Friday, May 10, 2013 

Worldwide Space Cowboys are Dead

Worldwide Space Cowboys are Dead. Is the Occasional Ginsberg next?
Entry By The_Lex

Friday, October 23, 2009 

A Rant on Expectations of Health Insurance (Answer to Last Entries Comments)

I'm just going to throw in something that will probably make people angry.

Pure insurance, the most fundamental concept, doesn't generally include compassion and is not conceived to take on risks that have pre-existing conditions. Houses that have fucked up plumbing systems, bad fire hazards, etc. etc. will not be covered by a company. Business that run the risk of hurting tons of people will not be accepted by a company.

The differences between a house and a person is that house isn't alive and the only real obstacle to getting it insurable is the cost to fix it up. A business can change its practices to become insurable.

A person, on the other hand, when they get injured or many diseases, it's stuff that doesn't go away. A body can't get fixed up or necessarily change how it functions to make it insurable. Then there's genetic cases, etc. etc.

As my dad says: "Insurance is not a charity. These companies are in it to make money." These companies are for-profit companies, they're not non-profits or charitable organizations. They are beholden to their stockholders, their policyholders and the almighty dollar. And for the policyholders, they need to make sure they have money ready to pay eligible claims.

Even if they weren't for-profit, the other issue with pre-existing conditions and such is that without underwriting, declining, exclusions, etc. etc., premiums go sky high!

In the case of homeowners policies, they do not cover damages from floods. The government has to pick that up through the National Flood Insurance Program under the Department of Homeland Security (the NFIP was before Homeland, but that's just a part of history), and even NFIP policies have maximum limits of $250,000 on dwelling limits against floods.

The reason why homeowners policies don't cover flood and NFIP policies put a maximum limit is that floods and water damage are huge losses. If homeowners policies covered floods, premiums on the policies would be almost as much as the cost of the home. There would be no point to getting the insurance if the cost of it is the cost of your home pretty much every year.

If health insurance covered everything and accepted everyone, premiums would be sky high. It would essentially be a scheme of funneling healthy people's money to help sick people. That's not insurance. Insurance is essentially a gamble of a company accepting premiums from a lot of good risks & paying out when one of the good risks has a loss and hopefully a catastrophic loss, not a small loss. That's why there's deductibles, to discourage people making small claims & wallowing away the reserves of insurance companies or, in other words, money that other insureds paid to build up those reserves.

I still think healthcare needs some major reform and that there needs to be some resort for majorly sick people, people who have been raped, etc. etc. Nonetheless, that would be charity or some kind of government program, not private for-profit insurance.

Yeah, I think there have been some corrupt insurance companies and executives and other insurance companies have done some dumb shit (ahem, AIG). I think things get lost in the bureaucracy. I think there's a whole bunch of things that deviate away from the ideal that need to be corrected on the level of automation, processes, quality control, information management, decision making, etc. etc.

Nonetheless, I don't believe for-profit insurance companies are the place to make things better. In many ways they have done much good for their insureds. Insurance companies act in some sort as a form of collective bargaining to bring the costs down on in-network providers, which is probably the major benefit they've provided for people. I think this automatic collective bargaining has actually contributed to making people a little lazy about not doing their own bargaining, and that's what the new HSA-compatible plans are supposed to address.

As an attempt at controlling costs and trying to advance relationships between doctors and their patients, I actually think HMOs work as a good model. The consumer end user doesn't like the lack of choice, however. We also don't have enough doctors in the field to make HMOs work well.

In all honesty, I've read in industry magazines that all the different programs in private health insurance are still being explored and in something of an embryonic stage. The people have a demand for it, so the companies and the think tanks have pretty much put stuff together as a patchwork to give them something. Of course it won't necessarily work right because they need time to work out the kinks and issues.

Basically, in the long run, when the private insurance companies work right, I don't think they're meant to address the far out cases that generally get brought up in the news or the cases that stand out as the stories that seem typical. Yeah, some of the cases are dumb shit & the insurance companies do dumb shit because they're a bureaucracy.

In the long run, though, unless my conditions do get met, I believe that helping people that can't get private insurance pay their health bills should be taken up by the government or by some sort of charitable organization. Health insurance is just not conceived originally to address those cases.

And being in the insurance industry, I can also cite the case of Massachusetts as an attempt to both cut costs and to try cutting down on the cases of people trying to take advantage of the insurance industry by trying to get it when they need it to pay for something. That is not the intent of insurance. Intent of insurance is to have it before anything arises that needs to get paid.

It's not a black & white issue. There's expectations on both sides and both sides have also abused their responsibilities in the matter.

I really just had to get some of that out after having been exposed to people this morning having expectations for insurance higher than reality can meet.

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Entry By The_Lex

Monday, October 19, 2009 

New debate, old fucking news.

I think it's time for some good old fashioned discussion, so this time we'll be chatting each other up about the healthcare debate. I'll begin by throwing this out there: it's pathetically stupid to even call it a debate. Cuba, poorer than dusty shite, can afford healthcare for all it's citizens but we're too strapped? How much did we give those bastard banks for their bailout again? And why can we still afford two wars and the damn Pentagon?

Please remember, I've already made up my mind and I can give you the answers to all those rhetorical questions. I want to read what you think...
Entry By helioshamash

Tuesday, November 04, 2008 

just do it, do it justice

Election 2008 Voting Information

Today, November 4th, is Election Day! Remember to vote--not just for Barack Obama, but for Congressional, state and local candidates as well.

Where and when do I vote?

Find your polling place, voting times, and other important information by checking out these sites and the hotline below. These resources are good, but not perfect. To be doubly sure, you can also contact your local elections office.

What should I do before I go?

  • After you've entered your address on either Vote For Change or Vote411, read the voting instructions and special rules for your state.
  • Voting ID laws vary from state to state, but if you have ID, bring it.
  • Check out all the voting myths and misinformation to look out for: http://truth.voteforchange.com/

What if something goes wrong?

  • Not on the voter list? Make sure you're at the right polling place, then demand a provisional ballot.
  • If you're voting on an electronic machine with a paper record, verify that the record is accurate.
  • Need legal help? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE
  • Try to get video of the problem and submit it to VideoTheVote.org

Want to do more?

  • Text all of your friends: "Vote Obama today! Pass it on!"
  • Volunteer at your local Obama office. Find an office here or here.
  • Make calls from home for Obama.

Now everybody go vote!!!

Entry By GreenSmile

Friday, September 28, 2007 

Are Our Lives Our Careers

The other night, I met a friend for a coffee. I'm a administrative/sales assistant and customer service rep at an insurance agency by day and writing is my main career. She's an event marketer with some ad design assignments by day and singer-songwriter is her main career. We met on the job as event marketers for this one company before we left it for various reasons.

For a first half hour or so, we spent most of our time talking about our day jobs, what we do and some of our accomplishments. We moved onto talking about our old supervisor who we both worked under at the job where we met. Afterword, we discussed our main careers, which then diverged off into talking about our educations, financial issues and histories, a little bit about what happened after we got out of college (a lot about my history between school and start my day job in isnurance) and as the night wound down, we started talking about the industry trends an forecasts for our particular main careers along with an ending tangent on how we think educational systems in our society should work, how education shapes people and how the lack of interest in reading really works against my main career.

All very interesting, but my main point of issue is how it took us something like half an hour to forty five minutes of talking about our day jobs and the awkwardness at times of try to connect again. Our jobs aren't don't really cross that much, industry-wise and there would really have to be a lot of educating each other about our respective jobs if we wanted to have extensive conversations about both our jobs. Possibly the most annoyingly tragic part, though, is that these day jobs consume so much of our time, attention and energy that we have to play catch up day job-wise before we can even broach the discussions that interest us, which includes our main careers.

We would probably have a very different conversation if we saw each other on a more regular basis or e-mailed more often. Last time we met up was probably about a month ago, and we've been so busy with our day jobs and main careers that e-mailing and blogging has become more of a luxury than something that can become a daily routine. At least, that's how it is for me.

Things have to be this way for the both of us since we haven't gotten unqualified success in our careers (at least she's gigging -- I haven't even presented a written article or story except to writing workshops). I just get so frustrated how much the day job can become a barrier from both career success and the ease of entering deeper and more interesting conversation with some element of comfortable grace.

I can't wait for getting my career going. . ..

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Entry By The_Lex

Monday, September 24, 2007 

Shaw's Playing It Simple and One-on-One

So. . .um. . .yeah. . .Shaw's put the smack down on being the center of the hub. He's his own man. Did everyone know Shaw's the Man?

If you contradict me about Shaw, you'll have to go through me first.

Shaw's the Man.

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Entry By The_Lex

Thursday, February 15, 2007 

Something About the World Doesn't Feel Right

I'm disappointed in it.

It doesn't rock enough.

I think it needs more rock.

Anyone else agree?
Entry By The_Lex

Thursday, January 25, 2007 

To upgrade or not to upgrade

Yo! Team!
This blog is lagging in ways beside the regularity of posting: Its and "old blogger" blog in a world of declining support and increasing buggyness. I was loath to switch my blogs but it got so that the "publish" buttons were not doing anything. Not that new blogger is perfect, mind you. The conversion will mess with our settings, e.g. RSS feed will default to "FULL" even if we had set none or short. But sooner or later we gotta make the leap. A cursory check of ET showed me that newest posts, stuck in the server under old blogger did show up and oldest posts back to the dawn of blogging [my personal dawn that is] had all come over in tact.

What say you?
Entry By GreenSmile

Tuesday, January 16, 2007 

Pawn Shop.

I think pawn shops show us what banks and credit card companies are really like.

Entry By helioshamash

Wednesday, January 03, 2007 

Flotsamisms.

Anyone been to a pawn shop lately?
Entry By helioshamash

Wednesday, November 01, 2006 

Yo!

What's up?
Entry By The_Lex

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 

Now Soliciting Comments...
On Patriotism And The Pledge

Thought this group might have some fun weighing in on today's blogtopic: Teaching the pledge of allegiance to middle school students.*




*though I wouldn't touch the whole "under G-d" thing in a public school setting with a ten foot Huppah pole...
Entry By boyhowdy

Friday, August 25, 2006 

Naked People In Brattleboro

Hey, did any of you catch this front page article in the Boston Globe?
Groups of young people have been congregating in a downtown parking lot and enjoying the warm summer weather without clothing, and that bothers some local residents...

The lot in question? Harmony.

Darcie and I actually encountered the naked people in question last Friday when we went out for our anniversary. It made the experience of being in (usually casual) downtown Brattleboro in wedding dress and tie just that much more surreal.
Entry By boyhowdy