I just received a rebate check in the mail. Why?
Because the 80/20 rule in the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, requires that health insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of their premiums on health care services. Since my insurance company spent only 77 percent in 2011, it must rebate 3 percent of its $26 million of collected premiums back to its customers. The headline for this pleasant surprise should be “Act Already Actually Acting!”
This 80/20 “Medical Loss Ratio” rule is one component of many in the health reform law that earns a high public approval rating. The more that people learn about this legislation, the higher the approval ratings go. A friend just received a preventative care procedure at next to no cost. A neighbor’s daughter, a recent college graduate, can stay on her parents’ plan for a few more years. People with preexisting conditions cannot be turned away, and insurance companies cannot arbitrarily set upper limits on coverage. Millions of people are getting help with their prescription drug expenses. The list goes on.
Eight times as much money was spent demonizing the ACA than was spent promoting it. However, now that we are getting past “death panels,” “socialism,” and “unconstitutional” nonsense, the poll numbers are shifting dramatically. Dennis Rehberg’s claim that the ACA is a threat to Medicare is absurd! His claim is a ruse to deceive senior citizens. Indeed, if he and his ilk had their way, Medicare, Social Security, and every progressive advance of the past two centuries would be compromised – if not eliminated – along with the ACA.
The individual mandate aspect of the ACA was originally a conservative think-tank idea designed to promote personal responsibility. It is the centerpiece of Romneycare in Massachusetts. Now conservatives are railing against it as “a massive tax hike on the middle class.” What hypocrisy!
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 July 2012 23:13
Still fresh on everybody’s mind, I would like to extend a big thank you to the Billings community, the many volunteers we had, and the crew that helped us load, unload and assist our 97 veterans on the inaugural Big Sky Honor Flight.
It was a quick two-day trip, but the excitement and many stories I heard from the World War II veterans were priceless! This was truly a trip of a lifetime for these veterans who have waited so long to be thanked for a job well done in WWII.
As I mentioned, our helpers, escorts and medical staff did so much to make the trip wonderful. From loading and unloading 60 wheelchairs at every stop, checking oxygen and taking care of all that was needed, the assistance was tremendous. Also, Tom Binford, airport staff and the Traffic Safety Administration did an exceptional job in seeing that everything went smoothly.
Last, but not least, I want to thank the board members who, since October of last year, have attended meeting after meeting to line up our first Big Sky Honor Flight, job well done!
But our job is not done yet. We still have two, three, four and possibly five flights to take all eligible WWII veterans and terminally ill veterans from all wars back to Washington, D.C., to see the WWII Memorial.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 July 2012 23:12
Now that the Supremes have decreed Obamacare legal, Nancy Pelosi’s words are never more relevant – “Pass the [2,900 page] bill so you can find out what’s in it.” So, what IS in it?
1. One of the largest tax increases in history – 21 separate tax increases and new taxes, 75 percent of which hit the middle class and $500 billion in total tax hikes. Examples: the individual mandate (2.5 percent times gross income); employer mandate ($3,000 per employee); investment income surtax (3.8 percent); Medicare payroll tax hike; medical device sales tax; tax on high-end health plans; insurance premiums tax.
These tax increases when the private sector is already struggling are reason alone for Americans to reject Obamacare. But the tax hikes are only one class of multiple problems with Obamacare.
2. Reduced choices in the variety of insurance coverage available. Leftwing, politically correct mandated coverages based on what D.C. bureaucrats feel must be included in YOUR insurance. Another bureaucrat panel tells doctors what types of care won’t be allowable.
3. Higher cost because of all the new coverages mandated into every policy. Slanted news coverage mentions only trivial objectionable mandates like birth control, but some estimates indicate all mandates combined could double insurance costs. How is this controlling health care costs?
Last Updated on Friday, 20 July 2012 10:11
The U.S. is experiencing extreme weather and giant fires to the extent that in just one week of this summer, 2,500 weather-related records were broken. Still, the meteorologists hardly dare mention “climate change,” and certainly not “manmade climate change.”
The Heartland Institute’s 25-year mission, funded by the likes of ExxonMobil, has done its dirty work well. Seventy percent of Republicans now believe mankind’s excessive production of carbon has nothing to do with climate change. The Democrats simply don’t talk about it. Broadcasting corporations invented “clean coal,” and they stand firmly with fossil fuel corporations.
In Montana, both of our senators support further development of fossil fuel and the Keystone XL pipeline. Even Obama quivers in the face of big energy. Our Yellowstone County commissioners don’t object to 60 trains a day through Billings; instead they pass a resolution in support of fossil fuel development “for jobs and American’s energy security,” they all say.
No one seems to notice that the energy produced will go directly into the world market, ending up mostly in China and India, where it will rapidly become part of our earth’s atmosphere, causing even more deadly weather. Do they really think that the oil giants would willingly give the U.S. some kind of a break?
This situation is the Montana Mistral, the cold wind from the north, bringing death. But it is not politically correct to talk about it. Where has all the courage gone? Away with the melting glaciers.
Last Updated on Friday, 20 July 2012 10:11
In Valerie Harms’ July 5 letter to the editor, “Women’s Rights Slipping,” she cited several examples of repulsive Republican idiocy, which shouldn’t be excoriated or minimized any more or less than repulsive Democratic idiocy. She is justifiably upset that rules protecting women are being ignored.
What she is ignoring, however, is the social rebellion of the 1960s, which created a philosophy of “I can do what I want, I can say what I want and my responsibility and respect toward others are minimal.”
But that philosophy doesn’t work if applied to all forms of freedom. If someone shoots their mouth off, with no regard for anyone else, people rush to defend the freedom of expression, which of course they wouldn’t do if someone shot their gun off with no regard for anyone else.
But the entertainment industry, run mainly by men, reinforces this “1960s Rebellion Theory” (which doesn’t work) through lyrics and movies. Entertainers glorify profanity, vulgarity and verbal abuse. They portray women as sexual objects, still.
The men who believe this “1960s Rebellion” philosophy respond only to threats.
Last Updated on Friday, 20 July 2012 10:10