Monday, January 30, 2017

Minnesota Health Insurance "Crisis"

After being licensed to sell health insurance for 45 years, I am totally convinced of the old saw that it is easier to con people than to convince them that they have been conned.  The fact that America’s Health Insurance Plans assisted in the writing of Obamacare while they funded a $83 million campaign against it through the Chamber of Commerce assured that they couldn’t lose.  When they first offered plans through the ACA they offered much lower premiums than  were called for, to remain competitive, because they felt the Federal Government would bail them out with the excess risk portions of the law.  Now that Congress wouldn’t authorize these funds, they decide they must raise premiums to cover the losses they knew they were going to have without the governments help.  Rather than requiring Health Insurers in Minnesota to operate in the entire State and base their premiums on statewide experience, or to cough up and cover the losses they knew were coming, we are bailing them out with taxpayers funds.  We must realize that “for profit healthcare” is an oxymoron.  We can have highly paid medical professionals without paying dividends to shareholders.  With Medicare operating at 4% of premiums, the 20% that these “highly efficient private business’s” are allowed to charge is exorbitant. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

National Blame Someone Else Day

 This Friday should be the most celebrated day in America.  National Blame Someone Else day should be hailed by all of our politicians.  Blame, hypocrisy, and a little bit of hate are what motivates our Parties  and it should disturb all of us as they spread this disease over our country.  The Republicans are all out of joint because the Democrats are behaving exactly as they did after Obama was elected. Meanwhile the Democrats are out of joint because the Republicans are trying to steamroll over them, just like in 2009. We are disturbed about Russia tampering with our elections but show no problem at all when we meddle in elections in the next state that we can’t vote in.  We have to realize that those embedded in power, in this country, are mainly concerned with holding on to that power by using divide and conquer tactics.  We have to stop blindly believing what “our” side says about the “other” side, and find out the truth for ourselves.  Can we please get back to talking about issues and ignore this bashing of individuals, even if the other guy started it first?  This country has demonstrated many times that there is nothing we can’t accomplish if we work together at it.  Why do we insist that the other guy is something other than a decent human being?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

"Let's see how negative we can get"

I am trying to see the difference between Donald Trump’s appointment to Secretary of State and John Kennedy’s appointment of Robert McNamara for Defense Secretary.  Neither had prior government experience and both had run one of the world’s largest corporations.  While I am not a fan of either man, or Mr. Trump, I am outraged by the hypocritical treatment the media has made of this uncomfortable transition.  Having a Secretary of State that has actually negotiated with world leaders can only be beneficial to future negotiations.  The tenure of all your transition articles has been negative, positing a world of winners and losers.  We are all on the same team, isn’t it about time to recognize that synergy is much stronger than division?  It’s obvious that we cannot be guided by what Mr. Trump says.  Can we just keep our negativity within ourselves and let the new administration, actually do something before calling foul.  Let’s not fall into Mitch McConnell’s call to screw America in favor of the Party.

Regulations do need reworking!

I may be a wild optimist, but I do believe that if we can overcome our hatred, anger, and one sided view of the world we may be able to accomplish some good in the coming years.  The issue of government regulation needs a cooler head:  When the liberals hear of reforming regulation they think of smog, rivers catching fire, and poison in our foods among other things.  When conservatives think of reforming regulations they think of: The size of compliance departments, additional paperwork that no-one reads, and procedures that slow everything down.

My career in the financial services industry has shown me the current regime of regulation is more concerned with its’ self preservation than with stopping wrongdoing.  When a company is caught breaking the law they are usually allowed to pay a fine along with a promise to “sin no more”.  The people responsible for breaking the law (or regulation) suffer no consequences.  The company’s shareholders are the ones to suffer, even though their sin was only inadequate due diligence.  The government entity that caught them frequently gets the amount of the settlement.  There is no detriment to doing wrong for the management!

While I’m generally against jailing non-violent offenders, I feel it is the only way we will see integrity coming back to our business world.  When a company hurts people, people should go to jail.  Regulations that require filling out numerous forms will not keep people honest.  We need principal based prosecution, not rule based paperwork.