Creating a General Population OPTION for Medicare

Before I begin, my owner’s rules still apply. Be polite, or your reply won’t be posted or if it slips through and does an autopost, I’ll delete it, K? If you need to review those rules, see the first two posts in this blog.

Now, on to this topic. Recently I tweeted a question about a public option for Medicare. The Tweet was as follows:

In business volume = profit; If private citizens had the OPTION to join Medicare, wouldn’t that up the number of users and make profitable?

I guess I was a bit unclear in that and subsequent tweets, and that’s when I realized this needs to be discussed here, on a blog post. Here goes.

First and foremost, Medicare is a social insurance program administered by the United States government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are aged 65 and over, or who meet other special criteria. It is NOT the same as Medicaid, which is the United States health program for people and families with low incomes and resources. It is a program that is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and is managed by the states. I need to make that clear: I have no desire, intent, or thoughts on Medicaid. I’m wondering about Medicare.

Second, I was NOT advocating changes to the CURRENT Medicare clients’ eligibility. I was not saying I think we should increase the price of Medicare to our seniors, who are mostly on fixed incomes, and who seem to be seeing their income power dwindling. Remember, although Danny and I are painfully aware that we are better off than most Americans, neither of us are without empathy to those who don’t have our resources – because growing up, neither of us did, and our siblings still don’t! We see our parents worrying about what’s going to happen to them just as much as we worry about our own futures. Certainly my brothers and I will do whatever it takes for Dad, and certainly Danny and his siblings will do whatever needs to be done for his parents – but we also don’t want their pride to take a hit. Moms and Dads expect to take care of their kids, and I don’t care if they’re 30 or 80. When I bring a gift to Dad for no reason – maybe a new sweater or some homemade apple butter, he still tries to reimburse us (when he’s lucid, but that’s a whole other topic that I respectfully ask you not to bring up. Thank you.). It’s what parents do.

So let’s talk about Medicare. Let’s talk about opening it up as an OPTION to all individuals.

NOTE: I will now stop emphasizing OPTION with all caps. Do NOT reply with a post about how I’m a socialist and am trying to force everyone to socialized medicine. I’m not saying that. I’m saying OPTION if you WANT to join.

My understanding is that small businesses want to become big businesses because volume is the way to increase efficiency in systems. I remember that from my days of retail while working my way through college. In a nutshell, the more people you have coming in the door, the lower your overhead becomes. You have to pay for the same amount of electricity if you have 20 customers or 200 customers, so getting 200 through the door means the bill gets paid with more left over at the end of the day.

So if more people were eligible for/buying into Medicare, wouldn’t that make it more efficient? Wouldn’t that mean there would be money left over?

If so, because it’s a government program – and so not trying to turn a profit, couldn’t we lower the costs to all members? Or increase the threshold at which a member is carried without personal cost? Wouldn’t that mean we could start increasing current benefits and getting rid of the Part B plans our parents have to carry?

Danny mentioned another interesting thought – currently Medicare is for seniors only. If younger, less physically worn out people were joining, wouldn’t that also make Medicare more efficient and so less costly to the paying members?

I know from my experience, as I age, I get more and more times the doctor says, “We need to talk.” For instance, I am at my correct BMI. I don’t smoke. I tend to eat out as little as possible and then only at local establishments using local ingredients because I want to keep my sodium levels as low as possible. We don’t use packaged, boxed dinners. We cook from the garden or whole foods. We work out for 60-90 minutes, 5-7 days per week. And still, my blood pressure has crept higher and higher, just like my brothers’, and just like Mom’s. We’re simply wired for high blood pressure as we age. When I was 30, there was no problem. As I’ve aged, I’ve needed a prescription, and a closer eye from the doctor. That costs me and the system money.

And we all know about the added tests that come our way as we get older. All those things cost money, but if those costs were offset by a whole load of 25 year olds who were just starting their careers, so they wanted to have insurance for sports injuries, but not much else, then wouldn’t that be a good thing? Wouldn’t the entire country benefit if more small businesses could afford to hire someone full-time because Medicare was an option for them to use as insurance? And wouldn’t more people decide to take that dream job in the small business, following their passion because they could get affordable insurance through Medicare?

Let’s discuss!

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On Abortion

As per my agreement with Speaker Haffley, this post will serve as a place for us to discuss – reasonably and respectfully – the topic of abortion. I’ve tried many times to write this one, but have stopped myself because rarely is this topic able to stay respectful. To that end, and for those of you who are not familiar with this forum, it’s simple:

Some of the folks on Twitter do not mind arguing, belittling, high tempers, etc. I do, and it’s my blog.

No name calling. That includes “Lefties” or “Righties,” which I saw on Twitter today. Those are, in my mind, meant to be demeaning, and because it’s my blog, I call the rules. Please use“liberal” or “conservative,” “democratic” or “republican.” There were other terms used today that I considered used simply to belittle the person to whom the tweet was directed. Please don’t do that here.
I will not post and/or will delete any offensive replies. This applies to either the right or the left. If you read this, and your view is on the right, but I’ve allowed what you consider to be a derogatory post to your side of the aisle, then by all means, send me an email at cjcreggconcanon@gmail.com. I do have a full-time job, and might have simply not seen the post yet. I will remove offending posts regardless of their lean.

If your post is not accepted and/or deleted, then consider re-writing it. Your opinion is valued, as long as you treat the readers here with the utmost respect.

Now, to my opinion.

I think abortion should be legal. I think it should be safe, and I think it should be a whole lot less common than it is today. We need to increase teaching about birth control, but that’s a whole different discussion.

I know many people feel that abortion against their religion, and while I respect that, I don’t think that’s a valid reason to make it illegal in America. We have many beliefs here – including atheists and agnostics – and making this law based on religious beliefs is a slippery slope.

There was a time in my life when I was very active in an evangelical Christian church. During that time, I still felt that while abortion was against my personal beliefs, my responsibilities as a Christian were not the same as my rights as an American. Even then, I thought abortion should be a legal option. Why?

Simply put, I believed in God’s omniscience. He would know if a soul would be born, and He would know if a pregnancy would be terminated.

Through much strife and life-events, I am no longer able to consider myself a Christian. Frankly, when I needed help and was told I wasn’t “Christian enough,” I became soured on it. But that doesn’t really play a role here – just background you need to know to understand that I truly am thinking of it from the point of view of others.

And now I also rail at the inequality. Young men can go out and have unplanned pregnancies and not skip a beat. The life of the young woman is severely derailed. She is called names, including ones I won’t use publicly or here. He gets to laugh it off, call her names as well. She gets to change diapers and drop out of school. He gets to change majors and move out of state.

Danny, who disagrees with me on this subject, by the way, told me about a FB friend he knew in college who has a child that would have been a toddler when they were in school. Danny never knew the guy had a kid. I have no doubt. Danny’s friend got to continue high school, continue college, ignore child support, and have his planned life. His best friends did not know he had a child. Think about that.

The young woman? Odds are she might have finished high school if she had supportive parents, but if she didn’t, I hate to think. Odds are she struggled to find a way to support herself and her child. Did he pay child support? Well, doubtful since he (or his parents) was (were) paying tuition at a private college. Did he stay up all night with the child? Uh, not while he was at the frat parties, that’s for sure. Did he lose work time when he had to take the child to his/her pediatrician appointments? Well, they were in NJ (if I am remembering correctly), and he was in southern FL, so I’m going to guess no.

I will likely respond to others, but for now, it’s late, my carbon monoxide detector just went off, and I have much to do tomorrow. So I guess I’ll close with my bottom line:

I want women to live the best life they can. I don’t think abortion should be birth control, but I don’t believe the government has any right to listen to what I discuss with my OB/GYN.

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On Guns

I promised you my second post would be on gun control. I’m certain I don’t have to explain why this is on my mind. From the get-go, let me just say that I know this topic gets emotionally charged quickly. Let’s please stay civil.

Now, I am all for hunters being able to hunt. I am all for trap shooters being able to shoot clay pigeons. I don’t “get” it, even after Simon let me try his gun. I’ll never really understand hunting, but that’s because I’m way too sappy when it comes to animals, and Danny and I both recognize it. Remember when I said I ‘could get a cat’ and become a cat lady? Well, since then Danny and I started adding pets for The Kid. Said Kid now has 3 dogs and 5 cats to go along with Gail VI. It was 3 dogs and 3 cats until we found 2 strays in the garage, but oh well – we love the animals, and they unconditionally love us. So I can’t shoot bambi. And I’m not saying just because I can’t, no one else should.

By the way, that wasn’t the first time I held a gun (I let Simon think so because he was being all protectory and stuff). A friend traveling to visit another friend stopped for the night at my place and said, “ooo, look at this!” Admittedly the not-Simon guy was certainly using his gun as an indicator of his manhood (and that’s mocking that particular person, not gun owners in general) – but it didn’t make me feel safe to have it in my home that night. It scared the crap out of me for two reasons: that guy has a serious anger issue, and he drank ¾ of my bottle of Captain Morgan’s Private Stock. Admittedly, I wasn’t too happy about that last part whether or not he had a gun.

But I digress.

In my family, both of my brothers have guns. Hogan’s dad and my SIL just recently went to a beautiful farm in Western PA and shot traps. Yay. Good for them! Glad they enjoyed it. I don’t expect them to like to Twitter or to blog (good thing since I’m the only one who followed Dad’s footsteps and went left instead of right. This way I get to be totally honest with my peeps out here). They have their fun their way, I have my fun my way. It’s part of, you know, pursuing happiness.

But here are the things: they know how to use them, and they aren’t semi-automatics or automatics. They’re sport guns for sport, and in both cases, a hand gun for protection.

Why don’t we require skill-based licensing for owning a gun? That’s not rhetorical, I simply don’t understand, and I don’t understand why anyone would think it’s dandy to have people running around with guns when they don’t know how to use them.

Why is it people with mental illness with tendencies to violence can legally buy and own a gun?

But mostly, why is it when I say I’d like to talk about the gun laws, I get shouted down and told Second Amendment! Second Amendment! Second Amendment! Why is the assumption that I want all guns banned instantly?

This happened with the AZ incident. I’m sure if you have a FB account you saw the status update that said

To everyone who is calling for stricter gun laws in light of the tragedy in Tucson, may I offer this little tidbit: If guns kill people, then pencils misspell words, cars drive drunk, and spoons make people fat. Remember: Hold the person accountable for their actions, not the means they chose to utilize!!! Repost if you agree gun control won’t stop the criminals, just stops the good people from having guns.

I replied to one poster that I respectfully disagreed, and that while I don’t think we should ban all guns, if the shooter had been armed with a knife instead of a gun, it’s likely there wouldn’t be 6 dead and 13 injured – he would have been stopped before more than one or two people got stabbed.

Enter my being yelled at. Exit my part of the conversation. I don’t like being told I’m having a knee-jerk reaction (especially when I’ve held these views for at least 7 years). Most interestingly, the woman who yelled at me said we need to look at how this man slipped through the cracks of the mental health-care system.

Earlier this week she posted that she is glad the House voted to repeal the Health-care bill. You can’t have it both ways. If we’re going to help the disenfranchised mentally ill, you have to understand – they are unlikely to be holding down jobs that give them benefits, they don’t necessarily have family money, and the insurance coverage they might get from a possible spouse maxes out. In some cases, it doesn’t take long for them to lose what they might have through those avenues. Sorry – that’s a tangent that we need to keep for a different day, but now you know what my next topic will be 🙂

So, my friends on the left – why do you think guns should be harder to get and keep? How do you propose we make it safer for everyone, even those of us who do not care to own a gun, and at times feel as if we’re being told we MUST (yeah, 7 years ago again)?

My friends on the right – why is there resistance to outlawing certain types of guns? Why is there resistance to having gun owners proving their ability to shoot accurately? Why don’t we require gun owners to carry insurance similar to what car owners have to carry?

Please – discuss!

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Next Up

Next up I plan on writing out my thoughts on the gun control rhetoric. Please put your thinking caps on, and be ready to join in!

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Raising the Level

There come times when we cannot make due with 140 characters or ten word answers. We deserve more complex answers when the issues themselves are complex. I would like to use this blog for that purpose.

I invite you to discuss with us, but truly discuss; please follow these simple suggestions, some from our esteemed former President, Jed Bartlet, some from me. I’m glad to add to these suggestions with your ideas as our blog grows, if that happens.

* Consider how you present your side of the argument here. Don’t use inflammatory words, but use as many facts as possible. Use examples you know to be true, not something that you heard from a friend of a friend of a friend on email. I’d like to not have to use Snopes to decide if a response should be left or deleted.

* Speaking of deleting, I will do so when I see comments veering to angry attacks, and your side of the argument will have nothing to do with whether or not I delete. Don’t assume I am always on the left on an issue. I’ve been alive way too long not to recognize where there are grays. However, in general feel free to assume I’m a lily-livered, bleeding-heart, liberal, egghead communist. You’re likely correct, but please be sure to add “tree-hugging, pacifistic” in there somewhere. 🙂

* I am also likely to delete if I receive requests from more than two people requesting a post be removed. When you have a track record built in our community of reasoned debate, I will try to let you know I need to do that, but that you’re welcome to revise and repost. That means I need a valid email address (obviously).

* Humans are emotional beings, but please try to use phrases such as, “I feel as if. . .” and not, “You made me feel like. . .”

* When in doubt, ask about a commenter’s motivation. Don’t assume. Please do not assign intent to someone else’s post.

* Use the phrase, “Respectfully, I disagree.” It’s much easier to remember to be respectful.


* I will do my best not to break character. This means I need YOUR help. I need you to give your opinion even if you agree with what someone else has said. This allows me (and Charlie and Pres Bartlet and Josh and Donna and Toby and Elsie and Carol and all the other gang who are West Wing Twitterers) to participate in the discussions without revealing portions our personal lives that are in conflict with our personas. Although I’ve been surprised at the number of things CJ and I have in common, there are parts of my life that have shaped my opinions, but have zero to do with CJ’s life. A prime example would be a case in which I might mention an ex-husband. CJ doesn’t have one (unless it was when she was working in Hollywood, but she never once mentioned one); I do. Some of my political opinions are based on my experiences with him. I can’t meet the burden of the request of the first bullet without breaking character in some cases, but if there are quite a few posters, I can slip some stuff in anonymously as another internet alter-ego (I can always make one up. I really do write for a living, and so have made up names and locations for years).

* Finally, I cannot stand name calling, finger pointing or inflamed rhetoric whose purpose is to make the readers/participants angry. Those posts will be deleted. If you have a point you’re trying to make but you’re simply too angry (remember – Sam did explain why people who care about politics can’t help but scream at each other on TV), consider posting, “I need to gather my thoughts.” Then take some time, take a walk around the block, think about what you need to say, and take a day to respond. If you still want help editing, send it to me via email cjcreggconcanon at gmail dot com. I edit a lot at work, too, so am likely able to help with rephrasing, softening, just like my mother taught me as I mentioned in the Access program done on me years ago 🙂

If you think one of my posts uses inflamed rhetoric aimed at making readers/participants angry, tell me.

* I’m hoping to add admin to help with this blog. I have another job, and it takes up way too much of my time already (working on that – I really am!). I’m most interested in getting Cliff, Joe, Ainsley, Albe (“you’re the one I like”), Glen – our gang from the right. I think all I’d have to do is give you the password, but we can always explore. If you’re interested, please DM me on Twitter.

Finally, any spelling, punctuation, grammar, or historical inaccuracies are my fault. I apologize in advance, and would appreciate your letting me know so I can fix.

Happy discussing!

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