Something Big…

…is coming our way.

At this point, I think a lot of people are taking a closer look at Mitt Romney to see why they might want to vote for him, as opposed to voting against Barack Obama. Romney’s VP pick, his speech at the GOP convention and his performance at the debates is going to help them answer that question.

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28 Responses to Something Big…

  1. Brian says:

    It seems like it ain’t gonna happen, but I have always thought, and still think, that Christie is the no-brainer pick for VP. Any of the other picks seems clear to make the small number of persuadables, who really are just folks who want to be given any reason to vote against Barry, yawn and turn away.

  2. Bob says:

    Obama’s edging upward in the RCP average:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/us/general_election_romney_vs_obama-1171.html

    No sign of a landslide yet. Gonna be close.

    As more people discover their personal and business benefits in the ACA (“Obamacare”), the less likely they’ll buy into the meme of it being costly and anti-American (an odd Romney theme). This happens with most social programs where the benefits roll out over a number of years and more people find them useful. Even though there’s a short race to the finish now, word gets out pretty fast these days. Businesses should be happy, for instance, to learn that they can cut medical and absenteeism costs considerably — ie., save two or three dollars for each spent — by awards for fitness and wellness triggered by the ACA. Here’s the good news:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/obamas-health-care-law-the-fitness-and-wellness-provisions-you-may-have-missed/2012/08/07/gJQAuiyxdX_story.html?wpisrc=nl_health

    • Brian says:

      You really don’t know anything about how small businesses are impacted by health care coverage costs, do you? Or how Obamacare will catastrophically increase their costs? I’m 100% certain I’ll be losing my health insurance coverage in the next few years, because it will make zero sense to my employer to keep providing any available insurance plans, since they’ll start getting slammed by the “Cadillac plan” taxes soon enough (a provision written by morons who know nothing about the insurance system).

      (Note: I’m actually opposed to ANY employer offering health insurance, but thanks to Obamacare we get the worst of the current system AND the worst parts of more government intrusion into the broken system. Yay us!)

      And it’s good to know you’re 100% on board with your employer micromanaging your individual health choices. ‘Cuz that’s what America’s all about!

      • Bob says:

        When I owned a business, we provided health insurance to all of our employees. It was costly, but it was a benefit that helped us recruit top notch employees and retain them in an industry with high turnover rates. The longer they worked for us, the more they learned about the business and their value increased. High turnover rates eat up a lot of time in training costs.

        It’s been a while since I was in business, but I know that medical costs and absenteeism are still detrimental to
        work flow, production, and the bottom line.

        • Brian says:

          Yes, it is expensive. And all employees should be ticked about the current system and how it’s costing us tons of income that we don’t even get to see, ESPECIALLY those of us who don’t work for big corporations that the system is designed to favor. Thanks to Obamacare the costs to small business are going to be going way, way up.

          • Bob says:

            If the states get their acts together by 2014, the exchanges in the ACA, should bring insurance costs down via competitive shopping. The next thing to do is lower actual medical costs. The ACA should trigger some efficiencies in the hospital system and in the purchase and use of technologies.
            Currently, for instance, there’s a surplus of radiological equipment that medical centers have to keep busy to pay for it. If it were shared by local medical centers, it would be much more efficient and used when necessary, not just to keep it busy.

            There are ways.

            Incidentally, the Romney campaign twice on Wednesday referred to his health care plan in Massachusetts. Either some staffers broke silence inadvertently, or there’s been a shift in tactics. It’s been pretty much unmentionable up till now.

          • Brian says:

            The exchanges are an idiotic government-based “solution” that will be an epic failure. Hooray for all the red state governors who have announced they’ll have nothing to do with them. Boo to the IRS for ignoring the law in saying how they’ll incentivize them. End employer-based insurance incentives, put everyone onto the market, and policy prices will immediately crash, eliminating any need to these asinine exchanges.

          • Bob says:

            “…put everyone onto the market…”

            How, Brian? The market price for care is quite beyond millions of people. Do we just ignore the poor? The number of people living in poverty is the highest it’s been since the U.S. Census Bureau started tracking poverty estimates. We have a national problem…which broccoli ain’t.

          • Brian says:

            “The market price for care is quite beyond millions of people.”

            That’s the thing–the market is horrifically distorted based on our current stupid system. If you have a job, you’re already paying for your own health insurance, just indirectly, and with no say in what plan you end up with. Putting everyone in the market for health insurance would radically decrease premiums compared to today. It would be quite easy and natural to extend the tax incentives that employers get for premiums to individuals to ease the transition, and for the very poorest Medicaid would still exist.

      • Bob says:

        “And it’s good to know you’re 100% on board with your employer micromanaging your individual health choices. ”

        We didn’t do that. Our employees were grateful for the general benefit and had a wide array of individual choices. As I said above, it was a great recruitment tool in our industry.

        • Brian says:

          I didn’t say you did any health micromanaging for your employees. In your post above you state how wonderful it is that companies will NOW be encouraged to do so going forward. Why is that a good thing?

          • Bob says:

            I’m not sure I follow this, Brian. However, I think it’s a good thing that the ACA will pay for health clubs, for instance, to further fitness.
            An employer might recommend a specific club,
            but I don’t think the employee has to choose it.
            If the employer could force an employee to use a specific health club, I agree that that would be micromanagement. AND, it could encourage kick-back situations. It’s been a long while since I read the act, but when I did, I didn’t pick up on any proposed situations that looked easily corruptible, but let’s each remain skeptical in that regard. If there’s Medicare fraud, we’ll probably have ACA fraud. Fraud lives.

  3. Terry says:

    I wonder where all the money to pay for these new benefits will come from?
    I see that congress has passed a law saying that IPAB will have to control costs without rationing health care. Well, that settles it!

    • Brian says:

      That’s actually always been the silver lining in the gigantic crap sandwich that is Obamacare–we can’t hide its colossal costs for long enough for it to become “popular” since we’re already stone cold broke.

  4. John M says:

    As a former employer I’m thinking a relatively high deductible coupled with HSA scheme (I hate to use ‘scheme’ but that’s what it is) might be the answer to lower premiums and also to weed out hypochondriacs who run to the doctor’s office for the proverbial hangnail on the company’s nickel. There are some few things in Obamacare that appear to be beneficial to the consumer and general welfare–preventive care, regulation of administrative costs, keeping your offspring (most of whom are relatively healthy anyway and are generally either in school or just starting out in the workforce) on your policy till age 26, eliminating the pre-existing condition loophole, and encouraging diagnostic tests like colonoscopies and mammograms after a certain age.

    • Brian says:

      That’s the sort of plan that I have, as well as lots of employees of small businesses.

      For now.

      Those plans are going to basically go away, mostly for the reasons you say–namely, they would keep premiums low, which is exactly the opposite of what Obamacare is all about.

      But those are the plans that most all of us should be encouraged to have. Not the idiotic first-dollar coverage mandates that are being insisted upon.

    • Brian says:

      “keeping your offspring (most of whom are relatively healthy anyway and are generally either in school or just starting out in the workforce) on your policy till age 26″

      ACK. WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY is this considered by ANYONE to be a good thing? WHY? Why should your employer PAY FOR BENEFITS FOR YOUR ADULT CHILDREN? WHY WHY WHY? (And by paying for them, they are taking money out of YOUR pocket!)

      Sorry for shouting, but this notion is STUPID STUPID STUPID. STUPID STUPID STUPID.

      If 26 year olds are dependents, why shouldn’t the government allow you to claim them as dependents for tax purposes? Fat chance of that happening, but why should the government force your employer to pay for them?

      And as has been pointed out elsewhere here, any sane & reasonable health insurance plan for these young adults should cost almost nothing, since their expected costs are almost nothing. But we don’t have a sane & reasonable system–what we now have is Obamacare.

      • John M says:

        but why should the government force your employer to pay for them?

        Oh, I wasn’t assuming the government was hanging the tab for the offspring’s insurance on the employer. My assumption (admittedly always a mistake to assume anything) was that you could voluntarily include them at your own expense to take advantage of any discounts offered as part of a group plan.
        And you’re right: this thing has the potential to be both a job killer and a small business killer. I wonder how many members of congress, including my own representative who is actually also a MD, has yet read the act and is in a position to make any sensible changes in it.

  5. John M says:

    Slightly OT, but not really.
    I know a man who lives in a western state, graduate of Yale and Harvard Law, moderate Democrat (Republicans became too socially conservative for him years ago–viz. the fundamentalist link), impeccable record, who applied for a federal position early in the Obama administration. The job had something to do with protecting “whistle-blowers” and controlling corruption. He never received a courtesy of a reply.
    Another acquaintance who is a medical billing consultant for several hospitals tells me that eliminating fraud from Medicaid and Medicare would easily make both programs solvent.
    I have yet to hear either candidate weigh in on the issue of eliminating fraud. But one is untested, and the other apparently is unwilling to do so….

    • Bob says:

      They’re working on it, John:

      http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/May/12-ag-568.html

      “We are committed to using these new tools to fight Medicare and other health care fraud, and we are getting results: The Administration’s anti-fraud efforts recovered $4.1 billion in taxpayer dollars last year, the second year recoveries hit this record-breaking level. Total recoveries over the last three years were $10.7 billion. Prosecutions are way up, too: the number of individuals charged with fraud increased from 797 in fiscal year 2008 to 1,430 in fiscal year 2011 – a more than 75 percent increase.”

      Source: http://blog.medicare.gov/2012/05/09/fighting-fraud-and-making-medicare-stronger/

      Another: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/04/20120404a.html

      It would be nice to see the DOJ as hard at work on fraud in the financial industry.

    • Brian says:

      Fraud in those program is so high because they don’t bother to put anti-fraud protection plans in place. Because that would be too expensive, and then they couldn’t have made the idiotic arguments they made to help jam through Obamacare that government health programs have lower overhead than private insurance companies. Talk about fraud…

  6. Bob says:

    Obama’s done, caught lying once again, this time by a noted researcher who’s discovered that the President is quite likely gay and formerly married to a man.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWh-JK75VmM&feature=player_embedded#!

    • sz says:

      hilarious
      when i was 16 i was wearing my grandma’s wide, gold wedding band. it was virtually the only thing i had from her. oy. how funny.

      • Bob says:

        Aha! Previously married to your grandmother, eh? Don’t even think about running for office.

        • sz says:

          apropos, I noticed this from an earlier response of yours, Bob
          “Do we just ignore the poor? ”
          and the answer is no.
          I can only talk about what we do here. I can also say it’s such a great shame to me – as I’ve said before – that the US doesnt take a closer look at models operating well and see how to adopt and adapt.
          Here you pay a fixed health fee per month. It is now activated as a sub-clause of national insurance [social security] payments. If you are salaried, employer pays a small percentage of health fund fee off your gross income [making it nontaxable monies for him/her], and you pay the rest along with income tax and overall social security, fm your net income. Obviously no one’s going to go running to handle such payments on a monthly basis, so the deduction is automatic and handled via the employer’s accounts department.

          If you’re self employed, your national insurance and income tax will be income-based but your health fund fee is the same as anyone else’s.

          Everyone has the option of expanding health fund payments via additonal insurance, either by taking a higher level coverage with the health fund itself, or taking out private health insurance with a regular insurance company. But it will never happen that you wont get all medical cover at a certain basic level if you never take out higher level options.

          Basic medical coverage also includes basic dental preemptive work such as 1 plaque cleaning free per year, 1 xray for cavities etc free a year, etc. And of course, includes in general loads of preemtpive tests, such as amnio free for women over 32, baby-care centers up to age 5 [as many visits as necessary, free] and many many other such things.

          People receiving unemployment benefit receive it minus the basic health fund fee. This ensures they are covered. Should unemployment benefits in all possible forms end, or should a person find a job that doesnt provide even minimum wage, the benefits will cover “salary completion” and health fund fee will be deducted from that. So the benefit payment slip will show the full sum, minus the health fee, = total paid out. This way you also have proof of coverage.

          Even if you’re a young person doing part time work [18 is the cut-off age to be on yr parents' health fund coverage], say, studying and working at a cafe, or gas station, etc, then the employer automatically deducts the health fund fee which is forwarded to the national insurance organisation.

          Everyone in the IDF or the complementary National Service [usually for orthodox girls who dont want to be in regular military bases] is automatically covered. That’s anything from 1 to 4 years (depends what track you’re in) or even longer in some cases.

          It really works here so so so so simply that it boggles my mind that the US can’t get a fix on how to handle this whole problem. It saddens me desperately how crazy this whole thing is in yr country, simply because doing something along the lines of what we do carries a somewhat ‘socialist’ whiff to it. I’ve never heard employers here gripe about the amount they cover for health fund being the factor that could put them out of business.

          • Brian says:

            Every country has its own history, and things that happened in the 1930s (Social Security set the stage for Medicare and other government-based parts of the system, that are completely “socialist” so don’t act like we don’t have such things here) and 1940s (government encouraged businesses to start offering health-insurance during WWII) have a huge influence on how the American system operates today.

            The fact is that nearly any system you can think of will be fine for the bulk of the population, since most of us are healthy most of the time and don’t really need much care. It’s the pathological cases, and later-in-life issues, that get somewhat tricky. Our system encourages people to consume without worrying about payment. It’s bass-ackwards, and in so many ways Obamacare just takes a screwed-up system and makes it worse.

          • Bob says:

            Would you have preferred to have gone to either single-payer or public option?

            Or, just status quo?

            I think it unfortunate that we get so jingoistic when it comes to adopting or adapting foreign models. The civilized world is full of them.
            Even Massachusetts!

  7. sz says:

    loved “bass-ackwards”

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