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Archive for December, 2008

Pino,

     So here’s two questions. 

     #1 The Blob versus the Juggernaut. (Yeah, the Marvel Comic villians).  Who’d win in a fight?

     The immovable object or the irresistible force? 

     <Seeing as how you are a greedy republican and weigh more than me you get to be the blob.  And since i’m irresistible…  i’ll be the juggernaut.>

     #2  What’s the point of all this?

     Are we/you/me  going into a topic with a ‘slightly biased but’ well-intended attitude and willing to actively look at a topic from the others point of view?

     Or are we just wasting our time?  (You know.. i.e. preaching to ourselves.)

 

     Just so you know Pino, I really don’t need to remind myself that I believe in my beliefs.

 

     Pictures of snow in december aren’t going to change my beliefs; and the only ‘funny’ part is that they only seem to reinforce your delusions.

 

     So Happy New Years… I truely wish you and your family nothing but the best.

     xoxo flaco

 

     p.s. #1 the juggernaut.  #2 no clue.

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Dear Flaco,

When I am wrong, I want to be the guy to admit it.  So here goes:

I am very sorry that I was so wrong about Global Warming!  I have thought and thought about it and not only does the imperical data suggest that we are warming, so does the empirical data.  I am sure that in the last few days you would have to agree that I just couldn’t be more wrong!  But hey, while you are baking in the heat out there, you have to admit the puppy dog is cute!

Update: When reached for an interview, the below Cute Puppy only requested that we ask his friend to hurry; he is in danger of freezing his nuts off!

seattle-snow

And while the heat may be causing all kinds of untoward problems, like closing roads, you won’t have to worry about those stupid automobile emissions!

seattle-snow2

Don’t feel bad though, you may take comfort in knowing you are not alone!

us-snow1

Image from National Hydrolic Remote Sensing Center
High Five Wattsupwiththat

But serious, this has to be the best part of all of it:

“We’re trying to create a hard-packed surface,” said Alex Wiggins, chief of staff for the Seattle Department of Transportation. “It doesn’t look like anything you’d find in Chicago or New York.”

The city’s approach means crews clear the roads enough for all-wheel and four-wheel-drive vehicles, or those with front-wheel drive cars as long as they are using chains, Wiggins said.

The icy streets are the result of Seattle’s refusal to use salt, an effective ice-buster used by the state Department of Transportation and cities accustomed to dealing with heavy winter snows.

“If we were using salt, you’d see patches of bare road because salt is very effective,” Wiggins said. “We decided not to utilize salt because it’s not a healthy addition to Puget Sound.”

So let me get this straight, the city is refusing to use the single most effective treatment for melting snow?  Because, umm, salt is bad for Puget Sound?  Are you f#&cking kidding me?!?!  Do you know why people can’t use Puget Sound for drinking water?  Because there’s SALT IN IT!  Dude, serious, that has to be THE single best example of Government in action I have ever seen.  Awesome.

I think that we should hire Mr.  Wiggins to implement a new minimum wage.  Or even fix our Nation’s Health Care “problem”.

Thinking of you staying warm,

-pino

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Dear Flaco,

Merry Christmas.

Vegas; go to Vegas.  Nice.  And THAT may be why I have health care and others don’t.  They go to Vegas.  And by going–they are gambling with their lives.  Why would you go to Las Vegas with money you don’t have to try to win money you can’t instead of paying for things like; regular checkups at the local doc?  It’s this type of thinking that has resulted in people finding themselves in a position where they can not afford medical care.

I spoke earlier, and you followed up later, about the special case of children and health care.  I feel that kids are different because of two reasons:

  1. They are not “self determiners”.  That is, they are not able to act, plan and be responsible for themselves.
  2. They represent our best hope for tomorrow; it’s like an investment to make sure they are healthy and educated.

It is because of these two reasons, combined with the unique required attendance at well maintained and staffed facilities–schools–that I think children should be afforded the basic medical necessities:

  • Regular checkups
  • Immunizations
  • Dental care
  • Vision care

In fact, there has been a study that shows improved dental care among our nation’s poorest children results in a 25% increase in achievment.

Okay, back to your point or arguement or mandate or whatever.  You say:

Affordable medical care; basic or not

Let’s take a look.  Using this service [ High Five to Carpe Diem]; in my ZIP Code, I can find insurance for a single man my age for as little as $78.50 a month.  This care has a $5,200 deductible, 0% coinsurance and free office visits after the deductible.  If I am not my age but rather 30, the rates go down to 50 bucks a month.  Now, using my family of 4 I can find insurance for as little as $337.  Not bad, not bad at all.  If you figure a beer costs 4 bucks, you can have insurance for just under 3 beers a day; less if you don’t have the chicken wings.

Now, if I guess right, I am going to hear some nonsense either about the high deductibles or the copays or the prescriptions or even that $337 is too expensive for someone making the minimum wage.  Before you even start, I suggest that anyone making minimum wage at my age has NO BUSINESS having two kids.  Starting a family is a huge undertaking.  It requires patience, sacrifice and a certain degree of financial stability and yes, financial income.  You would no more buy a $400,000 house on minimum wage than you should have a child; much less two.

We can go at this another way.  In 2004 [the year of the data I found] there were 44.6 million uninsured people in America.  The study that I found suggests that health care stops being affordable at 300% the FPL [Federal Poverty Level].  Using that data:

poverty-level

We see that a family of 4 making 300% FPL is bringing in $56,550.  Using my family of 4 again, if I am making 300% FPL, my health insurance costs are 7% of my income.  Well below the 17% threshold of affordability listed in the study.  Further, if we assume that children are covered via public care, my family of 4 is now insured as a family of 2 and my costs are now $164.

At some point, whether it is the job that you have or the costs of maintaining a family, you have to make decisions that sometimes require sacrifice.  So, while you may want that child now, if you don’t have a job, feel like you may not have one later or are not in some other way financially viable, DON’T have that child.  Does this come across as crass, or uncaring?  It shouldn’t.  Because if a person or a couple does not have the means to support a child’s basic needs, how in creation is that person or couple going to provide for that child’s more extensive needs later?  In short, be responsible.  I mean, you need a license to catch a fish and have to fill out a form to bring home a cat!

Now, to the affordable part.  There are many reasons why heath care is expensive, only a few of them concern true free market aspects.  Several of them, and perhaps the more important of them, concern things like  –gasp– Government Regulation.  For example, you can not purchase health care across state borders; you have to buy it from those who are where you are.  Further, there are certain state laws that impact the cost of that care.  For example, in NJ my family of 4 costs me $726 a month.  In rural Minnesota, I can insure my family for  as little $250.  Or $1200 a month for a comparable plan to that of the NJ example.  Is this because doctors are better in some places than others?  Is it because there are fewer doctors in some places than others?  Perhaps there are more sick people in certain places than others?  No.  It’s because government forced mandates are causing the rates to be higher in some places than in others.  If we worked to reduce the amount of government involvement, these rates would decrease to the point of being much more affordable if not very affordable.

So, instead of keeping the current system and just doing 3 simple things:

  1. Insure kids
  2. Make health care cheaper by asking forcing government to stay out
  3. Help people get out of poverty

You want to make health care free to everyone.  Once again, you are forcing a solution on everyone for a very small number of people relative to the population as a whole.  Let’s go back to the report above.  It lists 44.6 million as uninsured.  Using data from here:

uninsured-data

We find that:

  • 8 million are kids
  • 1.7 million are parents that make more that 300% of the FPL
  • 5.9 million are non-parent adults who make more than 300% of the FPL
  • 3.1 million are parents who are eligible for financial assistance
  • 2.0 million are non-parent adults who are eligible for assistance

That total is 20.7 million.  This leaves us 23.9 million people who are uninsured; 8% of the population in 2004.  And that isn’t counting the number once a family’s children are taken out of the mix and the threshold is adjusted so for the lower burden.  So, you wanna take a government that is unable to govern, report accurately that it is unable to govern and give them the job of providing for our health?  Anyone else see why this is a bad idea?

One last thing.  Even more basic a need than medical care is food.  Why don’t I see you advocating for free food to be available to everyone?

My dumb friend, regards

-pino

P.S.  Here is some homework for you my silly, save the world liberal friend.

  1. Why is it that 5.1 million people are eligible for assistance and don’t obtain it?
  2. The largest group of uninsured:  Non-parent adults making less than 300% FPL.  How many of that population is under the age of, oh–say–26?
    1. Pssst, health insurance for a single 26 year old man in my neck of the woods:  48 bucks a month!

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Pino…

3 things…

1.  “I am not sure how or why you insist that all of these things should come from me when you yourself are not willing to supply them first.”

It’s not a ‘come from you thing’, it’s a ‘come from us thing’.  You know… social responsibility.

I’d pay more, goomba.

2.  “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—What, exactly, is your point, your argument and your desired end goal?”

My Point. Everyone should have equal access to health care.

My Argument. Everyone should have equal access to health care.

My desired end goal. Everyone should have equal access to health care.

You are a Goomba.

3.”Dude, what it sounds like you are saying is that NOT everyone can afford the medical care they need [in some cases want].  THAT is a different thing all together.  So, what is it, what is it that you think the evil rich are preventing the innocent poor from achieving?”

#4. AFFORDABLE medical care; basic or not.

Your still a goomba.

So, oh great one, please explain to me why you are more deserving of a medical treatments (that we <as citizens of the United States of America> possess) than someone else  (that we <as citizens of the United States of America> possess)…

Because of; your job, your live choices, your genetics, or pure luck?

Remember you’ve (we’ve) been lucky.  i.e. remember Car Surfing….

So you and I have come from situations that have helped us make (some) better decisions in life.

Sweet.

So the other guy or gal gets… what?

According to you …nada. (Thank means NOTHING.)

I desperately cling on to the fact that you are smarter than the ‘average bear’.

So where is your ability to reason?

I wrote…      “So…     At its root, the lack of health care for all in America is fundamentally a moral issue. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not have some form of universal health care (defined as a basic guarantee of health care to all of its citizen).  While other countries have declared health care to be a basic right, the United States treats health care as a privilege, only available to those who can afford it. In this sense. health care in America is treated as an economic good like a TV or DVD player, not as a social or public good.”

So once again…

So, oh great one, please morally explain to me why you are more deserving of a medical treatments (that we <as citizens of the United States of America> possess) than someone else  (that we <as citizens of the United States of America> possess)…

Why?

Something to think about

#1…

“Oh, I started paying for my own health care at age 23.  Then I stopped.  Then I started again.  Then, again I stopped.  And then I started again.  But I always, ALWAYS, paid my bills when they came my way.”said Sir Pino the Stubborn.

Flaco the Beautiful replied, “Go to Vegas, Lucky.  Go to Vegas.”

Something to think about

#2…

Seriously.

What makes the difference between a child, a teenager, a twenty-one year old,  a thirty four year old, a fourty six year old, a fifty seven year old, sixty nine year old, and someone who just turned seventy three?

<the 73 year old just had a birthday!>

(i.e.)    Nothing.

Who the f.*& are you to say otherwise? (respectfully)

I’m sensing that you are totally cool with American Government until it (or .. you think) it might affect you...

On that note…  my paranoid friend…

So…. as I’m going into business to form a business that is in the business of:

  1. Creating jobs, not profit
  2. Paying more than market value for said jobs.
  3. Provide complete health care for your employees
  4. Give each of them a ‘66 ’stang.

Why don’t you…go into business to form a business that is in the business of:

  1. Maximizing Profit, not jobs.  It’s more about the stock holders anyway.  F.*& your employees.
  2. Create a business that pays it’s employee’s minimum wage.  (Try to eat …  u bitches!)
  3. Let’s your employees test the market for basic coverage of health care (or in a worst case scenerio provide the government minimum or face the penalties.).
  4. F.*& ’em.  There’s always walking.  That’s like exercise, ….. ‘you obese f.*&s.’.

(4.1/2)  Besides that’s using way to much <oil/gas    i.e.>…  “We have an incredible source of portable energy right now; oil into gas. I think that we should use it. It is incredibly powerful; it is currently accessible and relatively cheap. It’s good at what we need it to do. Why should we abandon it?”  <Oh….   p.s.  we’re running out of that shit>

Really.

Access to health care should be a right and not a privilege.

It’s so awesome that you can only focus on you family and the children.

I can’t.

xoxo flaco.

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Dear Flaco,

First, I think that you should go into business to form a business that is in the business of:

  1. Creating jobs, not profit
  2. Paying more than market value for said jobs.
  3. Provide complete health care for your employees
  4. Give each of them a ’66 ‘stang.

I am not sure how or why you insist that all of these things should come from me when you yourself are not willing to supply them first.

Now, onto health care.

Doing some reading tonight and i think that I have seen the slight of hand that causes us to blur and diverge on a topic or position that we all can agree on.  Namely this:

All people should have equal access to health care.

I honestly do not think that you would find any American -Red or Blue- that would disagree with that statement.  So, if your goal has been to gain a consensus around that simple proclamation; mission accomplished.  Go hang your banner on the battleship!

But see, it’s never that simple; never is.  We all use the ploy of the immediate buy in to truly get at the change we are after.  You see, the reading that I came across this evening had this little logical leap:

Everyone should have access to basic health care; we should not bill for basic health care.  No one should go broke due to medical bills.

Notice the leap in logic from our starting point to where we ended up.  If you didn’t catch it the first time, I’ll color code it for you this time.  Green is for safe, orange for danger and red for abandon ship!

Everyone should have access to basic health care; we should not bill for basic health careNo one should go broke due to medical bills.

See the trouble?  What started out as a RGFI [really good f*%#@ idea] has turned into a total disater.  Now, again, I’ll go back to my first post on this and repeat:

I don’t understand what people are saying when they talk about the need for UHC [universal health care].  I am not sure if they mean the normal preventative care that people use to just make sure everything is okay or not.  Or, do they mean the normal day to day stuff that normal day to day people face?  You know, things like fever, rash, cut on the finger and stuff like that.  Or, do people mean the very serious life changing [or ending] kinda things?  You know, like cancer, serious car accident, debilitating diseases—you know, life changing things?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—What, exactly, is your point, your argument and your desired end goal?  Let’s go to your first sentence in your original post.

Everyone should have access to medical care.

Not sure you know this or not, but everyone DOES have access to medical care today.  Everyone.  EVERY one.  EVERY.  ONE.  Let’s see, how about another way?  Of all the people in America, not one doesn’t have access to medical care.  Or, this way.  If you take all of the people in America and subtract the number of people who don’t have access to medical care, you get–Zero.

Dude, what it sounds like you are saying is that NOT everyone can afford the medical care they need [in some cases want].  THAT is a different thing all together.  So, what is it, what is it that you think the evil rich are preventing the innocent poor from achieving?

  1. Access to medical care?  The ability to walk into a medical care facility and pay for service?
  2. Access to basic medical care?  Yearly check ups.  Antibiotics for kid’s ear infections?  Splint a broken finger?
  3. Bill free medical care?  All of the above; just free.
  4. AFFORDABLE medical care; basic or not.
  5. Access to the world’s finest treatments?  This, by the way, is in place today.  Just not everyone can afford it.
  6. Free access to the world’s finest treatments?

You have seen what I think before.  Kids are special case and should be cared for in the same way we educate them; as a society and without a bill to the recipient.  [Notice the conspicuous absence of the word “free”]  However, I do not think that we should make medical care/ health care free beyond that.  What we CAN do is make it more affordable, and to THAT end I will work with you.

Oh, I started paying for my own health care at age 23.  Then I stopped.  Then I started again.  Then, again I stopped.  And then I started again.  But I always, ALWAYS, paid my bills when they came my way.

Love,

pino

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Pino,

Everyone should have access to medical care.

you wrote..”And just like a big house, cool car, rockin’ job or college education, health care is something that has to be earned.  And that is my philosophical side.”

Here’s how I translate that… F*^& the poor.

and then.. “My practical side is “Are you freakin kiddin’ me?!?!?  You think that I am going to rely on the government to provide health care for me and my family?  That somehow government is going to be able to certify doctors, certify treatments and then be able to deliver the same to me at the exact time I need it, in the form I need it and by whom I need it from?  Insane!  There is NO WAY that any person capable of becoming elected in this country has the ability to set aside politics to get to where they need to be to assist me in my health.  None.”

(And you accuse me of ranting…)

How do I translate that gem…  (read the title of this post.)

So…     At its root, the lack of health care for all in America is fundamentally a moral issue.  The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not have some form of universal health care (defined as a basic guarantee of health care to all of its citizen).  While other countries have declared health care to be a basic right, the United States treats health care as a privilege, only available to those who can afford it.  In this sense. health care in America is treated as an economic good like a TV or DVD player, not as a social or public good.

Currently, the United States spends twice as much as other industrialised nations on health care, $7,129 per capita.  Yet our system performs poorly in comparison and still leaves over 45 million without health coverage and millions more inadequately covered.  This is because private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume almost one-third (31 percent) of every health care dollar.  Streamlining payment through a single nonprofit player would save more than $350 billion a year, enough to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans.

How old were you when you first starting paying for health care?

18 or 30?

respectfully, flaco

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Dear Flaco,

Look brother.  Say what you want, support your guy and love him till ya can’t love no more.  He is NOT your Democrat’s President.  He has moved about as far right as a Dem can without being stoned in the town square!

Anyway, Universal Health Care.

I don’t understand what people are saying when they talk about the need for UHC [universal health care].  I am not sure if they mean the normal preventative care that people use to just make sure everything is okay or not.  Or, do they mean the normal day to day stuff that normal day to day people face?  You know, things like fever, rash, cut on the finger and stuff like that.  Or, do people mean the very serious life changing [or ending] kinda things?  You know, like cancer, serious car accident, debilitating disses—you know, life changing things?

You know what distresses me [besides drew pearson pushing off to catch that TD in ’75]?  I think the real reason that people scream for Universal Health Care is when they see someone get care that they can’t get.  For any reason, any one of the three above.  In short, I don’t think that they know.  They just see someone getting something that they can’t have/get and they are pissed!

And just like a big house, cool car, rockin’ job or college education, health care is something that has to be earned.  And that is my philosophical side.  My practical side is “Are you freakin kiddin’ me?!?!?  You think that I am going to rely on the government to provide health care for me and my family?  That somehow government is going to be able to certify doctors, certify treatments and then be able to deliver the same to me at the exact time I need it, in the form I need it and by whom I need it from?  Insane!  There is NO WAY that any person capable of becoming elected in this country has the ability to set aside politics to get to where they need to be to assist me in my health.  None.

There is one special case where I break from my conservative friends though.  Children.  And this is why.  I do not see children as self determining actors in the “market”.  Nor do I see them as responsible for their own well being.  This combination sets children in the case where they can not take care of themselves, should not be expected to take care of themselves and further, can be seen as an investment in the prosperity of us all.  In short; children are special cause.

I feel that kids should be afforded the normal and required preventative care that is seen as normal and reasonable for a young person.  Further, I think that we have the perfect delivery mechanism for this care; the public schools.  Here we have mandatory attendance, physical facilities, insurance to cover accidents and administration capable of organizing delivery of care.  I think that all children should be seen by an MD, a dentist and an eye doctor twice annually.  Mandatory through graduation or while still in school.

After that, I think that you should be on your own to obtain the care that you need for yourself and your family.

Regards,

pino

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