HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » progree » Journal
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU
Page: 1 2 Next »

progree

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Member since: Sat Jan 1, 2005, 03:45 AM
Number of posts: 1,315

Journal Archives

Robin Williams 1951 - 2014. Legend

"Obama's tendency to spend spend spend." YES. $64 B *LESS* in FY 2013 than in FY 2009

I know you were being sarcastic, but anyway I thought I should post this because it is a widely held misimpression...

Note: all figures in this section are actual, not budgeted. I only point out that Bush signed the FY 2009 budget.

v-last Bush budget was FY 2009 (all figures are actuals, not budgeted)

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Fiscal Year

2,983 3,518 3,457 3,603 3,538 3,454 Total Outlays, $Billions

(450) (1,413) (1,294) (1,300) (1,089) (680) Surplus (deficit), $Billions

(3.1) (9.8) (8.8) (8.4) (6.8) (4.1) Surplus (deficit), % of GDP


Source:
. . . http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43698 which links to the complete document at
. . . http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/44716-%20MBR_FY2013_0.pdf

So FY 2013 federal spending was 64 B$ (1.8%) LESS THAN FY 2009 (the last Bush budgeted year).

Since the nominal (current dollar) GDP increased by 17.58% between FY 2009 (a recession low point) and FY 2013 (see next paragraph), while federal spending dropped 1.8%, that means federal spending as a percentage of GDP dropped substantially during those 4 years -- from 24.46% of GDP to 20.42% of GDP (calculations below). Something to keep in mind when some rightie rants and raves about the socialist Obama spending us into the poor house.

In Current Dollars: GDP FY 2009 (2009 Q3) = $14,384.4 billion . GDP FY 2013 (2013 Q3) = $16,912.9 billion -- an increase of 17.58% over FY 2009.
Source of GDP figures: http://www.bea.gov/national/xls/gdplev.xls
where FY 2009 = Q4 2008 through Q3 2009. And FY 2013 = Q4 2012 through Q3 2013.

FY 2009: Spending / GDP = 3518/14384 = 24.46% . FY 2013: Spending / GDP = 3454/16913 = 20.42%

The Fiscal Year 2009 budget (Oct. 1, 2008 - Sept 30, 2009) was signed into law by G.W. Bush, and the CBO on January 7, 2009 (13 days before Bush left office) projected a $1.2 trillion deficit for FY 2009. So all but about $200 billion of FY 2009 spending and deficits was "baked in" before Bush left office.

Oh, BTW, the CBO projects a $459 B deficit for FY 2014, according to an AP 5/13/14 story, a 32% drop from the FY 2013 deficit.

Any advice on health insurers?

Yes, I'm searching for health insurance at this late date. DERP.

It might be too late to avoid the penalty already, but that's another post (my penalty would be a lot more than $95; the 1% of income part applies).

The 5 insurers for my zip code ( 1st suburb west of Minneapolis ) are (with some of the plan names to help with identifying purposes):

PreferredOne (plans named with "Select", "Choice", "Afford" )...

Group Health (most plans have "HealthPartners" in their name)

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Medica (some of their plans have "North Memorial" or "HealthEast" in their name)

UCare - its an HMO, so I'm not interested. https://www.healthsherpa.com/learn/types-of-insurance

Even after selecting some screening criteria (e.g. maximum acceptable deductible level), I'm still looking at 37 plans, so I'm hoping to eliminate some insurers.

Thanks for any advice.

I'm having a miserable time of it so far, understanding even the basics so I can at at least do some intelligent screening, rather than having to read a lot of the plan details to even know if a plan is of further interest or not -- http://www.democraticunderground.com/114211792

I know that it's a lot better than before (sigh) -- http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1014&pid=758167

Health insurance fundamentals - deductibles, copays - Help! this makes no sense

Confusing -- I thought the patient paid EVERYTHING up to the deductible, and the insurance co. paid NOTHING. But John Waski says this:

A Procrastinator’s Guide to Picking an Obamacare Plan, John Waski, FiscalTimes, 3/19/14
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/procrastinator-guide-picking-obamacare-plan-093000761.html

{Speaking of Bronze Plans} : For $662 a month, one Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan (in Illinois), offered a preferred provider organization. If providers were in the network — it was more expensive if they weren't — Blue Cross would fully cover all expenses after a yearly family deductible of $12,700 was met. Under that amount, 60 percent of expenses were paid for in this bronze plan. { The last sentence is a big Huh? }

There was a catch, though: After a deductible was met, there would be a 20-percent co-insurance fee for doctor's visits. So let's say that our doctor charged $100 per visit. Before the deductible, the insurer would pay $60 and we'd be on the hook for $40. After the deductible, we'd still have to pay $20 a visit. { The bold sentence is a big HUH? }

All of the policies I surveyed on the bronze level had some sort of "gotcha" that involved additional out-of-pocket costs. Some policies charged 40 percent co-insurance for specialists; others for generic prescription drugs. And the co-payment varied. One higher-premium policy charged a flat $100 for specialists and a 40 percent co-payment for generic drugs.

...

Here's an example: In a normal year, our family pays about $2,500 in out-of-pocket costs — mostly for doctor's visits and tests. A bronze-level policy would cover $1,500 of that { 1500/2500=60% }, all of which would fall under the $12,700 maximum for most of these policies.

To avoid the potentially costly co-payments on physicians, we'd have to spend $1,000 a month { 12,000 / yr } in premiums in a policy that would suit our present needs — about $300 more a year than we're paying now { $300/month = 3600/yr doesn't add up either, did he mean $400/month = $4800/year? }. But the difference between our present premium ($7,200) and the higher HealthCare.gov policy is $4,800 { 12,000 - 7,2000 = 4,800, at last something checks }, so we wouldn't save any money.


Everything in { braces } is mine.

My understanding of deductibles, coinsurance, and copays is the level of https://www.healthsherpa.com/learn/how-insurance-works
but it is apparently missing an important piece of it like the insurance co paying some costs before the deductible????

In the article above, maybe he used the word "deductible" when he meant "out of pocket maximum", but some of it still doesn't make sense.

I know there are some ACA services that are free, regardless of what ones deductibles and out of pocket maximums and any of that other stuff, like preventive screenings, contraception, and I think one annual wellness visit (or is the last one just Medicare), but in the above I'm talking about the other "non-free" stuff.

Is the author out to sea? Or me? I'm trying to get a policy before the March 31 deadline (yeah, I know I have to pay the first month's premium by then too...) and thought I understood things until reading the above article, and now I'm wondering if I understand a damn thing. Thanks for any comments.

Yes, it is indeed a travesty, an abomination

Here's my little list of all the reasons why Obama and his cheerleaders should all be hauled before the Court of International Justice in The Hague to be tried for crimes against humanity - sarcasm thingy

no more exclusion or higher premiums because of pre-existing conditions

copays are now capped

no more annual or lifetime caps

no more cancellations because one gets injured or sick

preventive services now free

insurance companies have to spend at least 85% of revenue on actual health care, else refund the excess back to consumers

covering adult children under age 26 on parent's plan.

Medicare Part D - Prescription drug donut hole closing

reliable birth control methods are now affordable (as in free)

People of the "wrong" gender are no longer charged more

Comparing plans is much easier

Can switch plans easily (because insurers can no longer use your medical history / pre-existing conditions against you) -- should make for more real competition

Don't have to fill out any long medical history forms (or short ones either), there are no medical questions asked (except about smoking). In the old days, if you forgot some yeast infection you had as a 6 year old child, that was reason to deny an expensive claim 50 years later on the basis of history form fraud. Meanwhile the state insurance regulators just sat on their butts.

Entrepreneurial types can now much more easily leave their employer and start their own business and still have insurance. And in general much reduces "job lock" for everyone, where people stayed with a job they hated because they needed the job-supplied health insurance -- http://news.yahoo.com/health-law-workers-ponder-quit-option-060047469.html

anything else?

---------------------
listmania tag

Republicans resort to trickery to outfox Democrats (fake Dem websites send contributions to Repubs)

Source: The Week

If you donate to a candidate online, pay attention to the fine print to make sure your donation goes to the candidate you want and not his or her opponent.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has launched a series of websites that look like they support a Democratic candidate for Congress, but instead direct contributions to the Republican Party instead.

The Tampa Bay Times interviews one donor who thought he was giving to Alex Sink's (D) congressional campaign. It even used the same blue and green color scheme as the candidate's official website.

But he didn't see the small print, which said, "Make a contribution today to help defeat Alex Sink and candidates like her."



Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/republicans-resort-trickery-outfox-democrats-172800372.html



Sorry this is 14 hours old, but I think its worth 2 hours of grace. I contributed to a Democratic senator's campaign after hearing she was facing a tough reelection, and I found whatever page I used through a Google search. So naturally I wonder where it went to -- $500 to a RepubliCON?. Later: I found the web page I used in my browser cache, and it looks OK, whew.

Here is that fake website for Alex Sink (D) mentioned in that article.
http://contribute.sinkforcongress2014.com/



Its not really "small print" that it goes to her opponent, but, it is certainly true that it is easy to miss if one isn't expecting shenanigans. I never heard of this crap before, but then I live a sheltered life.

More at the Tampa Bay Times story

The person in the story who made the contribution got the charge on his credit card reversed, but only after filling out a bunch of forms his credit card company sent him, and perhaps only because this was/is a media story.

----------------------------------------------------

As for the title, "Republicans resort to trickery to outfox Democrats", I know that isn't "Late Breaking News". But the Late Breaking News forum requires we use the article title as given, though we're allowed to put some clarification in parenthesis ()'s, or at least I've seen that done many times. Its not news to me that Republicans resort to trickery, but it is very much news to me that fake websites like http://contribute.sinkforcongress2014.com/ are legal. So I felt the ()'s clarification in the title was essential.

---------------------------------------------------

Update 2/4 1039p CT: The http://contribute.sinkforcongress2014.com/ now triggers in my Chrome browser (but not my Internet Explorer browser) with a Phishing Warning that it has been reported as a Phishing site!

Update 2/6 1131p CT: Bad news! Now my Chrome browser has no problem with the above URL.

Doctors say cutting food stamps could backfire

Source: Associated Press

Doctors are warning that if Congress cuts food stamps, the federal government could be socked with bigger health bills. Maybe not immediately, they say, but over time if the poor wind up in doctors' offices or hospitals as a result. Among the health risks of hunger are spiked rates of diabetes and developmental problems for young children down the road.

... Last year, research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts estimated that a cut of $2 billion a year in food stamps could trigger in an increase of $15 billion in medical costs for diabetes over the next decade.

Other research shows children from food-insecure families are 30 percent more likely to have been hospitalized for a range of illnesses. But after a temporary boost in benefits from the 2009 economic stimulus, children whose families used food stamps were significantly more likely to be well than kids in low-income families that didn't participate, Children's HealthWatch found. About half of food stamp recipients are children, and 10 percent are elderly

... Dr. Thomas McInerny, past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said too often, poor families buy cheap, high-calorie junk food because it's filling, but it lacks nutrients needed for proper child development. The two main consequences are later-in-life diabetes, and iron deficiency that, especially in the first three years of life, can damage a developing brain so that children have trouble learning in school, he said.


Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/doctors-cutting-food-stamps-could-backfire-192904431--finance.html



Some other studies described that I couldn't fit in the 4 paragraph limit. All-in-all a lot of evidence that cutting food stamps will cost the government a lot more money than it "saves", as well as of course harming family budgets and health.

Fox News mistakenly airs parody of Obama offering to personally fund Muslim museum

Source: Yahoo News - (with video of the Fox News segment)

In a story about the monument closure, Fox News host Anna Kooiman fell prey to a false report from a parody site, which claimed that President Obama had offered to keep the International Museum of Muslim Cultures open with cash from his own pocket.

Kooiman was referencing a quote from the National Report, a parody news site that ran the fake story on Obama. The key quote from the story reads:

“The International Museum of Muslim Cultures is sacred. That is why I have taken it upon myself to use my own personal funds to re-open this historic piece of American culture.”




Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/fox-news-mistakenly-airs-parody-of-obama-offering-to-personally-fund-muslim-museum-233837793.html



Its a 2:21 m:s video. The first 1:30 m:s of the video is about how war memorials are being shut down, even though it doesn't cost anything to keep them open, just to make the shutdown as painful as possible.

Then at 1:30 it gets more interesting and at 1:58 is when they claim Obama is offering to pay out of pocket to keep the International Musuem of Muslim Cultures open.

Yes, I know Yahoo! News, The Sideshow is not a mainstream source, I did look for something more mainstreamy. (Yahoo News did post it as the 3rd main story on its news.yahoo.com home page). But I trust the video is real, and I trust Media Matters. Media Matters packaged the video segment.

Other sources:
http://gawker.com/fox-news-falls-for-fake-story-claiming-obama-is-funding-1441573171
Media Matters http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/10/05/fox-falls-for-fake-story-about-obama-personally/196304

On Edit 10/6 1023 pm Central (after 26 replies) -- there are several comments directed at this OP about how Fox's "mistake" was intentional. I agree. However, one of the rules of Late Breaking News is that we must use the original title of the article. And also any excerpts we use (above the "Read More:" line) must be unaltered. Yes, I think a more apt title is one with quotes and a spelling change: Faux "News" "mistakenly" airs parody of Obama offering to personally fund Muslim museum

On Edit 10/7 939 am Central - On October 6, Kooiman issued the following statement via Twitter: "Just met w producers- I made a mistake yday after receiving flawed research abt a museum possibly closing. My apologies. Won't happen again."
Source: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/10/05/fox-falls-for-fake-story-about-obama-personally/196304
I know "mistake" "flawed research" "apologies" "again"
"a museum possibly closing"
I heard about this update on the Stephanie Miller show.

Gorgeous Time Lapse Video Reveal a Nighttime Sky Free From Light Pollution. Also Stunning Moonrise

Look up at the nighttime sky and what do you see? If you're like most, the answer is probably not "stars," but the orange wash of streetlights reflected in the sky above.

Light pollution from ambient nighttime lighting is an unrelenting drain on energy reserves worldwide, and a problem that's growing at a rate of four percent annually. The consistent glare of illumination can adversely affect everything around it, including ecosystems and wildlife.

But at the Mount John Observatory in New Zealand, star-gazers can enjoy a crystal-clear view from Earth of the solar system above, due in part to the nearby township of Lake Tekapo, which increasingly powers down its ambient lights at night.

The observatory is part of a territory that was officially named an International Dark Sky Reserve in 2012, allowing guests to enjoy soaring and detailed views of the universe that we often forget our planet is a part of.

A bit more: http://news.yahoo.com/gorgeous-photos-show-nighttime-sky-free-light-pollution-194724490.html

(33 seconds)


===============================================================
Related: Moonrise over New Zealand - presented in real-time
This is not a time lapse. This moonrise, Wellington, New Zealand was recorded and shown in real time is positively spellbinding. The mood music adds a lot to it.

Courtesy of: http://www.democraticunderground.com/122815019 (which got 120 rec's)
3 minutes 36 seconds

What ever happened to David Shove's Progressive Calendar?

Probably most of us, as Minnesota activists, are familiar with David Shove's Progressive Calendar.

See http://justcomm.org/mn-prog-events/ and http://lists.justcomm.org/pipermail/mn-prog-events/ for archives of David Shove's Progressive Calendar and a few other calendar items by others.

(By the way, one can subscribe to the mn-prog-events list and get emails. You can also send notices to it -- PLEASE DO SO!!!!!! -- see http://justcomm.org/mn-prog-events/#posts and send to mn-prog-events {at} justcomm.org ).

Shove's Progressive Calendar used to be a daily thing listing maybe an average of 5 events. Now it is maybe 3 times a month and lately the only "progressive event" it has been announcing lately is the Midstream Reading Series at the Blue Moon building.

I really miss it (the way it was), in that I have no way of knowing what's going on as far as demonstrations and protests I might attend or other events of the progressive community, except to check say here, AntiWar MN's Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AntiwarMN ), Occupy Homes MN (https://www.facebook.com/OccupyHomesMN ), AM 950 progressive talk radio's page (https://www.facebook.com/AM950Radio ) and that's about it.

Is there some resource I'm not aware of that will keep me notified of progressive events? I'm sick and tired of finding out about some protest only after it has occurred by hearing about it on the news. (By sending notices of progressive events to mn-prog-events {at} justcomm.org , you will help at least those of us that are subscribers to the list.)

Thanks.
Go to Page: 1 2 Next »