Posts Tagged ‘Obamacare’

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THE TRUTHS AND SPIN OF BENGHAZI…and of OUR EMEREGING WORLD

December 29, 2013

Reconstruction of the 2012 attack on the US Embassy shows neither the Republicans nor the Democrats had it right when explaining Benghazi.

Benghazi was NOT infiltrated by Al Qaida nor did the Obama Administration cover up evidence of Al Qaida role as the Republican Angry Old Birds claimed…although a NON Al Qaida Abu Khattala was NOT recognized by the Obama Administration as the severe threat he was.

Nor, as Susan Rice first explained, was the attack a response solely to the You-Tube video.  Spontaneous street demonstrations to that video were indeed a factor, however.  Those already planning an attack capitalized on the opportunity when it presented itself; and then arsonists and looters took advantage of the situation and destroyed the Embassy and killed the Ambassador.

In reality there are bits of truth and misinformation in both positions; along with a whole lot of hyperbole, and positioning for domestic POLITICAL gain and for Press ratings.

Now that the Official report reconstructing the event has been completed, do you think the politicians have learned anything?  In reality, as usual, misunderstanding and posturing had only one winner – the Press-and that was short-term.  Where should the accountability be focused?

This is not just about Benghazi.  It seems regard for Reality, Truth and moving towards improvements based on lessons learned as been lost in our world today.   For instance……

  • An immense and sometimes invasive digital security system initiated in response to 9-11 by a Republican-led government has become “proof” of incompetence and failure of the Democratic-led government that followed.  Where should the accountability be focused?
  • A healthcare revolution in the US, approved by the majority of US Congressional leaders,  becomes yet another political issue with little regard to the benefits to US citizens, because the error-ridden on-line registration system (and of course, the disobeying of the law within by some insurance providers) has emerged as Proof that the Democrats were wrong in suggesting our citizens needed better health care and Republicans were right in opposing the same. Where should the accountability be focused?
  • A data breach at Target that has harmed millions is emerging as a Democratic issue of why the government has not protected us from companies like Target. Some Democrats think the government has not done enough to protect us as citizens.  Where should the accountability be focused?
  • UPS/Fedex are being blamed for an unhappy Christmas because retailers in hopes of saving their over-projected holiday sales, promised to get last-minute on-line gift purchases to their destination in time for Christmas…apparently with no regard to how organizations tasked with that mission were going to accomplish it.  Consumers bought in; disaster occurred.  Where should the accountability be focused?

 When will we learn our world is not black and white?  And when will we accept that the 20th century is not the 21st century – that indeed, our world has changed?  How much are we politicizing or looking for someone to blame simply because we do not anticipate or recognize consequences of the digital world in which we live today? 

No, I am not saying digital is evil.  I am just pointing out –one more time- that we need to address the TOTAL impact of the digital age in which we live.  Old thinking, old systems are not the answer.  We need to say goodbye to the 20th century; make an about-face to the future and acknowledge the WORLD has changed around us.  None of us can predict based on our “experience” what consequences will follow any action today.  But it is increasing clear that we need to acknowledge the digital world is here and has brought with it new good and bad consequences.

We should not expect to reap the benefits without learning to minimize the negative consequences.   

And since this is not about who can find the most “dirt” on the other, or raise the most funds, or use gerrymandering to get the most votes, perhaps a little more listening to one another and collaboration among people with differing views might just pay-back for all of us as we move forward in a new age that bears little resemblance to the century we have left behind.

 

 

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ONCE AGAIN….

November 9, 2013

 

Is our reliance on Twentieth Century knowledge and expertise raising its ugly head in the status of our economy?

 

It seems the gloomy forecasts for jobs growth simply are not meshing with reality.

 

Adjustments to the “New Jobs” figures from forecast to actual pushed August to 238,000 and September to 163,000.  Expectations for October for 120,000 new jobs due to impact of government shutdown for sixteen days and the no-budget actually came in at 204,000.

 

Meanwhile, all the skepticism, nay-saying and long faces did indeed influence job SEEKERS and those looking for a job dropped about one/tenth of a percent. 

 

Perhaps the best news buried at the end of a STRIB article this morning was that October increases were across low and high-paying sectors including manufacturing, health care, retail and professional services such as engineering and computer design, while 53,000 of the total increases came from the Hospitality Industry – signaling that use of restaurants and hotels is increasing – or in other words, people are spending a little.

 

I am sure as you read this you are asking how any of this makes sense – they must be mistaken – because surely, if that was all happening, you would have heard it on the news.  Trust me, no you would not have, as it does not fit the Press messaging spins.

 

As each month passes, I become more convinced that whether it is a Republican or a Democrat forecasting, measuring, commenting or planning a strategy, they are all applying OLD RULES…rules that served them well through the Twentieth Century….until they didn’t; and our economy collapsed.

 

Add to that the fact that politics like we have not seen of late has trumped this whole crisis from beginning to end.

 

Out of embarrassment and cover-up, as it all collapsed, the Repos blamed Obama loud and long…even though the collapse occurred on a Republican President’s watch before Obama was even elected or inaugurated.  

 

That is a fact, not a spin.  Summer/Fall of 2008 the President of the United States was George W. Bush, setting up a situation that would be comical if it were not such a tragedy; and makes a  statement of how easily public opinion is manipulated.

 

 But think about it…the Obama campaign, its messaging and its promises were based on what we now know to be a  MYTH.  We were not a healthy robust country heading out into the world ready to conquer all as the Republican SPIN led us to believe…we were tettering on the brink of disaster.  And yet, how often have you heard the Press say….Obama promised when he ran for President to do such and so…and so far he has failed.

 

I’m just saying…look in the mirror and ask yourself if you can remember:  What plans and promises did you have in place in the summer of 2008 and how many of them did not happen because of the impact of a government and economic meltdown you did not know was already happening?!!!

 

Add to that, politics – not the good of the people, nor the good of the country -has trumped this whole crisis from beginning to end.  The Republicans fell hard in 2008.  A war veteran and man respected by both political parties did not become President of the United States.  Add a little flavoring called “Obama is not a WHITE BABY BOOMER “.   A crumbling, outdated political party made a grave mistake and welcomed the Tea Party into their ranks…and the rest is history.  Unfortunately, we are all paying the price.

 

As the disaster rolls out, we learn those eight years from 2000-2008 pushed the Economic Bubble one step too far, all collapsed, and an ECONOMIC RESET was well underway.  We experienced the greatest downturn since 1929 and economists projected an 8-10 year recoveryNOT a quick bounce back in 2-3 years like we often experienced during the 1940-2000 “Boom”.

 

Sobering news and not what Obama’s campaign messaging had promised.  That’s a fact. 

 

And yet, it is five years later – well ahead of schedule.  The national debt has been cut in half; we are out of one war, almost exiting another; we are well ahead of rebuilding jobs, but not at the top yet; and we went through Healthcare Reform and are now beginning to implement it.

 

I believe had Obama actually been as dysfunctional and non-performing as the Republicans say he has been, the Republicans would not be in the mess they are in as a party.  Tradition says the party that elects a non-performing leader is the one that should be in disarray.   Ask yourself HONESTLY which party is crumbling?    The Republicans are collapsing in a mess because of their OWN internal problems; and like any cornered wild animal, they are in a panic and have only their dislike of Obama to unite them and hold on to.

 

Hubris?  Race?  Embarrassment?  Bad Decisions starting with Pallen as VP?  At this point, I really don’t care.  The damage they have done to themselves may be irreparable and so be it. I am much more concerned about what they have done to the rest of us.

 

CASE IN POINT:  The Republican Talking Points over Obamacare.

 

Am I the only one that noticed that as the Press interviews Republican after Republican on any issue, but certainly about the online registration problems with Healthcare and now insurance cancellation “crisis”, the comments NEVER VARY from one Republican to another….string them all together and it sounds like an old LP record with a scratch….repeating the last phrase of a lyric, over and over and over and over again.  That is not ‘opinion” folks, that is called brainwashing and control of members  and should be taken with a grain of salt.

 

As for the Insurance Cancellation Wave?  See my OCTOBER 21 BLOG entitled PRESS POSTURING.

 

Yesterday you may think, as did the Press, that there was an Obama “Gotcha”.  He apologized and took the blame for telling people that if they liked their insurance they could keep it. 

 

For all but 1% of the nation, that is absolutely true. 

 

He was able to promise it applied to that 1% as well, because he KNEW those short-term one year bridge policies had been grandfathered in to protect the buyer  and were not going to be impacted….AS LONG AS those insurance companies issuing them obeyed the rules.  NO NEW CUSTOMERS could be issued a policy.    Since the policies are one year policies, not automatically renewable, he should have been safe, right?  Well, he was wrong, because he trusted Insurance CORPORATIONS to adhere to the contract they had with the government.

 

Unfortunately, they did not.  When they could not keep enrollment UP to a level they were making their substantial profits, they continued to add NEW people.  Instead of a gradual phase-out, the insurance companies maintained that 1%  against the law.  And the rest is history.  Unsuspecting individuals have gotten a surprise as the policies are now being cancelled because the issuing insurance companies cannot maintain the profit.   It really has nothing to do with Obama not telling the truth.  He told the truth as the law was written.

 

And the Press went wild…not just on Talk News Channels but on main networks as well.  The lead headline on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams positioned that Obama “admitted” what he said was not true.

 

In fact, the fact that you could keep your existing policy was NOT an “Obama Lie” but the result of corporations issuing policies and disregarding the LAW.

 

So yesterday a gleeful Press proclaimed “GOTCHA” and Obama “apologized”.

 

 But I listened carefully.  He said as President, he took responsibility for the problem.  That is not the same as I made a mistake.  So for me, yesterday he, one more time, showed what a classy guy he was.  He chose not to publically point the finger at the insurance companies.  He took responsibility for believing that the insurance companies would adhere to the law.

 

Just as we are learning that what we believed about George W. Bush was inaccurate, and that in fact, he divorced himself from the Neo-Cons in his second term, I believe we will all eventually come to see a “truth”  that is different from the spin happening today on Obamacare.

 

…Just as I was encouraged to hear yesterday, that in the case of Benghazi, we are already learning that the FACTS the Republicans were using to declare needs for investigations into Obama/Clinton incompetence were based on a TOTAL FABRICATION!  LOL.

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ONE MORE DAY AND COUNTING….

October 16, 2013

HOW ABOUT A MARKET TEST?

As long as the Mad Hatters continue to stand firm on holding the country hostage – determined they are righteous in their demands, here’s my suggestion:

Let’s go ahead and vote in their suggestions on a TEST basis implementing all the actions they advocate – just in the districts they represent.  Cancel every single bit of federal dollars going to those districts.

A demonstration of what the US government does for all citizens might be just what Tea Party followers need.  My bet is they will vote every one of them out of office next election when they discover what most of us know:   Mad Hatter plans will be VERY HARMFUL to the citizens of the district.

And if they are not voted out, it may be time to revisit the Secession idea again – not with a war, but with a national vote!

BERRINCHE

This morning’s STRIB reflects a little of world opinion of the US today:

“Not only Greece…has irresponsible and short-sighted politicians…Americans are getting a taste of the same medicine”.  Now that’s harsh – coming from a Greek citizen.  Remember our reaction as we watched Greece default?

In Mexico, they are calling it “berrinche” or tantrums-which commonly mean “spoiled little rich kids, blind to their privilege and the effects of their misbehavior.” 

And these are the people we want to build a bigger and longer physical wall to keep out of our country? I’d say, they would be well-served to use it to keep the Mad Hatters out of THEIR country!  Berrinche shows they have more sense than some of our own Confederate flag-waving Mad Hatters.

Generally, the Mexicans feel it is a “display of American arrogance.” 

That the reaction around the world follows a similar tone makes me very very sad.

YEAHH!   I AM EXONERATED

Or at least by one person – David Perlman of New Hope-a software engineer for 35 years!

As the Obamacare sign up began and we were seeing a few glitches, I had no concern.  Been there; done that….on much smaller scales and I know what to expect.  I wrote a blog about the same thing just a few days ago.

As reports of high volume continued, I kept reassuring myself that on one hand, it was a GOOD problem to have: to see that many people were indeed interested in at least seeing the options and possibly getting registered was encouraging.

But the Press grabbed hold of the naysayer comments and together with the the Tea Party, they turned this into a major disaster.  Eventually, I talked myself into being wrong. And as time passed (short as it was), and the opportunities to manipulate and create fear increased and were capitalized on, I started to become anxious.

Fortunately, I scanned the Letters to the Editor displayed under the “Affordable Care Act” subtitle this morning.

The first from Chip Allen reminded me of myself when I have just been pushed over the edge about something I feel strongly  – if I do not exercise a little care; I begin to sound like Chicken Little thinking the Sky is falling-as readers of the blog surely have witnessed.  In this case, it was the Rooster crowing that the sky is falling.  So I am not criticizing Chip in Woodbury; I’m just sayin’….a little emotional rhetoric I think that unfortunately tettered on the edge of not only disrespect, but hysteria.  Obviously, this is something he cares deeply about.

So, after that hit me in the face, I grabbed on to the lifeline of the first sentence in David Perlman’s Letter:  “I don’t understand the hype about the disaster that was the initial offering of “Obamacare.”

And it got better from there.

“…the biggest problem was that the servers were insufficient to handle the volume of inquiries, and every business person knows that having more customers than you can service is the best kind of problem to have.”

At this point I am nodding – after all, how can you not agree that although airplanes were not very reliable in 1915, that did not mean we should abandon flying; instead, we designed and built better airplanes?

By the end of the letter, I felt better – at least one person besides me in this world viewed the opening of the exchanges as a “resounding success” based on the volume of inquiries.  Likewise, it had some bad glitches – based on the volume of inquiries. 

You build a system; you test it.  It hiccups back at you.  You fix it. It’s not the system, it’s the healthcare improvements for all that is important.  Just need to keep sight of what the goal is, and we will all be okay, I think.

ONE DAY UNIVERSITY

“professors…present special versions of their very best lectures.”

The topics are intriguing; I even considered going as a birthday present to myself, but….

I am afraid of that word “LECTURES” coupled with “pure joy of learning”.  I am afraid this is a 20th century philosophy of adult learning and not a 21st century learning application and I will have wasted my money…even though It is produced by Twin Cities Public Television. And I would be so mad if I paid $159 for it and it was just more same old, same old.   More research needed, I guess, as those that know me, know “if you have a good birthday, you have a good year; but if it’s a disaster or even just disappointing, the year that follows reflects that as well!  That is why November 2 is ALWAYS a vacation day for me – I certainly don’t need to jinx it with work!

ONE MORE DAY and COUNTING….

All I REALLY want for my birthday is for this debt crisis to be settled for a year; If I can’t have that,  I will gratefully take a short reprieve…but maybe we could, as citizens for whom Congress works, insist that no more vacations or breaks until we have a resolution .  J

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“WHAT’S WITH THIS OBSESSION OVER GLITCHES”

October 4, 2013

A big YES to John Carlsted of St. Cloud today in his STRIB Letter to the Editor!  I could not agree more.  He is absolutely right to challenge the press emphasis on “glitches” as Healthcare options went live.

Most of us have lived through many a system conversion in the last fifty years.  It starts with defining a process; it grows to a “wish list” of what could be automated and what it would cost. Then after the sticker shock, you make adjustments, and if you are lucky, you start to build a system.

On a personal note, during my Carlson Marketing Group life of 14 years, I went through this process portion spending 50% of time for a year in Travel defining a system that was never built, and 100% of my time for a year defining a common system for “Confirmation of a Sale” that involved all products offered within Carlson Marketing Group-also to build a system that never happened- but we did roll out a manual process that was common to all.  All that happens BEFORE you get approval to build.  But I also was involved in many a project that did make it to automated status, and it is no easy task.

It begins again, with months devoted to gathering input and defining requirements; the IT people spend months detailing a system and writing code; they test and test again before user tests begin.  Things don’t work, things were overlooked; user input gives us a better perspective; we regroup and ask for alterations… then IT does a fix and repeat….until finally at some point in time, we declare “it’s ready” ; the training begins and  finally, the system rolls out. 

And within a week (if not a day), you identify something that was not covered or does not work.   So you start that wish list of “Next time we need to do”  vs. “Fix it Now”.

Now I admit, I escaped that world some time ago, and I expect the last twenty years has held improvements to the process that hopefully, cut down development time, improved accuracy, and yield better systems faster.  Nonetheless, there remains a factor of error that is only found once you go live.  That is called a GLITCH in the system.  You identify it, you fix it, you move on.  Welcome to the world of automation.

NEW SOLUTIONS, and NEW SYSTEMS…and they work…until the next automation advancement requires the next system upgrade.

There cannot be a person who works or interfaces with a billing system for services that does not know this.

As we started this journey, we allowed four years to get the process to a point that it was functional. 

Opps;  many a Corporate Business did not allow themselves enough time internally to review, make decision on what they would do with their own employee  healthcare offerings, and “surprise” they are not ready.  Whether they have valid reasons , or were simply hoping the Republicans would get the law changed or cancelled, we will never know – nor is it worth the time, money, and effort to find out.

As implementation approached, it was obvious that some businesses were not ready and as a result PEOPLE WOULD BE HURT.  So the President was forced to grant an implementation extension to the corporate world.  That is not a system failure; that is a problem that rests in Corporate America and the “blame” for that should rest soley there-and perhaps with the Republicans that were telling their corporate friends not to worry- they would repeal it.  This was not a Republican victory; it is merely evidence of the havoc they have been creating. 

As a democracy, there is a legitimate process to follow.  They tried; they pushed all the way to the Supreme Court, but the Court ruled Healthcare Constitutional and the majority ruled.  The 2012 election was their last chance; vote Obama out and vote Romney in so Affordable Healthcare will disappear. They lost.  Now, if they were the majority party, they would have had one last chance – to try to pass a law to appeal it.  But alas for the Repos, they did not win.

The good news in this part of the process is that at least if you are employed in a corporation, most likely you have some sort of insurance…and if not, you are eligible to apply for insurance via the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Meanwhile, the system is now in the final TEST, and wisely, we allowed three months to find and correct the glitches before we go live.  It is up and running.  MnSure is up and running.  We have glitches; they will be corrected.

Soon, the 47% of the US population that the Republicans care nothing about will have health insurance…not as good health insurance as that which the Republicans in Congress have and will have for LIFE because they ran for Congress, won, and tried to stop YOU from getting health insurance, but nevertheless, millions more Americans will have insurance.  That is a good thing.

Not only is it a good thing for citizens, but is a good thing for the country.  It is a safety net you may not think you need….until you do.

 And I speak from experience.  After saving for retirement for over 30 years, I fell.  The insurance I could afford (at almost $1000 a month for individual insurance for my business) was not enough.  That insurance and my lifetime savings were not enough.  I emerged owing $75,000 more than all the assets I had.  I went back to work fulltime in 2007.  There has not been enough time to recover, finish paying the debt and replace retirement funds.  With the Affordable Healthcare Act, you have a chance to not have this happen to you!

What happened to me and so many others is only one reason to look at the Healthcare system.  More importantly , this process has forced the healthcare system in general to take a look at itself.  I believe it is no coincidence that providers are looking at their own practices….are there alternatives at less cost?  If not, should we be researching for alternatives at less cost?  What can we do differently?  Are there better models of medical practices that work better for patient care?  How should patients be billed? No, you won’t hear that from the daily press, but pick up a newspaper and you will find evidence of this shift in thinking every day.

OBAMACARE GAME SCORE:  SERFS 1; LORDS 0.