What a week! I am looking forward to some much-needed veg and recoup time.
A handful of random nuggets:
Lesson 1: If you have direct debit for anything, double check your account one in a while. My gym charged me $12 for two tanning sessions on Monday. Besides being a native Floridian and having an inherent distaste for the concept of fake baking, there is a very good reason why I don’t tan anymore. I explained this to the gym rep who asked if I was positive I didn’t charge tanning to my account. There is very little in this world I could be more sure of.
Lesson 2: CHIP is good for kids, but real, comprehensive health care reform is going to be so much better. Read this joint OpEd from the President of the Children’s Defense Fund and my boss here at HCAN.
Lesson 3: There is no shortage of health care horror stories. A woman called this week and told me about when she had her gall bladder removed. The hospital billed her $35,000, including $80 for a disposable hospital gown. Here’s the kicker: It wasn’t $80 for her hospital gown. It was $80 for the gown the doctor wore during her surgery.
In other news and notes, Jason spent the last couple of days at the Families USA conference here in DC. His round-up is worth reading.
And before I duck out for the evening, the poem of the week‘s been updated, and you’ll be able to read John’s column here on Sunday. I can tell you he’s decided to go for the Super Bowl theme. That’s what you get with a poet who loves football. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
The first write is online about the poll results we released today. From Greg Sargent:
Celinda Lake’s Dem polling outfit, Lake Research, just conducted a new poll of 800 likely voters that, according to the firm, finds that the public strongly supports having the choice of a public health insurance plan and strongly rejects the insurance industry’s most cutting attacks on the idea.
62% of voters believe a public health insurance plan will spend less on profits and administration and force private insurers to compete while only 28% of voters believe the attack that a public health insurance plan would be a “big, government bureaucracy.” 60% believe that if private insurers are really more efficient than government, then they won’t have any trouble competing with a public health insurance plan. Only 23% believe a public health insurance plan would have an unfair advantage over private plans.
Here’s the link to our full press release. And here are the percentages of people who support having the choice of a private or public health insurance plan:
I made a failed attempt at mobile posting last night on my way home so as not to miss a day here, but somehow the “post” button on my berry was nowhere to be found once I’d completed my entry, and now the note’s lost somewhere in the land of mysterious postings past.
As for today, I’ll have some interesting health care reform news to share a little later. We’re releasing the results of a new poll, and if you remember where public sentiment allegedly lay back in 1993/1994, you may be surprised by where we are now.
It’s so late that it’s now past dinner. I started this post in a self-imposed quick lunch break at 3pm, but something came up, I got distracted, and it’s now after 9pm.
Posting’s been lighter than usual here simply because work’s been so heavy. But because we’re fighting for comprehensive health care reform this year, I can’t complain. Busy’s a good thing.
That said, the blog will probably continue to suffer a touch, but I will do my best to keep it updated at least once or twice a day.
Today’s contribution comes from last night’s meal. There’s a fast food chain in Miami called Chicken Kitchen that makes a mustard curry sauce that is nothing short of fabulous. We used to visit the original Chicken Kitchen back in the early 90’s, but since then, the restaurant’s popped up in spots all across South Florida. I introduced John to the mustard curry sauce over Thanksgiving break, and since then, he has taken it upon himself to recreate the magic. He found others online equally intrigued, and here’s the recipe he’s used:
We all know COBRA is unaffordable. If you lose your job, how can you afford to pay more for health insurance?
You can’t. And the WSJ‘s got a write out today explaining just how few people take advantage of COBRA:
Fewer than one in 10 jobless workers extends their former employer’s medical coverage, a new study has found.
An analysis by the Commonwealth Fund finds that while two-thirds of working adults would qualify to extend health-insurance coverage under a federal law after losing a job, only 9% of the unemployed do so.
Workers are guaranteed the right to extend their medical benefits for a limited period under a federal law called Cobra, short for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. The law generally covers group health plans of private and government employers with 20 or more workers, according to the Labor Department.
The Commonwealth Fund analysis, based on 2007 health-insurance survey data, found that most workers can’t afford to pay for Cobra coverage. It costs an average $13,000 a year for a family, compared with the average annual worker contribution of $3,200 for family coverage while employed.
That is because the employer usually is picking up three-quarters of the cost of health insurance. Under Cobra, employees must pay the total cost, plus a 2% administrative fee.
“In other words, you have to pay an extra $10,000 because you have lost the amount your employer was contributing to the coverage, and people who are newly unemployed find it very hard to afford,” said Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that supports health-care research.
I’ve been there. It’s the final straw that pushed me into fighting for reform. When I lost my job, I had severance for a while, and then COBRA kicked in. It was more than $400/month. That’s a lot of money when you have no money coming in.
I realize I dropped the ball on the usual Friday links to the poem of the week and John’s Sunday column so I’m playing catch up now. If you enjoyed the Inaugural poem on Tuesday, you’ll want to check in on what John put together for tomorrow.
It’s entirely possible this has been kicking around online for a while, but I’d never seen it before so it’s post-worthy in my book. H/t my brother.
Why you should always check you child’s homework:
(Here’s the reply the teacher received the following day)
Dear Mrs. Jones,
I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer. I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it. Her picture doesn’t show me dancing around a pole. It’s supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.
From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.
Those with blue, silver and purple tickets who didn’t make it in will receive copies of the swearing-in invitation and program; photos of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden; and a color print of the ceremony, committee spokeswoman Carole Florman said.
Sorry for the mix up. Here’s the program from and a picture of the historic moments you missed.
It’s a New Yorker piece so it’s longer than the usual news blurb, but take a moment and read it all the way through (or print it out and read it when you have a little downtime). It talks about how other countries came to their health care systems – all of which are better than ours – and explains how we can effectively be moving forward towards quality, affordable health care for all here in the U.S. Here’s an excerpt explaining why we can’t just scrap the system we’ve got and start all over:
Over and over in the health-reform debate, one hears serious policy analysts say that the only genuine solution is to replace our health-care system (with a single-payer system, a free-market system, or whatever); anything else is a missed opportunity. But this is a siren song.
Yes, American health care is an appallingly patched-together ship, with rotting timbers, water leaking in, mercenaries on board, and fifteen per cent of the passengers thrown over the rails just to keep it afloat. But hundreds of millions of people depend on it. The system provides more than thirty-five million hospital stays a year, sixty-four million surgical procedures, nine hundred million office visits, three and a half billion prescriptions. It represents a sixth of our economy. There is no dry-docking health care for a few months, or even for an afternoon, while we rebuild it. Grand plans admit no possibility of mistakes or failures, or the chance to learn from them. If we get things wrong, people will die. This doesn’t mean that ambitious reform is beyond us. But we have to start with what we have.
This is the approach advocated by President Obama and by us here at HCAN. We both believe you should have a choice of public or private health insurance, and your plan should include standard benefits that meet your needs and be affordable based on your family’s ability to pay.
Since there are some new readers here these days, and HCAN’s gearing up to take on the insurance lobby (AHIP) as they continue to claim they’re all about “hearing your needs,” I thought now might be a good time to revisit this little gem which is now close to 120,000 views: