Market-Based Healthcare

I am not an economist … but I am a sentient being and I buy stuff, so I know something about markets! And when I hear paeans to “market-based healthcare” I get cranky. Really cranky!

Let’s get some terms straight. Markets exist to buy and sell goods and services. Someone sets a price, and negotiations may or may not occur. At Safeway you pay $3.49 for a box of cookies; at the Ford dealership you expect to pay a negotiated sum for that new F-150.

Fair market value represents the result of a market-based exchange. I’ll spare you the fancy… Continue reading

Candy Bars

The Mesch, Clark & Rothschild booth was all set up and ready for the Tucson J’s first annual Family Wellness Expo. (An excellent event, by the way, and Tucson people should all attend next year!) I had my tip sheets for wills and other end-of-life issues. (We used the booth to talk about estate planning as part of family wellness; more on this topic soon.) Banners. Easel, with only two extra parts after set up, and it never fell down! Quiz sheets, business cards, candy bowls filled with little chocolates. Ready to go!

Five minutes before the start, along… Continue reading

Our Shrunken Congress!

We’re here to talk shrinkage, “the act or process of shrinking.” Now, nothing explains shrinkage better than this exchange from a well-loved sitcom. (Laughing yet? If not, you didn’t click on the link.)

I read The Extraordinary Smallness of Washington—the subtitle is Institutional Shrinkage Marks the Politics and Governing of the Bush-Obama Era—in The National Journal on Tuesday. (The subtitle sent me to shrinkage.) Ron Fournier, the author of the short piece, sums up his premise in his fourth sentence:  This is an era of titanic challenges and tiny politics.

I wonder—and worry—often about our having what it takes… Continue reading

The Wednesday Curator – 11/19/14

Two weeks have passed since the election. Notions about new dynamics seem quaint already, what with talk about an impending government shutdown, impeachment, etc. One piece really resonated with me on this topic generally; it’s Elbert Ventura’s October 31 review of The Stranger:  Barack Obama in the White House by Chuck Todd—yes, the Meet the Press guy—in the Columbia Journalism Review. Money quote, from the review? “’Obama’s logic had no place in an age of ferocious unreasonableness,’ Todd writes, a pithy diagnosis of his—and our—predicament.” I don’t know the political scientist who has yet written the case study about what… Continue reading

Same Sex Marriage in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee: An Analysis of DeBoer v. Snyder

DeBoer v. Snyder, No. 14-1341, is one of six cases, consolidated on appeal to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, addressing same sex marriage. In a 2-1 decision on November 6, the 6th Circuit became the first circuit court which refused to permit same sex marriage in the aftermath of Windsor v. United States.

The majority opinion was written by Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a well-known conservative judge from Ohio. The case is about process, Judge Sutton tells us. His second sentence reads:  “From the vantage point of 2014, it would now seem, the question is not whether American law will… Continue reading

Health Insurance: Getting Personal!

Open enrollment is here under the Affordable Care Act. That means we’re in “get ready for crap” mode, where anything and everything that is wrong with healthcare gets blamed on the ACA aka Obamacare. Think Benghazi, only local!

I take the health care thing personally. Pre-ACA, I was uninsurable in the private market, dependent for coverage on AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System), which had a plan for self-employed individuals. (AHCCCS is Medicaid in Arizona because, well, we’re Arizona. My state was the last state to adopt Medicaid, and we go our own way!) Our insurance program depended on… Continue reading


I ran across Why Bill Gates and Warren Buffett Are So Successful, in One Word earlier today. It’s a short piece by Greg McKeown, and it’s worth a look-see.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are close. Very close, in fact! The Buffett money ends up, mostly, in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the two men are bridge and burger buddies. (Bill Gates’ late mother introduced her son to Warren Buffett.)

So what’s the word? Focus, both as a noun—having one—and as a verb, i.e., to focus. Mr. McKeown provides examples of focus in both ways, and even… Continue reading

Lame Ducks

Lame duck” in politics refers to an office-holder after his or her last election, and to a legislative session after an election and before the winners have been sworn in. (The link, to a delightful 2009 article from the Denver Post by Ed Quillen about the origins of the term, uses a narrower definition, referring only to “an office-holder whose replacement has been elected but not sworn in.”)

Favorite gasbag Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) has been erupting, of late, about lame ducks. Here he is, on Breitbart News Sunday:

I don’t think Congress should come back for… Continue reading

The Wednesday Curator – 11/12/14

Been in Sears lately? If you say yes, I’m sorry, and if you say no, you’ve missed nothing more than a viewing of a sad carcass. Here’s Ayn Rand-Loving CEO Destroys His Empire, written by Lynn Parramore for Salon last December. The Ayn Rand lover is Eddie Lampert, and he was certainly working in a tough environment for retail, but his actions are shameful and disheartening. (For an uplifting story about Sears, read Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Built Sears, Roebuck and Advanced the Cause of Black Education in the American South by Peter Ascoli. It’s the story of… Continue reading

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