Friday, July 31, 2009

America vs. Health Insurance Companies

Back on July 28th, I made note of the extraordinary misinformation being disseminated out there regarding the health care debate. I also brought to light that Rachel Maddow pointed out the night before The LewinGroup, funded by UnitedHealthCare (large insurance group) via a subsidiary Ingenix, as noted by The Washington Post back on July 23, has been quoted over and over as a source of statistics to try and crush health care reform. I had argued at the forum that "This is a fight between Americans and the insurance companies. Ask your congressmen on which side they stand."

Yesterday afternoon, I argued again "I think framing this as a battle of Americans and their future against insurance companies protecting their interests is the way to go personally.

Make people aware insurance companies are against lowering costs on their own. Then tie only those Republicans out there obstructing constructive debate using fear tactics and misinformation to the insurance companies."

Well, it looks like this might be the way Democrats have chosen to go and conservatives have taken note. Just today, a spokesperson for the Heritage Foundation, the far right wing (think tank? oxymoron) made the claim on Sean Hannity's radio show he doesn't think this line of attack will work. I'm not sure when the last time the Heritage Foundation was right about anything so I'm not fretting it.

This weekend the White House will be meeting with Congressional Dems to coordinate messaging a bit more. Lets see if they stay with the American's vs. Insurace companies route or chose a new one.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Could big job gains be just around the corner?

Nate Silver, in his post Healthcare Timeout is Fine posted a number of 250,000 job losses for this month that might be announced August 7th as one of the reasons not to fret about not getting health care reform out of both the Senate and House committee's by August recess.

Well for anyone that has been paying attention, that seems like an awfully low number. I had my doubts too until I did a bit of checking and low and behold, things may not be as bad as they seem.

In fact, we may be soon see the end of the job losses as soon as September with a projected job gain of 100k non-farm payroll jobs.

Below is a chart with values obtained from Bureau of Labor Statistics loaded into a scatter chart and trending the data five months out. As you can see, the trend for July crosses at the 250,000 job loss mark and if you continue to follow the trend line to November, there is a projected 600,000 non-farm payroll jobs gained.

Lets hope this comes out to be true. With job creation possibly just around the corner, both public trust and confidence in this Administration to successfully overhaul our ailing health care system and our deteriorating environment are sure to gain traction.


I've updated the graph with updated information from The Bureau of Labor Statistics. This included revised numbers for May and June.

Surprisingly enough, the July number was just about right. With the adjusted values, August looks to cross the Y axis value at somewhere around 80k non-farm payroll job losses.

This is nothing to celebrate. Each job loss out there means one more person having to come home and break the news to their family. It could mean another person losing health insurance coverage. Or another, having to go into foreclosure because they can no longer afford the payments.

For the situation to really turn around, consumer confidence is going to have to keep up the upward trend it had maintained until May as consumer spending is the major driving force behind economic growth. We will see near the end of this month what impact the good job news has.

Until then...

(update 9/10/09)

I thought I'd continue to update this. I'm including a new chart with both last months and the previous months numbers adjusted from 443,000 to 463,000 in June and 247,000 to 276,000 in July. Augusts numbers came out above the trend at 216,000, much higher than the projected 80,000.

It would be safe to say to not expect an exact linear regression of job loss reductions.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama and Health Care, Conservative Pundit Trolls and Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Has everyone been paying attention to the health care debate today following Obama's presser last night? What's that? You aren't hearing anything about it? Oh, all you hear is about Obama's statement regarding the police arresting a man in his own home.

The trolls have managed to derail the entire discussion that should be taking place.

Everyone familiar with blogging, most certainly has dealt with a troll or two. Trolls, according to Wikipidia is "someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or collaborative content community with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional or disciplinary response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion."

But, since people are misrepresenting what President Obama was saying, lets make this clear as day.

When Obama stated he did not know all the facts, it was in response to the what does this mean for race relations question. He stated he doesn't have all the facts to determine if it was a racial profiling incident.

Here is the question and statement for you viewing pleasure.

Reporter: "... What does that incident say to you and what does it say about race relations in America?"

Obama: "...I don’t know – not having been there and not seeing all the facts – what role race played in that"

He didn't say he didn't know the facts to have an opinion on the situation.

Furthermore, when he went on to speak of the history of racial profiling, he prefaced it with "what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that's just a fact."

Do you conservatives have some sort of selective listening device that ignores ends of sentences or other words or phrases that just don't fit into your argument?

Sure seems like it.

Second, if Republicans really want to rally behind this one, be my guest. The all white party railing against a President that stated it was stupid to arrest someone in their own home is a reverse Sister Soulja moment for them.

But I understand, it'll give the racists a reason to make a stink and hide behind the shield of nobility of defending a policeman.

So, now that we got that behind us, lets get back to discussing why it's politically corrupt for politicians to be setting medicare reimbursement rates in their local districts and how we should put the power into the hands of the suggestions coming down from the Medpac board of professional doctors and physicians, which I remind you, was a Republican idea, as noted by the President last night. There is where the real saving will come.

For more info on Medpac, please look HERE,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Republicans Catch-22

Democrats are fortunate to be on the side of history and also being on the side of where ideas progress. Republicans on the other hand, well, aren't, to put it bluntly.

Another thing going for Democrats is the electorate is slowly but surely in support gay marriage and pro-choice. Republicans, still use these two issues to get their base fired up and the fringe of the base chooses to throw these issues in the electorates face come election time. More so the issue of abortion than gay marriage.

Here is where the Republicans are in a losing battle.

The electorate doesn't want to hear it any longer....but don't tell them that.

It doesn't take much to bait the fringe and even main stream Republicans into debating these issues. Most recently, you had John McCain discussing abortion and using air quotes when speaking of the women's health.

Bad idea John, bad idea.

Until Republicans learn to tame the base to not make these issues front and center and turn off moderates and other on the fencers, the further they will continue to go into the abyss of irrelevancy.