Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Notes and Quotes, Number Two
1)      Political Walls

As every political observer knows, there are all sorts of walls -  the Chinese Wall, the Berlin Wall, the Jerusalem Wall.    The latest most controversial walls are Trump’s Mexican Wall and the Benghazi and Rhodes’ Stone Wall.

Moral:  Which brings to mind  these  lines in poet Robert Frost’s poem  Mending Wall, “ Before I built a wall I’d ask to know, What I was walling in or walling out.”

2)     Trending Now Facebook and All The News That’s Fit to Trend
Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is meeting today with  conservatives to talk about Facebook’s alleged liberal bias in its Trending Now column.    Conservatives say this is important because of Facebook’s huge audience,  estimated at 1.5 billion worldwide, and its reputation as the site where millenials and other Facebook followers get their news.  Facebook insists  its algorithm which produces is politically neutral.
Moral:    Keep in mind behind every algorithm  are human programmers with their own set of biases.
3)     Momentous Momentums
Who is building or losing momentum  after recent political primaries?  The perceptions are:  Hillary Trump is losing momentum,  Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are gaining  momentum. The question is:  can momentums overcome delegate counts and electoral college votes?  
Moral:   No Mo or Mo Mo, that is the question in today’s Presidential race.
4)     U.S. Uninsured at All Time-Low
According to the Obama administration,
About 9.1% of people in the U.S., or around 28.6 million, were uninsured in 2015 according to federal statistics released Tuesday. The Obama administration is celebrating the figures—which largely matched an earlier release by the agency for the first half of last year—as proof of the impact of the Affordable Care Act, which overhauled the insurance system, created new subsidies for people to get private coverage and boosted funding for states to expand the Medicaid program that offers near free-care to the lowest-income Americans.” (Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2016)
Moral: Yes, but coverage and access are not the same,  as the NYT pointed out in a 5/17 Sunday piece, “Sorry, We Don’t Take ObamaCare.”
5)    Highmark Sues U.S. over ObamaCare 

Highmark,  a big Pennsylvania, insurer with revenues of $17.5 billion has sued the U.S. government  because it didn’t get $223 million promised in the “risk corroidor” program.  Last year Hallmark lost $58 million, largely on health exchange plans.

Moral:   Risk, but no reward, when the government promises.

6)     Calls for Single-Payer Grow Louder
“In an editorial and proposal published recently in the American Journal of Public Health, 2,231 physicians called for a single-payer national health program to replace the current private insurance model of financing healthcare. 

 While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has increased access to healthcare services for millions of people, many physicians still have grave concerns over patients' ability to get the care they need, says Steffie Woolhandler, MD, a co-author of the editorial and proposal.  Woolhandler is a cofounder and board member of Physicians for a National Health Program, a non-profit advocacy group that supports single-payer national insurance.”

The 2231 physicians in Physicians for a National health Program, represent about 2% if all U.S. physicians,  Among other things,  the National Health Program physicians say people will die in the streets without such a program.   The program, of course, is the cornerstone of Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare-for-All” proposal,  projected to cost $15 trillion.  A Gallup poll this week indicates 55% of all Americans now favor a single-payer system,  including  74% of Democrats and 37% of Republicans

Moral:   Single-payer may be the moral thing to do, but it’s going to cost a bundle -$15 trillion which presumably would be piled on top of the current national debt of $19 trillion, expected to grow to $21 trillion by the time Obama leaves office.



No comments: