Friday, September 30, 2011

Top US Cities for Seniors 2011 (list)

Bankers Life and Casualty Company's Center for Secure Retirement has released a study on the top 100 US cities when it comes to Seniors. The study, commissioned by Bankers and conducted by the research firm, Sperlings Best Places, evaluated nine different categories that are key to quality of life for Seniors.

The categories reviewed were:

Health and Longevity
Spiritual Life

The top ten cities for seniors in 2011 were:

  1. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
  2. Boston, MA
  3. Pittsburgh, PA
  4. Cleveland, OH
  5. Denver, CO
  6. Milwaukee, WI
  7. San Francisco, CA
  8. Portland, OR
  9. Kansas City, MO
  10. Newark, NJ
  11. Nassau-Suffolk Cty, NY
  12. Philadelphia, PA
  13. Edison, NJ
  14. St. Louis, MO
  15. Baltimore, MD
  16. Oklahoma City, OK
  17. Salt Lake City, UT
  18. Providence, RI
  19. Seattle, WA
  20. Indianapolis, IN
  21. Cincinnati, OH
  22. Columbus, OH
  23. Washington, DC
  24. Austin, TX
  25. Chicago, IL

You can read the whole study, review methodology, etc. here...(Its fairly short, just 14 pages...)


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Supreme Court asked to review challenge to health reform law - The Hill's Healthwatch

The Obama Administration passes on its last chance to appeal the constitutionality question, thereby allowing the case to be appealed to the Supreme Court...

Case will probably be heard next June...

From the Hill:

Supreme Court asked to review challenge to health reform law

By Julian Pecquet - 09/28/11 07:29 AM ET

The plaintiffs in a multi-state challenge to Democrats' healthcare reform law on Wednesday formally asked the Supreme Court to take up the case during its upcoming term.

The petition for certiorari comes two days after the Obama administration let slip its final chance to delay the case. Two appeals courts have issued opposing rulings on the law's individual mandate, increasing the likelihood that the high court will decide to weigh in.

"While the survival of the new health-care law remains an open question, small businesses and individuals will continue to face uncertainty and trepidation, hesitant to hire or expand," Karen Harned, executive director of the Small Business Legal Center at the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), said in a statement. "In filing our petition today, we are attempting to impress upon the Court the urgency of this issue."
Read more:

Supreme Court asked to review challenge to health reform law - The Hill's Healthwatch

We spend a lot of money on hospital re-admissions...

The Dartmouth Atlas study, released today, reveals an expensive lack of progress on reducing hospital re-admission rates:

The readmission rate to a hospital is increasingly seen as a marker of a local health care system’s 
ability to coordinate care for patients across care settings, and readmissions are often a sign of 
inadequate discharge planning and the lack of effective community-based care. CMS has 
estimated the cost of avoidable readmissions at more than $17 billion a year. In hopes of 
decreasing these costs, Medicare plans to reduce payments for readmissions, exposing hospitals 
to considerable financial risks. In fiscal year 2013, hospitals face a penalty equal to 1 percent of 
their total Medicare billings if an excessive number of patients are readmitted. The penalty rises to 
2 percent in 2014 and 3 percent in 2015.

17 billion dollars is a lot of money. There's no one single place or thing we could address that can, with the snap of a finger, fix our health care cost/spending issues. According to the Office of the Actuary, which is part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, we spent a total of 2.5 Trillion in 2007 on health care in the United States.

Keep in mind, that 17 Billion dollars is just .0068 of 2.5 trillion...

We have a long, long way to go...

Read the Press Release here...

See the full report here...


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Is the race for the GOP nomination already over?

Is the race for the GOP nomination already over?

The Republican National Convention is scheduled for August 27th through the 30th, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Delegates from all the fifty states will decide on who the person is that should run against President Barack Obama. I expect turnout to be above average as the electorate seems to be more polarized now than in recent years. While in the past, some voters have felt one party or another had to go, this time, there's that plus the issues (to some) of us having a Socialist, a Muslim and a Radical that needs to go. The thought of Barack Obama winning reelection is quite unsettling to some.


There are daily headlines regarding this field of eight or so candidates for the honor of facing off against Obama in 2012. Make no mistake, no matter who of these eight people wind up with the party's official nomination, ALL will be working toward putting their guy in office. There are jobs to be had, within the potentially new administration and, frankly jobs to be had in the media. To fade away after falling out of contention for the nomination will, I think, carry a high price tag.

A coherent argument could be made that this is already a done deal. While the polls tell us Governor Perry is in the lead, remember that polls are merely a snapshot of how things look today. The real poll isn't for another fourteen months and that one counts. There will be much gnashing of teeth and both dollars and words expended  over the next few months, to be sure. I'm not so sure it will matter a great deal.

I say Mitt Romney has the nomination all but locked up.

Barring a scandal or some unforeseen blunder of epic proportions, I see no path where someone else defeats him.

Tim Pawlenty was supposed to, some felt, be a guy who could match Romney. As the debates started, Tpaw talked a pretty good game and at the second GOP debate, he had a golden opportunity to deliver a direct hit to Romney over his health care plan in Massachusetts. Pawlenty mumbled and for the most part, passed on this chance. Romney was exposed, Pawlenty had a clear shot but refused to take it. For that reason and a few others, mostly financial, we waved goodbye to Mr. Pawlenty several weeks ago.

Next it was Michelle Bachmann who was supposed to be a real threat to Romney. Possessing better and more established street cred among hard core conservatives, we wondered how that matchup might go down. It never materialized. On the day that Bachmann was riding high in Iowa after winning the straw poll, the fortunes of Mrs. Bachmann was undercut by a new face in the race. A savvy Texan strode into Iowa the same weekend Bachmann won and sucked all the air out of Bachmann's balloon. The Bachmann campaign has not been the same since. As Bachmann quickly became virtually irrelevant overnight, Mitt Romney no longer had to waste any bullets on her. Rick Perry took care of that for him.

Speaking of Rick Perry...

Gov. Perry attractiveness seemed to peak somewhere around the time he declared his intention on seeking the nomination. Yes, the polls have been kind to him but he's drawn all the fire that may have been aimed at Gov. Romney. Debating does not seem to be his strong suit and he looked flat out bad the last two debates. His attempt to expose Romney as a guy who changes his tune based on statements in his books, fell flat. It was like he had marbles in his mouth or something. He seems so uncomfortable, so ill-prepared compared to Romney that I don't think a few weeks of debate prep will totally address. He can do better, certainly. Whether he can do so much better as to nullify his recent performances is a question I look forward to seeing answered.

Romney needs a Southern strategy to defeat Obama in the general, and a Romney/Perry ticket would be a very tough one to overcome. Perry would bring along the Tea Party base and give comfort to those who doubt Romney's allegiance to the conservative ideology. If Romney seems to take it easy on Perry over the next few debates, it could be because he wants him to be able to accept a VP offer. If he destroys Perry, then I think that's a signal that Romney has some other idea in mind for both a Southern strategy and a VP nomination. (Marco Rubio anyone?)

That leaves five other known candidates that Romney has to defeat. I see four of them, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and John Huntsman in a group of candidates that can't win the nomination and simply don't match up to Gov. Romney in terms of financial support, size of organisations, boots on the ground, status, etc. Paul has a message that resonates with a small but passionate group of voters, but doesn't seem to have the ability to grow his popularity in any serious way. Santorum has some conservative credentials but again lacks in almost every way when compared to Romney. Gingrich's campaign is a mess. Deeply in debt, mass defections, poor poll numbers, etc. all point towards a failed campaign for the former Speaker of the House. Huntsman showed a glimmer of hope a couple debates ago, but hasn't really demonstrated an ability to capitalize on it whatsoever. Horrific poll numbers, despite his obvious intelligence, the Huntsman campaign seems to be going nowhere fast.

Which leaves us Mr. Herman Cain...

Mr. Cain surprised many with his victory in the Florida straw poll last weekend. Today, a Zogby poll shows Cain ahead of everybody. By a healthy margin of 10% over Perry and 11% over Romney. Its interesting to note this poll was conducted after the Orlando poll but before the straw poll results were announced. Cain is riding high right now and may bump Perry out of the spotlight. As nice as all of this is for the Cain supporters, I have to believe the sheer size of the Romney organisation and coffers means at some point, Cain's campaign is going to run into a wall.

Many questions remain.

Will Romney have to fend off a serious challenge from anyone? Will it be Perry? Cain? Booth of them/none of them? Hard to say, but whatever they throw at Romney, I don't see it doing enough damage to really matter. As long as Mitt Romney can avoid the landmines and nothing scandalous comes out, I think he's the Republican Party's nomination for President in 2012.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Good articles from Pittsburgh Tribune Review on health costs...

(For my friends in Pittsburgh)

The cost of healthcare is a well known issue in our overall economy. People like to have tests, procedures, etc. done but we rarely really understand the costs. There's no menu on the wall that explains everything to us like we see in a restaurant. There's no shelves or display cases in our doctor's offices or hospitals to window shop what MRI's, blood work or other tests to compare prices.

Unless you live in France, where they have all this stuff figured out. No mystery for the French.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has some nice articles up over the last few days taking a good look at healthcare costs. In the first, they ask why some procedures cost differently in different locations. In the other, they compare Medicare costs between Pittsburgh and Miami. Pittsburgh has the older population, but Miami spends twice as much as we do.

The problem is too large to ignore. We pay far more for health care in the United States than in any other country and if we really want to fix our national debt issues, healthcare costs and spending will have to be dealt with. Not just politicized.

Here it is boiled down to its simplest form:

That figure, 16% of GDP, reflects only a portion of Americans with health insurance. These other countries, cover everybody at a much lower cost. If you think that our higher expense is justified because we get the best results around, we don't.

I'll update the post through out the week with new articles as they're printed...

Another website picks up my health care story...

Earlier today I was contacted by the nice people at "Health Reform Wa", a project of the Choice Regional Health Network located in Washington State. They'd seen my work over at The Incidental Economist and asked for permission to reprint the article.

You can view their website and my article if you've missed it so far right here...

A human face on the fear campaign against health care reform

Its good to see groups on the local level working to help demistify the changes of the new health care act. The PPACA impacts different locations differently, so this localized project is a great tool for the people in their service area.

Islamic Center opens in NYC...Life goes on...

Remember all the emotion a few months ago about the proposed "victory mosque" near Ground Zero? Things got pretty heated and some baseless charges were made against those wanting to see the Community Center be built.

I say its fair to be critical of the builders, who should've gotten more input from the families of those lost on 9/11, but all in all, I remain in favor of this Community Center project going forward.

They held their first event there last week.

Islamic Center Opens Its Doors Near Ground Zero | Fox News:

What makes me stop and think is that when all the protests were in full fury, there was quite a bit of media coverage, especially from Fox News and Conservative talk radio. It was wall to wall, it seemed. I would've guessed that when this facility did begin to hold events, there would be major coverage.

I didn't see very much at all. Did you?

I found this article buried on the Fox news website via a link on the religion page. Which, frankly is where it probably belongs. What I'd suggest is that this is just another example of the media making a big deal out of an issue for ratings. The politicians scored a lot of cheap points on this. I saw this in The Daily Caller...

and this gem from the Daily Mail in London....

Controversial Ground Zero mosque site opens - just two weeks after 9/11 anniversary

Should I be encouraged, perhaps slightly, that the media had a smaller appetite for this story?

I think that few opinions have changed since a few months ago. The people that were against it remain so, just as those who supported it. I ask my readers to reconcile the understated coverage of the art exhibit at the opening last week. If the notion was despicable a few months ago, isn't it still?

The media/talk radio are not our friend...they distort things to get ratings and sell newspapers. Both sides do this, and its destructive to those people who genuinely try to understand what's going on. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

GOP Power Rankings 9/25/11...

Mitt Stays #1, field falling behind...

NEXT DEBATE: Tuesday, October 11, 2011   8:00pm Bloomberg 

As we approach the end of September, we've seen three debates in the last few weeks, a surprising victory in the Florida Straw poll and a star may be flickering faster than anyone thought...

This weeks rankings:

1) Mitt Romney- Sitting second in most polls, Mr. Romney has been a picture of discipline, control and poise in the debates thus far. Governor Perry has attempted to take a few shots at him, but hasn't been able to find his target. While this race is largely perceived as a two horse race, the feeling I have is that the Romney campaign has to be delighted where things stand. Maybe Perry will find his mojo and shake things up, but so far, Mitt Romney seems to be taking all of this debate business in stride. I think the Romney campaign is built for a long run. It doesn't matter who's ahead in September '11. This may be very premature, but I have a feeling this race might already be over. (Last Ranking: #1)

2) Rick Perry- The front runner, if you believe the pollsters. Which I do not. The potential is there for Governor Perry to improve his aim when it comes to Romney, the question is will that potential be realized? Perry looked bad in the last few debates and with his stance on immigration being what it is, he can count on a lot of attention in the next few debates. His debate prep must improve, dramatically before the Bloomberg debate on the 11th. He needs a strong showing to prove his worth to investors and potential voters. (Last Ranking: #2)

3) Herman Cain-The surprise winner of the Florida straw poll elevates Mr. Cain to his highest ranking yet. While he hasn't got the attention severity of questions that Romney/Perry have, he hasn't squandered what opportunities have been had. His claim that he'd be dead under Obamacare is so fully wrong, I wonder if any of the other candidates might dare call him on it. His 9-9-9 strategy still sounds like a pizza deal than an economic plan. (Last Ranking: #6)

4) Rick Santorum-Santorum has an easy to swallow message for most Conservative voters. He's not afraid to challenge the other candidates on stage and plays to the crowd quite well. Coming in 4th in the Florida straw poll but a weak 7th in the Michigan version on Sunday, Santorum is probably satisfied where he is. Not thought to be a serious candidate, he is making himself relevant nonetheless. He has sucked up some of the momentum that Michelle Bachmann several weeks ago. But like Bachmann, Santorum may be but a memory by the time we get to the holidays. His financial reports in a few days will tell us a lot about how long he can afford to remain in the hunt. (Last Ranking: #5)

5) Ron Paul- Mr. Paul continues to stay on message. That's both a good thing and a bad thing. People have a pretty good feel for what Ron Paul is all about. As a darkhorse however, he doesn't get invited to play in the big boys sandbox often enough to make much headway in the big scheme of things. Between him and Mr. Gingrich, the elder statesmen of the GOP field seem cranky, evasive and more and more irrelevant with each debate. (Last Ranking: #8)

6) Michelle Bachmann-Suggested that citizens get to keep all of their income, and send none of it to the government. A silly answer when she had an opportunity to put her tax plan out their for all to see. After all, she is a former tax litigation attorney, so she should've had some intelligent answer ready to go. To swing and miss at a nasty curve ball is one thing. To swing and miss when its sitting on a tee is very telling. Her position on HPV vaccines is also unattractive to many indepentdent voters. Her star is fading. We knew it had to all along. Iowa seems so far away, doesn't it Mrs. Bachmann? (Last Ranking: #3)

7) Newt Gingrich- I'm running out of ideas on what to write in terms of Mr. Gingrich as a viable Presidential candidate. He's just not. Yes, he's polling slightly better than he was a month ago, but this isn't going to end well. Speaking of how this all ends for the former Speaker of the House, I think he would make a very interesting choice for the next POTUS's chief of staff. Think about it...he knows how the game is played, doesn't he? Don't rule it out...(Last Ranking: #7)

8) John Huntsman-A few weeks ago I thought Huntsman might have found a way to inject himself into the adults discussion, but I was wrong. Smart, interesting background, wealthy Huntsman is at the bottom of most of the polls and shows no sign of improving on this anytime soon. He has some interesting ideas, but zero traction. Its a toss up between him and Gingrich who bails first. (Last Ranking: #4)

Overall Rankings: (The lower the score, the better...)
(After 7 rankings...)

1. Romney - 8
2. Bachmann - 22
3. Perry - 28
4. Cain - 38
5. Santorum - 50
7. Paul - 53 
8. Huntsman - 64
9. Gingrich - 69

(NOTE: Rankings are compiled by simply adding the rankings each week to a running total of same...)

Check out the Incidental Economist today...

The folks at The Incidental Economist website have reprinted an email I sent in last week, I basically laid out my journey into the world of health care reform, how and why I became interested, etc.

The thing that continues to draw me back to TIE is the approach they take. Minimal political bashing. They take an objective, data driven, and fair minded look at the various issues facing our country in terms of health care reform. They often write on the issues or developments of the day, so there's a nice topical flavor to things. They do a great job at simplifying a complex subject matter into words the common reader can digest. They show their work. They back up their claims.

I learn things from these guys, and I encourage everyone to visit their site regularly.

If you're interested in reading the piece, you can see it here.

Relax: Asthma Inhalers NOT being banned...

Relax: Asthma Inhalers NOT being banned...

(Just Primatene Mist, everything else remains available...)

I saw this headline in the Weekly Standard late Friday evening...

Obama Administration Set to Ban Asthma Inhalers Over Environmental Concerns

...Quite the bummer for yours truly as I've used an inhaler for years, since I was first diagnosed with asthma back in the late 1980's. This sound fishy to me, so I started digging. Something wasn't right. (Maybe Obama thinks only Conservatives use inhalers perhaps?)

The gist of the article, which you should read for yourself, is that the Obama Administration has decided to ban asthma inhalers in order to save the ozone. Not until their second paragraph do they indicate that the only effected inhalers are those sold over the counter or OTC. That's an important detail. The headline doesn't  suggest that only one kind of inhaler is effected by this. The implication is that Obama is banning ALL inhalers to save the ozone while we asthmatics start wheezing to death. 

It involves only those inhalers with chloroflourocarbons, which are known to deplete the ozone layer. The only such inhaler with chloroflourocarbons still available is Armstrong Lab's Primatene Mist. The more popular inhalers, typically prescribed by physicians use an environmentally friendly propellant called hydrofluoroalkane.   If you've filled an inhaler prescription  in the last few years for a respiratory ailment, you've used an eco-friendly inhaler. 

This effected a number of different products. Another commonly known example is the change freon underwent in our AC units...

I want to address the issue of the headline's claim that President Obama is behind this effort. 

He's not. This goes all the way back to an initial meeting in Helsinki, Finland in 1987 aiming to address the issue of ozone depletion. A resulting agreement, the Montreal Protocol,  was signed by by 196 countries, including the United States. Former President Ronald Reagan endorsed this effort. Mr. Reagan felt strongly enough about it that he wrote the following letter to the Senate asking for a favorable action: 

Letter from Ronald Reagan to the U.S. Senate:
"THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release December 21, 1987
To the Senate of the United States:
I transmit herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, done at Montreal on September 16, 1987. The report of the Department of State is also enclosed for the information of the Senate.
The Montreal Protocol provides for internationally coordinated control of ozone-depleting substances in order to protect public health and the environment from potential adverse effects of depletion of stratospheric ozone. The Protocol was negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program, pursuant to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, which was ratified by the United States in August 1986.
In this historic agreement, the international community undertakes cooperative measures to protect a vital global resource. The United States played a leading role in the negotiation of the Protocol. United States ratification is necessary for entry into force and effective implementation of the Protocol. Early ratification by the United States will encourage similar action by other nations whose participation is also essential.
I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Protocol and give its advice and consent to ratification.
Ronald Reagan The White House December 21, 1987"

There is scientific evidence that the effort has produced good results as there seems to be a correlation between the reduction of CFC's entering into the atmosphere and the recovery of the ozone layer itself. 

To review, prescription inhalers are not effected by this at all and will continue to be available as usual. This, we see, was not a project of the current administration, but that of a Republican President almost twenty-five years ago.

The headline by the TWS is misleading. They should adjust it...

For anyone who does use Primatene Mist...

The FDA has plenty of information here and here on how to move forward and explore different options...

I'm not a doctor but...

The packaging for Primatene Mist specifically tells purchasers to only use this product if you've been diagnosed by a physician, aren't being treated for other conditions and follow the directions carefully. There's been some remarks on RW talk radio already and on the internet this weekend that people who won't be able to buy PM anymore won't be able to treat their asthma anymore. That's wrong. Utterly. According to an article in Chest, the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, "
the occasional use of OTC epinephrine inhalers appears to be safe and effective when used according to labeled instruction by individuals with only mild, intermittent disease."

The article also states that people that  use OTC inhalers like PM shouldn't be using them, and should actually be on some other medication and under the care of a physician. This is supported by the company's warnings on its packaging. I suspect that a certain number of users are self diagnosing and self medicating, which is usually risky business. Since everything "official" instructs people to be seen by a doctor before using PM, I'd echo that sentiment as well. 

PM is a rescue inhaler. Its not a maintenance drug. Commonly, people diagnosed with breathing issues will be on a combination of medications. Go see a doctor and get any concerns checked out. 

I can't afford a prescription inhaler...

There are several options available to a person with financial hardships. From the FDA release: 

Help With Payment

Replacement medicines for Primatene Mist may cost more. If it is hard for you to pay for a new medicine:
  • Talk to your health care professional about programs that help patients get medicines they need.
  • Contact the company that makes the drug that your health care professional prescribes. The company may have a patient-assistance program that makes medicines available to patients at low or no cost.
  • Visit free local clinics and public hospitals for additional assistance with your medications.

In summary...

1) Only Primatene Mist inhalers are effected by the regulation...all previously prescribed inhalers will continue to be available. 

2) If you use Primatene Mist, ask your doctor for his advice on what to replace it with.

3) This was not an Obama goes back to President Reagan...


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Will "Obamacare" hurt your chances of being treated for colon cancer?

Will "Obamacare" hurt your chances of  being treated for colon cancer? 

Last Thursday evening at the FOX News/Google GOP Debate in Orlando, Florida, Herman Cain was asked this question:

WALLACE: Mr. Cain, you are a survivor of stage 4 colon and liver cancer. And you say, if Obamacare had been...
WALLACE: ...and we all share in the happiness about your situation. But, you say if Obamacare had been in effect when you were first being treated, you would dead now. Why?
CAIN: The reason I said that I would be dead under Obamacare is because my cancer was detected in March of 2006. From March 2006 all the way to the end of 2006, for that number of months, I was able to get the necessary CAT scan tests, go to the necessary doctors, get a second opinion, get chemotherapy, go -- get surgery, recuperate from surgery, get more chemotherapy in a span of nine months. If we had been under Obamacare and a bureaucrat was trying to tell me when I could get that CAT scan that would have delayed by treatment.
My surgeons and doctors have told me that because I was able get the treatment as fast as I could, based upon my timetable and not the government's timetable that's what saved my life, because I only had a 30 percent chance of survival. And now I'm here five years cancer free, because I could do it on my timetable and not a bureaucrat's timetable.
This is one of the reasons I believe a lot of people are objecting to Obamacare, because we need get bureaucrats out of the business of trying to micromanage health care in this nation.


Let's unpack this a bit...

Mr. Cain's cancer was detected in March of 2006. Over the next nine months, he was able to undergo a CAT scan, see multiple doctors, get a second opinion, undergo chemotherapy, surgery, recover from surgery and undergo more chemo to apparently beat the odds and emerge healthy. It was a busy and no doubt stressful time for him. He cites the speed with which he could move through those stages as being critical to his outcome. He's five year's cancer free. 

Mr. Cain is a wealthy man by any measure. His reported earnings in 2010 were in between 1.2 and 3 Million dollars from his various incomes. His estimated net worth is reported to be $18 Million dollars. 

I do not know this for a fact, but I think its reasonable to assume Mr. Cain has health insurance. He may be paying out of pocket for his health care, but I doubt it. 

The main thrust of the PPACA is to increase the number of Americans with health insurance. This is achieved by the use of an old Republican idea called an individual mandate, where everyone is required to have health insurance. If a person doesn't have it, they are expected to purchase a suitable plan from a private insurance company. These private insurance companies manage their own plans. They don't contract the federal government to run their businesses. 

The experience he had with his treatment should be similar to that of the average person who also has private health insurance. There is nothing in the PPACA that suggests that the government has to approve of any treatment plans agreed upon by a physician and patient and the involved health insurer. The government's permission isn't needed for the screening, the 2nd opinion, any consultations, surgeries, chemotherapy, etc. 

The government does now require that Mr. Cain's insurance company not drop him because of this disease. It also requires that his insurance company not cut off his coverage because of any annual or lifetime "maximums" being reached. 

It looks to be a pretty good situation for Mr. Cain. 

For others, those who don't have the deep pockets and perhaps high quality health insurance plan that Mr. Cain probably has, the PPACA helps makes colo-rectal screenings easier to get, from a financial point of view, at least. The new law, almost one year ago, mandates that "...preventative services (wellness) treatment must be covered by insurers with no deductible or co-pays, and with no maximums allowed." 

These guidelines are set forth by the US Preventative Task Force (USPSTF)...

Specifically this one:

-The USPSTF recommends screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) using fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy, in adults, beginning at age 50 years and continuing until age 75 years. The risks and benefits of these screening methods vary. 

Health insurance companies have to pay for these procedures. 

So, for the previously uninsured or those with plans that did not cover this procedure, the PPACA makes the availability and likelihood of this procedure more not less likely to occur. Which means more Americans can hope for early detection and good outcomes than before. 

Mr. Cain's claim that he would be dead now if Obamacare had been in effect is a variation on the "death panels" rhetoric of the past few years. 


"Cain told a whopper when he said he “would be dead under Obamacare” because the cancer that was detected in 2006 was found early and “I was able to get the necessary CAT scan tests, go to the necessary doctors, get a second opinion, get chemotherapy.” But “If we had been under Obamacare and a bureaucrat was trying to tell me when I could get that CAT scan that would have delayed my treatment.”  But the truth is that nothing in the new law would require any patient to clear CAT scans or medical treatment with “a bureaucrat.” Cain is simply reviving the old “death panel” claim, which topped our list of the “Whoppers of 2009.”

Another thing worth mentioning is that if Mr. Cain wanted treatment that his insurance didn't provide for, there's nothing whatsoever in the new health care law that would stop him from getting it. 

It would've been nice if one of the anchors last Thursday would've thrown any of this at Mr. Cain in response to his answer. 

I'll grant you his answer played to the crowd and was probably what most in the audience wanted to hear, but it wasn't brave to hide behind the misinformation. 

If Mr. Cain wins the next election and succeeds in taking down the PPACA, I know two things for certain. One is that Mr. Cain will have no worries with regard to accessing health care. The other is that a lot more people in this country will lose this access. People who's pockets aren't as deep as Cain's are. 

Is this really the type of leadership we need?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fox News/Google GOP Debate Comments...

Some thoughts on the latest GOP debate...

Mitt Romney- As usual, didn't really take any major hits. Perry tried to hit him on changing positions in his book but didn't seem to really connect. Romney is much better at this debate game than Gov. Perry is by a fairly wide margin. He may be past the "Romneycare" issue. Grade-A

Rick Perry- I liked his answer on the HPV issue. It was brave to double down on the immigration issue. Also foolish. His attempts at trying to go after Romney didn't in my eyes seem to get him anywhere. Other answers weren't as sharp as Romney's. He'll need to do better next debate. Grade-C

Michelle Bachmann- Rather quiet night for her. Said she thinks Americans should keep 100% of the money they earn. Which makes no sense. Sounded great, but foolish thing to say. Grade-C

Herman Cain- Brutal answer regarding healthcare. No, you wouldn't have died under Obamacare. Grade-B

John Huntsman- Awfully quiet night. Seems to be treading water, perhaps waiting for New Hampshire, which he has predicted a victory. Grade-D

Ron Paul- Nothing really new tonight. He's number three in most polls and seems content to stick it out until the field shrinks. Did make the claim that the Country is bankrupt, which is patently false. Grade C

Newt Gingrich- Apparently the next Vice President of the United States. Or a Chief of Staff in a new Republican Administration. Grade C

Rick Santorum- Seemed pissed off all night. It played pretty well and should keep Santorum around for a while. Santorum adds some spice to these debates but I don't think they make him a more viable candidate. Grade B

Gary Johnson- The shovel-ready comment about his neighbor dogs was the best of the night. Promised to submit a balanced budget in his first year. Didn't say anything that suggested he was out of place.  Grade B

Jamey Rodemeyer is dead...

(Ed. Note: We've had just such a loss touch our family and its probably the worst pain I have ever known. For some families, it never gets better. This has to stop...)

From the Washington Post:

Jamey Rodemeyer, bullied teen who made ‘It Gets Better’ video, commits suicide
Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old high school freshman in Buffalo, N.Y., was bullied. A lot. After years of being called gay slurs at school and being told by anonymous people online that he should die, he killed himself Monday.
Jamey Rodemeyer. (YouTube.)
Jamey’s mother, Tracy, told the Buffalo News that her son had questioned his sexuality and that his classmates began to tease and bully him. His parents were supportive of their son, and Jamey was seeing a social worker and a therapist. But that didn’t stop the bullying, and it didn’t ease Jamey’s pain, which spilled onto his Tumblr account.
“No one in my school cares about preventing suicide, while you’re the ones calling me [gay slur] and tearing me down,” he wrote on Sept. 8. He said the next day: “I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens. ... What do I have to do so people will listen to me?”
Despite their son’s numerous cries for help online, Jamey’s parents thought he was doing well. His father Tim told WGRZ that Jamey said that he was happy.
Last May, Jamey told his friends that he was bisexual and created his own “It Gets Better” video. He thanked Lady Gaga for supporting the gay community and told the viewers, “Love yourself and you’re set.”
Indeed, he received an outpouring of support online from Gaga’s fans, who call themselves “little monsters,” as well as from his friends.
But others online did not embrace him. “JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND UGLY. HE MUST DIE!” an anonymous commenter said on Formspring. “I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!” said another.
Columnist Dan Savage, who created the “It Gets Better” project, said on his blog that the people who bullied Jamey should be held accountable “for their actions, for their hate, for the harm they've caused.”
“They should be asked if they’re “WAY more happier” now, if they’re pleased with themselves, and if they have anything to say to the mother of the child they succeeded in bullying to death,” he wrote.
Teen suicide is not a new or uncommon problem. Of the more than 35,000 suicides reported in the United States in 2008, 4,513 of the cases were youths between the ages of 10 and 24, according to theCenters for Disease Control.
Savage said the high number of teenagers who are gay, bisexual or transsexual who have taken their own lives prompted him to found “It Gets Better,” a platform where adults could tell bullied kids that someday their lives will be brighter. But, as he wrote on his blog, the negativity is sometimes louder than the love:
“The point of the ‘It Gets Better’ project is to give kids like Jamey Rodemeyer hope for their futures. But sometimes hope isn't enough. Sometimes the damage done by hate and by haters is simply too great. Sometimes the future seems too remote. And those are the times our hearts break.”
Watch Jamey’s “It Gets Better” message, and Jamey’s parents talk toWGRZ2, below.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ron Suskind, President Obama and women - The Hill's Pundits Blog

Ron Suskind, President Obama and women - The Hill's Pundits Blog

Suskind's hatchet job touches on several alleged shortcomings in the White House, including how women were mistreated by the Obama Administration.

Suskind's popular quote...

“This place would be in court for a hostile workplace. Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women.”

Anita Dunn-Former WH Communications director

The actual quote from Ms. Dunn...

(From today's The Hill...)

In the famous Anita Dunn quote, reported in today's Washington Post in full, what she actually said was "if it weren't for the president this place would be in court for a hostile workplace.”

That Custom-Tailored Obama Scandal You Ordered Is Finally Here - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - 09/15/11 - Video Clip | Comedy Central

That Custom-Tailored Obama Scandal You Ordered Is Finally Here - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - 09/15/11 - Video Clip | Comedy Central:

An entertaining look at the Solyndra scandal now unfolding before us...

Chalk it up to yet another example of this Administration being its own worst enemy...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Most Unreasonable Conversation...

This is the actual transcript of a conversation I had recently with a "friend." It was an instant message session. To protect this person's identity, I've deleted all references to their name and replaced it with "xxxxx." I had come across a video making the rounds about an alleged recording of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu where he makes some controversial remarks about America. This "friend" is Jewish, I am not. Having this video fresh in my mind, I asked this person their thoughts on it. We have discussed politics before on several occasions and we usually disagree. Still, especially on this issue, I was interested in their thoughts...

Here is how the conversation unfolded. Other than the redaction of their name, the content is unchanged...

(I'll comment further below...)

xxxxxHow are things on the left, Bill?
CorfieldBNot sure, let me look over there...
CorfieldBah, they look to be the same as usual..
xxxxxha ha ha!  Have a wonderful and restful weekend...
CorfieldBDid you see this thing about Bibi (Benjamin Netanyahu) getting recorded and saying some stuff about the u.s.?
xxxxxBibi was a serious commando...bad dude for real...
CorfieldBI'd appreciate some perspective from your viewpoint...
xxxxxha ha ha...hold on...
CorfieldBhe made these (re)marks during the Bush administration, 9 years ago...
CorfieldBI'll be right back....
xxxxxIt's an absurd video where the Hebrew dialogue does not match what the lips are saying...This Ian Welsh is obviously a Jew hater.  But I'll tell you this, Bill...Oslo was a horrible deal.  The palestinians lived up to none of it and the only reason Israel signed it was out of desperation.  The left wing element in Israel, the Peace Now Movement, forced the government to sign.  I understand why, too.  I was living there.  Their children were coming home in boxes...dead.  Dead from school.  Dead from taking a bus.  Dead from being kidnaped and murdered by palestinians.  They were desperate...That's why they signed it.  The result?  A record number of Israelis were killed after Oslo was signed.  The palestinians are the ones you should be focusing in on for all these accusations of "liars and crooks".   Get real Bill.
CorfieldBI'm just trying to figure out what to make of it...
CorfieldBso you're saying its a fraud....which makes it meaningless...
xxxxxOslo was another sham in a long line of shams perpetrated by a duplicitous US Government who continually stabs their friends in the back...Bibi is no fool...I'll tell you that.  He is much smarter than you can ever believe...
xxxxxBut he never as foolish as this video would have you believe.  He never speaks "unguarded".  Never....
CorfieldBWhat if it was true?
xxxxxAnd what if it isn't?  What do you say then, Bill...Let me hear what you would say if it wasn't?  This i gotta hear...
CorfieldBI don't really have an opinion on this. I'm mostly asking myself why a 9 yr. old video is surfacing now...that's fishy to me...
CorfieldBThanks for looking at it, anyway...
xxxxxDon't waste your time with this obviously doctored, propaganda film put out by a vicious left wing conspiracy theorist...It's absurd...
xxxxxIf I told you what real Jews think...i mean the real inside deal...It would turn your hair white.
CorfieldBOk, dinner time...have a great weekend....
xxxxxDid you hear what your buddy Achmedinajad said the other day?  Talk about liars and crooks...
CorfieldBHold up, how is he my buddy?
xxxxxI thought all anti Israel thugs were your buddy.  I never once heard you say one kind word about Israel so please forgive the assumption...
xxxxxKeep watching Al jezeera and let the poison permanently stain your soul...
CorfieldBI just don't subscribe to the same slant you do on things, so I guess that makes me border line anti-israel or some garbage, I guess...Frankly it seems to me, and I think a lot of americans that Israel is in a bad place, and isn't exactly surrounded by friends...On the other hand, we are Israel's lifeblood and it seems that a lot of times we take our marching orders from them...Most americans don't really understand all the nuance to things over there. I know, I sure don't...
xxxxxWhy in the world are listening to Al Jezeera?
xxxxxare you
xxxxxIt's poison, bill.
CorfieldBI have a few jewish friends in the Dayton area and when I ask them about this stuff, they say they're afraid Bibi is going to pick a fight with the wrong guy and cause all of israel of suffer. they think more should be done to work with their neuighbors for peace, not always dictate terms
CorfieldBI read Al jezzera for their take on events in the US more than anything...its one of the opinions I consider...sometimes I think they make sense, sometimes I don't...
CorfieldBanyway, Do i think your views on israel are wrong because they don't jive with the people I speak to around here? No, its two different opinions...both of you probably speak some truth...

CorfieldBGotta go...dinner time....please don't assume that I'm some anti israel thug just because I don't share your opinion 100%....That is offensive and you can't find anything I've ever written anywhere that was remotely close to anti jewish.



  Its attitudes like this that drove me to start my own blog and call it Reasonable Conversation.

  I want to be really clear about what I object to with this. It's not the obvious passion I find distasteful. I think this person has deep, sincere feelings about Israel. I don't question that. I respect that. Its the eagerness to go on the attack against a strawman that offends. I wanted a "reasonable conversation" with this person about this video and instead I got attacked, called names and virtually accused of being anti-Israel. Yes, I understand he doesn't think much of the video, yet any chance of a greater understanding on my part pretty much got blasted out of the water by the straw man approach.

  I thought back to my very first post, about what I wanted this blog to be...

From May 2, 2011...
I've called this blog "Reasonable Conversation," because that's my goal. That's the first thing all of us will see each day when we log in and hopefully it will give us pause to think before we write. If you disagree with me, fine. If you've got facts, sources, etc. that shows that my position is wrong, that's fair. If all you have is tired old talking points or a debate style where you start with straw man arguments and then resort to excited rhetoric, well...that's not really what I'm looking for. If that's what you bring to the blog, expect to be asked to back that up. I'm not holding anyone to a standard I won't try and hold myself to.

You hear this all around us. Whether its a friend, a co-worker, classmate, Fox News, MSNBC or talk radio...these strawmen arguments consume energy and lead us away from understanding, not closer to. Its an easy trap to fall into, I know I have. I try not to...

This was a rather stunning example of an all too common problem in how people talk to each other today...