A Grab Bag of Thoughts

But I Already Have Health Insurance!
A friend told me last night that even though he already buys individual health insurance, according to the feds it’s not sufficient, so he’ll have to upgrade. Maybe with the exchanges the price will end up being lower for him, and all will be fine, but it’s still pretty kooky.

The $20,000 Bathtub Is not the Real Problem
A Catholic Bishop in Germany spent lavishly–really lavishly–on renovations for churches and his residence, including the titular $20,000 bathtub. But what’s really disturbing is that Germany still subsidizes religion through taxes, with the Catholic Church getting over $6 billion per year. It appears to be an equal opportunity rip-off, though, as folks’ religion tax goes to the church they identify with (including synagogues, it appears), and non-religious folk can opt out.

Join Our Huge and Exclusive Group
I received this email today:

Dear James,

It is my pleasure to inform you that your 2013-2014 membership has been approved in the Exclusive Top 100, the largest network of professionals in the World.

The Exclusive Top 100 highlights and profiles the world’s most accomplished professionals in all major industries and professions. …

So, not only is this “exclusive” organization the largest professional network, but this “exclusive” organization of “the world’s most accomplished professionals” has approved the membership of a two-bit college prof who didn’t even apply for membership. In the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Wanted: An Editor with a Strong Background in Economics or Business
What’s wrong with the following?

Tourism in Belize has the appearance of a healthy industry. According to the Tourism Board, tourists spent US $111.5 million in 1991, up from $108.3 million in 1998….The hype was contrary to a summary in Belize First…reporting that at least 16 of the country’s hotels and resorts were changing hands, had been recently sold or were on the block at one time in 2000.

That’s from Alan Twigg’s Understanding Belize: A Historical Guide, an otherwise informative journalistic account of Belizean history and politics.

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About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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11 Responses to A Grab Bag of Thoughts

  1. From reports I’m hearing, it all depends on if you can get a subsidy or not (whether or not it will be cheaper). The bigger complaint has more to do with A) the administration lying about being able to keep existing health plans, & B) the fact that new qualifying plans include features like pre-natal care & pediatric dental coverage, which is great, unless you are a single man, or a 50 year old couple, in which case you are paying for coverage you’ll never use.

  2. J@m3z Aitch says:

    MRS,
    One thing my friend was complaining about was having to have a policy that covered maternity. And I pointed out that we were there together that day because we both had daughters on the swim team. ;)

    But, yes, the idea that every plan must cover all things is suboptimal.

  3. Troublesome Frog says:

    …the administration lying about being able to keep existing health plans…

    On the one hand, that was clearly nonsense. Plans change all the time as a result of a whole lot of factors. On the other hand, how many times in the past 10 years has your health plan been the same two years running, even before the ACA? Both mine and my wife’s have been butchered almost anually. Wouldn’t be such an annoyance, but my wife was being forced to change doctors with really irritating frequency.

  4. Dr X says:

    Re Obama lying, it has been difficult for me to sort out complaints, given the amount of confusion, ignorance, outright dishonesty (See Hannity fake victims Obamacare) and my-side bias on all sides, as usual.

    Jared Bernstein’s take on ‘Obama lied.’

    http://jaredbernsteinblog.com/the-latest-aca-dust-up-should-not-be-a-dust-up/

    Was it misspeaking as Bernstein suggests, or a lie? Mispeaking seems a bit weak. As some regulars here might guess, I support universal healthcare for permanent U.S. residents, though I think it’s messy to build, especially on top of a large, complex, existing industry. Pulling estimates straight out of my butt, I imagine that under the best of political conditions, it would take 5 years to settle into something that functions reasonably well. Double, maybe triple that with an opposition determined to undermine it at any cost.

  5. Dr X says:

    About the German tax/subsidy to churches, I recall reading about churches actually barring people from entry if they weren’t on the tax rolls supporting that particular religion, but I agree that the problem is that government is involved in funding at all. I wonder about the historical rationale for this approach. Obviously, churches liked it, but was there some secular pretext for the policy?

  6. From what I am hearing, the people most likely to lose their insurance are individual purchasers who have Major Medical/High Deductible plans. Perhaps it is a case of the way the rules are written, the only way a plan can be grandfathered in is for that plan to be perfectly static from one year to the next, which, from what I understand of the insurance industry, is next to impossible.

    So while it maybe technically true that a plan could be grandfathered in, the reality is no insurer would tolerate those rules for grandfathering.

    Rather disingenuous, wouldn’t you say?

  7. Scott Hanley says:

    Halloween is going to be great at your house. “Here’s a bag of thoughts, kiddies!”

    Heeheeheeheehee

  8. Matty says:

    How can the largest professional network in the world have only 100 members?
    There is nothing one with the Belize piece once you realise that time works differently in the Caribbean, its something to do with the rum.

  9. Scott Hanley says:

    I thought the Belize comment was aimed at the assumption that hotels would only be available for sale if they weren’t valuable.

  10. J@m3z Aitch says:

    Scott,

    All the kids in the neighborhood know to avoid old man Hanley’s house. They’ll hit the dentist’s house before they’ll come to my door.

  11. lancifer666 says:

    I am a healthy middle aged male and my wife is a healthy mid thirties woman. I am a part time university employee (no benefits of any kind) and self employed contractor. Her former employer’s health care plan would have taken one full pay check a month for the cheapest plan.

    We decided not to enroll.

    Now it seems we are not allowed that option.

    I went on line (when the website was up) and found that the cheapest “catastrophic” coverage was going to cost $487 per month.

    That is more than the cost of her former employer’s plan that at least was a comprehensive plan.

    So we either have to pony up almost $6,000 next year for “coverage” that is essentially worthless or take the penalty.

    I suspect we are not alone. When the millions of other people that are in the same situation find out that they have been essentially robbed of thousands of dollars to fund a new entitlement program for insurance companies I can only hope that there will be a back lash that will reverse this government overreach.

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