Coping: Getting Mine on Healthcare

Long time reader John thinks I got something wrong yesterday by posting a reader note about dialysis and healthcare reform.  He offers a very detailed (and worthwhile) discussion:

Longtime (7 years or so) reader of UrbanSurvival here, George. I have enjoyed your columns and take seriously what you have to say, even though I do find myself disagreeing with some of the things you post. I have found most of what you write to be well sourced and at least checked to some degree of accuracy. But this caught my eye, and I hope you will read on and see why I am so upset that you did not verify before allowing this to be posted to all your readers.

If I can be shown to be wrong I will gladly admit it and consider any factual counter arguments, as I am  just that sort of individual.   (So am I – g)

Regarding your Thursday’s main column. Your reader Susanne wrote in saying: just had a petition from a woman who will no longer get kidney dialysis after Oct. 1.
Note there is no such petition to be found on’s site. Ask her to cite and or supply a
link or exact copy of said petition. I have been all over their site and can find no archived or current
petitions saying what she claims. I for one would like to know the particulars, since I have several
hard core right wingers who have sent me many un-substantiated emails citing similar claims or
that their policies are going up based on Obamacare. When I point out that that is illegal, and has
been since 2011, by law, and ask to see the letter they quickly change the subject or cannot provide
any proof. See here:
ObamaCare does not increase insurance premiums directly. In fact, the law states that as of 2011,
insurance companies are no longer be able to raise insurance premiums for the sake of profit
(this is ObamaCare’s rate review provision). If health insurance companies do raise premiums,
they will have to justify rate hikes of over 10% to the state they operate in and then disclose this
information immediately on their website and
If the State does not have an effective
rate review program, the Federal Government will step in.

As for dialysis or lack of coverage for dialysis, as is being claimed by the anti-ACA crowd, please see here:
and here for factual debunking of such utter nonsense:
To my knowledge, and it is extensive, regarding insurance companies, there is not now, nor have there ever
been denials for coverage of dialysis by any of the major insurers. And Medicare fully covers the cost of it thru
the patient’s lifetime!!
I, for one, am sick of the mis-information being put out about the ACA by those too lazy to access
and read the actual law, as I have done, or who have been brainwashed by the ubiquitous anti-ACA
propaganda spewed from the likes of Roger Aisles’ “news” network. (The very same network that he is
quoted, in Rolling Stone in 2011, as saying is in no way a news organization, but a propaganda arm of the

We have a number of items to sort through here, so let me roll up the keyboard and get to work on ‘em…

First, I’m still reviewing whether to leave that comment in Thursday’s report, or not, but I looked at it again this morning in view of your remarks.

Secondly, and admittedly, I didn’t have enough time yesterday to do my usual in-depth analysis on this one, but there was indeed a petition on specifically asking  the president to “Withdraw the Proposed Cuts to the Dialysis centers and ESRD Patients” which may be inspected here. She didn’t make that up.

Third, on the prohibition on raising fees for profits, any damn fool can tell by looking at their actual costs for insurance that more than simple hard costs are being passed through.  In my own personal case, my monthly insurance has gone from the $289 range (2011) to  $450 today, which is just two years later.

That John, for Ure’s truly really is a 55.7% hike in my personal plan in the past 24-months and I have a hard time that actual costs have gone up 50% in two years.  Law, or no law.  The way these things usually work is a wink-wink, nudge-nudge to accounting and suddenly the costs have gone up dramatically. 

I saw this same thing happen time and time again in other industries, so why the law should stop any ill behavior here is an open question.  Capitalizing good will, for example…I mean a good accountant and accrual based accounting can make any picture they want, when comes right down to it. 

OK, that overstates it, but they have a fair bit of “swing room” on the books and medicine is no doubt ‘swinging” a lot these days.

Fourth, we get to the matter of republicorp front organizations and yes, there are a bunch of them, but I disagree with your assessment on whether a news organization is an arm of the RNC.

The very definition of news is “new or noteworthy information” and where we get into a problem is that most people deep down inside want to believe that there is some kind of ultimate truth or right that floats around which news organizations can shade this way or that, but ultimately there’s only a limited range of presentation.

While that may be true of single-aspect events (Yosemite fire, for example, or Ariel Castro hanging) when a story comes down to one of intersecting interests, with different opinions driving it, then that’s a whole other animal.

That’s when you get into underlying values and even in their own vertical markets, neither the repubs, demos, or libs seem to have consensus.  While I’m personally attracted to the non-corporate libertarian perspective with a heavier dose of Constitutional bounds, some of the right is off on a pure values-based tangent (and they’re values are the only true ones, if you ask ‘em) whereas the dems seem to situational-ethic everything to death.

And that leaves me looking for logical analysis, trying to sort out the emo-hooks from the reality, and then there’s the matter Susann raised about privacy concerns surrounding Obamacare.  This is something the Heritage Foundation got into in an issue briefing this week (#4032) over here.

While I’ll grant you there may be some mixing of apples and oranges, the main points are there and she added the comment “If even 10% of what I am hearing from other seniors is true, you are going to have millions of of angry voters in Oct. after they find out what a nightmare Obamacare really is. .”

That has the ring of truth to it because lots of small businessmen who do write their own checks every month, are being keelhauled by the insurance outfits and – this is even more telling – with a $2-million catastrophic plan, my insurance company still can’t tell me if what I have qualifies as an acceptable plan under the law.

But I thank you for the feedback as it’s our goal around here to be as honest as possible and cut through the crap ( where rabid right of loony left) so we can just write the right checks and move on.

It’s a joy to converse with bright people and we sincerely thank you, John.

Rob’s Housing Question

As long as I’m in the Answer Man/Mail Bag mood:

Hello George,

I just saw an ad on the tube by realtors, they said there are not enough houses for sale…. Weren’t the banks sitting on humongous numbers of foreclosed houses?

Just a thought….

Near as I can figure out the Big Picture on this, the banks still have a ton of repo homes but the Fed is handing them money to cover interest and keep them off the market.  And for a while, Venture Capital groups were buying up homes based on a lot of wet-dream statistics about renting and then turning around and selling at higher prices.

What I think will happen, is when markets all apart within the next few months, if they do, is that if the S&P 1,540 range doesn’t hold, then it will be game on for a decline to 2009 stock levels and that will bring on phase two of the housing disaster which will wipe out the VC’s who have been trying to shove their way up to housing as the new/revised craps table.

Then (while gold is likely to be down around $1,000 or lower), housing will really put in its low for this cycle and government will crank up inflation.

Ellen Asks…

Any thoughts on the large of shore gas find ,between Lebanon, Greece and Israel. Is this part of the game play?

Ellen slept through our Monday report (which has been rewritten and claimed as their own by countless sites now, but so much for being first on something…) 

Oz Note

From Jo down under:

Nobel Peace Prize…leading a nation to war…counterintuitive don’t you think? Let alone at complete odds with what constitutes REAL Leadership…authentic role modeling and walking the talk.

Even though I am Australian…this affects all of us.

No stranger than who’s been elected to our congress, I’m afraid.

Cheap Randy

Sent us an email about how to keep one of those not-so-cheap disposable razors sharp…it’s a video over here.

Slow Web

Reader Wayne thinks it’s partly the browser I use:

Hi George,
We use Firefox, our net is slow here in MT (Wireless service from the nearby mountain at 1-2Mb rate)  Lots of inter-ping delays, pings are about normal    Downtown, in cable range, speeds are up at 15Mb.
I’ve noticed a LOT of hesitation and slowdown in Yahoo mail, worse gradually over the past two months.  Computer hangs up sometimes with Yahoo mail.   Also had two blue screens in the past month,  while on Yahoo email, never before.  Kaspersky and Malware bytes on board, Maxa cookie, Windows 7 pro 64bit (hmmm…).  Dell portable with chip hard drive, plenty of ram.
We tried Verizon Home Fusion internet (in our 4g territory)–they couldn’t make it work in  13 weeks of open ticket. Network engineers claimed “a software problem from the manufacturer/distributor”.   Speeds wouldn’t hold, and frequent disconnects.    Pulled it, got refund credit.  A friend up the road also couldn’t get it to work on a different tower.  4G here is on 700mHz, old and now unused TV frequency.  Samsung phones (Galaxy Nexus) usually have 1, sometimes 2 bars of 4g, and sometimes drop to 3g in the house.

Not to diss MSIE 10 but yes, FireFox is much faster…one can argue with my methodology but MSIE take 2.5 sec (an d sometimes way longer, like 15 sec.) to load my home page but FF loads consistently in 1.5…

OK…maybe a short post over the weekend and then more Monday.  Send in WuJo events, if you have them…been a shortage of the fun/really strange stuff lately.

Write when you break even,