Comments Posted By Roger Bell
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I live in GA and we have no program to help recently unemployed folks such as me to pay huge COBRA insurance premiums. On paper, COBRA looks like a good plan. In reality, most unemployed folks cannot afford the premiums.

At least MA will reimburse you for up to 80% of COBRA premiums so that one can keep their private insurance until they find a new job.

Perhaps MA's plan covers too much as indicated by the 43 mandated coverages. Since I don't know what those are, perhaps you could help us by listing them and noting which one you think should not be covered. Since you seem to know so much about the MA system, it makes sense you can post most information so that we readers can make objective conclusions instead of just taking your word for it.

I could assert that the MA plan was badly designed because a Republican governor supported it, but I won't inject politics into it. I could also state that the plan is being overwhelmed by the worse recession since the Great Depression, as people lose their jobs and need state healthcare. That may be closer to the truth.

However, in the end, new entitlement plans anywhere often need fine tuning and that is probably the case in MA. Rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater, perhaps the baby just needs some better treatment.

Social Security, for example, is the best entitlement program in American history. It prevents most older Americans from living in dire poverty and allows them to keep their dignity. 20 million retirees live almost solely on Social Security. Given the stock markets, I sure am glad Congress stood up to Dubya to prevent privatization. In any event, Social Security has been modified over the years, for example, to make the retirement age more in keeping with today's realities. I expect this trend will continue under Obama, and I think doing so is right and fair.

My own primary MD looks forward to both a single-payer system and streamlining medical records. Now he has to pay an agency to comb through the differing coverages and forms of many insurance companies. While a US Medicare type of system expanded to all probably allow him to drop the insurance payment service he employs.

My MD has also started his own IT improvements by using an electronic clipboard to enter all of his notes as he is with a patient. Eventually, with proposed government help, he may be able to store the huge folders of patient information in his office, and thus have instant access to information that may save lives.

I don't deny that MA appears to have problems with its insurance system, but I would rather live where such benefits are available than where they aren't, despite the problems. No unemployed in GA, I have to decide whether to pay my COBRA premium or do without health insurance at age 61 and use the emergency room if I get really sick or am injured.

Comment Posted By Roger Bell On 11.01.2009 @ 16:59


You said, "If individual religious sects (or, through the ballot box, a state) wishes to recognize unions of same sex couples as “marriage” or something similar who are we to say otherwise? It’s not anyone’s business and the idea that it should matter is rapidly becoming ridiculous."

Civil marriage confers rights, privileges, and responsibilities, and in a just society, all citizens should have the same right to marriage. The "states rights" argument doesn't cut it when basic freedoms are at stake.

For example, the last anti-miscegenation laws were struck down in 1967 by the Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia. Should the court have held that interracial marriage is up to each state? If you are intellectually honest, I suppose you would say "yes" to this one, and maybe you will.

A ruling ending laws against same-sex marriage may not come soon, but the Courts are the final defenders of the Constitution and that includes the equal protection clause. Give it time. If we start giving and taking rights at the ballot box, God help us all.

Comment Posted By Roger Bell On 24.12.2008 @ 14:25


I am in general agreement that badly run businesses deserve to be allowed to fail. However, I believe when the net results of a business failure cause greater harm to society, then the government should step in to help. I believe this is the case with the US auto industry.

So many other American businesses (and their employees) are dependent on their business alliances with the Big 3, that the ripple effect throughout the country would do lasting and serious harm. The Big 3 have been badly run. No doubt. When economists were predicting gas over $5/gal years ago, these companies kept pumping out gas hogs, all to the delight of much of the buying public.

I am not for giving these companies a blank check. I am not for the government managing their companies either. However, I would expect some required plan that the companies would have to become solvent again and a realistic repayment plan for American taxpayers before the government aid would be made available.

Comment Posted By Roger Bell On 15.11.2008 @ 16:22

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