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Healthcare Insurance solution for Dummies

June 29, 2017

Ok, so I’m not an insurance expert.  But with a little thought, I’ve come up with the following suggested solution.

First, let’s all accept that government at any level has one main goal – to protect the rights, property and lives of citizens.  The government should have no role in providing healthcare or healthcare solutions.

However, I feel that government entities, especially at the local level like towns, cities, counties, can be the conduits to bring lower cost, more accessible health care insurance to citizens.

Most all governments are “groups” that offer insurance to their employees as a benefit of employment.  That would not change.  However, that government entity could also become a larger insurance group by allowing residents to sign up for insurance as part of the group. This would be open to residents who do not get their insurance through their employers (also self-employed) to up when they turn 65 and would be eligible for Medicare.  Joining the group would be optional.  The insurance company would handle all of the sales and administration, and the government entity may only be needed to verify residency.  Individuals can sign up for a myriad of different types of insurance that suits their needs, including low cost, high deductable catastrophic hospital insurance so that one does not go bankrupt.

On the whole, the more people who make up an insurance group, the lower the premium costs and the more spread out the risk.  People with diagnosed conditions would be able to join the group, but they may have to be in a sub-group that pays slightly higher premiums.

Insurance companies would benefit from being able to sign up more people, and they could offer reasonable variety of plans without government intervention. A government entity such as a town, could over time make the insurance option a positive benefit of being a resident.  Having a low cost, great health insurance group would be as much of a draw as say having a great school district would.  Groups would not be “one size fits all” in terms of individual elements.  Each town and entity could tailor group plans to fit their residents and regional needs.  Insurance companies would compete to represent and sell to the best “groups” in terms of risk and payout costs.

Again, I’m not an insurance genius, but with some calm and collected thought, I’m sure the health insurance industry can provide for all without having government drive the bus.

 

Jack Hayes and Term Limits

September 16, 2016

Kevin Cahill (D) has been the 103rd NYS Assembly district representative since 1999….that’s 17 years.  Jack Hayes (C) is challenging Cahill for the seat, and we think it’s about time and overdue.  Jack is a big proponent of term limits in most elected offices.  The Assembly in NYS has a 2 year term, with no term limits, and Cahill is well past his shelf life.  The 103rd district is most of Ulster County (except Saugerties), and includes Red Hook and Rhinebeck on the other side of the river.

Restricting the amount of time one can be in any one office is a way to prevent the amassing of power by politicians, who spend more time focusing on politics versus policies.  “Career” politicians spend too much time pandering to constituents to get re-elected, versus working on their behalf.  My personal opinion is that 12 years total is the right amount of time for anyone to spend in one office.

Jack Hayes has spent his entire career in public service.  However, his service spans the military (Navy), State Police, Gardiner Town Supervisor, Ulster County Legislator, where he served without making a career out of any one office.

Let’s get off our laurels and work to elect someone new, who is not jaded in the office and indifferent to constituents needs. Elect Jack Hayes on row C on November 8.  You may learn more about Jack and his ideas at his “Jack Hayes for the People” Facebook page.

Why are we surprised?

March 5, 2016

Everyone, but especially the GOP elite, seem to be taken back with complete stunned shock over the recent rise of the Donald in the primaries.  But isn’t this something that most of us have seen coming, and indeed, hoped for, over many decades of shoving failed candidates down our throats? Didn’t the rise of the Tea Party movement harken this rise of “we the people” over the party elites?  We wanted to dismantle the status quo political system from the bottom up, but it takes so long with these ingrained lobbyists, political hacks and cronies.

The current rise of the Trump phenomena has more of a top-down takeover feel to it.  Finally, someone who didn’t need their power structure, money, bad advice, backing, and blessing!  Mind, Donald Trump is not my first choice in a candidate, not even my second.  But it’s wildly amusing to see the GOP establishment implode over someone they can’t control and is not the candidate they want us to want. And, I want us, we the people, to win.  I’m tired of holding my nose for a candidate I don’t really want, and then seeing them lose. Do I like everything Donald Trump says?  No.  Do I agree with most everything he says…yes, resoundingly yes. But, I could hold my nose for him because I think he can win.

For those of you who know me, you know that I’m not a “low information voter”.  I’m well educated and well informed……especially around the current state of government, politics, and the crushing of America over the last 20 years.  I want America to be great again….what is wrong with that?  I want to us to be strong again, and looked up to…and yes, feared, by the world communities. I want us to be seen again by our allies as someone they can count on in good times and bad, not someone who turns their back.

Why would the GOP put out someone like Mitt Romeny to deliver a message thinking that we would fall for that joke again? Why does the GOP think that I even care if the party as we know it implodes and blows up?  Sometimes disruption is a good thing.  Someone recently said on TV (maybe Newt Gingrich?) that what we are witnessing is a peaceful revolution.  Bring it on.

Enough to make your head explode…..

December 30, 2015

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A story in this morning’s Wall Street Journal just about made my head explode.  Just when you think that Karma caught up with scumbags like former Assembly speaker Silver and NYS Senate Majority leader Skelos, something happens that makes you think that they got the better end of the deal after all.  Both having been convicted of public corruption (a good reason for term limits, folks) Silver only waited a day after his conviction to file for his PENSION from the state……Skelos filed this week.  While there are no exact numbers out yet, each is estimated to be eligible for about $95K per year in pension money funded by us chumps, the taxpayers.

It seems that the legislature recently passed a law to not allow pensions for those convicted of crimes, but it applies, conveniently, to new employees, not existing ones.  Wonder why that is, since one of the key premises to “good government” is that everyone, including lawmakers, have the laws applied equally?

UnknownSentencing for these two lowlifes will be this spring, so it remains to be seen what happens with that.   While “guilty”, each could simply get a slap on the wrist, time served, and a nice lifelong pension, courtesy of the taxpayers, which allows them to live nicely in the style they are accustomed to.   Additionally, New York taxpayers are still on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in future lawsuits with trial lawyers cleaning up, because Silver refused to bring about the needed trial reform.

Meantime, back in little old Gardiner, we have our own mini-version of ethics breach by soon-to-be-former town supervisor, Czar Zatz. One of Carl’s favorite sayings was that “elections have consequences”, as he now knows only too well.  Sunday, January 3rd can not come soon enough when we can open the windows of town hall, let the sunshine in and, and pour out the disinfectant while swearing in the new Town Supervisor, Mary Beth Majestic.

Upside down America

July 26, 2015

Are you, like me, beginning to feel like you just entered a fun house that made the Mad Hatter tea party look sane?  Cats and dogs are singing and dancing together, men laying with men, women laying with women, men who are pretending to be women, whites foisting themselves off as black, radicimagesal extremist terrorists who behead people demand our tolerance…..what in the Sam Hill is going on?
Over the last few months, either Bill or I have been approached by extreme socialist, communist lefties from our town who have in the past been our mortal enemies, but who now want to be “friends”, bury the hatchet, or apologize for any real or perceived past transgressions.  This includes our card-carrying Communist neighbor who once called me an “ankle biting poodle” in the local communist weekly journal, the aging statist we’ll simply refer to as “Stinky” (I’m sure you know who I mean!) and the rabid socialist up the road who tried to scare everyone in Gardiner by telling them that if Bill were elected to office the town would be taken over by tea-party radicals comparable to Sarah Palin (I wish!)  Is this really a sea change that all of these folks have changed their tunes and now want to be our friends?

I smell a rat, and it’s even worse than “Stinky”.  I’m not sure which way the Trojan Horse will be riding in from, or who will be riding it, but I’m sure it won’t be Paul Revere.  Stay alert, and keep your Constitution close, you’ll need it for the upcoming onslaught.

Out of Control at Town Hall

June 7, 2015

Dear Gardiner Citizens (and other interested parties)

Ok, so I have not been doing my civic duty by regularly attending town board meetings in Gardiner as I should. For the most part, they are mind numbingly boring at best. However, John Habersberger does, and sends me detailed notes for each meeting which I try to pass along to you. I must say that this week’s meeting notes (May 12, 2015)  are stunning in what they suggest is going on at Town Hall. If I put the pieces together from the attached, it appears that:

1) There was an effort by some town board members to refer Czar Zatz to the Ethics committee for some unstated reason.

2) Town board members are overstepping their official powers and abusing their office by acting in some way(s) without full board approval

3) Town board member(s) are making “intimidating or threatening phone calls” and are making contact with a citizens’ employer, because that citizen had spoken out at a town board meeting.

4) Citizen(s) who have spoken out at town board meetings are receiving “threatening or intimidating actions” against them by town board member(s).

So, exactly what is going on here? Who is being threatened by whom and why?

Without knowing the answers to these questions, I feel I can share some of my past experiences with Czar Zatz with you. In the past, I witnessed Zatz push his finger at Marion Kells’ face and threaten her to “not use sarcasm in MY town hall”. I was the only witness, and alas, Marion is no longer here to confirm it. I’ve also been told by an older citizen, who regularly attends town meetings and speaks out against actions of Zatz and the board, that Czar Zatz has had the State Police go to his house on several occastions, with the accusation that he is “threatening”. I’ve been at many town board meetings where this person has spoken out, and while he can be strident and loud, I’ve NEVER seen him physically threatening. There are other instances that I’m unable to verify, so won’t mention here.

It appears that Czar Zatz has a pattern of trying to chill speech he doesn’t like with threats, intimidation and retaliation, especially with women and the elderly, his choice targets.

At the following June 2nd Town Board meeting, Carl Zatz took the word “inappropriate” to a new level.  During discussion about the above altercation and harassment of a town employee, I understand that Carl directly asked one town board member if he was having an affair with said town employee!  Then, looked out to the audience and smiled.  He then repeated his question/muse/accusation, and smiled to the audience again. When the town board member replied back that he was married, Carl then said something about that having nothing do to with having an affair.  This is the most disgusting, inappropriate and low accusation uttered in a public meeting from a supposed town representative of the people!

Well, it’s time for you and me to put our eyes back on the ball in Town Hall and start paying attention to what is going on. Czar Zatz and some town board members may think they are a law unto themselves, but they are not and need to be reminded of it.

…by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate…..

March 8, 2015

By any definition, a treaty is a formal agreement between sovereign foreign nations.  Any agreement being negotiated between the US Department of State and the leaders of Iran is by definition considered a treaty.  I may not be a consitutional expert, but Article 2, Section 2, clause 2 states:

He (the President) shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur; …..

This was one of the “checks” on the executive that was deliberated and included in the Constitution, with much discussion and thought at the convention.  While in the early years of the country there was some debate as to exactly at what point – during or after – negotiations and deliberations and “advice and consent” were to be provided, there was never any doubt about the clarity that the Senate needed to have input, be able to make changes to, and ultimately approve any treaty between a foreign power and our government.  You only need to look to Federalist 75 by Hamilton written under the name Publius, or any of the written debates during the constitutional convention and many of the documented ratification debates among the several states.  (See the Founders Constitution, Volume 2, page 29).

Justice Joseph Story, in his 1833 “Commentaries on the Constitution” said:

§ 1517. Some doubts appear to have been entertained in the early stages of the government, as to the correct exposition of the constitution in regard to the agency of the senate in the formation of treaties. The question was, whether the agency of the senate was admissible previous to the negotiation, so as to advise on the instructions to be given to the ministers; or was limited to the exercise of the power of advice and consent, after the treaty was formed; or whether the president possessed an option to adopt one mode, or the other, as his judgment might direct. The practical exposition assumed on the first occasion, which seems to have occurred in President Washington’s administration, was, that the option belonged to the executive to adopt either mode, and the senate might advise before, as well as after, the formation of a treaty.3 Since that period, the senate have been rarely, if ever, consulted, until after a treaty has been completed, and laid before them for ratification. When so laid before the senate, that body is in the habit of deliberating upon it, as, indeed, it does on all executive business, in secret,and with closed doors. The senate may wholly reject the treaty, or advise and consent to a ratification of part of the articles, rejecting others, or recommend additional or explanatory articles. In the event of a partial ratification, the treaty does not become the law of the land, until the president and the foreign sovereign have each assented to the modifications proposed by the senate. But, although the president may ask the advice and consent of the senate to a treaty, he is not absolutely bound by it; for he may, after it is given,still constitutionally refuse to ratify it. Such an occurrence will probably be rare, because the president will scarcely incline to lay a treaty before the senate, which he is not disposed to ratify.

Therefore, I’m mystified by this push in Congress to pass a bill (law) requiring that the President put any agreement before them before it can be considered adopted.  Would not the current Constitution allow for the Senate to have this power now?

The Founders were so leery of a strong executive having overreaching powers similar to a monarchy, that they built-in checks and balances to curb this possibility.  Whenever we see the President acting unilaterally, the first place to seek recourse is in the Constitution, where generally you can find a direct check against such actions by one or more of the co-equal branches.