Nine Signs Your Health Insurance Isn’t Working

Now that the country is respectively breathing a sigh of relief or throwing an fit because of the passage of universal health care, here is some bad news for the 33 million we are about to bring into the fold. Everybody gets a car doctor!

1.        You have to injure yourself to get an appointment. After  shelling out two grand on a mandatory insurance policy, your school informs you that it is an injury only plan. You bribe friends to beat you up to schedule a visit.

2.      Upon witnessing an epileptic fit on the subway, you decide to pass out next to the victim in order to split ambulance costs.

3.    Your Doctor maintains you are in perfect health.
This is despite the fact you are currently smoking and drinking 6 days a week and the last exercise you had was running to make the train to work.

4.   You swipe your rich cousin’s insurance card so you can take advantage of his Cadillac plan.
You hope the doctor’s office can’t tell the difference between two minorities.

5.  You break your ankle and require steel braces.
You find it cheaper to hire remaining family members as crutches.

6.  You find out that its cheaper to buy a ticket to Brazil and see a dentist there.
While there you discover that snake blood is an effective hypertension reliever for furious Republicans.

7.  Your insurance company informs you that unemployment is a pre-existing condition.

8.  You think COBRA is a ruthless terrorist organization who fights G.I Joe.
COBRA is actually a useless health insurance policy for recently laid off average Joe.

9. You try to pass off your priest/rabbi/shaman as a ‘faith healer’ to comply with universal coverage.

COBRAAAAAAAAAA

COBRA Commander is hiking your premiums


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The Young Invincibles

According to the New York Times, young adults aged 18 to 30 are the single largest uninsured demographic in America; a total of 13.2 million people that make up over 1/3rd of the total uninsured population.

The real tragedy lies however in a Pew Research study that shows our demographic as the least informed and engaged in the health care debate. This is despite the fact that we stand to benefit the most from any reform and hurt the most from failure. Most importantly, we are the ones to bear the enormous financial implications well into the next few decades.

One group that has attempted to highlight this looming problem is the national coalition of youth organizations called Young Invincibles. YI co-founder Ari Matusiak spoke about the apathy prevalent in our generation, mostly as a result of the political stagnancy of today:

Change is not easy. It comes only as a result of persistent struggle, unwavering conviction and a willingness to take risk. That is its character. In 2008, young Americans fought for this moment – this chance to make change. We believed we were sending leadership to Washington with the character to persist, stand strong and deliver for us all.

Groups such as Young Invincibles are doing an admirable job trying to involve us in the debate, but do not receive much national exposure – or even make an impression amongst its target demographic.

We are the generation that created the powerful social networking mediums that now define our culture. Facebook, Twitter and a million other tools to organize and socialize are our domain. Those younger than us are more proficient at these tools. Those older than us are more embedded in the tools of governance. But we are the creative young professionals throughout the United States that have the ability and responsibility to fashion a message and create a movement to broadcast out. These are the mediums that resonate in the American psyche, and these are the cues from which our Congress gathers their talking points.

There is a reason we are the most sought after demographic for advertisers. Popular culture is our domain, and trend-setting our calling card.  A large portion of us fought for change two years ago, and now seem disillusioned by the lack of change once we achieved our goal. It is time to realize that change is not about elections, but about building a movement and urgency in our culture that allows our leaders to implement the change. If we make ourselves heard we will insure that we are not stuck with the bill when everyone else has left the table.

Check out Young Invincibles below:

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Liveblogging CSPAN’s “Healthcare & The Economy Debate”

Maria Bartiromo, the only way to get you to read about CSPAN.

The National Governor’s Association (NGA) talked on CSPAN today about Health Care and The Economy in a session moderated by CNBC anchor and Eva Mendes look-a-like Maria Bartiromo.

The session initially started off with platitudes on the terrible state of the economy from the 50 governors assembled before Ms. Bartiromo turned the conversation to health care, which seemed to be everyone’s topic of concern.

Gov. Patrick of Massachusetts got things going by explaining specifics of his state and boasting a 98% coverage rate for his constituents. He did stress that “everyone starts from a different place” and Massachusetts was already using “patches and plugs” so only 1% was added to the budget.

The Republican governors seemed to mainly stress increasing competition as the primary method for expanding healthcare. One nice touch was the Utah governor explaining that his solution was similar to Massachusetts except Utah gave its taxpayers money instead of…health care. The taxpayer was then free to shop around for health care in the private sector, like “Travelocity”, a great internet reference from the guv’nor.

Gov. Mike Beebe (D-AK) was possibly the most emphatic with this quote:

“Governors get things done. The debate in Congress so far has been about rhetoric and not policy. We have the boots on the ground. Let us get it done.”

Despite being mostly talk, what was most striking was once governors on both sides of the aisle got done scoring political points, everyone agreed four clear issues:

  • Genuine frustration with the current political system and Congress for not being able to get things done.
  • Urgent requests to Congress and Adminsitration to get governors involved in the health care debate as they have concrete solutions as they are the “boots on the ground.”
  • Confidence in the ability of states to implement health care reform individually if Congress failed to pass a bill.

Unfortunately, Maria never got around to asking the governors if they felt a certain ex-Alaskan governor may have increased CSPAN’s ratings for this event.

Look below to see what states have already implemented healthcare reform:

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Remember Minority Report?

This is kind off topic, but fun – and found via the much heralded TimesSkimmer, which I blogged about earlier.

Now if the Times can figure out how to put that on their website, it’ll really be like leafing through the print edition.

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The Digital Lady

This weekend the New York Times released a new feature on their website called TimesSkimmer .  Go ahead and check it out – I find it an infinitely better way to go through the day’s news than clunking around their website. Admittedly, I like this primarily because I am a bit of a dinosaur and prefer to sit down and physically leaf through the paper – this new feature quite adeptly recreates that feeling while cleverly drawing the reader into other aspects of the site such as blogs and digital features that one might find while looking for hard news.

I wrote a piece a few months ago analyzing The Times collapsing revenue and declining readership, despite being the most visited news website on the net. In a sign of how fast the times (pun intended) change, they have announced they are going to start charging for their website, and have really started pushing their online presence.

It’s good to see the Gray Lady, one of the few publications still trusted (at least by most) as neutral, innovating for the digital age. Despite the rapidly exploding universe of blogs and specialty news sites, it would serve the public well to have well-financed, healthy hard news organizations focused on breaking news and investigative reporting and not catering to a political fan base.

I do wish they’d stop their annoying ‘trend’ articles though, which consist primarily of the ‘reporter’ choosing a topic and using friends and family as a sounding board and declaring the results as evidence of a trend. Don’t take my word for it, just read this hilarious article from Slate.

So what do you think about the TimesSkimmer? A new way to make the news more accessible or a cheap gimmick on an old product?

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Saddam’s Statue Falling Was Actually Army Propaganda

Iraqis tear down Saddam Statue

Anyone remember the infamous video of Iraqi’s cheering  and bringing down the gigantic statue of Saddam Hussein after U.S. troops invaded Baghdad? TIME.com helpfully reminds that “celebrations ensue”: TIME: Saddam Falls

Last semester I mentioned to during a class that the entire event was staged. Someone asked for a source, and after a little (re)sleuthing, here’s some proof that the entire event was an Army PsyOps operation, with imported Iraqi exiles and not a popular uprising as we all remember it.

http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/641

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Toppling_the_statue_of_Saddam_Hussein

Just a small example of the little things that go unmentioned in the mainstream media and quietly become part of accepted history.

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The Politics of Security

It was the fall of 2002, and despite the murmurs of discontent from the few that knew about it (ACLU and a few left wing bloggers), the Government was quietly implementing what it called Special Registration.

Unknown to most Americans, any non-citizen Muslim males aged 18 to 45 from a select short list of countries were required to report post-haste to the nearest FBI headquarters to be fingerprinted, photographed and ‘interviewed’.  Furthermore, I had to report back to the Federal authorities once a year, and I could only leave the U.S. from a select group of airports making sure to let them know well in advance that I was in fact, planning to go to Cancun for Spring Break.

The entire registration episode and its antics aside, I was amused to find the chagrin and sympathy of so many the more public these proceedings became. In WWII, the Japanese had been hauled off to internment camps.  Quite simply put, males of my color and background had attacked the U.S. with a level of violence and spectacle unparalleled since Pearl Harbor and the government was reacting the best way a government can react – ham-handed but well-meaning.
The Special Registration program registered 82,851 people, deporting about 13,000 of them, mostly on frivolous and trivial grounds of visa overstays and parking tickets. Hundreds, including myself, were detained for inordinate amounts of time without any explanation or access to lawyers or phones.  It was a failure, as it only stuck around for a year and a half before the government abolished it in part because it was getting overwhelmed, and in part because it discovered more subtle, effective ways to keep a watch on us (that includes you, my non-brown, non-Muslim friends!).

For a short while after 9/11, the population felt safe knowing we had a list of potential bad guys, and the government felt like it was doing something to keep us safe.

Special Registration

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