Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

McMorris Rodgers mailer used photo without permission, friend says

A week after Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers sent a taxpayer-funded mailer with the wrong date for a public town hall meeting, residents in Liberty Lake are crying foul over another postcard they say used a woman's picture without her family's permission.

Tom Brattebo sent the following letter to the editor to the newspaper this weekend:

I'll add another view to the numerous letters regarding Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' recently sent (at taxpayer expense) "Senior Update." The older woman in the picture was a friend of mine for over 35 years. She passed away in January of 2013. The picture was taken a few months prior. The lady was a retired school teacher and principal. She never wanted for medical care through her state retirement and Medicare programs. She did much to assist the less fortunate.

Permission was not solicited by the congresswoman's office for use of this photo. They had no knowledge that she had died.

And, I am married to a "Bette from Spokane."

Brattebo said the woman, pictured below with the congresswoman, is 91-year-old Maxine Davidson. Brattebo and his wife, Bette (not that Bette), befriended Davidson, a longtime teacher and principal for Spokane Public Schools. A memorial scholarship bears her name at Eastern Washington University, according to an obituary published in the Spokesman-Review.

Maxine Davidson shakes Cathy McMorris Rodgers' hand in a picture on a mailer sent out this month.
Photo courtesy of Tom Brattebo.

Brattebo's wife retained power of attorney for the retired school teacher, he said. She died in January 2013, a few weeks after the photo was taken with the congresswoman used in the mailer. The couple was not contacted by McMorris Rodgers' office before the mailer was sent. They found out about its use when it arrived in their mailbox last week, Tom Brattebo said.

"It was upsetting," Brattebo said. "She's been gone for a year and a half."

Davidson enjoyed the photo and kept a print of it in her room at the nursing facility where she lived, Brattebo said. But based on his perception of Davidson's politics, it's unlikely the Brattebos would have OK'd the picture's use in the material sent by the GOP congresswoman, Tom Brattebo said. 

The Brattebos contacted McMorris Rodgers' office, who apologized for the image's use. In a statement, a spokeswoman said the photo was published due to a breakdown in office policy.

There was a breakdown in our standard approval process at the staff level for use of this particular photo. Going forward the office will work to make certain the approval process is enforced which means in order to use a photo appropriate permissions of those featured will be obtained.

-Statement from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' office

McMorris Rodgers is scheduled to appear at an hour-long town hall meeting tonight at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St. The event is scheduled to run from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. She faces challenger Joe Pakootas, a Democrat, in the November general election for the 5th Congressional District seat in the U.S. Congress.

Today’s fun video: Skewering the Obamacare website

 

The Daily Show asks the question of the week, which is how can the federal health care web site be so messed up?

Medicaid expansion: Info campaign coming

OLYMPIA – Washington’s new state budget signed into law this week relies on the expansion of Medicaid, both to provide health insurance to hundreds of thousands of people and to help balance its bottom line.

But state residents will have to wait until October to sign up for that coverage, and until next January for it to kick in. State officials agree that the program isn’t well understood yet, but say a major information campaign is coming to help people understand how it works and who will qualify.

In general, anyone whose annual income is below 138 percent of the poverty level, will be eligible for free health care under Medicaid…

 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Close vote on changes for part-time state workers

OLYMPIA — A proposal to allow the state and local school districts to have their part-time workers get medical insurance through "Obamacare" barely cleared the Senate today.

Senate Bill 5905, which allows the state and school districts to bargain with their part-timers to be switched to the coming health insurance exchange, passed on a 25-23 vote, but only because some Republicans who normally oppose the federal Affordable Care Act voted to support it. Many Democrats, who generally support the exchange, said they were opposed to allowing state and school workers to be pushed into an untested and at this point incomplete system.

The bill attempts to save the state money by moving part-time workers out of the state-sponsored health insurance systems if the workers will agree to get their own insurance through the exchange, which will be set up to help individuals and small businesses find affordable coverage. They'll be offered raises to cover some of the increased costs of that insurance.

The exchange won't be operating until late this year.

"The exchange is not functioning yet," Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, said. "We can't make the decision today… Next year, let's look at it again."

But the Senate budget proposal relies on $127 million in savings by shifting part-time workers in state agencies, public schools and state colleges and universities to the exchange.

As votes were counted and the measure appeared in jeopardy, several senators, including Mike Padden, R-Spokane, switched from no to yes. 

Nonini-Malek Feud Simmers

From Kestrel West Morning Memo: A defeated measure designed to protect health care workers from assault highlighted a simmering feud. “It sure appears as a conflict that Luke Malek did not disclose that he was doing this as a favor to his father and KMC. Young Luke needs to understand that we expect more transparency in government that Luke is willing to concede,” [Bob Nonini wrote} … Malek said of Nonini, “This isn’t the first time he’s impugned my character … I think what we are seeing in Bob’s case is mostly frustration with an inability, once again, to create any sort of coherent legislative agenda …” Story here.

Thoughts?

CNN blows the call on health care ruling

Viewers of CNN may have been justifiably confused this morning when, over a span of four minutes, the Supreme Court ruling was described as a major defeat for President Obama and the Democrats to a "huge, huge victory."

That's because at about 7:12 a.m. Pacific, CNN said the court struck down the individual mandate, based on the reading of their reporter at the scene. Instant analysis by Wolf Blitzer and company began assessing the damage, and they were quick to call the game against Obama.

Meanwhile, other sources were reporting the Affordable Care Act was essentially being upheld. CNN was missing a key point, that the individual mandate was being upheld as a tax, and within the power of Congress.

By about 7:16 a.m. CNN was reversing course, acknowledging that the mandate was upheld. "This is a huge, huge victory," Blitzer intoned.

They only touched briefly on the fact that they blew the initial call.

John King: "It's a complicated decision."

Blitzer: "It's a historic moment."

Apparently in those historic moments, TV anchors sometimes get a little overanxious..

McMorris Rodgers a designated hitter for Health Care ruling

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will be one of two House Republicans providing instant comments — they're calling it "messaging" — when the U.S. Supreme Court issues its ruling on the Affordable Care Act on Thursday.

Except she's more likely to be calling it by its favored GOP term, Obamacare, particularly if the court throws out all or part of the law.

A press release this morning from McMorris Rodgers's office said she'll be at the Supreme Court building Thursdah morning for the announcement of the opinion with Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who serves on the Ways and Means health subcommittee. They will "lead the House GOP's messaging in response to the ruling," the announcement said.

Later, she'll lead a group of at least eight House Republican women talking about the decision at a press conference in front of the Capitol.

National rally draws more than 100 in Spokane

More than 100 protestors gathered Friday at the federal courthouse in Spokane to protest new federal health insurance rules.

Robin Luciani, the local rally captain for the Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom, said 110 people came to the Spokane event to protest a federal decision announced earlier this year related to contraception.

The rally and dozens of others across the country were organized by the Coalition to Stop the Heath and Human Services Mandate, which is made up of dozens of religious groups and organizations opposed to abortion rights.

MT: Come To Idaho’s Prisons & Die

Take your time reading correctional health expert Dr. Marc Stern's report to U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill about how contractor Brentwood, Tenn.-based Corizon is managing health care in the Idaho prison system. But you'll eventually realize the state isn't spending enough to safeguard the health of the men and women in its custody. Maybe you'll get there by page 8, where Stern reports finding inmates who waited five weeks before health care providers responded to their requests for help. Or how about page 12, where staff failed to resusitate an unconscious, barely breathing man who later died of cardiac arrest?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Is health care for Idaho prisoners a matter that concerns you?

Health care forum to explore employee wellness

Employee health and wellness will be discussed at this year’s Future of Health Care program, Thursday morning in Spokane.

Presented by Greater Spokane Incorporated and the Journal of Business, the program runs from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at The Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St.

Speakers are Donna Steward, government affairs director for the Association of Washington Business; Dr. Kyle Dosch, dental consultant, Washington Dental Service; Mark Patrick, managing partner, Moloney+O’Neill Benefits; and Elisabeth Buchman, director of product development for wellness and ancillary products, Group Health Cooperative.

The discussion will focus on factors businesses should consider around employee health and wellness, such as the impact on their budgets and their ability to attract and retain new talent.

Cost is $30. Information: http://events.greaterspokane.org

Survey finds more Idaho employers offering health coverage

Idaho employers reversed an eight-year decline in workplace health care coverage in 2011, despite the financial pressures of coming out of the worst recession since World War II.

Percent of Idaho Employers Offering Health Coverage to Full-Time Workers

 
 
 

Single

Family

 

2002

82%

62%

 

2005

74%

N/A

 

2007

63%

57%

 

2009

56%

53%

 

2011

66%

61%

 

The Idaho Department of Labor’s 2011 Fringe Benefit Survey found 66 percent of employers offered individual health insurance to full-time workers and 61 percent offered coverage to the families of those workers, the agency said today. That is 10 percentage points higher than the 2009 survey findings for worker coverage and eight points higher for family coverage.

But while the totals showed an end to the decline in workplace health care coverage, the totals fall short of 2002, when 82 percent of employers said they provided worker coverage and 62 percent family coverage.

Coverage offered to part-time workers was essentially unchanged from 2009 at 10 percent to 11 percent.

More than 900 randomly selected employers responded to the survey, conducted last August and September. The results on a statewide basis have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The survey found similar increases in the percentage of employers offering dental coverage to their workers, but there was little change in the availability to workers of pension plans or paid leave in the form of vacation, sick days or holidays.

The overall increase in the availability of health insurance in the workplace was seen among all payroll sizes from employers with fewer than 10 workers to those with more than 250.

D’s: Otter Late To Health Care Party

Idaho Democrats say they are on Gov. Butch Otter's side in creating a state health insurance exchange — but that doesn't mean the Democrats aren't ripping Otter over health care. A recent Otter guest opinion on health care, published in Sunday's Statesman, indulges in "inventive recollections," and suggests Otter was planning to address the issue before Congress passed President Obama's health care legislation. “It is great to hear the governor finally express concern about affordable health care but he is showing up late to the game,” Democratic Party executive director Shelley Landry said in a news release today. Sniping between the parties aside, Otter might need votes from the Democratic minority if he wants to get a health insurance exchange through the Legislature. Some Republicans are rallying against the exchange — designed to help small businesses and individuals shop for insurance — because the exchange would be funded through grants from the feds’ health care law/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you support Gov. Otter's proposal to create a state health insurance exchange?

2 Washington hospital systems to combine forces

SEATTLE — Two of Western Washington’s largest hospital systems have announced a plan to create a new not-for-profit entity to operate an even larger health care system in the state.

Leaders of Swedish Health Services and Providence Health & Services described their “innovative affiliation” Wednesday as one driven by economic necessity. They stressed that the move is not a merger or acquisition, according to a story by The Seattle Times.

The proposed new entity will include all of Swedish’s operations in King, Snohomish and Kittitas counties and all of Providence’s operations in King, Snohomish, Thurston and Lewis counties. Providence will keep its name and Catholic identity; Swedish will retain its name and remain a non-religious organization.

Swedish operates five hospitals and clinics in its affected area while Providence operates three hospitals and 21 senior and community service programs in its target counties.

Protesters could add to excitement at health care conference

The Washington Policy Center will do a reprise of its health care reform conference today in Spokane at the Red Lion Inn at the Park, complete with a keynote speech from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

The Seattle version of the conference was reported in this morning's paper. Something new for Spokane, however, will be protesters outside the conference demonstrating against McMorris Rodgers' support for the GOP proposal to change Medicare.

The group incorrectly describes the event as McMorris's "$500 a table event," with "her supporters." It's actually the policy center's event, and while many of the people in the room maybe McMorris Rodgers supporters, the money doesn't go to her.  It's also $200 for a table of eight; the $500 charge is for company sponsors who want a table for lunch, information packets and display space at the conference.

Details, details.

Bethany Heath, the organizer of the protest, said she thought it was still a fair way to characterize the event.

"We're not trying to go after her," Heath said, then proceded to discuss the votes McMorris Rodgers has taken in favor of the Ryan Medicare proposal and against the Affordable Care Act which suggested that yes, they were going after McMorris Rodgers.

It wasn't personal, Heath added. "I just don't like her voting record."

Tuesday Video II: Do you know how many people are in the world today?

Does the average American really know what the global population is? Watch this telling video:

  

How Many People Are In the World Today? from Population Action International on Vimeo.

As Population Action International explains to the interviewees in this clip, the world population will hit 7 billion this fall. Well, the actual prediction is on Oct. 31 which is spooky scary.

Lisa Hyams at Grist writes
: "Many demographers have been projecting that human numbers will stabilize at about 9 billion in 2050, but the U.N.'s new, more realistic analysis says the population could in fact keep on growing and hit 10.1 billion by 2100. That's in part because there are still 215 million women around the world who want to avoid or delay pregnancy but don't have good access to effective birth control, and the U.N. seems to have grown more pessimistic about remedying that situation any time soon."

Even though these folks were off in the exact number, I was shocked that their take on the impacts of the population boom were spot on.

Disney Institute brings Walt’s ways to Spokane

   Think back to a soul-sucking work day in an environment that didn’t value the individual and corporate creative process, or at least give you the freedom to explore a new way of doing things. Most of us experience that at one time or another in our professional lives: The internship that asks only that you show up and do as you are told. The mid-level management morass that never rewards - and occasionally punishes - innovation. The checklist performance review.

    While plenty of us still struggle to find a method for interacting, performing and thriving in the workplace, others are studying the art of creativity with the masters: Disney.

    Since its opening in 1986, the Disney Institute has provided tutorials for business leaders who are seeking to change - from the inside out - the way they deal with both employees and consumers.

    I’d heard about the Disney Institute but had no real idea of what exactly it is the Institute does. I assumed the programing fell somewhere between basketry classes and trust-building ropes courses, with a little imagineering thrown into the mix. I mean, I get Disney. I just didn’t get how the fantasy translated into the boardroom and more importantly, the cubicle down the hall from the boardroom.

    So, during a family trip to Disney World last September, I asked for more information. I met and was able to spend some time with Disney Institute facilitator Jack Santiago.  When I asked Santiago, the first DI facilitator to present in Spanish, what the basic, consumable, byproduct of the institute is, he waived an arm.
    

   “Look around,” he said. “We’re in the most creative place in the world. A creative place that runs and grows on a system of best practices. That’s what you get to take home with you.”
   

    I asked Santiago for an example of a business that had made significant systemic changes after attending the institute. He pointed to the Disney Institute’s work with the healthcare industry.
    

   “Think of the basic operation of a large hospital or medical center,” he said. “They are there to serve people, to treat people, but it’s easy for that mission to get lost in the bureaucracy or day-to-day business of running the place.”
    

   By adapting Walt Disney’s business beliefs and passion for creating a positive experience for all “cast members” (employees) hospitals were able to change the way they interacted with “guests” (patients and other visitors.)
    “ The idea is to take our best practices and use them to improve an organization,” Santiago told me.  “We specialize in leadership, service, people management, brand loyalty and creativity training.”

    It made sense, but I asked Santiago for another example. I wanted to talk to someone in a field that it would be hard to imagine benefitting from Disneyisms. That’s how I was introduced to Tom Broussard.

    Broussard, a gregarious, motorcycle-riding, guitar-playing texan is fifth-generation mortician in Beaumont, Texas. He is also a Disney Institute apostle after attending a short presentation at an association annual meeting at DisneyWorld in 2000.
    “I sat there and it was like a lightbulb came on,” he told me during a long phone conversation. “They talked about personalization, making a real connection to others.  Well, what we do is intimately personal.”

    Broussard came away convinced the skills and techniques taught by Disney Institute facilitators could make a difference in the way he and the other funeral service workers in his network interacted with and served clients. He realized that some of the techniques used by Disney enterprises would help him create an experience for those who’d come to say goodbye to a friend or family member that would deepen their bond with the deceased.

    “There’s a move in our industry to celebrate the lives of the deceased. You see slideshows and things like that. But I realized that if we reached out to the people who attended services and helped them create a memorial or a keepsake, we would give them a deeper sense of connection,” Broussard says.  “It didn’t have to mean big changes in the way we do things, just more effective changes.”

    Broussard admits he has the right kind of personality to respond to the Disney Institute message.
        “Some of us expect to find some kind of creative reward or experience in everything we do,” he says. “We look for it. We expect it. We seek it. And we’re compelled to share that, to take that message to others.”
       

   In other words, he wasn’t hard to sell on the concept. Others, he admits, might not be so comfortable with the idea of personalizing, and in some ways “informalizing” the unique constraints of the funeral service industry.
   

    “I think the main thing he Institute gives us - as an industry - are the tools to bring back new concepts and ideas,” he says “They give us the skills to be creative and to make changes in a way that makes people comfortable. It’s ingenious.”
    

   There are the expected contemporary leadership and corporate lessons in Disney Institute programs but Broussard says the first time he met with DI facilitators, the creative process was reduced to an elementary level.
   

    “They had everyone at the table pass out crayons. ‘Now smell the crayon’ they told us.  There was an immediate reaction. That smell is unique. You get a whiff of it and you’re a kid again,” Broussard says. “It really opened my eyes. I took notes with the crayons. I highlighted with crayon. It was one small way of doing things but I could sense the change immediately.”
    

   Broussard’s enthusiasm is palpable when he talks about his experience.
    

   “They talk about structure, but about creative structure," he says. "Like the way you draw the circles when you draw Mickey Mouse. Creative but with structure.”

.

Sidebar:
The Disney Institute is coming to Spokane. Facilitators will be presenting a one-day program geared for local healthcare professionals.
Where:The Lincoln Center
When: April 12,
Details: For more information on registering for the Disney Institute program hosted by the Human Capital Academy in Spokane call (877) 544-2384, ext. 1.


  

 

Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review. She can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com


  

House OKs ‘Grandson Of Nullification’

HB 298, nicknamed the “grandson of nullification” as the latest version of legislation aimed at barring the national health care reform law from being implemented in Idaho, has passed the Senate on a 24-11 vote and headed to the governor's desk. This version targets the discretionary portions of the act, and says Idaho won't do anything to comply with those for one year; it also prevents the state from accepting federal funds to implement the act/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you support the legislation to nullify federal health care reforms in Idaho?

Smart Bombs: Price is Right

My Sunday column. Comment here.

From the comments thus far posted after the column, some points:

1. Yes, third-party payers drive up costs. I've yet to see the "free market solution" that drives up access. Costs are lower — much lower — in other countries with universal access. None of them have free-market systems. Most of the reforms I've seen retain the third-party system (you get coverage from employer, who gets it from insurers. They make deals on what will be covered). Government tax policy drives this system, yet it has avoided the moniker "government run." Drop the tax break and see how fast your employer drops your coverage.

2. Costs are going up because the boomers are getting old. Surely, that's part of it, especially as it relates to Medicare. But costs were going up before they reached that age. Why? Those same forces remain in place with the repeal of reform. In time, this boomer bow wave will pass. Think prices will go down at that point?

 

 

 

Senate Panel OKs Nullification Jr.

HB 298, the bill that's being referred to as the “grandson of nullification,” has passed the Senate State Affairs Committee on a rather unenthusiastic, divided voice vote. Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens; Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation; and a citizen who spoke of the virtues of nullification were among those calling for passage of the bill, which would forbid Idaho from accepting federal money to implement health care reform and would put a one-year hold on any actions by the state to comply with discretionary portions of the law, along with other measures/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: How does Vito Barbieri and allies justify an unconstitutional attempt to nullify federal law that will cost Idaho money in court with their tight-fisted votes on public education and Medicaid budget votes?

Allred Pitches Health Care Alternative

Keith Allred, Democratic candidate for governor of Idaho, today said he has a different plan from current GOP Gov. Butch Otter’s lawsuit challenging federal health care reform: He said if elected governor, he’d take advantage of a clause in the new law that lets states “opt out” of the plan if they enact their own health-care reform plans. “Every year, more Idahoans don’t have access to health care and virtually all Idahoans pay more for it,” Allred said. “Whether we’re Republican, Democrat or independent, most of us agree that we just can’t keep going down the same path”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. And: Idaho Reporter story here.

Picture this: The Health Care Vote

The New York Times has a nice map that shows how members of Congress voted yesterday on the Health Care legislation.

As a sometime maker of political maps, Spin Control recommends it to those who enjoy visuals. Find it here:

Tuesday Video

When it comes to the quagmire of a debate over health care reform, we rely on the wonks over at HuffingtonPost to keep us apprised -  so we were a bit surprised when this video got forwarded our way as a “must see” perspective on the issue of health care reform - and it was from Grist of all places.  It’s a video of Michael Pollan talking to Grist about the interrelationship between the energy crisis, health care, and our food systems.

The $100 billion dollar question

As the president and Congress face decisions regarding health care and troops for Afghanistan, NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof poses this question: “These two choices have something in common — each has a bill of around $100 billion per year. So one question is whether we’re better off spending that money blowing up things in Helmand Province or building up things in America.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/12/opinion/12kristof.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1258056136-BGb6B9H5zsvVMwp+ziMV1Q

What do you think?

Female leaders, pledge drives, public option

Three topics in today’s Smart Bombs. Noticed this morning that the KPBX hosts smoothly folded the column into their pitches. Dang, they are good. Was also glad that they took the comment in the right spirit.

Thoughts on these topics?

A call for food system reform

Always one to up the intelligence level on an issue, Michael Pollan, famed author of Omnivore’s Dilemma, recently wrote a New York Times editorial about the current health care problems in America and how it’s less about a broken health care system but more about what to do in light of a, “rising tide of chronic disease linked to diet.”   Pollan writes:

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat “preventable chronic diseases.” Not all of these diseases are linked to diet — there’s smoking, for instance — but many, if not most, of them are.

We’re spending $147 billion to treat obesity, $116 billion to treat diabetes, and hundreds of billions more to treat cardiovascular disease and the many types of cancer that have been linked to the so-called Western diet. One recent study estimated that 30 percent of the increase in health care spending over the past 20 years could be attributed to the soaring rate of obesity, a condition that now accounts for nearly a tenth of all spending on health care.”

Take a walk through any school cafeteria in Spokane and look around - high fructose corn syrup, salt, sugars,  and a host of processed foods that are contributing to the aforementioned figures is what you will see.

It’s time that schools and universities take a long hard look at their food systems and determine that healthy eating and sustainable food practices are essential components to their education outreach efforts. 

The new-and-improved health care system?

Good morning, Netizens…


Obama’s Health Care Plan seems to have more land mines than the main highway leading to/from Kabul, Pakistan and yet while the Republicans are muttering openly against it, many middle-class to lower-middle class Americans simply cannot afford either the preventive medical care, treatment or the medications they need for good health because they have no health insurance. Then there is even those utterly fear trips to the dentist, which can set a middle-class family into the throes of bankruptcy.


I admit a certain bias when it comes to health insurance. I once had health insurance, the self-paid health insurance that is among the most-costly of them all, but I paid it willing. The minute I had my first heart attack, they cancelled my policy which should be against the law. They eventually closed their doors. Once I applied for a new health insurance premium, however, I had a pre-existing condition, and what was even worse, the cost of the premium, at $710 per month, was far beyond my financial means to pay. The rates for health insurance have continued climbing since that time.


I am a statistic, one of the millions of Americans who cannot afford health insurance. I have two choices: go on welfare or hope someone fixes a badly broken system.


It sounds to me as if the Obama Healthcare System is any improvement. In fact, it sounds suspiciously as if the Health Care Insurance companies wrote it, which is no improvement at all. However, if the Obama-plan is voted into law, we will not have any choice on whether or not to buy a policy.


Perhaps this is best described as, “if you don’t have or cannot afford health insurance now, under Obama-care you will have health insurance but you will not have any choice.”


Dave







 

Watching with a crowd

Democrats apparently like to watch President Obama in groups.

The Democratic National Committee, through the Organizing for America campaign operation,  is organizing “watch parties” around the country to view Obama’s address tonight to a joint session of Congress tonight, including one in Spokane.

It’s at Toad Hall, 1427 W. Dean, starting at 5 p.m.

(An earlier version of this post said the speech started at 6 p.m., but that was incorrect. White House Web site says 8 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Pacific.)

What is insurance for?

I just read a list serve comment by a woman who had an insurance issue over the cost of her son’s physical exam for high school football. The details aren’t important.

My question is as follows:

Hypothetically, an insurance policy provides one free physical exam every year.  The cost is spread out among all the policy holders, all of whom are entitled to one physical every year.

They won’t all avail themselves of that, but if they did, the insurer would theoretically pay out the same as it collected in premiums, less copays or deductibles, wherein it would realize a profit. Since many people won’t take the physicals, the profit will go up…and maybe the premiums would even be adjusted downward slightly once the state insurance commissioner weighed in.

Still, individual policy holders would, at worst, break even if they just paid for the physical out of pocket. Then might even save money by removing the insurance company profit from the calculation.

So why are such routine and predictable things part of a health insurance policy? Shouldn’t insurance be to spread the risk around over things that can’t be anticipated, like being attacked by a Grizzly? 

Fixing the health care system…

Good morning, Netizens…


“I’m mad as hell as I’m not going to take this anymore!”


In this morning’s cartoon, David Horsey demonstrates just a few of the reasons what many working-class and some lower-middle-class Americans seem to be yelling in a series of public input sessions on Obama’s healthcare bill. It also makes a mockery of the high profile interviews Pennsylvania Senator Arlan Specter gave to members of the news media since a meeting he led turned into a yelling contest.


You might think that Specter, having survived over 45 years as a Senator in his state, both as a Republican and as a returned-to-the-fold Democrat, would recognize that when Americans get angry, they simply will not sit down and be placated until their issues have been addressed openly and directly by their elected officials.


Based upon the town hall meetings held in various places throughout the United States, there is little doubt that Americans are angry. The single-payer system proposed by the Obama administration is not acceptable, but then the current health insurance system is unacceptably broken.


What isn’t shown in David Horsey’s cartoon, however, are the number of homes that have been taken over in lieu of payment of delinquent hospital and medical bills, such as are common in Spokane. I have tried several times to obtain some numbers to demonstrate this increasing penalty inflicted on those who cannot afford medical insurance, but surprisingly enough, none of the Spokane-area hospitals seem eager to provide those statistics. Could this be shame?


The other aspect of the town hall meetings are the numbers of people who could not attend, because they are working.


When the cost of medical care has tripled in the face of national average incomes, there is little reason why people are angry.


The incomes of health care CEO’s and the sickening profits of their firms, however, are, as David Horsey points out, quite content with the status quo. THAT has to change before anyone will pronounce the health care system fixed.


Dave

Feel like diving into the pool anyone?

Good evening, Netizens…


As we welcome cartoonist extraordinary David Horsey back from his vacation, he would have us waiting with bated breath beside the Democratic Health Care Pool trying to decide whether to take the big plunge right away. The reason the kid in the front row is busily picking his nose is because, as stupid as he might appear, he knows full and well his generation will be paying for our stupidity.


Of course, before Republicans begin banging on their dinner plates about President Obama’s Health Care Plan, they should be forced to admit they have no plan of their own. Anyone from the Republican Right Wing should also be forced to admit how much money they have received from various health care mega-corporations, underneath the table, of course. Now that could be interesting.


It does seem nobody wants to dive into the pool with the sharks of the medical inflation. Most everyone else are turning up their noses at the ugliness of an unknown health care future that Mr. Horsey so aptly describes for us.


Are you feeling secure about the future of the health care system under the Obama Plan, or are you just as scared as I am?


Dave