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- Jack Lippman
- Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired for two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Unemployment, War and Billy Joel
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Answering the Right Wing
But let's start with a story which Sid Bolotin wrote about eight years ago and which he likes so much that he has submitted it for your perusal at this time. Enjoy ! ... if that is the right word. Let's start then with:
Monday, February 21, 2011
Truth: Whatever You Want it to Be!
Sure it is, if you are ignorant enough to believe anything you see on the internet, and too many of us are. Stay away from the forces of darkness on the internet, and today AOL took the prize for that.
Jack’s Recipe for a fine Springtime in Florida Drink
Thursday, February 17, 2011
The Health Care "Mandate," Poetry and a Short Story
*** *** *** *** ***
Paying for Health Insurance
Here’s a little mental exercise to think about. Imagine that a particular hospital’s bills for the services it provides over a week’s period adds up to $5,000,000. Of this, including the adjustments (deductions) which Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies get, $4,500,000 is paid. That leaves $500,000 which must be recovered from patients. Let’s assume that some patients are able to reach into their pockets and collectively pay $100,000 of this amount. That leaves $400,000 of unpaid bills for the week. And over the year, that comes to about $20,000,000. That’s a lot of money. Let’s now look at where the hospital can look to recover this missing money.
The easiest approach is to take that $400,000 and spread it out over the amounts which patients whose bills get paid in one means or another end up paying. So they increase the amount that everyone gets billed by about 8% and that takes care of the freeloaders who never pay, resulting in increased insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and out-of-pocket costs for the others. I think that’s the way it works today. All bills are higher than they should be to cover the cost of caring for those who do not pay.
Now if there were some mechanism to get rid of these freeloaders, hospital bills (and doctor bills for that matter since doctors do the same kind of thing to cover their non-paying patients), the problem would be solved. For years, advocates of health care reform have advocated a program whereby the government would step in to insure the freeloaders. I believe actuaries have found that the cost of doing so, which would have to come from taxes paid by everybody, would be less than that 8% mark up mentioned above which is paid not by everybody, but only by consumers of health care whose bills are already being paid.. But this approach, even in the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act, has never been able to muster enough support to come into being.
Instead, the approach that Republican opponents of broader health care reform have been advocating for decades, a private approach involving private health insurance companies, was included in the Affordable Health Care Act. This approach, I repeat, the Republican plan, mandates that those without health insurance purchase it privately if they can afford it or with government aid if they cannot. In this manner, without taxing everyone, that sneaky 8% increase in everyone’s health care bills would be unnecessary. This is the “mandate” mentioned so often in the news and the subject of various court decisions as to its constitutionality. Remember, it is a Republican idea which the Democrats have adopted, a truly non-partisan approach.
Unfortunately, the Republicans have renamed what was originally their own proposal “Obama Care,” and are now trying to repeal it. Most Republicans still do not realize that doing so will leave the country with the choice of (1) remaining with the present way of handling the problem which means that hospital and doctor bills for "paying" patients will continue to be increased to cover the cost of service for those who do not pay anything for their care or (2) turn to the oft-rejected “government option” whereby the government will insure those who presently cannot pay their health care bills, rather than have this burden continue to be carried solely by paying consumers of health care.
Don't Think Of ...
by Sid Bolotin
At twilight ‘tween sleep and wake
Once again my mind unleashes
Like a rambunctious puppy
Free of its restraint
It gambols through my “don’t think” list
Like a dog romping through the rubbish
Ah hah!” An “if only” bone
Lovely to gnaw on . . . suck its marrow
Oh! Look! Look! Here’s a tasty “what if”
With much succulence to chew into
“Oh, great joy!” it seems to shout
Spotting a tangled mat of “changes to come”
“Stop! Stop!” I bellow, think happy! Think now!”
As mind blithely ignores my plea
Am I not mind’s master?
Am I not in control of its wanderings?
If not me?
*** *** *** *** ***
T’was the season for assassinations, and Vee was in good form. No one noticed her as she approached the target area. Slender, slouched over, with a low fitting baseball hat over long brown hair, and wearing a long sleeve shirt worn outside the pants, Vee came on like a soldier on patrol, one measured step after another. Though she didn’t look remarkably dangerous that would soon change in a flash of terror.
Vee walked within the midst of a stream of people who had come to meet and greet Senator Sam Jessup, a dynamic Mitt Romney look alike whose rising poll numbers had him pegged as a presidential contender. Signs, pennants and buttons were displayed by the faithful, proclaiming the Jessup mantra. “Jesus loves Jessup,” “Abortion is murder,” “Jessup Protects our Right to Bear Arms,” and the like. Focusing on the “Right to Bear Arms” poster, Vee’s lips curled upwards. “You’re in for a shock Sam my man.”
She approached the target who was sitting amiably behind a long folding table, an aide on either side. Were they armed? Vee didn’t know nor did she care. She walked with confidence.
She thought “You right wing dickhead. Your followers prevented my sister who had been raped by a gang of thugs from aborting a baby.” They had screamed “abortion is murder” outside the courthouse so vehemently that the local politicians had passed an ordinance that outlawed aborting even a child seeded by rape. Vee’s sister was traumatized and, unable to bear the emotional pain, she jumped from the hospital roof, clutching her new born to her breast. The baby died. Vee’s sister was seriously wounded with broken legs, ribs and internal injuries. Jessup’s supporters screamed “murderer,” the politicians yielded to pressure, and the recuperating sister would have to go to trial. Jessup’s poll numbers rose when he was touted to be a man who loved life and little babies, especially if they were someone else’s responsibility.
A row of folding bridge chairs were positioned in front of the long table. Those were occupied by people waiting to talk to the senator, shake his hand, share a few words, and get his autograph. For ten dollars one could even have a photo taken with the possible future president. Vee thought “Stupid sheep. Followers of a high profile demigod. Self-serving, overfed animals. Your time is nigh. Prepare to meet The Vindicator.” Vee moved closer.
She saw the TV pros with their equipment and noted how beneficial it would be to have her actions broadcast through the world. TV, internet news, facebook, twitter-
What a wonderful way to publicize. “No one is immune from The Vindicator and my message of righteousness.”
Her right hand slid under the left half of her shirt, caressing the butt of a 30 shot Glock as if it were a baby’s bottom. She took a deep breath. “Almost there. I just got to pass this guy.”
The man standing in Vee’s way was old, thin, and leaning on the back of a folded chair. It seemed he was about to sit down, blocking Vee’s way. When he felt Vee brush his arm he turned his head and then moved letting her glide by. He flipped the chair, gripping it by its legs. Vee ignored him as she arrived on station in front of Jessup.
Absolute silence hovered over the greet and meet as Vee’s hand came out with the gun. Jessup, a medium dark skinned man turned pale as he looked down the barrel of the blue steel death machine, available in metallic black, gunmetal gray, or silver with comfort grips made to fit your hand.
BREAKING NEWS- BREAKING NEWS- BREAKING NEWS
“This just in from our WHYT roving reporter. Senator Sam Jessup was attacked a few minutes ago at the mid-city rally.” The video feed showed The Vindicator approach the table and then the extended arm with the Glock. Simultaneously the feed showed an old man pick up and swing a chair like John Henry. The edge of the chair hit the gunperson behind the right ear who went down like a sack of cement, the gun falling away, unfired. The two burly aides leaped into the fray, felling the old man. Jessup heroically fell onto the ground under the table behind his stunned supporters, his shivering body curled in a fetal position.
Later on WHYT had an interview with the honorable Senator Jessup at the hospital with the elderly man, Fred Dunlop, who had a broken arm from the fracas. Jessup, whose skin tone had darkened to its normal hue, stood by Dunlop’s side, a big smile on his face. “Your brave action saved my life and the life of others. How did you know what to do?”
The old hero nodded, fighting the effects of the anesthesia given to reduce the pain in this arm. “When I saw the gun lady approaching I knew she meant evil. Let’s say
The Spirit of the Lord spoke to me and I acted accordingly.”
Jessup ignored this comment and still smiling, seized the moment. “You are a perfect example of my supporters- brave, God fearing, willing to act, and committed to the principles which my campaign stands for.”
Dunlop shook his head. “I am sorry to tell you this senator, but I am definitely not one of your supporters. Truth be told, I came to this meeting to publicly denounce your politics. I consider them vile and hypocritical. Your stand on reducing gun control is proved ludicrous by this attempt on your life. Only by the grace of God were you and others spared. We’ve got to regulate access to firearms.”
Jessup jumped back, trying to distance himself from his nemesis. His skin blanched as he spoke. “But I thought you were one of ours- Christian and conservative. Why did you save me by interfering?”
“Because it was the right thing to do. If God wants you not to be president he’ll let you lose through the normal political process, not through violence.”
A week later the poll ratings showed Jessup’s standings had plummeted. He was no longer considered a contender. The hospital interview had done him in. The Vindicator had accomplished her purpose. As she lay in the hospital bed recovering from the blow to her head she managed a weak smile, acknowledging that the ultimate Vindicator is God.