Wednesday, November 29, 2017

ACA Reduces Uncompensated Care?

Here is an interesting trend, though the causal relationship is unclear. ST Charity Care Costs Drop Sean passed the link along during this exchange. (see the link for more discussion)
"Actually, the ACA has significantly reduced the amount of free-riding in the health care system. Nationwide, the amount of charity and uncompensated care has plunged by up to 30%, depending on the state (Minnesota is at 17%)." Sean

"I do not disagree that there were benefits / savings to society by making the "successful" people pay the medical bills of the poor. This does not change the point that we are taking from Peter to pay for Paul's issues.

Do you have a source for the things you stated above? I am curious how many dollars per year you are talking about?

If we are saving $10 and paying out $100... It may be a poor trade off. Though I am sure the hospitals, credit card companies, charities, patient, government, etc appreciate the windfall. Maybe they will send all the successful people a big thank you card!!!

Probably not... They will likely just keep saying that they are not paying their fair share... " G2A
So I understand that many more people are getting free and reduced cost service, and that this is being paid for by the added ACA taxes on the wealthy, business and other citizens.  Therefore that healthcare systems, banks, credit card companies, etc are incurring fewer losses and likely more profitable.  Or is there some belief that these folks are reducing their fees to share their new found wealth with all of us customers?

And are we collecting and redistributing Billions to save Millions of dollars?

Are these reductions in bankruptcies and uncollectibles good or bad news overall?  And are they actually tied to the boom economy more so than ACA?


Monday, November 27, 2017

Ostructionism vs Responsible Votes

From Jerry at G2A Most People Choose Ignorance
"The problem with obstruction as a general policy principle is that it can be both UNprincipled and irrational. It isn't a question of who is "stopping things from being done," It is WHAT is being stopped. Good ideas should be approved on a non/bipartisan basis; bad ideas should be opposed. If you cannot give a reason for obstructing "progress," is it because you don't have one? "

Now I do not disagree that the DEMs are being obstructionists just as the GOPs were during Obama's time in office. However this seems very natural given the graphic below. The GOP tax plan is definitely policy that is supported by the folks in the RED Box, It is a plan where even some GOP folk see it as bad policy. (ie raises deficits, gives cuts to wealthy, etc) {CBO Analysis} These are the GOP folks outside the red box.

Given this is the current reality... Why would any Democrat vote for the bill? And can Conservatives even acknowledge how Far Right this tax bill is? It is like when they seemed surprised that they did not get the votes to kill ACA...

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Most People Choose Ignorance

This is a fascinating piece that seems to confirm what I have sensed as long as I have been blogging.
"The results: Listening to a political opponent isn’t as awful as getting a tooth pulled, but it’s trending in that direction."
 VOX Motivated Ignorance is Ruining Our Political Discourse
"For people who might be thinking — “this is a false equivalence! How can you even compare the topics liberals are biased about to the topics conservatives are bias about!” — know that it is possible to be both biased and correct. 
Both liberals and conservatives fail here because the human brain fails here. The answer to “fake news” is not just deleting posts that are factually incorrect. It’s motivating people to be curious, and to seek out information that contradicts what they believe in an open-minded way. 
Unless Facebook — or any social media — can find a means to make opposing points of view enjoyable to consume, or somehow incentivize seeing the other side, the internet will continue to divide and fracture into competing and alternative understandings of reality. Because right now the conclusion all this research points to is simple: We find interacting with other points of view to be unpleasant. And it’s hard to build a viral consumer product around an unpleasant experience."
Now how do we convince people to be more curious and questioning?  That is a very good question... 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Teacher Compensation: Steps and Lanes

So in G2A Consequences of Weakening Unions, I just asked about this topic and Erin at MinnPost had recently written about it.

Now this Steps Lanes chart is just for example. Please remember that this is not for 12 months, it is for about 9.5 months. RDALE Teacher Contract Appendix A

Here are some other reference links:
G2A Steps and Lanes
G2A Pay Grades and Tenure Stress
G2A Why Pay More?
G2A Mpls Teachers and Schools Conundrum

Finally, here are my comments from the Weakening post.
"I guess we are back to the question of if people should be paid more just because they are older?

Which would mean people should be paid less just because they are younger or have not been with the organization as long?

Now assuming they have:
- the same work load (1 class or subject)
- the same responsibilities
- the same performance

Should the 50 year old teacher make twice what the 30 year old teacher makes just because they are old? If so, what is the rationale?

As discussed previously, I make about 1.7 times what a new engineer out of college makes. However it is not because I am older, it is because have very different job than they do. They are responsible for the design of various components / machines, where as I manage the release, design, build, installation and acceptance of many complete systems across the world.

Now if highly compensated Teachers had different work loads, responsibilities and performance, then I can understand paying them more?

However having 2 third grade Teachers paid very differently in 2 classrooms that are next to each other with a similar mix of and quantity of students just because one is older makes no sense to me." G2A

Monday, November 20, 2017

Orienting Principle Must Be Truth

Here is an interesting opinion piece. I especially like the conclusion...
"Journalists can help themselves by, simply put, being better at our jobs. Giving Trump less ammunition in the form of unforced errors is crucial. The media must prove it is deserving of the trust it desires. Mistakes, which will happen, must be corrected swiftly.

Instead of willing the news to go in a certain direction, we should wait and see if it actually does. Whataboutism isn't journalism. Neither is "look over here!"

Conservative journalism, in particular, must provide clear-eyed commentary and analysis in the era of Trump. While liberalism is united against a common enemy, conservatives are divided. Some like the President, some like him enough and some like him just because he is not the alternative, Hillary Clinton. With no orienting political direction, the uniting principle among conservatives in media must be truth. "
Some related links
Chris Wallace FOX Hard News vs FOX News Opinion
WAPO FOX Undermines Real News

Now I absolutely love watching Chris Wallace on FOX on Sunday mornings.  He is smart, demanding, balanced, etc.  Of course when I mentioned this opinion to my favorite couple who loves watching the FOX Opinion show hosts...  They said that they think Chris is a Liberal...  Of course one of them sees Rush Limbaugh as a good "news" source...  So that explains a lot... :-)

So with Trump etal dividing the Conservatives, I have to think this is going to be great for the DEMs in 2018.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Consequences of Weakening Unions?

This is an interesting analysis of the changes that occurred in Wisconsin. CNN Impact of Changes in Wisconsin  Though it certainly seems that the jury is still out.  Thoughts?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

America Needs Better Leaders

This is an interesting opinion piece.
CNN America is in Need of Leaders

Now I personally have a lot of cynicism and dislike for most Upper Level Managers, CEOs and Politicians.  That is because I am hard wired to be a Servant Leader, whereas most of the Upper Level Managers, CEOs and Politicians I have worked with and heard speak seem to be Traditional Top Down Leaders who see themselves as the focal point.

This is part of why I was laid off from my previous employer almost 5 years ago now, and why I am much more comfortable working as a Project Manager.  I am happy to work hard with my team and to mentor / support those who have less knowledge and experience.  However when it comes to doing as told by upper managers when it seems illogical or against the company's principles, I tend to speak up and try to change things.  Unfortunately self focused Traditional Top Down Managers tend to shoot the messenger... I would be a terrible military soldier...

The challenge of course is that self focused Traditional Top Down Managers tend to be the people who are willing to drag their family around the country and world to climb the ladder, get more power and larger compensation.  I have to assume we have the same challenge when it comes to politicians, that is why there are so many narcissists in office.

Often the best leaders and politicians are those who were reluctantly promoted or voted into that position.  By the way, I am also a big fan of Deming's work.

Will Trump etal be Good for DEMs in 2018

Given the number of people in the general population who Trump has annoyed, vilified, failed to help and/or insulted...  I am guessing the answer is yes.  And per this piece it seems the GOP governors understand this.  Next year's elections are going to be exciting !!!  Thoughts?

And please note that Trump's approval numbers are not getting any better given his not changing his ways....

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

With this rash of people claiming sexual assault etc, and others being fired , punished , etc based on only the accuser's word...  Where do we go from here?

CNN Moore
CNN The List
Salon Women Do It Also

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Tax Bill Review

I have been worried about Jerry's logic / consistency gaps lately. Hopefully he gets a check up.  NYT Tax Bill Impact Summary

"For example, I point out that the current House GOP plan would make taxes MORE progressive. Trump would pay more. Is that acceptable? It isn't fair by any means, if that is a value you wish to hold on this issue." Jerry 
"Not true at all."Sean 
"Sean, basis of that statement? I am basing that on the fact the top bracket is retained and the exclusion of SALT hits the rich harder, plus everybody else sees higher starts to their brackets and lower rates." Jerry 
"All you have to do is look at all the various analyses of the distributional impact -- whether from JCT, CBPP, TPC, Tax Foundation (which represent the full spectrum of ideologies) they all show more benefit (in absolute and % of income) accruing at the top of the scale, especially after all the temporary middle class measures fall off in five years." Sean 
"In that case I'm all for it. But you are looking at the Senate bill. Try looking at the House bill, it seems better all around, and since tax policy must originate in the House, I'm hopeful.  It's a question of "values," again. Do we value "sticking it to the rich"? Or do we value reducing taxes and promoting economic growth? I would say that one of those motivations is not like the other."Jerry

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Why Do I Have to Love or Hate Trump?

Given the strong feelings that Trump elicits here, this is an excellent piece that I can relate to
CNN Why Do I Have to Love or Hate Trump

I mean look at Laurie's take on Trump's presidency...
"What makes it crazy for women (or men) to vote for Trump is he is mentally ill and unfit to be president. He falls outside the norm of typical or acceptable presidents. It is unprecedented in how bad of a candidate / president he is. He is uniquely unqualified to hold office. I though GW was a bad president, but Trump is beyond terrible as president. I expect him to be rated at the very bottom once he has been in office long enough to be rated (number 45 out of 45)  (btw Obama has been rated as the 12th best president by presidential scholars.)"
And Lord knows criticizing the President's words or actions in front of the Trump Conservatives is to pick a fight...

Saturday, November 4, 2017

China Thoughts / Pics

Well, I have been on the road for a week and have made it to the Courtyard Marriott in Pangyo Korea. And even better yet, I get to stay here for 2 whole nights and have today to catch up on everything. (ie rest, work, blog, etc) By the way, this "office" does have a nice view !!! (remember: if you pick the picture it will enlarge) And here is map of my adventure.

My first thought was would the Light Rail / High Speed Rail folks support China's solution of elevating the whole darned thing? Whether it is in the country or the city... Just think: no worrying about pedestrians, cars, etc. Maybe that is what we should do with the SW corridor? I wonder how many law suits that would trigger in the USA. Also, please note that electric powered transportation solutions are great except they require transmission lines to get the power there.

Now I have complimented the roadways in China cities many times. They are clean and have maintained plants everywhere. And this work apparently creates a lot of low skill / low knowledge jobs. This is the first I have noticed in Tianjin and Bejing they are actually building covers to protect the hundreds of miles of plants in the medians during the winter.

And everyone in the USA should be thankful that squat toilets never caught on in the states. Especially the ones where you are in essence hovering over a sewage trough with no water trap to prevent the gases / smells from coming back into the room. When I got to Korea they had these useful instructions for people who have not used a western toilet. :-)

Now for bikes and scooters, there are many of them here and many are going electric. (be careful: they are very quiet...) However apparently high tech bike rentals are becoming a problem in the cities. Rental companies are flooding the streets with them, not maintaining them adequately and they end up with lots full of them in the wrong place. So the cities are confiscating them by the thousands... By the way, here is a typical scooter parking area.

By the way, most of the China hotels have been in very urban areas that make New York looks small and rural... :-) However here is the view from my Hilton up in the Hangzhou lake country. It made for a very nice change for the few hours I was there and awake to appreciate it.

Now that I am in Korea I thought maybe some of the building construction would be slower, but I was greeted by the usual Asian city scene. Cities building hundreds of apartment and office buildings simultaneously. It is almost impossible to comprehend. Just imaging building the whole Minneapolis downtown each year... And this was happening in every city I visited.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Those Silly Women

I found these interesting, especially after Laurie and Sean were attacking me for my Trump vote.

FOX News Michelle Obama Speaks
CNN Michelle Obama Speaks
FOX Opinion Do Not Speak for Me

Apparently Michelle Obama thinks that women who voted for Trump didn't "listen to their voice".  How can Liberals be so EGOTISTICAL?