Sunday, April 22, 2012

Speed Through Airport Security Like a Pro plus a Conservative Health Insurance Plan

The Conservative Affordable Health Care Solution

We will have, sooner or later, a better health care payment system than we now have in this country.  Presently, the sum of all doctors’, hospitals’ and other providers’ charges (as more or less regulated by what insurers, Medicare and Medicaid will pay) is far in excess of what individuals and these payers actually pay because of uninsured recipients of health care who just cannot or prefer not to pay their bills.  This results in the charges for everybody being increased to cover the cost of these unpaid bills.

                                                                      Are they paying, or are you?

The “mandate” provision in the Affordable Care Act will relieve most Americans from thereby paying for the care received by “freeloaders” in the present system. Some will still choose, however, to remain uninsured and pay a penalty to IRS for the privilege of doing so, but most studies indicate the “mandate” will basically solve the problem.  Most will purchase health insurance, including the healthy as well as the sick.  This is what happened in Massachusetts when then-Governor Romney introduced such a plan.

If the “mandate” is struck down by the Supreme Court, and insurers are still forced to provide health insurance on a “guaranteed issue” basis regardless of medical histories, the insurance market will disappear in a whirlpool of rising premiums and companies dropping out caused by insurance being purchased by those about to incur significant health care expenses.  If the “guaranteed issue” part of the Act is eliminated along with the mandate, however, we will be back to square one insofar as this part of the law is concerned, leaving many Americans without health insurance.

Solving the health care problem through the use of private insurers requires the continued existence of the mandate, pressuring uninsureds to purchase coverage.  That is the conservative approach which will result in more people being insured than at present without dismantling our existing system of health insurance.  If this conservative approach, preserving the insurance industry, is not allowed to go into effect, the alternative is for the government to go into the health insurance business, establishing a “single payer” system, as in Medicare, which is almost universally approved by senior citizens.  Canada and most industrialized countries have taken this approach.  

It is odd that opponents of Obama Care, as they call it, are fighting a conservative health care solution, the alternative to which is a radical one to which they would be far more opposed.  So, if our Supreme Court, with its five to four conservative majority, rules the mandate to be unconstitutional, they may be opening the door to a far more radical solution to the problem of paying for health care.  Are they wise enough to discern this and declare the mandate to be constitutional? 
Jack Lippman


How to Speed Through Airport Security

(As told by Michael Chertoff, former chief of Homeland Security, to Brendan Greeley in the April 16 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek)

It starts before you get to the airport. Get your liquids in a clear, quart-size bag. I keep a cache of travel-size toothpaste and shaving cream in a sandwich-size baggie; I’ll reuse it on about a half-dozen trips before it wears out. Put the baggie on top of everything in your carry-on. The people who have the hardest time are the ones opening up their bags in line to find their liquids. That wastes precious time. I put my laptop and Kindle in an accessible pocket outside my carry-on. 

Next, take your ID out of your wallet and put it in a breast pocket with the boarding pass. 

I almost always wear a sports jacket when traveling. Why do I do that? Pockets! Take all of your small electronics and put them in jacket pockets, along with change, keys, and your wallet. When you get to the line, you just take your jacket off and put it in the tray. That’s the main trick: Instead of unloading my pants pockets in the line, I prepack my jacket. In the airport, after you show your documents, put your license back in your pocket—you don’t want to lose it. 

At the bag screening, the shoes go off first—I always wear loafers. Then I put my jacket in a tray behind the shoes, and my liquids on top of the jacket. The laptop goes in the next tray, then my carry-on follows. I sequence it that way so I can reverse the unpacking process at the other end. You put your shoes and your jacket on, then your hands are free to grab the liquids and the laptop, and the bag’s right there. I don’t use the benches. I’m dressed within a few seconds. I’ll chitchat with the screeners, if they have time. Occasionally people will come up to me, and they always ask why I can’t get out of going through the line. I tell them because we’re all in the same boat. Or on the same plane. 


(This piece is obviously directed at male travelers.  For women, I suppose the alternative is to wear a blazer or coat and load up its pockets as Chertoff does with his sports jacket.)


Something to think about:  Do you think the number of tornadoes striking the country over the past year is the result of climate change, or is it just a passing blip on the timeline of such storms over the years. What are your thoughts about this?    

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