Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What's Happening

OK. I guess it's about time I wrote another blogpost.

I have no excuse, other than I haven't felt motivated. All I can write about is being written about by other, more articulate bloggers than I, anyway.

Perhaps part of my lack of motivation lies in the distraction of trying to focus on the ongoing calamities that are currently effecting my life. Simply put, personal problems are occupying the majority of my thoughts and keeping me awake nights.

 As my two readers no doubt know, I recently moved from Virginia, back to my hometown of Wichita, Kansas.

 There are several reasons my wife and I (primarily, my wife) made the decision to make this move. I will touch on a few:

1. Most of my family is in or near Wichita. My mother, soon to reach the age of 92, lives in Wichita. She is still relatively healthy, but, at 91, she is having some ambulatory problems. A couple of years ago, she suffered a mini-stroke which, fortunately, didn't have any lasting effects, but it bothered me that I wasn't close enough, geographically speaking, to be of any assistance should a more serious stroke occur. On top of that, my financial situation would have made it difficult, if not impossible, to be present for her funeral, if, God forbid, she suddenly passed away. I have children and grandchildren in Wichita and Osawatomie in Kansas, and in Independence and Booneville in Missouri. I had never seen my two youngest grandchildren until we came back here.

2. My wife is an only child who never had children of her own, and both of her parents had passed away in the last few years, leaving her with few family members left in Virginia. She wanted to be close to the kids and grandkids, I suppose, so she could spoil them.

3. Because of lack of funds, we were unable to keep our house maintained. It was falling apart, and we simply didn't have the money to fix it up.

 Unfortunately, since we moved here, things haven't gone as we anticipated and we are suffering more financial difficulties than we experienced in Virginia. My pay is substantially less and the cost of living here is higher. The combination of those two factors have placed us in a difficult situation.

So, you will, I hope, understand that I have been pre-occupied with concerns other than keeping up with my blogging.

I am pursuing some options, and hopefully, soon will be motivated to blog further.

25 comments:

Always On Watch said...

Mark,
I am sorry to read that you are facing even more financial difficulties than you had here in the Old Dominion.

Blogging has to play second fiddle to real life.

Take care.

Mark said...

Thanks, AOW. We must keep on trying, mustn't we?

Jim said...

Good luck. Any interest in setting up an open thread here every now and then to allow your two (or three or five) regulars to fill the void while you are otherwise occupied?

Mark said...

OMG, Jim! You miss me!

Yeah, come on in anytime and talk about whatever your little heart desires on any post. It's always an open thread around here.

I'll even give you a subject:

What is it you like so much about Communism?

Jim said...

Can't think of a single thing that I like about Communism. But there is a discussion to be had about the subject. Maybe later.

Of course I miss you. I learn so much from this blog and American Descent and Marshall Art's by doing the research to refute so much of what you guys write.

Jim said...

Open thread:

What is your objection to the PPACA mandate?

1) It is a federal mandate, not a state mandate.
2) Some people will be subsidized.
3) Obama is for it.
4) Other

Marshall Art said...

"What is your objection to the PPACA mandate?"

It fails to truly address the major excuses for its existence. Among those, and very possibly ONLY those, are high cost of health care and the numbers of people without health insurance.

The causes of high costs have more to do with burdens placed on the industry, both the health care provider side as well as the insurance side, by gov't interference and regulation. The burdens are wide-reaching and come from many angles, both direct and indirect. One could pick one single area and do a whole blog post or two on how that area has been affected by gov't interference.

Take insurance, for example. One of the many issues with insurance relates to interstate purchasing of insurance. This was never addressed, and as it has an effect on free market competition, it should have been addressed long ago in order to see just how far it would go toward getting the overall costs of insurance lowered.

Another is tort reform as regards malpractice, which compels doctors to order testing they wouldn't normal feel necessary, just in order to prevent any accusation that he didn't do his job properly, as if he is supposed to be God-like in his human abilities.

As to those without insurance, it was shown clearly before Obamacare was rammed down our throats with less than enthusiastic support in Congress, that many who don't have insurance chose not to purchase it, and others who say they can't afford it, aren't necessarily without the means, but chose to spend their money elsewhere, and then whine when hit with medical costs.

But even if we eliminate those people and focus only on those out of work or impoverished, then the issue is getting them back to work and THAT is NOT being addressed competently at all by this administration. The issue here economic growth and the jobs that the private sector could be creating if not for Barry and his minions pretending they know what they're doing.

Your point number 2 is especially galling. Too many will be subsidized because they can't find work, and then others because they can't be bothered leading responsible lifestyles. Subsidizing means making the rest of us pay for what some can't or won't make allowances for on their own.

Barrycare, aka "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act", neither protects patients or makes health care affordable for the nation. Only socialists and communists think highly of it.

Jim said...

Well, your first paragraph is nonsense because whether or not PPACA is successful in reducing costs or increasing the number of people covered, it without a doubt addresses those two issues.

Your second paragraph is a lot of verbiage with nothing to back it up. Sounds like you pulled it out of thin air.

Third paragraph: One of the many issues with insurance relates to interstate purchasing of insurance. More nonsense. There is no proof that restricting interstate insurance increases health care cost. This talking point is meant to obscure the fact that different states will have different regulations of health insurance, and insurers will migrate to the states with the fewest regulations. Just like with credit cards (major credit card companies are based in Delaware) this would increase the profits of the insurance companies while lessening the protections of the consumer.

Tort reform is just so much more bullshit. Malpractice costs are 1-1.5% of health care costs. The idea that doctors perform unneeded services is overstated. The establishment of best practices in PPACA will work to lessen the incidence of unnecessary procedures but also cover doctors who follow them.

Next: As to those without insurance Many is not a very meaningful word. The fact is, millions who want insurance can't get it without PPACA.

But even if we eliminate those people and focus only on those out of work or impoverished, then the issue is getting them back to work and THAT is NOT being addressed competently at all by this administration.

Absolutely false. This has been addressed over and over by the administration and obstructed by the Republican congress. But this is not directly related to PPACA.

Subsidizing means making the rest of us pay for what some can't or won't make allowances for on their own.

There is no proof that this represent any significant numbers.

neither protects patients or makes health care affordable for the nation.

Simply false. It protects those who have pre-existing conditions. It protects people who have young adults living at home. It protects people from financial ruin. It protect patients by providing preventative care without copays.

PPACA is already reducing the cost of medical care for seniors and women and will reduce the costs for people who are between jobs.

After all this you have tried to explain your objection to PPACA in general but not really addressed the mandate.

Mark said...

As I see it, the individual mandate is the biggest (but not the only) problem with Obamacare.

It is completely, irrevocably, totally unconstitutional to compel people to purchase anything against their will under penalty of punishment. Including health insurance.

I don't know if Obama's intentions are honorable or nefarious (I'm leaning toward nefarious), but forcing people to buy insurance is wrong.

The individual mandate is something a Communist regime would put in place, not a Constitutional Republic. In a Constitutional Republic, citizens are free to purchase health insurance if they want it, and free to refuse to purchase health insurance if they don't want it.

Obviously you think people should be forced to purchase health insurance whether they want it or not, and, you continue to defend the Communist-in-Chief in spite of all the blatantly unconstitutional policies he champions.

So, Jim, again I ask you, What is it you like so much about Communism?

Marshall Art said...

First of all, I was remiss in my previous comment in not wishing you well, Mark, and hoping your struggles soon come to a satisfactory resolution. You're in my prayers.

Marshall Art said...

Jim,

You've got to be kidding or simply goofy.

In the first place, if Obamacare is NOT lowering costs or insuring more people, then it definitely is NOT addressing the issues it was concocted to solve.

Next, my second paragraph only established the premise of my response. The following paragraphs provided examples, none of which are false in any way.

Interstate purchasing restrictions impeded competition. Impede competition and you artificially affect pricing. This is basic stuff. Open up the market, let people purchase across state lines and states with burdensome regulations will be forced to adjust or lose business that helps that state.

Tort reform is bullshit? THAT is bullshit. Ask doctors about the costs to them for malpractice insurance and tell THEM it's bullshit. And you can pretend the point regarding over testing is overstated, but remember that one can balk at the numbers of tests encouraged and a second opinion could lead to a different kind of malpractice suit. If any doctors are over testing at all in order to prevent being accused of not doing all they can, then there's a problem and it results in higher costs to the patient and/or his insurer. Your fantasy that Obamacare would take care of this idiotic considering the gov't doesn't have any money. It gets all of what they have from us. So it would have to raise our costs, ration care or force doctors to do more with less payment. Worse, the idea that Obamacare would have any say as to what my doctor and I decide is best for me and my family is outrageous.

"The fact is, millions who want insurance can't get it without PPACA."

THIS is bullshit, Jim. How many can't get it because they are out of work or working a crap job because that's all they can get (any input here, Mark?)? How many can't get it because they didn't want before they got seriously sick or injured? Use your head.

I could pick apart the rest, do more for what I've covered thus far, but I'm out of time. My main point has not been addressed, and that's that Obamacare does NOT address the real causes of higher costs OR the true reasons why some might not have insurance. Universal care policies are based on nothing substantial, but rather on notions that it would be a lovely thing if people didn't have to worry about paying for their own health issues. A New York City phone book sized health care bill that no one has read but the conservatives who are fighting to repeal it is not, to put it one way, what the doctor ordered. It surely isn't what the people need, though some saps, like yourself, have been happy to buy that bill of goods.

Mark said...

"any input here, Mark?"

I actually have health insurance through the company I work for, however, it is pretty much useless because I can't afford the co-payment.

Obamacare would be even more cost prohibitive, according to projections from what I've heard.

I am very tired right now, because I can't sleep and haven't slept all night and I don't have the energy to go look for the CBO projections, but I'm pretty sure Obama's insurance premiums will be higher than the 140 a month or so that I am currently paying through payroll deduction.

But what really steams me is Obama wants me to purchase my health insurance from the insurance companies the Government chooses for me, whether I want that particular carrier or not, and if I refuse to buy that insurance or can't afford that insurance (which is more likely, given my present predicament), he promises to tax me until I make the payment, or, if I still can't pay, he promises to put me in jail for not having insurance.

That sounds pretty Communistic to me, so, Jim, again I ask, What is it you like so much about Communism?

Mark said...

I just paid off my income tax bill from 2010 with my last paycheck because I couldn't pay my taxes at the time. It was paid through garnishment of my paychecks. 50 bucks a paycheck. It took several months.

And everyone says poor people don't pay taxes. I wish that was true, but it isn't.

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Jim said...

It is completely, irrevocably, totally unconstitutional to compel people to purchase anything against their will under penalty of punishment. Including health insurance.

Thank you, Justice Mark. If this were the case, why didn't the SCOTUS simply reject all appeals to cases where lower courts threw out PPACA. Apparently the COURT has some doubts about your "opinion".

I don't know if Obama's intentions are honorable or nefarious (I'm leaning toward nefarious), but forcing people to buy insurance is wrong.

This wasn't Obama's idea. This was the idea of many conservative lawmakers and think tanks long before Obama came on the scene. And Romney instituted it in MA. Were they all nefarious? We're the all Communists?

The following "Communist" regimes have a health care insurance mandate: Japan, Australia, The Netherlands, Switzerland, France, and Germany.

So I'll ask you, Mark, where did you get this idea that universal health care mandates have anything to do with Communism?

Jim said...

if Obamacare is NOT lowering costs or insuring more people, then it definitely is NOT addressing the issues it was concocted to solve.

"Address" does not equal "solve". BCS addresses the National College Football Championship, but it doesn't solve it.

Interstate purchasing restrictions impeded competition.

Last I checked, insurance companies are free to do business in any state in the union. In California alone I can name Kaiser, Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, Pacificare, United Healthcare, just to name a few. You think that there is no competition in California?

The interstate restrictions argument is a canard. The purpose of doing away with interstate restrictions is so that insurance companies can do business in the states with the loosest regulations, just like the credit card companies.

I've listened to doctors talk about insurance premiums. The last one was an anesthesiologist whose premiums are $5,000 a year, less than my family's car insurance bill.

Tort reform would have minimal effect on health care costs. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has said that the total amount spent on defending and paying for malpractice suits in 2010 was $5.8B, which is less than 1/2 of 1% of the $2.6T in health care expenditures for that year.

Obamacare would be even more cost prohibitive, according to projections from what I've heard.

From what you've heard? Malkin or Hannity? Beck? Do you ever check for yourself?

Obama's insurance premiums

Um, Obama doesn't have insurance premiums. He has no insurance company.

Obama wants me to purchase my health insurance from the insurance companies the Government chooses for me,

More Hannity? Above I listed six or seven health insurance companies in California. None of them are going out of business. These are not Obama's companies. These are not companies Obama has chosen for you. These are existing companies who are dying to provide services to their market and the only requirement is that they adhere to some coverage regulations. In exchange for that adherence, they get 30 million more customers. Poor, poor insurance companies.

Marshall Art said...

Jim,

Perhaps you and I have different understandings of what it means to address a problem. I would not say that "we have a problem" is sufficient to say one has "addressed" it, and what needs to be addressed is the causes of rising health care costs and the reasons some are not covered. Obamacare, so far as I've been able to tell, or, so far as anyone I've heard speak on it, has NOT focussed on either. It pretends to lower costs and there are many who are showing how it doesn't do this. But, I have not heard Barry, Harry or Nancy even discuss what they think are the main causes of rising costs. Perhaps you have some link that would so enlighten me. THEN we can discuss whether or not PPACA "addresses" anything that matters.

"Apparently the COURT has some doubts about your "opinion"."

Or possibly, no one on the COURT has found the time to go through the massive bill to the extent where they can knowledgeably make an opinion. Some people like to actually read the bill to know what's in it, rather than merely pass it to find out by suffering under it, as Pelosi wanted us to do.

"This wasn't Obama's idea."

You like to say this. But you have yet to post anything that demonstrates how any Republicans have been pushing for anything like this, and even if you could, I'm sure the details would tell a completely different story. As to Romneycare, WHO cares? What one state chooses to do is far different than what we do as a nation, and in fact is supposed to be the beauty of having separate states with their own abilities to do things as they wish. Indeed, if Romneycare could be shown to be a great and glorious idea, most would adopt it for national use. I don't think you can make the case that it was a great idea even for one state.

"Last I checked, insurance companies are free to do business in any state in the union."

Last I checked, that has nothing to do with interstate purchases of insurance policies. If my company also does business in your state, it is not necessarily subject to the same laws, regulations or tax codes. If an agent of the same company, but in your state, can get me the same coverage at a lower rate through him and his agency, can I buy through him? I'm not sure if I can. My state would lose out on my business and I'd be getting around my state's more onerous regulations to get the same thing at a lower cost. If enough people do this, my state would lose the business of the insurance company who would close its branch in my state due to lack of business. My state would lose the tax revenues. It would be forced to rethink its tax and regulatory schemes in order to bring that business back. But in any case, regardless of whether or not one company does business in every state, not all companies do and I am not necessarily able to do business with every company in the nation if the laws prevent such interstate business.

"The purpose of doing away with interstate restrictions is so that insurance companies can do business in the states with the loosest regulations, just like the credit card companies."

And what exactly is your problem with this?

Marshall Art said...

"I've listened to doctors talk about insurance premiums. The last one was an anesthesiologist whose premiums are $5,000 a year, less than my family's car insurance bill."

Ah. So I guess that means EVERY doctor pays only $5K per year and gets the exact same coverage, because you know, every doctor is a GP who handles absolutely every health issue one could possibly suffer.

"Above I listed six or seven health insurance companies in California. None of them are going out of business."

Yet. Already, some companies do not offer the same coverages they used to as a result of Obamacare's demands. Many employers do not offer insurance, charge employees more or are planning to dump their offer of coverage depending upon when Obamacare goes into full effect (God forbid that should happen). Who are YOU listening to? Ed Schultz?

Most importantly is that Obamacare does NOT address the real causes of the rise in health care costs. You have denied this without even listing any of those causes. Instead, you, like most lefties, prefer instead to take a cause, as if it exists alone, and pretend it isn't worthy of addressing due to the percentage of the overall cost that it takes up. This is similar to lefties not wanting to do away with gov't spending on PBS or NPR because of how relatively small it is, thus doing absolutely nothing to cut anything. You do it here by taking tort reform and treating in the same manner, without taking into account the residual effects of defensive medicine and how the costs of malpractice insurance drives some doctors to retire earlier than they would normally, and how it makes those looking to enter the field reconsider. This impacts care in a negative way.

Mark said...

Way to dodge the issue, Jim. Point is, the government has no right to force me, or you, or anyone else to purchase insurance. Bottom line.

You cannot justify it. You can try to distract us from the real issue by focusing on trivial details, but the fact remains, Obama wants to force us to buy health insurance whether we want it or not, and if we refuse (or worse, can't afford it) he has promised he will steal the money for it from us by taxing us.

That, no matter how you spin it, and even if that was the only thing wrong with it, is unconstitutional. And you damn well know it.

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