Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Why the healthcare and health insurance industry in the United States is screwed

A little more then 2 years since my last post, It's been a long hiatus but it's time to get back on the horse and blog.

Some of my best and most visited posts have been when I share personal experiences so that's what I'm going to do today. I want to share a healthcare service issue I've been dealing with for my two year old daughter. It's small potatoes as far as I'm concerned but I think it properly illustrates just how messed up our current health care/insurance system is and why we may all be better off without any health insurance at all.

My little one has had a couple of issues with her arm. I'm told it's commonly called nursemaid's elbow. Basically it's a minor dislocation of the forearm, really nothing major but it's painful and for a parent of a two year old it can be a little scary to see your child in pain. Her mother has had this issue with her once before so I was not completely unaware of what was going on, but seeing your child cry is still never easy so when it happened while we were playing I got nervous and took her to a walk-in health provider just a few block away from my house.
Upon arrival after checking in which took 10 to 15 minutes we were waiting in the waiting area for another 10 to 15 minutes before they called us in. Then after being shown to a room we waited again for about 10 minutes before we saw the doctor, the pediatrician. It took me about 5 minutes to explain the situation and her history and he began to rotate my daughters arm, at which point she stopped crying. Correcting this Nursemaids elbow "dislocation" is actually quite easy and if I had know this prior, I could have done it myself. The Doctor then spent about 5 minutes explaining to my how important it was to be careful while playing with a toddler and asked if she had any other issues, at which point I said no and he didn't think there was any reason for even an x-ray. He weighed her and checked her temp and sent us on our way. The whole time with the Doctor in total was about 20 minutes.

Now the real fun begins.

About 2 months later I get the first bill, from the wrong insurance company, because this health provider apparently submitted it to my old insurance, rather then the new insurance even though I gave them all the information at check-in. It took 5 months to get this part cleared up by the way... But more disturbing then that is the amount of money we are talking about. The Health Provider (Carle Clinic) is charging Blue Cross Blue Shield $97 for the visit, and $650 for what they are calling "surgery". I spoke to them about this, that I felt the amount seemed rather high and was probably inaccurate, but alas, this is the final determination. the $747 bill is correct and the billing code, "surgery" is what they call this type of service. They finally get the insurance billing part corrected so at least Carle is not coming after my ex-wife or I for $747, but now I am only responsible to pay $50. Remember I only spent 20 minutes with an actual Doctor and all he did, literally, was rotate her little arm. No x-ray, no medicine, no tests and certainly no cutting or stitching or anything like that.

Let's break this down, shall we. If a health care provider is billing $747 for each 20 minutes worth of work their doctors do. I'm going to be conservative and assume that the doctors are not spending 100% of their time seeing patients, so I'll assume a doctor is only able to see 3 patients an hour. Of course we all know that they probably see many more times this in a busy clinic or office, but let's keep the math somewhat simple. If a doctor is working an 8 hour day, they would see 24 patients in a day. That means they would be billing almost $18,000 for one doctor in one 8 hour day. Now obviously, some visits are going to be more complicated, but I can't imagine they would be less complicated then this visit. Again, he literally rotated her arm and we spent less then 20 minutes with him. I feel I should add, that he was really a nice man, and seemed like he was really a good doctor, but he spent 20 minutes of his time with us, and most of that time he was talking to me.

Let assume that Carle has 12 Doctors on duty in a day, I know they have more and less depending on demand, but on average this is probably pretty close. And they are open longer then 8 hours, but let's assume for the sake of argument that they only work a doctor for an 8 hour day, and they only see 24 people... (LOL) that would mean they are billing north of $200,000 a day just for regular visits. This doesn't include all the other services they perform. Sounds like a pretty good deal huh. Well no one ever said Doctors were poor right? After all they do deserve to make a good living, I'm not knocking them for that and Carle deserves to make a profit, after all they are paying the bills to have a clean and safe facility. And this is why we have insurance right? But wait a minute, what about the actual costs? I mean it's well know that Doctors make good money, but are they all millionaires and Billionaires? $200,000 a day means this little facility in a town of less then 30,0000 peps, is billing $72,000,000 (that's 72 Million to those who learned common core math) to insurance companies in a year, and remember this is a conservative number.

According to all the benchmarks Doctors make about $200,000 a year, on average, Obviously some make more and some make less, but this is taking all the listed areas and specialties on payscale and salary.com and does not include Boutique or emergency services and the like. Plain jane medical doctors, nothing more nothing less. Now let's look at what they could be making...

Remember I'm still responsible for $50 out of my own pocket, because insurance is a good thing right? Well imagine if instead of going to see Carle that day, I went to go see Doctor NiceMan, at his own private practice out of the living room of his own home and I paid Doctor NiceMan $50. Now let's assume Doctor NiceMan only works Monday through Friday and only works 8 hours a day and only sees the same 3 patients an hour. Doctor NiceMan would be working 260 days in a year and would be making $312,000.00 Not bad, over 100,000 over the national average. Now keep in mind Dr. NiceMan is really a nice man and he might not charge everyone $50, maybe he only charges $30 to some people or even donates some of his time to those less fortunate or takes trade for his services. Oh wait, that would be illegal according to our government overseers. Oh well...

So why do we have health insurance again?

Cheers,

Mike


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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Liberty in America is lost

The United States of America is the land of liberty it's also a land of laws.  As of last night all of that is officially lost forever as we watched the police in California burn down a cabin hoping to catch Chris Dorner.  Due Process for a "murder suspect" is no longer an expectation, now the police serve as Judge Jury and Executioner.  No longer can you expect your day in court, if the state wants you, they simply label you a "domestic terrorist" and hunt you down in order to kill you.

2012 was the first time I personally felt sad to be an American, a I watched a crowd "Boo" Ron Paul as he suggested the Golden Rule.  Now in February of 2013, I again feel sad.  I actually believe some folks were eating pop corn while watching the cabin burn, hoping to see a glimpse of a dead Chris Dorner.  No longer are we a nation of law, we are nation bent on retribution for those perceived to be enemies.  Chris Dorner may very well be a murderer, but being hunted down like an animal is not what's supposed to happen in America.

Yesterday I even heard a radio talker rail on for about an hour in regards to Eric Holder submitting briefs in defense of the 9-11 terrorists, suggesting that this was the worst thing in the history of the world.  He went further to suggest that we are seeing the same thing today for Chris Dorner.  I see two major problems with this analysis.

First, Chris Dorner is an American Citizen accused of a crime, not a convicted criminal.  It doesn't matter what facts the police think they have, they are meaningless until Dorner has had his day in court.  No amount of explanation can justify the actions of the LAPD or the use of Drones and especially not burning down property in order to catch him alive.  Are we witnessing the modern day version of witch trials?

Second, our founding fathers made it clear from a very early stage in our history, that even those guilty of heinous crimes deserve legal defense.  John Adams (The first Vice President and second U.S. President) defended the British Soldiers who committed the Boston Massacre.  There was no question as to their guilt, everyone present that day witnessed the shootings, but they were still afforded Due Process.  John Adams himself lead their defense when no other Lawyer in Boston would take the case, he did so to ensure their ability to a fair trial.

He wrote the following.

"The Part I took in Defence of Cptn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country. Judgment of Death against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently. As the Evidence was, the Verdict of the Jury was exactly right. This however is no Reason why the Town should not call the Action of that Night a Massacre, nor is it any Argument in favour of the Governor or Minister, who caused them to be sent here. But it is the strongest Proofs of the Danger of Standing Armies."

-John Adams

Today however, many are sitting idle, watching as our government uses drones to watch our every move, as they classify us as "Terrorists", in order to hunt us down and kill us, whenever they perceive us as a threat to their control.


Where does this end?

Mike
    



                  

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Live by the Sword

I'm about to piss some people off, so brace yourself. 

Snipers kill people, that's what they do, that's what they trained for and that's why they are called upon.  It doesn't matter if all the "targets" (A.K.A. people) are really bad people, they are still people.  It doesn't matter which government or President sanctioned the actions, the actions result in a person being dead.  Yes, their  following orders, but that doesn't remove the fact that people die.  Being a sniper isn't a game, it isn't a status symbol, it doesn't mean you're a warrior of God, it means you kill people.  When you do this for the government, you are called a hero, when you do it for pure profit, you're called a Hitman and a murderer.  When you do it for the government and then come home and write a book and then profit, you become a household name.  But that doesn't change the fact that you lived by the sword.

Where does live by the sword come from?  The bible of course.  I'm no theologian but I'm going to go out on a limb here and share what the bible says on this matter.  In the Book of Revelations 13:10.

"He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints."

Now what does this mean?  I'm not going to rely on my own personal interpretation for this I'm going to use a professional interpretation.   

"Live by the sword, die by the sword" Prov. If you use violence against other people, you can expect to have violence used against you.; You can expect to become a victim of whatever means you use to get what you want.


That seems pretty clear to me.  Now I don't claim to be model christian, I don't even usually chose to wear the christian monogram, but if I did I might choose as so many Christians do, to look and see what Jesus Would Do in situations like this.   Mathew 26:52, describes a disciple drawing a sword to defend against the arrest of Jesus, but is rebuked by Jesus, who tells him to sheath the weapon, because "all who take up the sword will perish by the sword"    Now this may seem confusing to some because the bible also teaches us that those who do not own a sword should sell their cloak and buy one, but this teaching only makes it clear that it's a benefit to have one in the case it is needed, and not that using it is always the preferred course.

Snipers use the sword, that's what they do. So to think that it's mean or hateful to say "live by the sword, die by the sword", when a sniper is killed, only means that you think the Bible is mean and hateful, which is OK, if that's what you believe, your entitled to your opinion, but don't hold the Bible up on a pedestal while cursing those who are simply sharing the wisdom from within it.  If one is mean and hateful then they are both mean and hateful.     

Cheers,

Mike
 

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Did President Obama read the Afforable Health Care Act?

I'm a little Concerned about two of the Presidents recommendations in particular 16 and 17 which reads as follows.  

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

17. Release a letter to healthcare providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

 
Now I happen to know some health care providers have already begun asking these questions, but I just recently reviewed the AHCA (Affordable Health Care Act) and I'm forced to ask the question, has the Federal Government done something since the AHCA, to void section X of the Obama Care Bill?  Because Section X, starting on page 2,037, line 23. “Protection of Second Amendment Gun Rights” States the following. 
______________________________________________________________
 
‘‘(1) WELLNESS AND PREVENTION PROGRAMS.—
A wellness and health promotion activity implemented under subsection (a)(1)(D) may not require
the disclosure or collection of any information relating to—
(A) the presence or storage of a lawfully
possessed firearm or ammunition in the residence or on the property of an individual; or
‘‘(B) the lawful use, possession, or storage of
a firearm or ammunition by an individual.
 
‘‘(2) LIMITATION ON DATA COLLECTION.—None
of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an
amendment made by that Act shall be construed to
authorize or may be used for the collection of any in
formation relating to—
‘‘(A) the lawful ownership or possession of
a firearm or ammunition;
‘‘(B) the lawful use of a firearm or ammunition; or
‘‘(C) the lawful storage of a firearm or ammunition.
‘‘(3) LIMITATION ON DATABASES OR DATA
BANKS.—None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall
be construed to authorize or may be used to maintain
HR 3590 EAS/PP
records of individual ownership or possession of a
firearm or ammunition.
_____________________________________________________________________

It sounds to me like the AHCA, does in fact forbid this.  If I remember correctly, this is what the NRA was bragging about being a win.  So what gives?  

Cheers,
 
Mike

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Obama is not Hitler, but he does act like him

This morning President Obama addressed the country with the messages of our children, and facebook was set ablaze with the typical anti-Obama Hitler references.  As usual, many people try to connect Obama's positions to Hitlers positions, and even use fictional quotes from Mein Kampf in a weak attempt to prove their points.  The sad thing about this, is that there are plenty of parallels to be made between Hitler and Obama without the use of false information.  I don't understand why so many people are quick to use a quote, without having any understanding of it's origin.  If you use a quote, you really ought to know exactly where it came from, and I don't mean the site from which you shared it, I mean the literature or speech it was spoken or written.

To this day many still hold Hitler up on a pedestal as a gun grabber, a leader who took guns out of the hands of his people.  This is simply not the truth.  Adolf Hitler Was an anti-Semite of the highest order, of this there is no question.  But he was a man of his time.  Being an anti-Semite back then was normal and even expected.  He did not see the Jews as his people, as Germans, even those born and raised in Germany.  When he came to power he most certainly did see to it, that the Jews were disarmed.  But he actually relaxed gun control to the citizens of Germany which had largely been disarmed through permit and registration requirements and limits prior to his rise to power.  Many guns were already out of circulation by the statist polices prior to his becoming  Fuehrer, through purely Democratic means.

Again, the firearms law enacted by Hitler's government enhanced the rights of "Germans" to keep and bear arms. There were no new restrictions added, many preexisting restrictions were relaxed or eliminated.  

In the conclusion of World War 2, American soldiers occupying Germany were shocked to learn how many German civilians owned private firearms. Thousands of handguns were looted from German homes and brought back to the United States after the war. General Eisenhower ordered all privately owned firearms in the American zone of Germany confiscated, and Germans were required to hand in their long guns as well as any handguns which had not already been stolen. In the Soviet zone Germans were summarily shot if they were found in possession of even a single cartridge.

Now, to get back on point.  Adolf Hitler did write Mein Kampf, and he did express many ideas and beliefs in that work, but he most certainly did not specifically say anything about controlling the Children.  He also did not ban guns using the Children as a ploy, and as I've already addressed, he didn't ban guns unless you were a Jew.  BUT, Hitler did most certainly understand the value of propaganda and using Children to persuade the population.  There are many photos of Hitler surrounded by children, of course you also need to remember that Hitler was loved, he was not hated or feared, he was the most popular German leader of all time.  He didn't hide behind bullet proof glass, he walked around in the open.

A quick scan of Mein Kampf reveals that he does mention Children over 40 times.  So there is no question he understood the power of using Children to tug at the heart strings of his people, Just as President Obama does.  President Obama is not Adolf Hitler, but he does keep acting like him.  Also, I feel the need to point out that many of the actions which brought Germany crumbling, came before Adolf Hitler. Hitler was viewed as the man who was going to fix everything. (Do you see another parallel?)  The actions of leaders prior to the Third  Reich, mirrored our current U.S. System of government almost to the letter.  They supported much of the same policies that the modern liberals support today.  Economic Egalitarianism, internationalism and even a view of Cosmopolitanism that would suggest support of a one world government were common among both regimes.  

And look were it lead Germany.

So, there are many things to compare and many things to be afraid of, but that doesn't mean that President Obama is Hitler.  It also doesn't help the cause of liberty to manufacture things that aren't true.  But most importantly, why would you want to, when there are so many genuine items to pull from. 

Cheers,

Mike
            


 

  

          

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Porn vs check out isle smut


Today while getting groceries and supplies I was forced to wait in line while the clerk and her manager tried to figure out how to make the Link Card in front me work properly.  This provided me with the opportunity to read the cover of several magazines, well I'll admit what really caught me attention was the pretty little thing in her undies, but after that attracted my line of sight I decided to read the cover stories as well.  This really got my mind running around in circles.  While I was checking out I couldn't help thinking to myself how some people have the nerve to say porn is demeaning to women.  Is Pornography worse than the smut pushed as an impulse buy?

People, mostly women, take off their clothes for the amusement of others, mostly men. This is a clearly defined practice which has ages and ages of history behind it.  There are no misconceptions, the models take off their clothes and put their goodies on display.  For this service they are paid, and paid well, generally speaking.  No one is forced to do this against their will, at least not in commercially produced publications.  But the smut on display at the grocery store is filled with unrealistic expectations.  Perfectly toned, perky little hard bodies dancing around in their underwear with headlines like "How to give him mind blowing sex".   

This stuff is peddled to the masses in quantities that I'm sure far exceeds pornographic magazines, and worse still is that it's put right in the reach of children.  This fact really stood out to me as a soon to be father.  I thought about the kind of questions children might ask and wondered how I might answer such questions from a child about these magazines.  Can you imagine, a trip to the grocery store leading to a question like  "Dad, what is mind blowing sex".  Or a teenage daughter asking why it's inappropriate for her to run around in her underwear when the models on the magazines do it?  These are questions some have no doubt already had the pleasure of dealing with, I don't look forward to that day.           

All this leads me to the realization that I almost would rather see pornography on the check out isle shelf at the grocery store and the pop culture "smut" behind the counter.  At least when my kid asks me why the girls on the cover are naked, I can turn it into an economic lesson.  Simple supply and demand.  There are plenty of girls with "daddy issues" and plenty of dirty old daddies willing to keep them employed.  I would rather teach that lesson than taking all the time required to explain and teach about how some people make profit selling an unrealistic image to people who simply want to be popular.  

Cheers,

Mike
              

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Is posting satire acceptable? Not in New York city!!!

Essam Attia a 29 year old man posted some posters around New York depicting Drones dropping bombs on people, in at attempt to further the discussion on the use of military drones in U.S. airspace.  The NYPD however did not find this amusing and tracked him down.  They charged him with numerous felony counts but was released on bond.  His arrest actually proves his point.  If you become an enemy of the state, even if the state is the real enemy, they will find you. 



"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it."

-Thomas Jefferson.  (Also stenciled by Essam Attia) 

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