Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Health Care Law. Maybe Frum should be writing speeches at the DNC headquarters?

That is amazing. He tries to help from his perspective so the Republicans don't continue to destroy their own pahhhhhhhty and he gets kicked out of conservative institutions. That's okay David, you can walk in our direction now.

I left off with Section 1004 (b)

The next section is Subtitle B - Immediate Actions to Preserve and Expand Coverage


(a) In General- Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish a temporary high risk health insurance pool program to provide health insurance coverage for eligible individuals during the period beginning on the date on which such program is established and ending on January 1, 2014.

On July 14, 2010 these provision take effect under this provision until January 2, 1024 when the mainstay of the law comes into effect.

(b) Administration-

(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary may carry out the program under this section directly or through contracts to eligible entities.

The language is clear. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will administer the program out of her office or she will have 'contracts' with reputable and dependable individuals, companies or otherwise to administer the law as written so the department has assistance with the transition.

(2) ELIGIBLE ENTITIES- To be eligible for a contract under paragraph (1), an entity shall--

These are the conditions the Secretary has to adhere to when contracting outside entities to carry out the law.

(A) be a State or nonprofit private entity;

There is just one objection that hasn't been written into the law. I don't see this happening with a novice or new start up company. I would expect the Secretary to have a good idea as to what entity would be best and most reputable and most trustworthy to carry out the new law.

(B) submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require; and

(C) agree to utilize contract funding to establish and administer a qualified high risk pool for eligible individuals.

(3) MAINTENANCE OF EFFORT- To be eligible to enter into a contract with the Secretary under this subsection, a State shall agree not to reduce the annual amount the State expended for the operation of one or more State high risk pools during the year preceding the year in which such contract is entered into.

(c) Qualified High Risk Pool-

Definition most likely as to whom exactly is comprising a High Risk Pool.

(1) IN GENERAL- Amounts made available under this section shall be used to establish a qualified high risk pool that meets the requirements of paragraph (2).

(2) REQUIREMENTS- A qualified high risk pool meets the requirements of this paragraph if such pool--

This is very suspenseful. Reading all these requirements before the requirements makes it suspenseful by the time the legislation finally gets around to it.

(A) provides to all eligible individuals health insurance coverage that does not impose any preexisting condition exclusion with respect to such coverage;

(B) provides health insurance coverage--

(i) in which the issuer’s share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under such coverage is not less than 65 percent of such costs; and

That means there can be a profit of any policy written that reflects a surplus amount to the INSURED of no more than 35%. That would be the profit the company that is supplying the insurance can charge under the law. The reason that exists is because there is NOT in place regulatory agents trained and able to carry out the law that will take effect January 1, 2014 which limits profits to 20%.

The issuer cannot charge astronomical costs to any individual to provide a PROHIBITIVE mechanism to keep citizens from obtaining the policies. In other words, these polices are the ones that the insurance industry has proven to discard as unprofitable. Hm.

(ii) that has an out of pocket limit not greater than the applicable amount described in section 223(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (click here) for the year involved, except that the Secretary may modify such limit if necessary to ensure the pool meets the actuarial value limit under clause (i);

This is only a guess, but, I estimate that most of these policies will fall under and be protected by this provision from the above statute.

(C) Safe harbor for absence of preventive care deductible
A plan shall not fail to be treated as a high deductible health plan by reason of failing to have a deductible for preventive care (within the meaning of section 1871 of the Social Security Act, except as otherwise provided by the Secretary).

That means the insurers can call these policies 'high risk' and apply the deductibles that the law states are maximum to the policies, BUT, they cannot apply hideous deductibles to those policies.

And these would be the WORSE case deductibles for these policies:

(B) in the case of an eligible individual who has family coverage under a high deductible health plan as of the first day of such month, the lesser of—
(i) the annual deductible under such coverage,
(ii) $5,150.

If I am reading the statue quoted above correctly, the annual deductible is no more than $5,150. The portion that discusses MONTHLY also states this:

(2) Monthly limitation
The monthly limitation for any month is 1⁄12 of—

Therefore, the deductible to any insured in any given month to any high risk, high deductible POOL member will not exceed more than $429.17, plus the premiums. And of course, the premiums to this pool will be shared on a large scale basis of many members so that one member is not receiving exorbitant premiums. The premiums will be consistent throughout the 'pool member.'

(2) High deductible health plan
(A) In general
The term “high deductible health plan” means a health plan—
(i) which has an annual deductible which is not less than—
(I) $1,000 for self-only coverage, and
(II) twice the dollar amount in subclause (I) for family coverage, and
(ii) the sum of the annual deductible and the other annual out-of-pocket expenses required to be paid under the plan (other than for premiums) for covered benefits does not exceed—
(I) $5,000 for self-only coverage, and
(II) twice the dollar amount in subclause (I) for family coverage.

(C) ensures that with respect to the premium rate charged for health insurance coverage offered to eligible individuals through the high risk pool, such rate shall--

(i) except as provided in clause (ii), vary only as provided for under section 2701 of the Public Health Service Act ( the title used for the Public Health Service Act is Title 42 (click here)

The problem is the 'on line' version of the Public Health Service Act is divided into 'chapters' which would then contain 'sections' of which lies 'section 2701.' There is no search engine on that website and makes it a little tedious to find it. I will trust the 'entities' that will administering that law will be able to find it.

(as amended by this Act and notwithstanding the date on which such amendments take effect);

The Public Health Service Act, Title 42, was one of the first legislative measures by the new country's congress. Let me see when it was written, something like 1792. Sorry, it is NOT that old, it just seemed like it. The law was written in 1944. It has been amended many, many, many times over which led me to believe it was written hundreds of years ago and not decades. So the statement above about 'not withstanding the date on which such amendments, etc' is simply a legal issue to include the date of enactment of the amendment.

But, before going any further it looks as though the legislators have done all they could to keep the cost somewhat reasonable. It looks as though the most any insurer, up to January 1, 2014, can charge to any insured in this 'high risk pool' is approximately $5000.00 annually plus premiums as decided by the administrator of the POOL. That premium can only be 'marked up' 35% of determined costs the insurer can PROVE are theirs to pay.

It sounds like a lot and it is, however, that is better than having no insurance. People without insurance run the risk of feeling hopeless, justifying their lack of physician attention due to lack of coverage, turn to non-traditional methods of 'healing' and could subsequently die due to self diagnosis and self medicating. It is a good investment for the meantime until the mainstay of the bill takes effect. The 'key' here is mandatory vs non-compliant. The 'key' is budgeting and seeking help with the cost as it arises where one can. Sometimes that means asking for help if one sincerely needs it AND possibly qualifying for other assistance programs if the cost is too 'out of reach.'

I hesitate to say this is a 'give away' to health insurers. I don't believe it is. That 35% profit could disappear if the company isn't administering their own responsibilities correctly. There is also the monitoring that goes along with all this to be sure costs are 'correct' and kept in check as the current administration realizes and has made a high priority the fact that people drop their coverage if they need monies for other purposes over and above health insurance coverage when they aren't feeling ill.

The law is not designed to alienate people or serve an empty purpose. There are insurances today that don't even cover that much for a lot more than is reasonable to pay.

90 days from now, we'll know for sure.

(ii) vary on the basis of age by a factor of not greater than 4 to 1; and

(iii) be established at a standard rate for a standard population; and

(D) meets any other requirements determined appropriate by the Secretary.

I'll pick up again tomorrow.


...The changes include:

-- Only a general or flag officer may separate an enlisted member believed at the conclusion of an investigation to have engaged in homosexual conduct. Under previous policy, a colonel -- or for a captain in the Navy and Coast Guard – could order separation.

-- A revision in what’s needed to begin an inquiry or a separation proceeding. Information provided by a third party now must be given under oath, “discouraging the use of overheard statements and hearsay,” Gates said.

-- Certain categories of confidential information -- such as information provided to lawyers, clergy and psychotherapists -- no longer will be used in support of discharges. Information provided to medical personnel in furtherance of treatment, or to a public-health official in the course of seeing professional assistance for domestic or physical abuse also is excluded, as well as information obtained in the process of security-clearance investigations, in accordance with existing Pentagon policies.

“These changes reflect some of the insights we have gained over 17 years of implementing the current law, including the need for consistency, oversight and clear standards,” the secretary said. “I believe these changes represent an important improvement in the way the current law is put into practice -- above all, by providing a greater measure of common sense and common decency to a process for handling what are difficult and complex issues for all involved....


I had no idea that before this ruling the process was so hideous. It is almost an embarrassment to the military, isn't it? A 'trial' that actually robs a person of their dignity, identity, career and actually is a form of abuse would not even be held in the Civilian Courts.

I'm not impressed with the 'state of the way things were' before now in the military. It is more than unenlightened.

Good decent, hard working people that happen to practice a different sexual orientation THAN THE MAJORITY can have their lives this tenuous, ESPECIALLY, in the USA military is more than worrisome.

In my opinion, the ONLY reason any soldier, man or woman, should be reviewed at all at any level is if there are charges of sexual harassment, including all sexual identities of any member of the military. This 'problem' that seems to exist over sexual identity is more than curious. I have good friends that I spend time with that are gay and I could not understand why this would ever happen to them. It just doesn't make sense.

They might understand it, but, I don't.

They are some of the best in their chosen professions and I admire their lives and their values. They want to be married.

Tenuous is terrible way to live a life. Yet. Tenuous is ever so present in many GLBT lives. Tenuous over jobs, relationships, custody of children and their place within any religion they feel strongly can be one they would like to participate.

How does anyone that is heterosexual reconcile these issues with just a simple statement that is destroying lives? I can't get my mind around that entire mess. Maybe I just don't understand hatred.

I am pleased the military is making changes. I am confident that as time goes by the officers and leaders will feel more and more comfortable WITHOUT a poorly conceived culture surrounding the topic of sexual identity.


...what is occurring with Ms. Maddow is bigotry and hatred. Whether she realizes it or not, she is being circulated through the GOP as an icon to hate.

J. D. Hayworth appeared on her show and is running against John McCain. He is a liar and manipulator as well as a friend of Jack Abramoff.

The "Good Ole Boy" network of the GOP has found a way to victimize a very bright and talented lady as an icon of what could potentially be in the hearts of the next elected Democrat.

They are simply disgusting people. I don't know what else to call slime like Hayworth and Brown.

Rachel, of course, will laugh it off and not pursue a slander or discrimination suit. But, I am confident she is sincerely hurt by all this when in fact she is attempting to expose some of the worst low life of the GOP.

I love her show. She is always fact checked and cutting edge.

Awesome only begins to describe.

Scott Brown is lying. Why believe anything he says?

Couldn't find a naked picture of Ms. Maddow for equity purposes.


Believe me.

I looked.

Evidently, Brown seems to believe he can say anything, remain credible and get away with it. In recent emails to past contributors to his campaign he stated he was running in 2012 against Rachel Maddow. He's lying. Other than just in bed.

He might be running against Ms. Maddow, BUT, only in his dreams.

In her news hour last night she stated, she is voting for him in 2012 as a Massachusetts resident because she loves his stand on the Easter Rabbit.

So, you see, he might be just delusional enough to believe he actually is running against Ms. Maddow and her phenomenal popularity, but, in REALITY there is basis of truth in it.

I guess everyone just wants to humor the guy until his competency is actually tested. If it ever will be as a Republican.

Huffington Post

Danny Shea First Posted: 02-19-10 05:11 PM

Updated: 02-19-10 05:24 PM

"Meet the Press" has benefitted from another Maddow Bump.

The NBC Sunday morning program moderated by David Gregory averaged 4.162 million total viewers for first place. That's the show's highest total viewer delivery since March 22, 2009.

Gregory interviewed Vice President Joe Biden and the roundtable included David Brooks, Rep. Aaron Schock, Harold Ford, and Rachel Maddow.

Maddow's first appearance, in August, brought the show its highest numbers since April. She battled Schock in a particularly memorable clip on this Sunday's episode.

"Meet the Press" beat CBS' "Face the Nation" (3.025 million) by the widest margin since May 17, 2009, and it beat ABC's "This Week" (2.508 million) by the widest margin since December 7, 2008. The 2.508 million total viewers represent ABC's lowest total viewer delivery since August 23, 2009.

The winds are very high over the Atlantic Ocean and there is a 'wave trend' that has developed.

The Mediterranean Sea as seen from space.

The waters of the Mediterranean Sea mix with Atlantic waters at the Strait of Gibralter. The ship was close enough to that point to be hit by a rouge wave from the Atlantic. That interface between the two bodies of water, at the strait, should be monitored with tsunami buoys. The seas at the strait are always a little tricky because of wave dynamics, even on a good day. But, just off the strait is a large terrestrial 'drop off' to the Atlantic Ocean floor. That would accommodate significant water coming across the Atlantic to enter the strait unexpectedly and with significant volume of water. The strait is approximately where the North Atlantic Drift and Canary Currents meet as well, so changes in water volume there could effect the waters in the Mediterranean if there were abnormal wave heights.

Just a thought. There is no reason to believe this can't happen again, the vortexes haven't abated yet and even when they do there will be residual effects for awhile.

All major oceans are like big bath tubs. They have water that sloshes around and sometimes becomes unwieldy. There is nothing that can be done about it.

The 'winds' over the oceans have picked up 'over time' in the last few years. The upper tropospheric vortexes contribute to it.

There is such a ? thing ? as 'the air-water interface.' It is the physics of Earth's troposphere.

That is what has brought strong winds, along with storms, over the USA this past winter. When winds are 'consistently' high, there will be a trend in rising 'wave height.' That is what is occurring over the Atlantic and it is my belief that is what contributed to the wave in early March that hit the cruise ship off of France.

The captains of any ships crossing the Atlantic should be aware of this trend and perhaps chose different routes to the same destination where this phenomena is not occurring.

Greek and Cypriot officials say 26-foot waves have crashed into a cruise ship with nearly 2,000 people on board off France, smashing glass windshields and killing two passengers.
(Getty Images)


Mar 04, 2010

A passenger on the cruise ship that was slammed by deadly, massive waves in the Mediterranean is calling the ordeal "terrifying."

Two people were killed in the incident on Wednesday and 14 were injured.

Claude Cremex, 73, of Marseille, France tells the Associated Press that he was resting in his cabin because of the rough seas when the nearly 30-foot walls of water hit the 1,790-passenger ship Louis Majesty.

Cremex says the waves broke windows in a restaurant and flooded passenger cabins.

Our colleagues at Cruise Log have more here.

(Posted by Doug Stanglin)

The nation's job rate is improving with California lagging somewhat in the recovery curve.

US jobless claims fall to 15-month low (click here)

By Alan Rappeport in New York

Published: March 25 2010 13:30 | Last updated: March 25 2010 13:30

The number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level since December 2008 last week as accelerating economic output helped slow the pace of job cuts....

Can citizens 'force the curve' to improve. Yes, but, it isn't advocated to that. USA Citizens that feel confident and secure should seek to do business in the market place and help force the re-employment curve to improve.

With Summer months coming, the service industry of tourism may be a big contributor to the economic recovery if Americans and foreign tourists feel confident enough to enjoy some real bargains.

Should people 'force the curve' if uncertainty is still a present aspect to their lives and families? Absolutely not. Having a realistic budget is the BEST economic recovery the citizens of the USA can have and abide by. It is far more important to find secure and stable footing and to attempt to improve the economy in a faux dash for bargains.

It will happen, it just might take a little longer than everyone wants, but, it will happen all in due time.

The unemployment rate in California will average 11.8% in 2010, according to a UCLA economic forecast. The rate was 12.5% in January, the highest since World War II. Above, job seekers talk to a truck driving school recruiter at an employment event in Ontario. (David McNew / Getty Images / February 25, 2010)

California's economic recovery will lag behind the nation's in 2010, but then overtake it as U.S. consumers start buying again and goods come through the region's ports and transportation hubs, according to a forecast released Wednesday by economists at the UCLA Anderson School of Business.

The state's unemployment rate won't fall below double digits until 2012, economists predicted.

"It's going to take a while," said Jerry Nickelsburg, a senior economist with the forecast. "We dug a pretty big hole."

The state will benefit from U.S. consumer spending as imports come through the ports and generate jobs in logistics and transportation. But consumers aren't yet spending very much, indicating this year will be a slow one for the state....