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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

A Day Of Just Living

Category: Society
Posted: 05/19/17 19:47

by Dave Mindeman

I was trying hard today to take my mind off of politics. So as I ran my errands, and I made some observations.

People and cell phones are a permanent condition. As I was waiting for an oil change, I watched some of the people sitting in the waiting area. None of them could notice me because their heads were down looking at their phone screen and whisking their thumbs back and forth.

Here's is where I show how outdated I am. I have a cell phone, but I only use it for actual phone calls. I don't watch movies. Don't get Netflix. Don't check my e-mail. Don't even text. I call somebody. Say what I want to say and I hang up. I know this is a very novel concept of communication and I freely admit that I am an historical relic, but that is all I have ever done with a cell phone. When I want to take a picture, I use an actual camera. You remember those? They still are useful for that purpose. It is digital, so I am not back in the Kodak Carousel slide era, but I do not use a phone for pictures. I realize that the vast majority of people can never go back to using more than one electronic device on their daily excursions, but this is just me.

While I sat in the waiting room, I wondered if anybody knew there was more than one person there. I would see people walk in the door - plop down on a chair and immediately resurrect their phone from various places on their bodies. It was like a Pavlovian response. If I would have stood up and said hi, I think I would have given them a heart attack. They remained in that position until they were called to pay the bill. Then they got in their car and probably plugged in their phone.

I had lunch at Baker's Square and noticed that there was a definite preponderance of gray hair in the clientele. Which was kind of surprising because it wasn't "pie" day. Still, during the day, restaurants seem to be pretty dependent on the older generation. Retirees meet each other at restaurants and socialize. I was in the restaurant for about 45 minutes and did not see one person leave. Is this an all day event? The older gentlemen get distinct pleasure out of teasing the waitresses while their wives scowl at them. But it is obviously a serious custom in some of these dine in restaurants. My son will pretty much only eat at Boston Market or Panera Bread. Other places take too long and have too many fried foods for his taste. When I suggest Olive Garden, or Red Lobster, or even Denny's, I get the college teen patented eye roll. So I don't suggest it much.

As I read the paper, I noticed another one of those "bathroom law" shenanigans was being introduced in another state. That's another thing I don't understand. When I'm in a public rest room, I never strike up conversations. I mean I really don't need to discuss why they are there, if they should be there, and what is their legal rights when there. Really? Does anybody really want to get into somebody's "business"? In a bathroom? When I go to a Twins game, somebody should just ask ball parks to end the "trough" method. A long trough on the floor and guys just lining up along it, urinating. If you want to make a law, get rid of those things. Just make more enclosed stalls. Keep it private, for everybody, and nobody gets hurt.

And one more thing. Do we really need all the trashy talk on the internet. The comments section have become verbal vomit. People like to point out mistakes with a bunch of name calling for good measure. If you disagree with someone, you need to question their heritage for some reason. Why is that? What kind of pleasure is derived from that kind of behavior? I love a good argument. I don't mind a civil disagreement - in fact I learn from that type of exchange. But the nastiness?. When I blog, I get Trump supporters whose idea of an argument is to spew an insult. Usually it has nothing to do with the topic or its relevance. Just an insult...which I have to assume must make them feel better for having said it. Because it serves no other purpose.

Well, I tried to stay apolitical, but these days that is pretty much impossible. I'm back home. Maybe I'll watch a Twins game and just veg out for awhile. I'm sure there will be plenty of drama soon enough.
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About That Gap In Coverage

Category: Health Care
Posted: 05/19/17 10:48

by Dave Mindeman

As the GOP publicly defends the GOP Congress version of health care, the biggest item to keep in mind is their "promise" to maintain the mandate about pre-existing conditions.

The Kaiser Foundation examined this concept and stated publicly that this is what we face:

Using the most recent National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), we estimate that 27.4 million non-elderly adults nationally had a gap in coverage of at least several months in 2015. This includes 6.3 million people (or 23% of everyone with at least a several-month gap) who have a pre-existing condition that would have led to a denial of insurance in the pre-ACA individual market and would lead to a substantial premium surcharge under AHCA community rating waiver."

The reason the "gap" in coverage is important is that under a law that Ted Kennedy passed years ago, if a person has had continuous coverage under some form of insurance, they cannot be denied coverage, or have surcharges, via an insurer. In the AHCA bill, an opt out by a state can grant the insurers an option of significant surcharges for pre-existing conditions, making the coverage completely unaffordable.

We all know how life intervenes. People get laid off. Bills get overwhelming and health premiums get lower priority. Jobs change and coverages change. Coverage gaps happen. It is a fact of life and people in lower wage jobs are the first victims.

The ACA (Obamacare) understood this and ended the issue of pre-existing conditions. With the Republican bill, it is has been brought back for the sake of insurance profitability.

No matter how Jason Lewis and his cohorts try to spin this, the loop hole is there. And it was placed there intentionally so that insurers can find ways to opt out of coverage for the people with the most need.

It is cynical politics and we have to keep fighting this.
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