If You Lose Your Health Insurance

The way ObamaCare is working, it’s quite possible that a third of Americans who currently HAVE health insurance may lose it. This includes people who had employer-funded coverage who stand to get dropped, as well as those who have private plans that are no-longer in compliance and who now must sign up for one of the “better” plans.

Whatever you do, if you lose coverage, think long and hard before signing up for one of the other plans. If, after reviewing those plans, you decide that you can afford a plan that will prevent you from going broke if you have a medical disaster, then by all means do what you must do to hedge yourself against that eventuality.

But let’s say that you fall into one of the following categories:

(a) You cannot afford any of the new plans;

(b) You can afford the premium for one of the new plans, but the plan you can afford will not be sufficient to provide the financial hedging that you need if you have a medical event.

In such a case, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. In that event, the rational decision is to take the path that allows you the most control over your own money.

That means:

(1) Don’t bother purchasing insurance.

(2) Take the amount you would otherwise spend on premiums and save it. You can still put up to $2,500 into a Health Savings Account (HSA), pre-tax. If your employer has Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), you can sock pre-tax money away into those. And with some new rules coming down, you may be able to carry $500 in FSA money over to the next year. Beyond that, stick as much money as you can into an envelope.

(3) Be proactive in seeking physicians with whom you can arrange private payment in the event you will end up needing to do this. Many will work with you. Try to cover as many bases as you think you will need–a primary care doc, a dentist, a pediatrician, a general practitioner, a cardiologist, an orthopedic surgeon, a neurologist, a dermatologist–and get ahead of the curve.

While ObamaCare is a disaster, it can also be a great opportunity for Americans to seize the initiative and become a free country again. Breaking the chains of the financial-medical complex–while not the only step necessary–is an integral step toward that end.

Obama Betrays the Good Faith of Americans, Part 2

First, there was Benghazi. Two retired Navy SEALs put in a Medal of Honor-caliber performance; an Ambassador called desperately for help; when Gen. Carter Ham tried to do his part to send in the help–as a military man, he understands the “leave no man behind” ethos–he was forcibly relieved of duty. Four men died. They trusted a President, and that President turned his back on them.

Now, President Obama and his sidekick–John Pierre Kerry–have announced a “deal” with Iran, supposedly limiting their development of nuclear weaponry.

While the strengths of that “deal” are dubious, the fact remains that this “deal” was reached without securing the release of American Christian pastor Saeed Abedini and retired FBI agent Bob Levinson.

I cannot imagine President Carter negotiating a deal with another country that did not include the release of any Americans being held under suspicious circumstances. And yet Obama/Kerry left both an American pastor and a retired FBI agent hanging out to dry.

As Jon Stewart would say, there is no good way to spin that turd.

Carter, for all his faults, was trying to “do no harm”. His policies were often wrong, but no one can say he was corrupt, or that he willfully turned his back on the American people.

For Obama to pass on an opportunity like this–probably the best he was going to get–to free two Americans who are being unjustly held–is a betrayal of good faith. It would have been a simple matter to include the release of both the pastor–and the FBI agent–as a condition of any deal.

For the purpose of this discussion, I don’t care what your religion is. If you’re an American and you are overseas, you should have a reasonable expectation that your State Department–and the Executive Branch–is going to contend for your best interests if another country harasses you or, worse, throws you in jail on some BS charge.

The President is supposed to be the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. As such, he should be expected to understand the “Leave no man behind” ethos. In military circles, that is HUGE. Officers have had their careers ended for violating that.

While the President–like myself–is not of a military background, a President who leaves Americans hanging out to dry–when he had a chance to free them in a very simple diplomatic move–is beyond disgraceful.

The Real Question: Does it Even Matter?

CBS News is reporting record lows for President Obama’s approval rating as well as overwhelming lack of support for ObamaCare by the American public.

Those approval numbers are well-deserved, as ObamaCare has been a complete and utter disaster. While the failures of the website have been nothing short of catastrophic, they pale in comparison to the shock of ObamaCare, which has millions of Americans losing their jobs, getting their hours cut, losing their health insurance and being forced to purchase plans that have fewer benefits and higher costs, and run the risk of losing their physicians, who may not be “in network”.

Much has been made of states like Kentucky, which apparently had a smoother rollout for the online health exchanges. Except that most of the Kentucky enrollees are for MEDICAID. This is a budget bubble waiting to burst.

Still, in assessing these disasters, the most important question here is this: does it even matter?

Keep in mind that Obama is the President for whom Americans voted, twice.

Granted, the Republicans faced the perfect storm in 2008. Bush was largely unpopular due to the war efforts and his deficit spending. During his eight years in office, he lost both houses of Congress. While Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) had initial momentum with his selection of Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), the financial collapse of 2008 all but guaranteed Obama’s victory. Especially when McCain erased any material difference he had with his opponent by supporting TARP.

But Obama had been a weak President. While he was able to get a Democrat-controlled House and Senate to pass ObamaCare, he was so abysmal that he lost control of the House in 2010 and saw his influence in the Senate greatly-impaired.

And yet, in Mitt Romney, Republicans managed to nominate a weak candidate whose own health care reform was the model for ObamaCare.

While Obama’s campaign performance was lackluster, Romney catastrophically uninspiring. Obama carried every swing state. In order to win, Romney was needing a victory in three of four–Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. He lost all four.

America spoke, and they decided to keep Obama.

Republicans had two alternatives against that backdrop: (a) do nothing to stop ObamaCare and let it crash on its own weight, or (b) refuse to raise the debt ceiling and force a balanced budget. The latter would have forced spending issues to the surface, the former would have passively allowed a bad law to fail, at which point Obama would own it.

Instead, Republicans chose the worst possible route at the worst possible time: (c) try to defund ObamaCare while failing to address fundamental spending issues. This made it look like a political vendetta rather than a principled stand.

Now, ObamaCare is failing catastrophically. The house of cards that is postsecondary education is getting wobbly. Unemployment is still terrible in spite of five years of unprecedented economic and monetary stimulus. The national debt–not including unfunded liabilities–is double what it was when Bush left office.

And yet, Hillary Clinton has a better-than-average chance of winning in 2016. This is because there is no credible opposition in the GOP.

Yes, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) looks promising, as does Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). But they have no future in a party that is run by an establishment that is closer to Rockefeller than to the Tea Party. That is the other 9,000-pound elephant in the room besides Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ).

End-result: until the money runs out and the defecation truly slams into the circulation, don’t expect the situation to materially improve anytime soon.

Special Olympics

My daughter went to Special Olympics basketball practice. Everytime I go to a Special Olympics practice, my heart weeps. They had high school students, being supervised by adults, working one-on-one with these kids. Some of the students had obviously done this before; some were new.

As a Mom of a special needs child, my heart weeps in deep gratitude for those who willingly choose to work with these kids. If it wouldn’t be so disturbing, I’d probably just have a good cry session right there, but people would freak out, so I hold it together.

It’s just that … there’s so much with a special needs child. So much. So many battles with schools and specialists and people and so many other things. It’s just so big. But in this environment, there is no battle. No fight. No having to explain anything.

Then there are the other parents. Tonight another Mom shared her heart-wrenching story with me. I gave her my email address so she could contact me regarding navigating the special education services with the school district.

The least of these … oh, how God loves these kids! Nothing is easy in their lives or the lives of their parents and families. We sacrifice a lot, willingly, for our kids. Our whole lifestyles and life-choices are affected. It’s hard to explain that. So when we’re in an environment where we don’t have to … it’s huge.

The Education Bubble…Is She About to Go Pop?

At first glance, the cracks seem to be forming.

In the fall of 2012, published tuition and fees for in-state students at four-year U.S. public schools rose just 2.9 percent from a year earlier, the smallest increase in 33 years, the College Board reported. At private schools, published prices rose 3.8 percent, lower than the increases in recent years.

At the same time, the number of students enrolled in colleges and universities fell by nearly half a million after two decades of substantial growth, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Moody’s rating service has warned that enrollment declines threaten the finances of many colleges.

The academic world is in for quite the shakeup. The issue is not IF, it is WHEN.

If this latest report is any indicator, that shakeup is going to come down sooner rather than later.

Nanny?

I took my daughter back to the dentist today. When I checked her in I had to fill out a little form and sign. “This is so we know who’s bringing her in for her appointment,” the receptionist said to me.

I must have had a quizzical look on my face because she added, “You know, like if the Nanny brings her in … or an older sibling. We need to know who is bringing in the patient.”

I smiled, “Wow, this is a different world.”

She smiled.

I’m glad they are there. People with money demand and can afford to support such specialized services, so they exist. That is great for us.

And the dentist … wow, so patient with her. So kind. Truly cared. And with the TV’s on the ceiling above every chair continuously showing kids movies, it’s always noisy. It would drive me nuts. He had her chart pulled up on a computer right behind her head where he consulted her x-rays continuously while working in her mouth. Great technology, great service, amazing environment, and my daughter willingly let him work in her mouth (it was minor – adjusting her bite – but still huge for her).

He gained her trust. He even said, “Now that we’ve gained her trust, cleanings and other appointments will get easier.”

He gave her a mirror and showed her some things. He didn’t harp on what he knew she would not do – he understood her diagnoses.

These are the kinds of services socialism wants to get rid of. Boo.

 

Obama is Unhinged

Either President Obama has absolutely no clue how the real world works–and this is possible, as he went from academia to community organizer to politician–or he is trying deliberately to destroy the American health care system.

Fact is, businesses have spent the last three years preparing for the implementation of ObamaCare. That was passed by both houses of Congress, signed into law by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court.

As a result, businesses have made capital planning decisions around their expected costs due to this law. They have laid off workers. They have cut workers from full-time to part-time. They have dropped coverage for certain workers because the coverage did not satisfy the requirements of ObamaCare. That dropped coverage was part of a business decision that was part of a capital plan that was negotiated with investors.

In addition, insurance companies have already made capital decisions regarding the plans that were dropped, and the addition of new, “compliant” plans. Because each state has its own rules for capital requirements, insurance companies must go to great lengths to ensure that they have the necessary reserves to cover the plans that they provide. They dropped the old plans–and added the new plans–with particular capital structures in mind.

As the old plans were dropped–and new plans added–companies made key changes in business rules, some of which are very complex. Those business rules were carried over into their respective IT systems. Developers for those systems have modified their code, made database changes, and have gone through several layers of testing to make sure the new rules are working.

Therefore, to pass a law–or, setting aside the legalities here, issue an executive order–allowing people to keep their old policies, with less than two months remaining in the year and with businesses having already made decisions with respect to capital and operations, does nothing to materially improve the situation, and in fact will only make things worse.

Fact is, even if we repealed ObamaCare today–permanently, effective immediately–a mother lode of damage has already been done. It will take years to recover from this disaster.

I am not defending the Republicans on this, however, as the Establishment has utterly failed to make a coherent case for free markets, and in fact is arguably in bed with the Democrats in their desire for fascism.

A Serious Problem

In addition to the carnage of abortion, there is this little tidbit:

More than 1 million abortions took place in the U.S. in 2008, and about half of women getting an abortion had already had one before.

This is a serious problem on several levels. Demographic, political, and–yes–spiritual.

A little over 20 years ago, among women who had abortions, women who had multiple abortions were the minority. Now, we are reaching a critical mass where the women killing their children are doing it multiple times.

Compounding matters, we have reached the point where nearly half of all women–between 15 and 44–have had an abortion.

From the standpoint of male-female relations, this further muddies the waters. If you are a single man and the woman you are dating has EVER had sex, there is a significant chance that she has blood on her hands. Think of the implications of that for a while…

In 2008, Suzanne Hadley Gosselin–an ally of mine at Boundless–presented a list of hard questions that women should ask the men. (I’d link to the article, but due to the re-design of the Boundless website, the articles are difficult to find and the links I had are broken.)

FWIW: I had no problem with her list, while including some of my own. Back then I mentioned that a man may need to ask a gal–who is not a virgin–if she’s ever been pregnant, because of the risk that she may have post-abortion baggage that she’s carrying. That is even more the case now. In fact, a man may have about the same chance of landing a gal who has blood on her hands, as a gal has of landing a man with a porn addiction.

Oh, and while I am on the soapbox, while the male leaders in the Church do a wonderful job calling attention to the porn issues among the men, there is almost no mention of the abortion issues among the ladies.

(When abortion IS addressed, it’s in the general, national sense: with mention of the political and demographic issues.)

But what rarely gets coverage: there are a mother lode of mothers in the pews–and fathers who enabled them–who have such skeletons. Pastors rarely bring it up, and one must wonder if–due to the demographics of those occupying the pews and putting the money into the offering plate–that the factor driving the lack of coverage of this matter has to do with a lack of courage.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t call men out on porn; we absolutely should do that. Ditto for women who delve into such media.

That said, we also need to address–soberly–the abortion elephant in the room. It is a very large one, and it is defecating all over the place.