The Obamacare Saga and You

•August 14, 2013 • Leave a Comment

As you should well be aware of, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka Obamacare is ramping up to officially launch on January 1, 2014.  The state and federal exchanges are slated begin operations in less than 2 months on October 1, 2013.  This massive, unipartisan piece of legislation has been extremely controversial since its initial drafting and the controversy/unpopularity continues to grow.  It appears that the “wheels may be coming off” already.  The law is simply not ready for “prime-time” and will require numerous adjustments.  The federal data hub which essentially will be the confluence where marketplaces can access lots of information on who qualifies for what programs is behind schedule.  This hub includes income data from the Internal Revenue Service and citizenship records from Homeland Security, alongside additional data from Health and Human Services and the Office of Personnel Management.  The amount of data collection and storage will be massive and the undertaking to prepare is gargantuan.  In a recent update, Medicare spokesman Brian Cook emails, “We are on schedule and will be ready for the Marketplaces to open on October 1.  We have made significant progress in the last three months. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has extensive experience building and operating information technology systems that handle sensitive data.  This experience comes from many years administering the Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP programs.”  Don’t hold your breathe as time will tell over the next 48 days.

In addition to the law’s logistical challenges, there have been several delays in the law’s provisions including:

  • delay of Obamacare Medicare cuts until after the election
  • delay of the law’s employer mandate
  • delayed enforcement of many key eligibility requirements for the law’s health insurance subsidies thus establishing reliability on the “honor system” instead
  • delay in the caps on out-of-pocket insurance costs; by banning lifetime limits, mandating lower deductibles and capping out-of-pocket costs, premiums must increase to reflect these changes; these limits will apply to both individually-purchased insurance and employer-sponsored coverage

Other concerns about the law’s provisions have been discovered.  Do you remember when former House speaker Pelosi issued the arrogant and ludicrous statement that “we have to pass this [health care] bill so you can find out what’s in”?  We are now finding out! 

Peggy Noonan, a well respected author and weekly columnist for the Wall Street Journal, wrote a piece entitled “The High Cost of Obamacare”.  The article links to another by Yuxing Zheng of the Oregonian to discuss a complicated subject.  “A woman in Cornelius, Ore., takes care of her disabled 22-year-old daughter. The daughter has cerebral palsy, spina bifida and a condition called automonic dysreflexia. She requires 24-hour care. The mother provides it, receiving for this $1,400 a month. The mother fears—and is apparently right to fear—a provision of the Affordable Care Act that will, as Zheng reports, “largely prohibit guardians from serving as the paid caregiver of an adult child with developmental disabilities.” The mother is afraid this will mean foster care for her daughter, or a lengthy and costly process in which she herself will be forced to transfer legal guardianship to someone else. The provision, the paper says, will likely cause hardship for hundreds of Oregon families in which the guardian and the caregiver are the same person.”

Oregon officials are asking the administration for an exemption to the provision.

“Four points. First, no mother or child should be put in this position by a government ostensibly trying to improve their lives. Second, everyone in America knows health care is a complicated and complex subject, that a national bill will have 10 million moving parts, and that when a government far away—that would be Washington, D.C.—decides to take greater control of the nation’s health care it will likely get many, maybe a majority, of the moving parts wrong. A bill that is passed and is meant to do A will become Law U—a law of unforeseen, unplanned and unexpected consequences. And that’s giving Washington the benefit of the doubt, and assuming they really meant to honestly produce Law A. Third, because health-care legislation is so complex, it is almost impossible for people to understand it, to get their arms around what may be a given bill’s inadequacies and structural flaws. Stories of those inadequacies and flaws dribble out day by day, in stories like this one. They produce a large negative blur, and a feeling of public anxiety: What will we find out tomorrow? The administration reacts, as the president has, with protestations about how every large, life-enhancing bill has hitches and bumps along the way. But this thing looks now like one large hitch, one big and never ending bump. Fourth, when a thousand things have to be changed about a law to make it workable, some politician is going to stand up and say: ‘This was a noble effort in the right direction but let’s do the right thing and simplify everything, with a transparent and understandable plan: single payer.'”  I totally agree with her poignant assertion.  Senate majority leader Harry Reid said recently that he thinks the country has to “work our way past” insurance-based health care during a Friday night appearance on Vegas PBS’ program “Nevada Week in Review.”

“What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,” Reid said.

When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes!”  There it is folks, the ultimate goal for progressives in regards to health care in America.

As a medical professional and provider myself, I’m not an advocate of this law.  I agree with the premise but not the tactics.  I however would like to see the following in regards to government intervention: facilitation of a better medical/health savings account program, requirement of self-pay rate charges by providers to be the lowest rate they accept, and requirement that providers post their prices for their services publicly.

Much further discussion on Obamacare and resultant provisional changes will ensue over the next several weeks. Stay tuned for more news and insight here on the Nitroblog.

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U.S. Money Potpourri

•August 11, 2013 • Leave a Comment

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In August 1909, Americans went wild for the brand-new Lincoln penny, the first U.S. coin to bear the likeness of a president. Teddy Roosevelt was behind the change from the old “Indian Head” penny to the Lincoln cent. Roosevelt, a great admirer of Lincoln, wanted to honor the sixteenth president to commemorate the centennial of his birth. Since that time, the U.S. Mint has placed images of presidents and other famous Americans on coins and bills.

 

 

 

Currency                        Obverse                                      Reverse

 

Penny                    Abraham Lincoln                     Linc Memorial; Lincoln’s Life designs

 

Nickel                    Thomas Jefferson                    Monticello; Westward Journey

 

Dime                      Franklin D. Roosevelt              Torch, Olive & Oak Branches

 

Quarter                  George Washington               Bald Eagle; Fifty States designs

 

Half-dollar              John F. Kennedy                     Presidential Coat of Arms

 

$1 Coin                   Sacagawea                              Bald Eagle; Native American

 

                                                                             commemorations

 

$1 Coin                   U.S. Presidents                       Statue of Liberty

 

$1 Bill                     George Washington               Great Seal of the U.S.

 

$2 Bill                     Thomas Jefferson                   Signing of the Declaration

 

$5 Bill                     Abraham Lincoln                    Lincoln Memorial

 

$10 Bill                   Alexander Hamilton               U.S. Treasury Building

 

$20 Bill                   Andrew Jackson                      White House

 

$50 Bill                   Ulysses S. Grant                     U.S. Capitol

 

$100 Bill                 Benjamin Franklin                  Independence Hall

 

A Moment in History (PT-109)

•August 2, 2013 • Leave a Comment

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Many great leaders have experienced a pivotal moment which has shaped their lives as they pursued their destiny.  Have you had your “pivotal moment”?  Please share in the comments below…

In the early morning hours of August 2, 1943, torpedo boat PT-109 was patrolling the Blackett Strait in the Solomon Islands when suddenly a black shape loomed in the darkness off the starboard bow. A crewman yelled, “Ship at two o’clock!” but it was too late. The Japanese destroyer Amagiri plowed into the little boat, slicing it in half. The collision threw the PT’s commander, Lt. John F. Kennedy Jr., hard against the side of the cockpit, and as gasoline ignited on the water around him, he thought, So this is how it feels to die.

Two crew members were killed in the crash. The eleven who survived, including Kennedy, clung to wreckage. When the remains of the hull began to sink, they made a four-hour swim to a tiny deserted island three miles away. Most of the crew clung to a large piece of timber as they swam, but one man was badly burned, so Kennedy clenched the straps of the man’s life jacket in his teeth and towed him, swimming the breaststroke.

Leaving his crew on the island, Kennedy swam out again, hoping to flag down another PT boat, but none appeared. Exhausted, he barely made it back to the island. The next day he led his men to another islet. Several times he ventured out into the shark-infested waters, looking for help but found none.

On August 6, two Solomon Islanders in a dugout canoe found the stranded sailors. Kennedy carved a message onto a coconut, which they took to Allied troops: NAURO ISL NATIVE KNOWS POSIT HE CAN PILOT 11 ALIVE NEED SMALL BOAT KENNEDY. Within two more days, the PT crew had been rescued. When he became president of the United States, Kennedy kept the coconut with its scratched message on his desk in the Oval Office to remind himself of the awful ordeal and his two lost comrades.

…quite a story that our 35th president carried with him for years before he made it to the White House.  Again, share your story about your pivotal moment if you have one.     

Measuring Your Emotional Intelligence

•September 2, 2008 • 1 Comment
Nitro supports and promotes an article by Dr. Robert A. Rohm…
Tip: You can measure your emotional intelligence.
In school, we all had to take tests.  The main purpose for those tests was to see if we were learning anything or not.  Hopefully, we all learned a little bit, even if it was just by accident!  We also had to take standardized IQ tests so that teachers could group us appropriately.  Even though all of us have heard of IQ, many of us are still working on our EQ.  Our Emotional Quotient has everything to do with our emotional intelligence.  In other words, the issue is not how smart we are academically but rather how smart we are emotionally.  There is a very simple test to discover the level of your emotional intelligence and it is to answer the question, “How easily do you get angry?”  Let’s discuss it.

I have found that a person’s anger level is directly related to their emotional intelligence.  If you are easily upset and angered by the smallest thing, your emotional intelligence is probably fairly low.  But, on the other hand, if you are able to evaluate situations and respond appropriately, rather than react inappropriately, your emotional intelligence is probably high.  If it is easy for you to get angry, then it reveals a lack of ability on your part to think things through.  Not every issue or problem should to be handled with anger.  Often, further information or a personal evaluation will help you see a situation more clearly.  Maybe a story will help.

Years ago, I had a friend who was a pastor.  He was a very wise man and had a high emotional intelligence level.  His first response to a situation or problem was to look further into the situation so that he could gain a better understanding and know the proper response.

His church supported many missionaries.  At one of the Board meetings, someone said he had heard that one of the missionaries had recently bought a Cadillac.  The individual who brought it up, thought that was inappropriate and seemed to be very angry that the missionary would take the church’s support to buy such an expensive car.  He didn’t mind the missionary having a vehicle but he just felt like it was a little abusive to buy a Cadillac.  The pastor did not react, but rather responded with something like, “That does not sound like this missionary friend that we are supporting.  I will look into it a little more closely and get back with you.  Before we cut off his support, why not let me do further investigation?”  In other words, the pastor handled the situation in a calm manner and he did not react.  That was because he had a high level of emotional intelligence.

The next day, he called his missionary friend, who was overseas, and talked to him.  As it turned out, there had been a miscommunication.  The missionary had had some difficulty with his eyesight and had to have a cataract removed from one of his eyes.  I will never forget the pastor saying, “There is a big difference between a Cadillac and a cataract!”

Now, that is a simple story but, I have never forgotten it.  The reason it means so much to me is because I want to be like that wise pastor who did not react because of the first news he heard, but rather, followed through and did a little further investigation before he made his decision on how to respond.  I think the biggest mistake that the average human being makes is to react to a situation when we do not have all the facts.  It is much better to respond to a situation after we have taken the time to do some research.  It takes a little more time, effort, and energy, but it is well worth it.

Ask yourself a question, “Am I easily angered?”  If you are, it may be a direct result of the level of your emotional intelligence.  You may read this Tip and say, “Well, I have high emotional intelligence!  I am a calm, rational, thoughtful, easy-going person.”  But, is that true?  You may want to ask some of those around you how they see you and your emotional intelligence.  If you do not see things honestly, then there is no real way you can grow in this area.

One last thought; I have noticed that the people who are closest to me seem to be able to “push my buttons” easier than total strangers.  If I have a misunderstanding with the guy at the local QuikTrip, it is no big deal.  But, when I have a mix-up with one of my co-workers or family members, it seems to affect me emotionally in a deeper way.  Therefore, I have to be on my toes to exercise extra emotional intelligence around people who are close to me.  I work diligently to stay calm in every situation because I do not want my blood pressure to go up and have a heart attack when most of the time, further investigation will offer a simple solution to whatever challenge I might be facing.

I believe our emotional intelligence can rise higher each day if we practice keeping our anger level down.  It is well worth the effort to do so.


Robert A. Rohm Ph.D.
Personality Insights, Inc.

Leadership Thought #15

•June 25, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Leaders cherish their visions and their dreams; for they know that these are the children of their souls. – Napoleon Hill

Leadership Thought #14

•June 19, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal. – Vince Lombardi

Leadership Thought #13

•June 16, 2008 • 1 Comment

“Prepare to win; then, prepare to dazzle!” – Harvey MacKay