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Duke Briscoe

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Georgia health exchange applications hit 220,000

@Athens Trojan: One good thing about the ACA is that it requires insurance companies to pay out at least 80% (or in some cases more) of their premiums to the medical providers. So it is requiring some level of efficiency by the insurers, and you will get a refund from the insurance company if they are overcharging their premiums. Also, your earlier insurance might not have covered things as well as you thought, as with limits on maximum coverage.

posted @ Friday, April 18, 2014 - 16:17

Thomas: Call to audit federal government should be GOP issue

The Defense Dept. has a much larger problem with unaudited spending. These problems have existed for a long time, and I don't see that they are more of an issue for the GOP than the Democrats. There are members and voters of both parties that are interested in knowing where the money is going and what it is paying for. The lack of limits on campaign contributions might make it harder to find representatives to stand up for the audits though.

posted @ Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 01:56

Key part of Georgia hospital provider fee still unresolved

Seems like the governor's decision not to take the ACA federal funding to expand Medicaid must be related to this. Hard to see how it did not get mentioned.

posted @ Sunday, April 6, 2014 - 13:48

Atlanta archbishop apologizes for posh residence

Here was an interesting story broadcast today about money and religion : http://www.npr.org/2014/04/01/282496855/can-a-television-network-be-a-ch...

posted @ Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 18:35

Flood insurance changes aren't through, Chambliss warns

Nice to see a quote of the Union of Concerned Scientists. We need to phase out these subsidies and discourage new building in the vulnerable flood areas.

posted @ Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 18:18

Rural residents confront higher health care costs

It sounds like the free market is behind this variation of costs between localities. The pain is coming from the sudden "redistricting" of rate-setting areas. One would hope that the free market would help even this out over time, but maybe not since the high price might be partly due to monopolistic behavior of the few providers in these rural areas - raking in extra profits rather than the high price being the result of something like higher transportation costs.

posted @ Monday, March 31, 2014 - 23:06

UGA student finds human feces in dresser drawer

It should be easy to get some DNA results from the evidence.

posted @ Monday, March 31, 2014 - 22:44

Georgia district lines mean strong GOP advantage

Partisan redistricting is not working out for the country, driving the election of more extreme candidates. Districts should look more like a square than a bizarre squiggle.

posted @ Monday, March 31, 2014 - 22:41

Junkman's Daughter's Brother to close, owner says

The Christmas pop-up store concept is a good idea.

posted @ Monday, March 31, 2014 - 22:27

Companies in Georgia receive incentives, fail to deliver jobs

@Lets Get It Together: Any evidence for that figure of 200 "million"? I could not find anything about it via Googling. Maybe it was something more like 200 "thousand" as part of retention bonuses, which I did see quite a bit of news about.

posted @ Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 14:42

Towery: The seedy truth about politics, politicians and pundits

@dahreese: I have heard that Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns a 7 percent stake in News Corp, the parent company of Fox News. And every news anchor you see is getting paid more than a million a year. Only a few huge corporations own the major media (Comast-NBC, Disney-ABC-ESPN, Viacom-MTV-BET-Paramount, Time-Warner-CNN-HBO, CBS-Showtime-NFL). Management frowns on liberal media, along with the multi-millionaire media stars.

posted @ Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 02:45

Studies find new drugs greatly lower cholesterol

How does this affect "Game of Thrones"?

posted @ Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 02:30

Woman gets life prison sentence in carjacking

I sometimes wonder if having to get old in prison and die there is a worse punishment than an execution. Neither are attractive fates.

@hang em high: Nationally the violent crime rates have dropped a lot over the last 20 years. Some interesting studies have argued that it is related to lower lead exposure, due to unleaded gas and ban of lead paint.

Here is some interesting stuff from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/07/gun-crime-drops-but...

According to the survey, done in March, 56% of Americans believe gun crime is worse today than it was 20 years ago. And 84% believe in recent years, gun crime has either gone up or stayed the same — when the reality is that it has dropped significantly.

The rate of non-fatal violent gun crime victimization dropped 75% in the past 20 years; The gun homicide rate dropped 49% in the same period, according to numbers Pew researchers obtained from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The survey found that women and the elderly were less likely to be victims of crime, but were more likely to believe gun crime had increased in recent years. Men, who were more likely to be victims, were more likely to know that the gun crime rate had dropped.

Starting in 1993, homicides and robberies began to drop. Blumstein said that was in part due to the decline of the crack cocaine trade, which from 1985 to 1993 fueled a 25% increase in those crimes.

Violent crime rates remained relatively flat through much of the 2000s, but then dropped by about 8% in 2009 and again in 2010, Blumstein said.

Hemenway said researchers can't point to a singular reason why gun crime has dropped so significantly. The report points to the aging population, high incarceration rates and a drop in crime internationally since the mid-1990s as contributing reasons.

"I think the big reason gun crime has gone down is because crime has been down," Hemenway said. "There's no huge thing — there's been no major changes in gun policy,"

posted @ Friday, March 28, 2014 - 19:13

What Others Say: Obama not delivering on transparency promise (The Augusta Chronicle)

"Matters of national security? At the Farm Service Agency?"

No details in this editorial, but various agricultural agencies do have some secret information related to weak points for bioterrorist attacks on our food supply.

posted @ Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 22:53

Grimes: Obama should take a mulligan on health care

Health insurance has always been too complicated for most Americans to understand - doesn't everyone with insurance have a hard time reading through that small book describing your policy? And then the insurance companies are always ready to slow down or refuse payments - although I think the ACA is expanding consumer protections. I hope that over the next few months we will get news stories showing the benefits of expanded and improved health insurance coverage.

posted @ Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 15:33

Millions on the sidelines for big health care push

[quote][b]Yellow Dog[/b] -
Medicare is paid for by each individual out of every paycheck they earn. Plus, a payment to medicare is deducted from social security benefits.
[/quote]

I'll note that before you edited your note, its one word content was "Yes", which is fine if that is your opinion, and was a common view of the many opponents when Medicare was started. Ronald Reagan spoke out against Medicare when it was being created in the 1960s.

Medicare is much more of a government program than the Affordable Care Act, since in Medicare the federal government directly does much of the insurance with some private companies providing so-called "supplemental" Medicare insurance for such things as prescription coverage. The Affordable Care Act establishes a marketplace where private insurance companies compete for customers and some customers may qualify for federal government subsidies.

Also, different people pay different amounts for their Medicare coverage since the Medicare tax is a fixed percentage of paychecks, but the rich and the poor get the same Medicare benefit.

posted @ Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 13:20

Millions on the sidelines for big health care push

[quote][b]Yellow Dog[/b] - No, that is NOT my position, and your arrogance is noted. My position is that it is NOT within the Constitutional purview of the federal government to sell insurance, and force people to purchase it, and charging the taxpayer for the short fall.[/quote]

The Supreme Court came to a different opinion, but yes you can certainly have your own opinion.

So are you saying you think it is unconstitutional for local state and federal government to pay hospitals to cover their uncollected bills, as has been the past practice for many years?

Is it supposed to be charities that cover the full cost of the unpaid bills? - which would imply that if charity is inadequate then the hospital will go bankrupt or else just start sending a lot more people home untreated.

Also, is your political position to abolish the socialist Medicare program?

posted @ Monday, March 24, 2014 - 14:14

Health law birth control coverage before Supreme Court

I think the fundamental problem is that the health insurance is part of the employee's compensation. I don't think the employer has a right to nitpick the health insurance coverage anymore than they can expect to control what their employee spends their salary on.

posted @ Monday, March 24, 2014 - 14:02

Millions on the sidelines for big health care push

Another thing to remember is that many people might receive subsidized health insurance at some point in their lives, but for much of their lives they will be in an employment situation where they can pay their own way and contribute to the taxes that pay the subsidies.

But really, US healthcare is much more expensive than the good quality of care in other countries. There is a lot of profit being taken by insurers, hospital executives, and pharmaceutical companies. We would be much better off by making changes to get rid of the administrative inefficiencies, bureaucratic hassles, and unfair pricing in the current US system of healthcare insurance and price setting.

posted @ Monday, March 24, 2014 - 13:57

Millions on the sidelines for big health care push

@Yellow Dog: So your position is that people who cannot pay for health care should just suffer and/or die? I suggest you get a bumper sticker to show your support for that view.

This insurance mandate and premium subsidies are the path to replacing the current ineffective system of government subsidies for hospitals that have unpaid bills for treating the uninsured. At its heart it is a Republican plan since it tries to make people responsible for paying about 10% of their income for insurance premiums, and subsidizing those poor enough that 10% does not cover the actual cost of insurance.

The people you should be ticked off at are people that are choosing to be uninsured even when they could pay for it, because if they have a serious medical problem they are likely to go bankrupt and stick others with the bill, which raises insurance premiums for others and also costs taxpayer money given to hospitals.

Hopefully getting more people insured will help people get care more promptly instead of letting problems get out of control. For example, keeping diabetes under control is cheaper than amputating limbs or other complications.

posted @ Monday, March 24, 2014 - 13:50

Tax limits to be on ballot

Sponsors of the resolution want to gradually lower the income tax and eventually eliminate it as a way to draw more employers to Georgia.

Can't these sponsors imagine that employers might want a state that provides better infrastructure and public services, and better educated employees? Or is the goal to have some wealthy owners overseeing a bunch of low wage employees. Though you have to admit those wealthy owners will provide some fine campaign contributions....

posted @ Sunday, March 23, 2014 - 03:43

Winter near average for Georgia in spite of some cold mornings

If you read between the lines in this story, it spells "global warming"; i.e. a winter that seems unusually cold is in fact average in the context of the whole last century.

posted @ Sunday, March 23, 2014 - 03:31

A health care Q&A with Nathan Deal

Deal's answer about expansion of Medicaid : I have often discussed the advantages of a block grant. States need more flexibility in order to make their program work for their unique population rather than a one-size-fits-all Washington mandate.

So Georgians have different blood types, different hormones, different genetics? I'd like to see a more detailed explanation of how Georgian insurance needs differ from general American needs.

Seems like the main advantage of state block grants is giving state politicians an opportunity to steer money to private corporations in return for some kind of kickback.

posted @ Sunday, March 23, 2014 - 03:15

Pelosi says health law a winner for Dem

I think cost of premiums is not the right number to be looking at. What is most important is total cost of healthcare, which would be premiums + co-payments + deductibles etc. + cost of treating the uninsured and under-insured. Actually, the growth rate of healthcare spending has slowed the last few years (see http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/06/news/economy/health-care-spending/ ) although that article says that the spending increase rate may go up as more people get better coverage due to the Affordable Care Act. The real shame is that the US costs are so much higher (almost double) than the costs in the other wealthy countries of the world.

posted @ Friday, March 21, 2014 - 13:54

Georgia Senate backs drug testing for food stamps

"Reasonable suspicion" sounds too subject to abuse. Also, wouldn't it make more sense to keep providing food stamps while requiring some substance abuse and mental health counseling? Just one part of a whole range of changes that might help poor people rather than punishing and shaming them.

posted @ Friday, March 21, 2014 - 13:41

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