Attack the unions but bailout your friends
Republicans with your lies so bright
Wonder how you sleep at night?

Now all the failures love Palin
I guess in 2012 we’ll see
If she’s better than a potted plant?
Evil-doing Republicans. you’ll go down in HELL…with ME.

“Nice twist at the end.” I said.

“Please note that I specified 'evil-doing Republicans' at the end, to preserve your open mindedness and not imply that you lump all Republicans together."

"Thank you. It is true. I have some good friends and relatives that have more conservative viewpoints. I find them often wrong, but not evil in any way." I said.
"Listen," Satan began, "why don’t you come meet me at the bar of our favorite New York night spot, and let’s see if we can brainstorm a good sendoff for your blog in 2009.”

“Okay, but by sendoff…you really mean like 'kickoff', sort of a new beginning, not like a farewell to blogging or anything, right? You’re not getting blogger to kick me off, or something?”

“Get my favorite blog canceled? Now that would be a helluva thing to do, wouldn’t it?”

“Yeah, real funny. I’m on my way….”

(To be continued…..)