Monday, 21 October 2013

Snowden Offers to Fix Healthcare.gov


October 21, 2013
Snowden Offers to Fix Healthcare.gov
by Andy Borowitz

MOSCOW (The Borowitz Report)­The N.S.A. leaker Edward Snowden today reached out to the United States government, offering to fix its troubled healthcare.gov Web site in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Speaking from an undisclosed location in Russia, Mr. Snowden said he hacked the Web site over the weekend and thinks he is "pretty sure what the problem is."

"Look, this thing was built terribly," he said. "It's a government Web site, O.K.?"

Mr. Snowden said that if an immunity deal can be worked out, "I can get to work on this thing right away­I don't need a password."

In addition to full immunity, Mr. Snowden said he is requesting that he be allowed to work from home.

At the White House, President Obama offered a muted response to Mr. Snowden's proposal: "Edward Snowden is a traitor who has compromised our national security. Having said that, if he knows why we keep getting those error messages, that could be a conversation."

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2013/10/snowden-offers-to-fix-health-insurance-marketplace.html

:Kucinich goes capitalist



You might enjoy this

Blog: The Insomniac Libertarian
Post: Kucinich goes capitalist
Link: http://insomniaclibertarian.blogspot.com/2013/10/kucinich-goes-capitalist.html

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Be Suspicious


Be Suspicious
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
October 21, 2013

Salon warns us: be suspicious of those beards on Duck Dynasty. They indicate maleness, and we can't have that.

re: Be Suspicious
Thomas DiLorenzo
October 21, 2013

Even "worse" than the hunting, fishing, shooting, and beard-wearing on Duck Dynasty, Lew,  is the fact that every episode ends with the entire family, grandchildren and all, praying before dinner at a very large table.  I've watched several episodes, and there's not been a single "celebration" of "diverse" lifestyles" and not a metrosexual male to be seen anywhere. How did this show ever make it on television, let alone become the top-rated show on cable?!

Apparently, Phil Robertson, the "Duck Commander," is an old pal of football legend Terry Bradshaw, who is also from Louisiana.  On the Jay Leno show last week Terry said that when he was in college at Louisiana Tech Phil Robertson was the starting quarterback because he (Terry) was simply not as good as Phil.  When Robertson quit the team, Terry got his chance and the rest is history.  Louisiana Tech University recently honored Bradshaw and Robertson at a football game.

I'm surprised that Salon did not mention that Muslims associated with al Qaeda also have a beard culture associated with their traditional values.

Can This Man Save Healthcare?


Can This Man Save Healthcare?
OCTOBER 21, 2013
by JORDAN BRUNEAU

While the country focuses its attention on the sputtering implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one man is quietly revolutionizing American medicine. Dr. Keith Smith, founder of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma (SCO) in Oklahoma City, is bringing market forces to healthcare by posting his prices online.

Healthcare costs in the United States have increased at an average rate of 7.7 percent per year since 1980 compared to 4.6 percent for the consumer price index. Smith believes price wars and other market mechanisms, not increased government control, are the best way to stem and reverse this inflation. With the ACA's imminent implementation, the prospects for formal healthcare policy changes are limited. Smith hopes, however, that he and a handful of other transparent fee-for-service providers will be the vanguard of a free-market movement that runs parallel to the ACA. "The price transparency and price deflation," Smith says, "aims at the soft underbelly of the beast."


First Came the Canadians

Smith knew that putting his prices online had been a great idea when Canadians began flying down to the SCO for treatment: "The first thing that happened once we started posting our prices online was the Canadians started showing up. They could pay $3,200 from Vancouver for a hernia operation to step out of line." The line Smith refers to is Canada's single-payer, government-run healthcare system, which boasts some of the longest wait times for surgical care in the OECD. Smith contracts with a Canadian health broker specializing in finding wait-listed Canadians access to care and describes the high number of Canadians he sees as "fascinating because that's the healthcare system that everybody in this town thinks we need."

In addition to targeting the uninsured and Canadians, Smith has also had success in appealing to people with high deductibles and mid-sized companies in Oklahoma and North Texas. He has directly courted companies that feel that they are overpaying for their HMOs, asking CEOs, "Why would you be OK with paying $14,000 for a tonsillectomy across town for one of your employee's children when we'll do it for $2,900?" In response, many companies have moved their health plans to the SCO, offering to eliminate employee copayments for treatment on the condition that surgeries are performed at the SCO. As a result, one medium-sized bank in the region was able to drop its premiums by 10 percent. Smith's corporate accounts have significantly improved his profitability: "In the last year, as a result of our outreach to CEOs of big companies, we are 40 percent busier than we were a year ago, and it's primarily due to us posting these prices."


Healthcare Doesn't Cost That Much

According to Smith, "Healthcare doesn't cost that much, but what healthcare professionals charge is another matter." By cutting out hospital administrators and the bureaucracy involved with third-party payers, the SCO is able to offer healthcare services at deep discounts. For example, for a patient with a bad back, the SCO was able to perform a two-level disc decompression for $8,500. That paid for the surgeon, anesthesia, and supply costs as well as an overnight stay. The patient's next closest bid was $60,000, saving his company's health plan $51,500. While few would argue that high four- to low five-figure treatment costs are cheap in absolute terms, in relative terms they are. For major spine surgery, the SCO charges $16,500, which Smith admits "is a lot of money, but people are flying here from Alaska and Massachusetts to get this price because in their home states it's not uncommon for this surgery to cost $175,000."

Comparing the SCO's prices with national average prices backs up Smith's claims, though it's tricky: Estimates from different sources vary widely, which is a symptom of an inefficiently functioning market. That said, the SCO comes in under the lower end of national average estimates. The table below lists several surgeries that the SCO does for a fraction of the national estimates compiled by howmuchisit.org.


Price Comparison Between Surgery Center of Oklahoma and National Average ($)

      []

Source: Surgery Center of Oklahoma Pricing, www.surgerycenterok.com/pricing/ (accessed  09/13/13); HowMuchIsIt.org, www.howmuchisit.org/surgery-costs/ (accessed 09/13/13).


Put the Patient in the Canoe Where the Money Is

So if the SCO is able to offer care at mere fractions of national average prices, why is healthcare so expensive? A big reason is that consumers and providers are shielded from price signals by insurance companies or government. The healthcare industry consists of a triumvirate of consumers, providers, and payers; neither the consumer nor the provider has an incentive to economize because the former is not directly paying and the latter is not directly charging. Hoover Institution economist Russ Roberts sums up this phenomenon pithily with the statement, " If you're paying, I'll have top sirloin." Without incentives to economize, costs spiral out of control to such a ridiculous degree that providers can charge $100 for an aspirin and consumers can order a bevy of lab tests for a common cold.

Smith believes that the ACA, which further shields the consumer and provider from the cost of healthcare, will only exacerbate this problem. The best solution is to cut out the third-party payers and let consumers and producers negotiate directly, thereby allowing market forces to do for the healthcare sector what they have done for virtually every other sector of the economy: bring down prices and improve quality. Smith says, "Ultimately, the only way to control cost is put the patient in the canoe where the money is, they've got to feel like they have some accountability or they're going to want it all."


The Silicon Valley of Healthcare

Smith's transparent pricing has already had a significant impact on the healthcare market in Oklahoma City. Smith says, "What we've done by putting these prices online is created a price war, and it's really going on in Oklahoma City." With the SCO as an option for residents, the big nonprofit hospitals in the city are having difficulty continuing to charge their inflated rates. "The big hospitals," Smith says, "have been thrust into a market economy whether they like it or not." Consumers finally have the option to shop around for the best medical care.

The effects have been felt throughout the region. The Oklahoma Heart Hospital and the nearby McBride Orthopedic Hospital have both followed the SCO's lead in publishing their prices in an effort to attract consumers. Worried that they were losing heart patients to the Oklahoma Heart Hospital, Galichia Heart Hospital in nearby Wichita has also published its rates, creating the first semblance of the price war Smith has been trying to start.

As a result, Oklahoma and Kansas boast some of the cheapest open-heart surgery rates in the nation, at around $30,000. The procedure costs $106,000 at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. "In Oklahoma City," Smith says, "we're dragging people along because there is work out there for them if they adopt this strategy." Even outside the region, the SCO is helping people save on their medical bills; patients from around the country are demanding that their hospitals match the SCO's prices. Many relent. Smith says that he receives several letters each week detailing variants of this story: "I like to think of what is done with all those dollars that are not spent on giant hospital bills."


Big Hospital's Nightmare

It remains to be seen whether Dr. Smith's business model can have a big enough impact to ameliorate some of the negative distortionary effects of the ACA. In the meantime, Smith seems to relish his role as a David figure fighting the entrenched and moneyed industry Goliaths. He believes that his model can cut into the profits of big healthcare: "The big hospital's nightmare has arrived."

Smith admits that his strategy hasn't won him any friends in the healthcare establishment or, as he refers to it, the healthcare cartel: "I don't get invited to any big hospital garden parties." In fact, he claims that "giant hospital chains and insurance companies were lined up arm-in-arm" to prevent the SCO from succeeding. Following its opening, business suffered for several years because it was locked out of insurance plans that would rather pay the higher in-network amounts at the bigger hospitals across town. The SCO only became profitable when it went over insurers' heads and pursued corporate clients directly. "The big hospitals and insurance companies hurt us for a while," Smith says, "but we stayed with it; now they're sucking wind."

http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/can-this-man-save-healthcare#ixzz2iPH2xmkT

Do the Ten Commandments Prohibit the Formation of a Government?


Do the Ten Commandments Prohibit the Formation of a Government?
Laurence M. Vance       
October 21, 2013

In a note about my recent article on posting the Ten Commandments, a reader suggests that the Ten Commandments prohibit the formation of a government. Why? Because of the prohibitions against stealing, killing, coveting, and lying. Aren't these the very foundations of government?

Fwd: Sex with Ghosts


Subject: Sex with Ghosts
To: akWarped Humor <Warped-Humor@yahoogroups.com>


Sex with Ghosts


A professor at the University of Arkansas was giving a lecture in a course on Paranormal Studies.

To get a feel for his audience, he asks, "How many people here believe in ghosts?"

About 90 students raise their hands.

"Well, that's a good start.  Out of those who believe in ghosts, do any of you think you have seen a ghost?'

About 40 students raise their hands.

"That's really good.  I'm really glad you take this seriously.

Has anyone here ever talked to a ghost?"

About 15 students raise their hand.

"Has anyone here ever touched a ghost?"

Three students raise their hands.

"That's fantastic.  Now let me ask you one question further...
Have any of you ever made love to a ghost?'

Way in the back, Ahmed raises his hand.

The professor takes off his glasses and says: "Son, all the years I've been giving this lecture, no one has ever claimed to have made love to a ghost.
You've got to come up here and tell us about your experience."

The Middle Eastern student replied with a nod and a grin, and began to make his way up to the podium.

When he reached the front of the room, the professor says,
"So, Ahmed, tell us what it's like to have sex with a ghost."

"Ghost?  Shit, from way back there I thought you said "goats".

--     Warm Regards    DOC     ___________________ ~ ~  (_____(*)___________} } }    

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Fwd: [New post] Uh Oh! CAIR is caught showing its ‘Judeophobia’ again





BareNakedIslam posted: "When they aren't slandering Jews like Pamela Geller and yours truly, CAIR is crusading against another Jewish speaker with the chutzpah to criticize Islam.  CAIR PRESS RELEASE ARIZONA: 'ANTI-ISLAM HATE GROUP SPEAKER'  Scheduled at NorthGate Church on Mon"

New post on BARE NAKED ISLAM

Uh Oh! CAIR is caught showing its 'Judeophobia' again

by BareNakedIslam

When they aren't slandering Jews like Pamela Geller and yours truly, CAIR is crusading against another Jewish speaker with the chutzpah to criticize Islam.  CAIR PRESS RELEASE ARIZONA: 'ANTI-ISLAM HATE GROUP SPEAKER'  Scheduled at NorthGate Church on Monday 10/21/13 at 6pm CAIR-AZ is calling on community members to contact the NorthGate Church to remove the […]

Read more of this post

BareNakedIslam | October 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm | URL: http://wp.me/p276zM-YPO

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Fwd: The Insomniac Libertarian:Kucinich goes capitalist



An immigrant from the UK says location, location, location!


Post: Kucinich goes capitalist
Link: http://insomniaclibertarian.blogspot.com/2013/10/kucinich-goes-capitalist.html

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a Kucinich goes capitalist

For all your anti-imperialist real estate needs? Dennis Kucinich's wife has just become a realtor and joined the same office of the same company I am in! Call me! (202) 704-6401. For major moves, you need Bruce Majors!

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Fwd: How to Keep 72 Virgins Busy






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Fwd: 18 Dogs Who Insist On Maintaining Eye Contact While Taking A Dump

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Fwd: [New post] Consumer Reports: Stay away from Lucifercare website!





Dr. Eowyn posted: "Cheryl K. Chumley reports for The Washington Times, Oct. 21, 2013, that Consumer Reports -- the magazine that tests and rates products -- has harsh words of advice for those trying to enroll in ObamaDoesn'tCare via the official website, Healthcare.gov. "
Respond to this post by replying above this line

New post on Fellowship of the Minds

Consumer Reports: Stay away from Lucifercare website!

by Dr. Eowyn

Bush's faultCheryl K. Chumley reports for The Washington Times, Oct. 21, 2013, that Consumer Reports -- the magazine that tests and rates products -- has harsh words of advice for those trying to enroll in ObamaDoesn'tCare via the official website, Healthcare.gov.

Consumer Reports began testing the Unaffordable Care Act's website since the site's launch day to test its ease of use. But from the beginning, Consumer Reports experienced problems same as those of countless Americans. The site would slow to a crawl, then crash.

On Oct. 8, the Consumer Reports writers said: "One week in, Healthcare.gov is barely operational." By Oct. 10, the writers were losing patience: "Healthcare.gov is slightly less terrible today. The bad news, is that it's still next to impossible to create a user name and password that you can actually use to sign in. I myself have tried five times without success. Our readers report similar frustrations."

Consumer Reports' final advice: "Don't bother even trying for another couple of weeks. But if all this is too much for you to absorb, follow our previous advice: Stay away from Healthcare.gov for at least another month if you can."

Ron Fournier of the National Journal writes that the problems with the Healthcare.gov site go beyond what Obama this morning dismisses as mere hiccups or "kinks," but are "embedded deeply in the online system," including:

  • Outright inaccurate information provided to people about federal tax credits.
  • Low-income people erroneously told they don't qualify for Medicaid.
  • Insurance companies getting confusing information about who has signed up.

Fournier, who seems to favor the Unaffordable Care Act, takes Obama to task for dismissing the extent of the website's problems while, at the same time, deflecting blame by saying that the Republicans had fought the law (as if the GOP had something to do with website's problems!). Fournier concludes:

The public's faith in government is at a record low, just as Obama is fighting Republicans on several fronts over the size and power of the federal bureaucracy. His administration needs to rapidly improve the online exchanges to stand any chance of convincing, say, young Americans to pay for insurance they don't think they need. Beyond Obamacare, the Democratic Party's reputation for competency is as stake.  The cost of the site is already $394 million, a massive amount compared to private-sector CMS work, and sure to grow. [...]

Dismissing the extent of the problem and reminding voters that Republicans fought the law -- which is essentially all Obama did in his Rose Garden remarks -- is a deflection, which shouldn't be confused with implementation or governing.

~Eowyn

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Fwd: [New post] NEW YORK CITY Mayoral candidate Bill DeBlasio: ” I will ban all surveillance and profiling of Muslims”





BareNakedIslam posted: " In his stepped up pandering to Muslims, just last week, De Blasio said, "I will stop the NYPD Counter-terrorism unit from profiling Muslims, so they won't have to live in fear anymore." Letters of gratitude and contributions from al-Qaeda are reportedly "

New post on BARE NAKED ISLAM

NEW YORK CITY Mayoral candidate Bill DeBlasio: " I will ban all surveillance and profiling of Muslims"

by BareNakedIslam

In his stepped up pandering to Muslims, just last week, De Blasio said, "I will stop the NYPD Counter-terrorism unit from profiling Muslims, so they won't have to live in fear anymore." Letters of gratitude and contributions from al-Qaeda are reportedly pouring in. RELATED STORY: nyc-mayoral-candidate-bill-diblasio-tells-new-yorkers-when-i-am-mayor-nyc-will-be-as-safe-from-islamic-terrorism-as-it-was-on-september-10-2001

Read more of this post

BareNakedIslam | October 21, 2013 at 1:38 pm | URL: http://wp.me/p276zM-YPc

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Fwd: Thousands get health insurance cancellation notices - NBC News.com



------


http://www.nbcnews.com/health/thousands-get-health-insurance-cancellation-notices-8C11417913

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Sent from my iPad

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Fwd: Get 'em while they're hot!!!







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Fwd: [New post] FBI: No evidence to substantiate threat to Midwest water supply systems




As long as there are muzzies there is a threat.
Dr. Eowyn posted: "Reuters reports that FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, that the FBI is investigating possible threats to the water supply systems in Wichita, Kansas, and several other Midwestern cities, after learning of the threats and has co"
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New post on Fellowship of the Minds

FBI: No evidence to substantiate threat to Midwest water supply systems

by Dr. Eowyn

Reuters reports that FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, that the FBI is investigating possible threats to the water supply systems in Wichita, Kansas, and several other Midwestern cities, after learning of the threats and has contacted the water supply facilities and law enforcement offices for the municipalities.

 

Patton declined to discuss the nature of the threats or the number of cities affected. She said investigators had been sent out in response to the reports, but offered no details. "We were made aware of the threat," Patton said. "We have not been able to substantiate any of the threats."

 

Wichita city officials warned employees in emails to be on guard for suspicious activities. City officials also told residents the water is safe to drink and the public will be notified immediately if this changes.

 

Wichita Police Lieutenant Doug Nolte said Friday that the city had taken steps to keep the city's water supply safe, but would not describe what measures had been taken.

Cheney ReservoirCheney Reservoir

 

Wichita draws much of its water from the Cheney Reservoir about 30 miles west of the city. The city water department has not returned calls regarding security measurements taken.

Vi Nguyen of Wichita's NBC affiliate KSN.com reports that the potential hazard affects four major water systems in the mid-west including Wichita and El Dorado, which the FBI visited to ensure they were aware of threats that were made.

Federal investigators say they did not find any harmful evidence to support the threat, but declined to comment on the specifics of the threats because it's an ongoing investigation. "At this point in the investigation we have not be able to substantiate any portion of the threat to area water supply systems," said Patton.

Watch the KSN news video here.

A KSN.com viewer wrote this comment on the TV station's website:

Do you see the blatant fear mongering here? Why make it public until something definite is found and people need to do something. This is merely to paralyze you with fear and make you suggestible to anything else they tell you because they know you will believe it. Think about it.

That being said, there is every reason for the authorities to be vigilant about possible threats to America's infrastructure, including our water supply systems.

U.S. officials have determined that some of the wildfires that burnt in California last year were started by al-Qaeda operatives. (See "Wildfires started by Al-Qaeda as economic warfare against America.")

It is therefore not at all far-fetched to think that terrorists would also target America's water-supply. Despite that, there is a woeful disregard for perimeter security in and around critical infrastructure assets around the United States, including water plants.

Quabbin ReservoirQuabbin Reservoir

 

Last May, 7 Muslims were caught trespassing after midnight at the Quabbin Reservoir that supplies water to Boston, Massachusetts. At the time, we were told that the seven were "chemical engineers" who were on an innocent "field trip" to observe the water storage structure. At midnight!

 

Then last month came news that the Massachusetts State Police said the trespassing is being investigated as a "criminal matter."

Mac Slavo of SHTFplan.com reminds us that outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had warned that a widespread cyber attack on our national power grid and other infrastructure is not only guaranteed, but imminent.

In previous comments, Napolitano, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has advised Americans to stockpile at least two (2) weeks of essential supplies, including food and fresh drinking water, citing concerns that emergency responders could be overwhelmed in the event of a widespread emergency.

 

Failure to prepare for short and long-term disaster could be deadly. Most Americans have about three days worth of food supplies and almost no reserve water supplies or methods for filtering water should the water supply be compromised. As we saw with Hurricane Sandy, any disruptions to the normal flow of supplies or commerce would lead to a breakdown within 72 hours as those affected struggle to acquire limited resources.

Steve has a lot of tips on emergency preparedness and security/survival. Go to FOTM's "Health, Finance & Security Tips" page. Scroll down to the post links colored orange.

~Eowyn

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Fwd: [New post] Colorado: Senator dismisses reader concern over Islamic infiltration




creeping posted: "A reader sent this in. It's a response from a Colorado senator who had his concerns regarding Islamic infiltration into U.S. government dismissed by one his representatives. He posted the response in full and it's why more people need to speak up and let "
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New post on Creeping Sharia

Colorado: Senator dismisses reader concern over Islamic infiltration

by creeping

A reader sent this in. It's a response from a Colorado senator who had his concerns regarding Islamic infiltration into U.S. government dismissed by one his representatives. He posted the response in full and it's why more people need to speak up and let politicians know they work for us, not the other way around. […]

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