Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The ACA's Diminishing Return(ees)

"Any resemblance to Satan is purely coincidental and is not necessarily indicative of your expected health care experience"
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Yes, men, women, boys and girls, this upcoming Saturday, we'll have the rare opportunity to dip our collective toes into the ObamaCare 'Marketplace' once again!!!  And, if you know what's good for you, you'd better get BUSY doing it...  
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Just don't do it all at once and break the website again - got it?
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Monday, November 10, 2014, WashingtonTimes.com:  Obamacare may not have enough enrollees to stay solvent  - Fewer than 10 million projected; 13 million needed to stay solvent
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The administration on Monday said fewer than 10 million Americans will enroll in Obamacare’s health exchanges this go-around, well short of the 13 million target congressional scorekeepers deemed critical to its economics, suggesting another rocky rollout in the law’s second year of full operation.

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.Policy advisers at the Health & Human Services Department estimated that 9 million to 9.9 million people would enroll through the exchanges — or only a slight increase over the 8 million that the administration says were active at the end of the first enrollment period this April. The Congressional Budget Office, which is the government’s official scorekeeper, had predicted the law would need 13 million customers on the exchanges.
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The number of enrollees is key, because if too few take part in the exchanges, the pool of customers is too small, and it could skew the economics of Obamacare, forcing insurers to raise premiums and pushing even more people to forgo coverage, choosing to pay the tax penalty instead.
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.The second round of enrollment begins Saturday and ends Feb. 15, 2015. The administration has been reluctant to set a goal for itself this time.
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As quoted above,
"The Congressional Budget Office, which is the government’s official scorekeeper, had predicted the law would need 13 million customers on the exchanges."  Um, okay, I'll ask the logical question, "So if the plan is short by 3+ MILLION subscribers, what does this mean to the subscribers who ARE participating in ObamaCare?"  
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A couple of things might happen:
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  1. Premiums can be increased to raise the revenue necessary to manage the program  with its lowered participation rates
  2. Deductibles can be increased to raise the required revenue to keep the plan solvent
  3. More people will be forced into the program when Obama Administration-hosted exemptions expire at the end of 2014
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Add to this the article on Fiscal Times I saw the other day that 53% of currently enrolled subscribers (or, roughly 4.6 MILLION current subscribers) do not plan to re-enroll because it already costs too much...  
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Where are all the replacement subscribers going to be coming from?  [Note to self:  Check to see how many illegal aliens (oops, sorry, 'undocumented workers') who are currently in the U.S. and then let's watch the President very closely over the next 90 days].  
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If the 2015 enrollment numbers are going to be as bad as are forecast, I'm thinking the train illustration above is nicely positioned to illustrate the ObamaCare 2015 roll-out.  
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Luckily for US, the smiling man driving the Affordable Care enrollment train is Jolly Old St. Barack himself - and he'll do whatever he can do between now and January to make it FREE for everyone (provided that they are here illegally). 
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The question facing the incoming freshmen in the House and Senate is this,  "Will you be better than those your replaced in limiting / repealing the pain inflicted on America by the ACA?"  Please feel free to answer in the affirmative, or make plans to leave Washington now to avoid the 2016 rush out of DC.  
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Thank you.

 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Democrats Lost - Why?

Debbie Wasserman Schultz - The Public Face of the Democrat Party

Yeah, I know, the photo above is a cheap shot at the Titular Head of the DNC (because it looks just like her).  In my defense, I was looking for an image of Debbie Wasserman Schultz that would visualize the range of emotions she was feeling the day after last week's election results were released.  Was it a bad day for the Nation?  No.  But it was a very bad day for the Democrat Party.  

Not only did they lose, but they lost - BIG  
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You may be asking the question which I did last Wednesday morning, "So how big did the Democrats lose on Tuesday?"  Don't ask this question aloud as it's akin to asking an obviously pregnant woman, "Hey, how pregnant are you?"  

Two likely answers can be provided at this point from the woman (and yes, I've heard both so I learned NOT to ask the question any longer), "Buddy if you are pregnant, you ARE pregnant, regardless of 'how pregnant' you are.  There's no such thing as being 'almost pregnant'."

Or, the even worse response follows,  "Honey, I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat."   (I heard this response about 14 years ago when my four-year old son asked the lady behind us at the check-out line, "When are you going to have your baby?".  Luckily the woman was laughing after she told him that she was 'just fat'.  Then we shuffled our son out of the cashier line of the local Publix super market and signed him up for 'Education Camp' for the summer.)  

GET ON WITH IT MOOS, HOW BAD DID DEMOCRATS LOSE??? 

Well, I found the map which follows on the National Journal website under the title of "This Is What A Republican Takeover Looks Like".  

It is a map of the United States with RED indicating House Seats held, or won, by Republicans for the 114th House of Representatives.  The BLUE areas, of course, are those held, or won, by Democrats which will make up next year's House of Representatives.   

 
 
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Okay, a couple of housekeeping items from the above:

  1. Keep in mind that I wrote about the seats "Democrats lost", and that,
  2. I never said that Republicans won the 'lost' seats

There is a huge distinction to be made here between voting FOR someone, and AGAINST someone.  Fox News conducted an Exit Poll on the day of the election and asked a series of questions, one of which was this, "Do you feel the country is on the right or wrong track?"  

The answer, in percentages, to this question follow...




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65% of all respondents said that the country is on the 'Wrong Track'.  

Folks, if you told people that the airliner they were about to board has a 65% of crashing with a large amounts of fire, screaming, and large piles of twisted and broken metal prior to getting to its ultimate destination, there's an EXCELLENT chance that 'quite a few' people would be heading back to the terminal with their bags to wait for another (i.e.:  less doomed) flight.  

However, given the same scenario outlined above, apparently slightly less than a third of the seats on the 'Greater-than-50%-of-Aircraft-crashing-travelers' WOULD have people sitting in them sipping on their free Coca Cola and reading the latest 'Air Mall' Catalog.  Upon reflection, illustrates very nicely the mindset of the 30+% of the population which is your traditional Progressive Democrat Voter...   

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They don't care what's happening to THEM as long as they feel other people are being punished for something - Nana nana boo boo, so there...

 

The lesson which needs to be learned is that while the Republican Party had their 'wave election' (mostly as a result of President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid's 'undertow' on Democrats), the American People didn't so much vote for Republicans, they, in most cases, they voted against the "Party In Power" in an attempt to decrease the chances of our USA airliner slamming head-first into the Earth at 622 MPH.  Voters voted to slow our Nation's rate of descent and now it's up to the Republican Party to figure out where the air brakes are.  

But here's the thing...

I didn't vote merely for a slowing of our descent, I voted for a NEW flight plan, and God help us (and the GOP in 2016) if the Republicans don't have one stashed away in their back pocket just like President Obama had his Health Care Plan (all 20+ Thousand Pages of it)  within a year after his election.
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In short, the 2014 Election Campaign for the Republican Party was like the Seinfeld episode pitching George and Jerry's TV show about 'Nothing'.  Republicans, for the most part, kept their mouths shut and let the Democrats flail about with the War on Women, Birth Control, and How Great the Economy Is.  Yeah, good luck with those winning strategies, Dems...  
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Boehnor and McConnell had better come up with some pro-active strategies other than merely opposing Obama.  Yes, we need a firewall to slow the decline of American greatness, but we also need new ideas in Washington to once and for all end the Great Recession of 2007/2008.  We need leadership we can believe in.
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We'll see if we have it soon enough.  


 

      

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Losing Patients (with Ebola-Like Symptoms)


A word of caution regarding the title of this post:  Today's post title includes use of a 'Homophone'.  If you are easily offended by several words which sound the same but are spelled differently, please read the following at your own risk.  - Thank you!

No, I am not losing 'patience' with people with Ebola-like symptoms, rather, the Department of Homeland Security apparently IS losing potential 'patients' with Ebola-like symptoms.  As with all things literary, the difference in the usage of the two homophones used in the prior sentence is HUGE 

(i.e.:  I may be losing 'patience' regarding the ineptitude of the CDC, Federal Government, and Homeland Security's handling of the whole 'Ebola-Thing', but I'm not the one who is losing PATIENTS who are flying into the US with Ebola-like symptoms.  When it comes to health care, it takes steady hand of highly skilled government professionals to lose the aforementioned patients...  But hay (another Homophone!), don't take my word for it, check out the following excerpt from folks at the Washington Post!)  




The Washington Post - Ashley Halsey III October 21, 9:30 PM
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Four passengers who flew into Dulles International Airport recently were taken to a local hospital after enhanced airport screening alarmed the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday.

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The agency and the CDC provided no details on the hospital visits or whether the passengers were admitted to the hospital. Spokespeople for the two Northern Virginia hospitals closest to the airport said they did not receive the passengers.
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“We have no patients,” said Reston Hospital Center nursing supervisor Kim Wilfred.
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“I’m not aware of anything like that, and I would be aware,” said Tony Raker at Inova Fairfax Hospital.
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The CDC and DHS could not explain the discrepancy.
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A person familiar with the screening at Dulles said that a 13-year-old boy and his mother were taken to a hospital last Thursday after the CDC became concerned about their symptoms. The source, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity surrounding Ebola fears, said two other passengers also were taken to a hospital over the weekend. 
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The person was unable to name the hospital, and said that all four passengers apparently were released after further testing at the hospital.
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 "All four passengers were released after further testing at the hospital..."  
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This would be the hospital where no one knew they were taken two (yikes - yet another homophone!), right?  
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I'm not the brightest light on the Christmas Tree string of Merry Midgets, but didn't they just say that they didn't know which hospital these people were taken to?  And yet, even though they don't know where they went, they know for a fact that they have been released following 'further testing'?  
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For the record, I have no confidence that the Federal Government can put together a coherent plan to manage this crisis any better than they have any of endless wave of the other ones we've been through over the past six to eight years.  

This crisis won't make you poor (their's (homophone - sorry) always SNAP benefits at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/apply!), hurt your feelings (www.stopbullying.gov), or interject itself into your personal communications (www.nsa.gov) - this one will punch your clock following a week or two of unimaginable internal intestinal distress and conclude with obligatory period of 'bleeding out' through most major orifices of your body - through no fault of your own...  Simply because we wanted to be 'nice' and keep our airports open to everyone.
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Mr. Obama, Build Up Those Walls.
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It's getting weird out here.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Barry - Bar the Door

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I woke yesterday morning to the news that a nurse caring for the "Index Patient" has tested positive for the Ebola Virus.  I guess when CDC director, Dr. Tom Frieden, can't even call the "Index Patient" by name should have been a pretty good indication of elusive comments to follow in yesterday morning's Press Briefing in Atlanta.
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Excerpts from that briefing follow, along with a few questions I would have liked to ask if given the opportunity:
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Honest to Goodness Actual Press Briefing Excerpts:
.CDC update on Dallas Ebola Response, 10-12-2014
.TOM FRIEDEN: Good morning, everyone. And thank you for joining us. We're deeply concerned by the news that a health care worker in Texas has tested preliminarily positive for infection with Ebola virus. Confirmatory testing is under way at CDC and will be completed later today. 
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We don't know what occurred in the care of the index patient, the original patient in Dallas, but at some point there was a breach in protocol and that breach in protocol resulted in this infection.  [MoosNote:  My wife flew off the couch upon hearing this comment by Dr. Frieden - "So he's saying she was being unsafe because she 'WANTED' to get sick?!?!?"  By way of background, my wife is a Nurse Practitioner and has thirty-plus years of health care experience.  The uncomfortable thing banging around in the back of my head since hearing this comment is that maybe she DID everything she was told to do and she was still exposed and the Ebola virus is simply more aggressive and versatile than we are lead to believe by Dr. Frieden, President Obama, and others?"]


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[MoosNote:  I only wish there were a couple of things to do - oh look here they come now, courtesy of Dr. Frieden]
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There are four things that we're doing at this point. 
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  • First, to make sure we do everything possible to care safely and effectively for this individual. 
  • Second, assessing her possible contacts from the moment she developed symptoms. And the CDC team lead has investigated her. It appears at this time there's only one contact that may have had contact with her while she may have been infectious. That individual is under active monitoring. 
  • Third, we are evaluating other potential health care worker exposures because if this individual was exposed, which they were, it is possible that other individuals were exposed. We know that this individual did provide care to the index patient on multiple occasions and that care included extensive contact. 
  • Fourth, we will undertake a complete investigation of how this may have occurred. That's so important so we can understand it better and intervene to prevent this happening in the future.
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I want to go into a little bit more detail first on what we are doing to promote safe and effective care and then on the investigation. In terms of safe and effective care, we had already begun several days ago [MoosNote:  So 'safe care' training BEGAN after the 'Index Patient' died?  That's like training the Fire Department how to use the pumper trucks after a building burns down and is already spreading to the local orphanage next door...] to ramp up the education and training of health care workers at this facility [MoosNote:  Um, how about all the OTHER facilities which will see Ebola patients coming in?].  
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  • The care of Ebola can be done safely, but it is hard to do it safely. It requires meticulous and scrupulous attention to infection control, and even a single inadvertent innocent slip can result in contamination.   [MoosNote:  But a week ago Dr. Frieden said you could sit on a bus next to someone with Ebola and be safe???  Yes, he actually DID say this]
  • Second, we are recommending to the facility that the number of workers who care for anyone with suspected Ebola be kept to an absolute minimum.   [MoosNote:  Later in this briefing he went on to say that they are now monitoring 48 OTHER health care providers who had access to this patient - 48 providers is the absolute MINIMUM required to keep one person alive???  Or not, in the case of the 'Index Patient'.]
  • Third, we recommend that the procedures that are undertaken to support the care of that individual be limited solely to essential procedures.  [MoosNote:  Would I be too cruel to whittle down the list of 'essential procedures' to a list of a single item? This being, of course, Taxpayer-funded transportation to the Crematorium.]
  • Fourth, we're looking at personal protective equipment, understanding that there is a balance and putting more on isn't always safer, it may make it harder to provide effective care. So all aspects of personal protective equipment.   [MoosNote:  Roughly translated, this means that the CDC needs more money from Congress to continue their 'Good Work' protecting all of us from deadly diseases before they get to the United States, um, never mind, they're already here...]
  • And fifth, we are recommending there be a full time individual who is responsible only for the oversight, supervision and monitoring of effective infection control while an Ebola patient is cared for. CDC has sent additional staff to Texas to assist with this response and we will continue to work closely with them.  [MoosNote:  Once again, the image a fully-involved orphanage in the midst of a fire should spring to mind here...]
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There were many, many other words inarticulately spoken by Dr. Frienden, but the bottom line is this:  Ebola is here and we are doing very little to prevent other 'Clusters of Infection' from occurring in Texas, or any other State of the Union.  One patient with Ebola shut down the Dallas health care system, what about other cases which will occur across the country?
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Why won't we try to prevent potentially-infected travelers from coming here?  I honestly don't know.  Maybe because he feels that cutting off travel from Africa is 'Racist'?  While Dr. Frieden was the head of the New York City DOHMH from 2002–2009 he had NO problem whatsoever for the elimination of trans-fats in food preparation, the limitations on the size of 'sugary' drinks you can buy, and he even introduced the "NYC Condom" (it's the official condom of the Big Apple!) - he has no problems with putting restrictions on anyone else's lifestyle, yet he has NOT called for the restriction of flights from infected areas originating in West Africa to the United States?  
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Yes, Dr. Frieden, will save you from Sugary Drinks in New York City but when it comes to potentially-fatal infectious diseases, you're pretty much on your own.  AND when asked why you can't shut down travel between 'infected places' and HERE, well, the folks at Politico.com covered it this way...

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"No.  No We Can't Keep it Out"

Politico.com, October 3, 2014:  CDC Chief On Ebola, We Can't Shut the Border
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Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Friday said restricting travel between the U.S. and West Africa would likely “backfire” and put Americans more at risk of contracting Ebola.
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.Appearing on MSNBC, Frieden was asked about potentially prohibiting air travel between the U.S. and West Africa, where the Ebola outbreak is most widespread. He said that such a restriction would likely be ineffective and would make it harder for health officials to root out the virus.
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Yup, you read this correctly, keeping Ebola out of the United States would put Americans at a greater risk of getting Ebola.  I'm sure a guy as smart as Tom Frieden COULD explain this given enough time and a squad of wordsmiths putting his thoughts together for him to repeat in public, but frankly I don't care.   If he sounds like a moron, he most likely is. 
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What I DO care about is that (once again) this Administration takes such great pains to NOT OFFEND ANYONE.  
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The do not want to tell ANYONE that they are not welcome here (except, of course, God-fearing heterosexual couples with kids - THOSE people must be punished).  
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The northern and southern borders are wide open, airports are open for business, and people just like me are going online to order pre-packaged food with a 25 year shelf life because, well, I'd like to be alive 25 years from now to eat the freeze-dried pasta and chicken a-la-trine (well, that's what we called it in Boy Scouts).  
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 I placed my order last night with Wise Food Company, as my wife helped me select the perfect 'stay-at-home-cause-the-stores-will-be-empty-except-for-zombies-with-Ebola-carriers' food storage options for our family!  If you get a moment, you might want to check it out yourself, you know, just in case I'm right and the Administration is wrong - come to think of it, this has happened a LOT in the past six years.  Maybe I should order more food?   

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Rahm Emanuel, working for the Obama Administration once said that, "You do not want to let a crisis go to waste."  Hey, maybe we can dodge just ONE crisis by avoiding it this time?  Puh-lease???  
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What do you say Dr. Frieden?  Any chance we can avoid 'screwing the pooch' just ONE TIME during this Administration?
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Oh.  No.  I didn't think so.  
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And for all you folks who want to leave the airports and borders as porous to Ebola contagion as my old gym socks - I only have one thing to say to you...
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     Oh yeah, I hate cats too, but I thought this was kind of funny.  It's the only thing I've seen funny in a long while.