And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

One Writer's Link and some more Heathcare Stuff

Peter Straub on the genre questions. Several other writers have pointed to this, and yeah, what he said. A lot of what he said. Why horror? and Why Write at All? Both questions answered in there. Just so much in there, it's hard to pick out favorite parts. I think the subtext of "because I'm honest to the human condition, and honest about what I do and my work" is why I keyed into this essay so strongly.

And now, the Healthcare stuff.

Slacktivist on the different games the politicians are playing. And not in a muckracker kind of sense. His basic premise is Democrats are playing Jeopardy and Republicans are playing Family Feud. Pretty good analogy. Reminds me of the story on Healthcare Reform on tonight's PBS Newshour. Notice once the Health Insurance representative is schooled on business school definitions (remember my profit comment from a few weeks ago, yeah, that came up), when asked for his "business school" interpretation of "what reforms will mean for businesses", as in "please give us your analysis of the bill," he reverts to "what business owners 'believe.'" Went asked for individual analysis of legislation, answering with "survey says" (and not a survey with statistical relevance, BTW) isn't acceptable.

And, if you wish, you can verify for yourself the "spokesperson's" veracity because publicly traded companies (of which most insurance companies are these days) have to make annual reports. And you can read them yourself. Here's Wellpoint's reports (the company I own stock in, which also owns plenty of brand names like Anthem). Here is the 2008 summary (2009 isn't compiled yet) Note total assets (money in from all sources, which include carry over and investment profit, just to be fair), total liabilities (what they owed and have or will have to pay out from this money), and "total shareholder's equity" (this is also sometimes known as "profit" - unrealized profit, as that money also pays processing and salaries). Also be sure to check out charts at the bottom of the page. Do a google search for your own insurance carrier's annual reports. (slacktivist grokked from Jay Lake)

If Healthcare Reform passes, Rush Limbaugh will leave? Hey, yet another reason I support Healthcare Reform. And I expect Rush to keep to his promise. Pack your bags, Rush. And, let me just say, America, love it or leave. Get the fuck out, Rush. Don't let the door hit you on the ass as you go off to the West Indies with your Mexican Viagra. Oh wait, that's right, you don't think Hawaii is part of the US (or at least many of your viewers don't), and as you once said, they have the best healthcare in the world. All while having mandated universal coverage with government subsidies for those who can't afford it on their own. So you'll probably just go to Hawaii.


Sheila, who is feeling fabutronic today, said...

Did I read the Wellpoint summary correctly -- is that 2.49 BILLION in net income for 2008? That's obscene.

Would love to see a report showing out-of-pocket expenses for the people insured by Wellpoint -- both in total, and as per-person and per-family averages and medians. Plus the average and median premiums for those insured. It would be enlightening to show how much money that people shelled out for "health coverage," plus additional money for care that their premiums didn't cover.

I think health care is a human right and a civil right. I'm sure that I'd be called a socialist here in the States, but people in other capitalist nations already enjoy these rights. Why can't I?

Steve Buchheit said...

Yep, you read that right. I don't have a problem with companies making money (or even profit), but when you look at the numbers, the shareholder equity is 50% of revenues. Kind of makes the whole, "We so poor company" arguments go flying out the window.

I think it's possible to work through it and get a rough figure. Of course, it would take about an hours worth of math and would mostly be assumptions. Start with an average deductible, say $2000 per individual. Then the basic plans have an 80/20 split after the deductible is met. With the numbers they provide in the breakdown, we could work it out. Of course, we would be averaging out mistakes (those who have a lower deductible versus negotiated costs lets say). However it would take more brain power than I would want to put into it at the moment.

I just don't understand the supposed "part of business concerns" not getting the whole productivity part of the argument of when your employees aren't worried about the costs of health care or if they'll have to go bankrupt because of it, how much that improves their output (IIRC, back in the 90s that figure was pegged somewhere near 20% more productive). It's huge and can make the difference between profitability and failure. Which is why many employers continue to offer goo plans as long as they can.