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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bring On Da Pain

Good news on the “health insurance reform” front: Anthem (Blue Cross) raised their rates on their non-group insurance customers some 30% or more. The howls of outrage are arriving on cue. California insurance authorities are promising to look into the matter. Members of Congress are huffing about how they’re going to look into the matter, too, questioning the raises and noting that the health insurance parent companies have posted massive, record-breaking profits while whining that they’re raising rates because they’re in danger of going broke if they don’t, & etc.

The higher rates will cause more people to drop their insurance as unaffordable, and if they get sick they’ll have to go to already overburdened emergency rooms. Or overtax already buckling public health agencies.

This is all good. Clearly, a sufficient number of Americans don’t see unaffordable health insurance as a problem. Or it’s not important to them that millions more will now be on the “uninsured” rolls. Perhaps, if more and more of them continue to lose their jobs and fall into that non-group insurance group that are getting their rates bumped, it will occur to them to maybe start asking questions.

Questions like, “I wonder why my wholly-owned subsidiary of the Insurance Industry, Congressman Blort, never allowed the public option on the table?” Or, “Come to think of it, My wholly-owned subsidiary of Big Pharma, Congresswoman Smitheres did not allow single-payer, Medicare-for-all to even be allowed on the table. I wonder why not?”

Or they might ask, “Why is it mandatory that our health insurance industry remain a for-profit system? Other countries have health insurance but it’s non-profit. Other countries pay far less for basic health care than we do, and have better overall health outcomes. Why do their systems work well for them? Are they smarter than we are that they can figure out how to offer universal health care for all their citizens at an “affordable” rate? We hear about how happy Canada is with their system? How the heck did Canadians manage that? I mean, Canada??”

Or maybe ask, “Why is our government subsidizing “bad food” that makes us sick (i.e. corn in the form of high fructose corn syrup that’s added to EVERYTHING, corn as the basis for “cheap,” corn-fed fatty meat that has to be prophylacticly doctored with antibiotics & etc ) when they could stop subsidizing bad food and subsidize good food (fresh fruits and veggies, no additives needed) and get two birds with one subsidized stone: Healthier people, lower health care costs?”

Or maybe these Americans, while they’re sitting in the emergency hospital waiting room, need to ask themselves, “Is my congressman or senator one of those that’s using the supermajority tactic to block all legislation for his own political gain? Is my representative the one that’s blocking legislation until so he can get huge pork projects located in his bailiwick, again for his own political gain? Maybe I need to think about electing somebody else, somebody who will stop being a wholly subsidized Corporate Shill and start being a representative looking out for people like me and looking out for the good of the nation as a whole.”

And so forth. So many questions, all requiring serious answers.

But, I won’t hold my breath too long waiting for an answer. I’m betting our insurance-less citizen will, instead, vote the same corporate shills back into office, vote even bigger corporate shills back into office, believe even bigger corporate lies (now that the Supreme Court has opened that door) and continue to fall for carefully framed and deliberately manipulated political talking points, deceptive mantras that would make George Orwell proud, and so get even more fleeced and punished for his inability (and unwillingness) to connect any dots.

Coyote America with a giant cartoon rock eternally being dropped on his head by the wily roadrunner, again and again and again. Comedy time with a tragic ending.

33 comments:

Alon Perlman said...

Jist yestiday-Got a call from my friendly Blue-DoubleCross (++RTm) Phone-fem-bot;
Are you Mr. Perlman? Press 1 for yes..
Well in these Economic times Blah Blah…..
That letter we sent you, about the raise in your premiums, Due to blah blah Bla blah…
So if you were already billed for March, money will be refunded to you.
And Blah Bl- CLICK!

(The blue above, is Not alink)

From the Annuals of Veterinary Medicine.
(Or from when I was nine and had the toughest meanest midsize Poodle in the Middle East)

“Why is his tail so short?”

“It’s something people do with the Poodle breed, with Boxers they also trim the ears”

“They cut it off! didn’t that hurt him a lot?”

“Sure, but we only cut off an inch at a time, that way it didn’t hurt as much.”



I have a feeling, along the entire length of my tail, that tells me; It’s going to be option “B”


Word Verification: plasm
-just because

Sewertoons said...

Ann, way-y-y too many voters are much too busy watching Survivor or Dancing With The Stars to notice what is going on politically. Their only political information is gleaned from campaign ads at commercial breaks. The opiate of the masses has done its job well.

Churadogs said...

Toonces: Yup. It's really an interesting (sickening, but interesting in a sickening sort of way) process watching this frog in the pot of slowly warming water. I suspect Alon's right. Incrementalism followed by sudden "too late" awareness followed by sudden death. (With a chost whining, "Jeeze, why didn't anybody tell me ????")It's also creepy the utter failure of any kind of either common sense connecting of dots or an inability of simple reasoning by so many people. Of course, if we've allowed ourselves to be dumbed down (the easier to con and fleece us)than that explains that constant look of "Duh" on so many faces. All of this is so lethal and so sad.

Meanwhile, like Alon, I'll wait to hear from the Blue Cross folks on my supplemental policy. Tick, tick, tick. While reading the NYT regarding various reports about how American healthcare outcomes rank us somewhere 49th in the world, somewhere near, what? Chad? As hospital emergency rooms close, Doctors move to . . what? Chad? and the stench of collapse rises in the nostrils along with the theme song of "America's Dancing Star Idols!" rings in my ears.

Sewertoons said...

There is an interesting article in Newsweek, dated February 15, 2010, called "Down With the People, Who's to blame for the political mess? You." by Jacob Weisberg. Fits into this discussion.

Richard LeGros said...

Hi,
Sorry to interrupt (and be off topic) but I thought you would be interested in what happened during the US Bankruptcy Court proceedings today regarding the Creditor’s Motion to Dismiss the LOCSD bankruptcy.
Judge Riblet neither approved nor denied the Motion to Dismiss; rather did she rule that:
1. The LOCSD must produce a Bankruptcy Plan no later than September 1, 2010.
2. That all the parties involved in the Bankruptcy proceedings must enter into a court-ordered arbitration; to occur within the next few months. The Bankruptcy Court will supply the arbiter.
The result is as expected, and similar to what I have opined before on this blog.
Judge Riblet is giving the LOCSD all the rope she can give them; and it is now up to the LOCSD to either climb up it or hang. I suspect that the arbitration will get the parties closer towards a settlement, but eventually fail. The Bankruptcy Plan the LOCSD produces will reflect the likely failure conditions of the arbitration; and will no doubt be contested by the creditors until the Bankruptcy Plan is amenable enough to get the approval of the Creditors and the Creditors Committee (sometime in 2011).
On a side note the County stated that they intend to include the repayment of the $6,500,000 State SRF loan as a cost to the their project (adding that $6,500,000 on top of their estimated cost of $169,000,000, for a new project cost of $175,500,000….and counting).

Mike said...

Seems somewhat insane that the CSD has not produced any reorganization plan in the past 4 years... Do they think the bankruptcy will just be swept under the magic sands with no accountablity...??? Why are those who filed for the backruptcy protection not being held responsible financially for the long slip-sliding shuffle...???

Seems like just a continuation of the same delaying tactics brought to our community by the CSD5 and their totally irresponsible financial mismanagement...!!!!!!!!!

...and WE are going to be paying for their folly for a very long time on top of a very large and expensive sewer...!!!!

Alon Perlman said...

Thank you Richard.
I was going to ask you that exact Question. As in "Wahappen?"
The whole thing took about 35 minutes or less?

2 CSDs Mike; The Elections are staggered by two years. One that has been in operation since approx START 09, and one that had 4years previous.

Richard LeGros said...

Hi Mike,

Putting blame aside, the bankruptcy is what it is……..bad news!

The bad news is that the Los Osos rate payer will be tapped to pay at least $15,000,000 to pay for the bankruptcy. This amount will have to be attached to the cost of the County sewer project as they are the only means and source of money to pay the creditors. This method of repayment also puts the entire cost of the bankruptcy only upon those living in the PZ; those living outside the PZ will pay nothing.

Alon Perlman said...

I couldn't resist
Speaking of the Bankruptcy proceedings and of the Insurance company victims; As being caught between a rock and a hard place

Speaking of Trainwrecks featuring Wile E. Ways to avert them.

Mike said...

Obama and Pelosi will save us all....

Mike Green said...

Ah, American democracy in (un)action.
We are governed by the policy of disaster reply.
Nothing, or very nearly nothing, and I may be wrong there as it seems that "nothing" is the correct term.
Nothing ever gets done UNLESS it's a disaster!
Want to fix healthcare?
Well complaining to your elected representative should do the trick. Right?
I mean that's what we are told right?
Vote!
Oh, crap, turns out that's just another myth.
Here is what we gotta do:
Cancel your health insurance, do it right now, even if it's part of your employee benefit.
Go handle some splintery wood, or stub a toe, or heck, come down with a case of the vapors, it doesn't matter.
Go directly to the nearest emergency room and be prepared to wait, take a sleeping bag and some food and drink.
Refuse to leave until you get medical attention.
If everyone, or just a healthy (pun intended) majority would do this then whammo!
Next day would see "Emergency Healthcare Reform"
Smiling Repulikkkans and happy Democraps shaking hands in an overwhelming show of support for these "emergency" actions.
Me, I keep Airomexico on speed dial.

Churadogs said...

Richard sez:"On a side note the County stated that they intend to include the repayment of the $6,500,000 State SRF loan as a cost to the their project (adding that $6,500,000 on top of their estimated cost of $169,000,000, for a new project cost of $175,500,000….and counting)."

How much of that SRF loan was thrown away by starting that project before the recall?

Richard LeGros said...

None of the SRF loan was 'thrown away' by starting the project before the recall.

All the SRF money was correctly spent building a sewer.


PS Ann: Did you not notice that I put all 'blame' aside in my report on the Bankruptcy hearing?; and its likely costs to the rate payer?
Why you insist on playing the 'blame game' not at all constructive; and just avoids the ISSUE.

The ISSUE is how Los Osos will resolve (and pay for)the damage that has occured.

Churadogs said...

"Why you insist on playing the 'blame game' not at all constructive; and just avoids the ISSUE"

Not a blame, just a question. Of that 6 mil, how much was thrown away by starting the sewer before the recall? Had the work NOT been started, the SRF loan money would be sitting in the bank and IF the recall had failed THEN it would have been spent building a sewer. And IF it had passed and the Tri-W project did not proceed, then all the money could have been returned intact. So that was my question, how much of that money was blown on what turned out to be a useless hole in the ground because the previous CSD chose not to wait a few weeks. Since the tax payers are going to eat that, they should know what part of that was blown by the pre-recall board and how much was blown by the post recall board. 50-50% 60-40%? 40-60% etc. (and don't forget the $600,000 blown on account of that stop the vote on measure B decision, also.)

Richard LeGros said...

Ann,

You are not posing 'a question'...you are making a statement clothed in question attire.

Dissecting the 'question', you seek an answer that requires the answerer to produce a definitive answer foretelling events based upon unknown 'This' or 'That' prequalifies. There is absolutely no way of foretelling the future with such specificity when an 'answer' has to be based upon speculation and assumptions.

Further, your scenerios state conclusions based upon illogical assumptions that if 'This' or 'That' occurred then only a specific result would have definitively happened.

For example, you CONCLUDE WITH CERTAINTY that IF project construction had not started while the recall passed, THEN the result would have been that the CSD5 would have returned the intact $6,500,000 SRF funds to the State.

How you can reach such a conclusion without supportive facts; especially when KNOWN FACTS are contrary to your assumption?

HISTORICAL FACT has already shown that post recall, the CSD5 REFUSED TO RETURN the remaining $4,500,000 in SRF funds to the State (let alone intact SRF loan funds if construction had not commenced.)

You use the term 'blown' throughout your 'question'. The word 'blown', as it has negative ovetones, shows that you have ALREADY PASSED JUDGEMENT that any money spent was wastefully imprudent; and as such shows your bias REGARDLESS of an answer given.

Lastly, you state that the public has a right to know how the money was 'blown'; and by whom.

We already know the answer to that question.

The answer is clearly given in all the LOCSD AUDITS.
All the LOCSD audits until the recall were 'clean'; meaning that the financial record keeping of the LOCSD correctly reflected the financial condition of the district.

ALL THE LOCSD AUDITS since the recall are NOT CLEAN; and clearly note that the district overspent the budget by $1,500,000.

The post recall audits all clearly conclude that the bankruptcy was the direct result of the LOCSD DEFAULTING ON MANY CONTRACTURAL OBLIGATIONS precipitated by LOCSD STOPPING THE PROJECT.

Note the conclusion by the auditors was ‘STOPPING THE PROJECT ‘(not 'starting the project’) caused the LOCSD bankruptcy.

Churadogs said...

"Lastly, you state that the public has a right to know how the money was 'blown'; and by whom."


I didn't state that the public "has a right to know" I said the public should know. They won't, of course, but they should. You need to go back and read what I actually wrote. And, no, it actually was a question. How much was blown on starting work before the election? A question. As for "blown" having negative connotations, what we have to show for the work is some huge useless holes in the ground. If that doesn't fit the definition of "blown," as in "useless" then I don't know what fits that definition. I can also say that the post-recall CSD "blew" $600,000 on The Ripley Report, but that report was incorporated into the county's "Process" and had a useful reference/research/data function. So far as I know, a useless hole in the ground didn't serve any purpose.

Richard LeGros said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard LeGros said...

Ann,

You do not appear to understand that NONE OF THE MONEY spent would have been 'blown' if the LOCSD / CSD5 had decided to continue with the project.

None of it… None… 0.

The CSD5 had a choice.

The CSD5 decided it was best for Los Osos to stop a project, force the LOCSD into bankruptcy, be fined $6.5 million by the RWQCB, and leave the rate payers with a $22,000,000 bill to pay
RATHER THAN
to protect the financial and environmental interests of the Los Osos rate payer.

The CSD5 made a bummer of a choice.

I assume you are happy with the choice that the CSD5 made as you sure seem hell-bent to support it regardless of the incredible financial and environmental cost to you.

But I am sure your will happily and uncomplainingly pay all those additional costs as they were the result of your right to choose. You did exercise your rights as a citizen, so you understand that those rights come with responsibilities too.
Now you get to pay for exercising your rights.
After all, as you are a responsible citizen you will honor your responsibility and pay what you owe, won't you?

Meanwhile as you exercise your rights, go ahead and ‘blame’ whomever you want.

All that effort assigning ‘blame’ is not constructive; and has no affect on the outcome either.

Mike said...

Did the PZLDF ever pay THEIR portion of THEIR legal bill or, as we all now assume, PZLDF (inclding Ann Calhoun), simply let the CSD District fund the PZLDF's failed legal efforts...????

Add that to the growing bill that the entire community has and will continue to pay for the folly of allowing a few extreme activists to stop a legal public works project...

Richard LeGros said...

Hi Mike,

You are correct that the CSD's
+$40,000 funding of the PZLDF lawsuit at no cost to the PZLDF (contary to PZLDF's contract with the CSD) was as extreme waste of public money. Essentially it was a gift of pulic money to a private organization. The CSD5 cloaked this expenditure under 'water issues' funded by the Water Fund. I find it amazing that Ann is not screaming 'waste of my public funds' on this fact...oh, I forgot, she WAS A PLANTIFF in the PZLDF lawsuit too!.
Never mind!

On an aside, as I have chided Ann for playing the 'blame game', I have to do the same with you too. Stop blaming! Bad Mike! Bad! Consider yourself chastised.

I say this as at this point in time 'blaming' gets us nowhere, just ruffles feathers, and keeps folks from focusing on acknowledging and solving the real problems before us.

You know what the problems are.

Little things such as getting Los Osos to stop the gross pollution to our water supply by building any damn sewer ASAP, resolving the CSD's $16,000,000 bankruptcy, paying the CSD's $6,500,000 RWQCB fine, cleaning the CSD's financial house so we can have a 'clean' audit for once, reversing salt water intrusion so we can have a secure clean water source......you know..... all those little pesky issues that that would have been moot and/or resolved today if the Tri-W project had just been built to begin with.

Churadogs said...

Richard sez:"You do not appear to understand that NONE OF THE MONEY spent would have been 'blown' if the LOCSD / CSD5 had decided to continue with the project.

None of it… None… 0.

The CSD5 had a choice."

You forgot to note that the CSD (4) had a clear choice: set the recall election BEFORE digging anything in the ground.

And sez:"I say this as at this point in time 'blaming' gets us nowhere, just ruffles feathers, and keeps folks from focusing on acknowledging and solving the real problems before us."

actually, Richard, what I've repeatedly called for is a Truth and Reconciliation Hearing, going back into the early '80s so The Public could track just how and at what points (and why) this train track got off line and headed for the cliff. There were many, many fingers on that track pushing just a bit and many hands hurling coal on the fire. But since an (under oath and with immunity) Truth & Reconciliation hearing will NEVER happen (too many behinds could be left hanging in the wind) we'll never really know the "why." Ron's Opus Magnus will likely track the "How" but the Why, that's themost interesting.

Richard LeGros said...

Ann,

FIRST, setting the date of the recall had NOTHING to do with THE CHOICE that the CSD5 made to stop the project upon their election.

Nothing, Zilch, Nada!

The ONLY reality before the CSD5 board was the actual, real-world situation that they faced...not some 'alternate reality that may or not have happened' if the recall election date took place at some alternate time!

'Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda' has nothing to do with WHAT ACTUALLY WAS!

THE DECISION TO STOP THE PROJECT was only the CSD5's to make. The recalled board members, as they we out of office, had no part in the CSD5's decision to do so.

So Ann, stop trying to use some 'alternate universe' reasoning for placing the disastrous decisions of the CSD5 upon prior boards.
Your argument is pure nonsense.

SECOND, having some sort of audit is just fine by me. In fact, AB2701 was to provide such an audit. Why the hell has it not happened? Maybe you should be pressing Sam Blakeslee on that matter.

REGARDLESS of such an audit, it WILL NOT ALTER THE REALITY OF WHAT LOS OSOS FACES TODAY ONE BIT!

That reality is exactly as I have written above.....DEAL WITH IT! , as your constant kvetching solves nothing!

Now Ann, how do YOU think the CSD should deal with a deteriorating water supply, gross environmental pollution of that water supply, getting it's financial house in order, resolving the $16,000,000 bankruptcy, paying the $6,500,000 RWQCB fine, and pay for the County's WWTP?

Have any answers?

I didn't think so as all you ever do is bitch and moan about what others do. 'Stir-the-pot; but never provide solutions Annie' is what you are all about.

Mike said...

ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ON...!!!!!

THANK YOU RICHARD FOR SAYING WHAT NEEDS TO BE SAID AND HEARD BY THIS ENTIRE COMMUNITY....!!!!!

Churadogs said...

Once again, Richard, you miss the point. A Truth & Reconciliation Hearing isn't "an audit." The "solutions" regarding the CSD are in the hands of the elected CSD members and in the limits of the law that governs CSD's (and in the political and legal maneuvering behind the scenes at the County level) Will they make good decsions? Bad decisions? Don't know. That's up to them. Stay tuned. Whatever decisions they make will be linked to (and often limited by) prior decisions back down the line.

as for,"FIRST, setting the date of the recall had NOTHING to do with THE CHOICE that the CSD5 made to stop the project upon their election.

Nothing, Zilch, Nada!"

Incorrect. It had EVERYTHING to do with the SRF $ being left intact and/or "blown" on a hole in the ground. The pre-CSD-5's decisions concerning Measure B and the SRF$ had EVERYTHING to do with what happened next -- hip bone connected to leg bone, as "A" goes, so goes "B." Do "C" and you eliminate "F & G" and limit action to only "E and maybe Z." History did not start with the certification of the CSD5. It was set in motion and linked, step by step, going back to the early 1980s, link by link. Which is why this community really needs a Truth and Reconciliation Hearing if they ever want to understand the "story" of The Hideous Sewer Project.

Mike said...

ANN...

IF YOU DON'T WANT TO LISTEN, THEN YOU WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND...

YOU HAVE HAD YOUR MIND MADE UP AND APPARENTLY NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE THAT... YOU HAVE NEVER UNDERSTOOD HOW THE CSD OVER 7 YEARS AND WIDE OPEN PUBLIC "DISCUSSIONS" CREATED A 100% LEGAL AND THE ONLY FULLY PERMITTED SEWER PROJECT FOR LOS OSOS...

YOU ARE CORRECT, THIS COMMUNITY WILL NEVER COME TOGETHER AS LONG AS YOU CONTINUE YOUR LAWSUITS AND UNCOMPROMISING OPINIONS...!!!

Sewertoons said...

Ann,
When the Lisa board stopped the project without asking permission to do so - part of the SRF money conditions, when the Water Board told them they would be fined, why didn't they listen?

GetRealOsos said...

Richard,

You never cease to amaze me.

You say, "Little things such as getting Los Osos to stop the gross pollution to our water supply by building any damn sewer ASAP,..." and blah, blah, blah!!!!

First off, the only study ever done said the pollution was from natural sources. The RWQCB has never provided proof of pollution from the septic tanks.

Second, a sewer CAN NOT correct pollution if there's no pollution from the septic tanks. Mind you, I'm not saying that homes along the bay (like Pandora's) aren't polluting, but that could have been fixed many years ago with a cluster project -- cheap -- !!

Third, it was your buddies Gordon and Stan (along with others) that said a sewer wouldn't correct problems for 30 years if ever!!

And, lastly, you always leave out the fact that there wasn't the state law required 218 vote. Mr. Seitz admitted to the state water board that the SRF loan couldn't be repaid without the 218 vote.

What don't you understand about that?

Get your facts straight before anyone can take you seriously!!

Richard LeGros said...

Ann,

Today Los Osos is burning down around our heads.....and all you want to do is bitch and moan over
'leg bones to thigh bones', cum-by-ahish 'truth hearings' and assigning blame?
You're obviously out of your freakin' mind!

So go right on and believe whatever nonsense you want cuz' your opinion just doesn't matter. In the end (and very soon too) you will have to pay mucho moola for the privilege of exercising your right to be oh so wrong!

M said...

Well Richard, at least her bitterness is not shining through. It seems like you constantly interupt this blog to point out if Los Osos had only listened to you. We did listen to you and didn't like what you were saying. That's why we recalled you. 'you' didn't 'listen' to us.
Your failures are well documented and known. Your successes not so much. Maybe you could list one or two of them so we could maybe put some credibility to what you say.
You have posted in the past how much you admired and respected bloggers such as Mike, Sewertoons, etc. Mike, perhaps one of the most adept blame gamers. Somehow your admonishment of him/her didn't ring true.
Sincerely, M

Richard LeGros said...

M, Ann & GR

And your responses addressing my pointing out the fact that Los Osos is BURNING TO THE GROUND is……..….to ‘shame and blame me?’ LOL!!!!!!!

Why not discuss the REALITY we face together; such as the fact that our community is in real trouble; and discuss how to solve our problems collectively?

Any comments?

Any ideas on how to resolve this mess?

Any ideas at all?

Just one idea?

Anything?

Sewertoons said...

Richard's success is not the issue here M. Your side's success was "winning" by 20 votes and how did that opportunity turn out?

Let's put that stuff aside and deal with THIS REALITY.

What should the CSD do now? How should the bankruptcy be paid off?

Richard LeGros said...

Hi Sewertoons,

Looks like Ann, M and GR are refusing (or just don't know how)to discuss the real issues facing Los Osos. Maybe the issues too painful and/or embarrassing for them.

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