Tag Archives: healthcare

CompleteCare Is Completely Clueless

Cheryl Bettigole is the chief medical officer of the CompleteCare Health Network. What is CompleteCare? I can’t quite figure it out. I think it is group of various healthcare services in Cumberland and Salem counties.

Ms. Bettigole has some disturbing ideas.

“Like what?” you may ask. Like:

The study recommended a “fat tax” ideally be combined with subsidies on healthy items such as fruit and vegetables, which Bettigole referred to as a positive “double whammy.”

Why does Ms. Bettigole want a fat tax? Answer:

“We see a tremendous number of people suffering from the impact of chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, and one of the things we see, especially among poorer patients, is trouble affording the healthy foods they need,” Bettigole said. “A lot of these fast foods tend to be very cheap and accessible, so this would be trying to correct that balance.”

Is Ms. Bettigole concerned that a fat tax would affect the poor folks of Cumberland County more adversely than others? Not in the least:

obesity and complications like diabetes and heart disease also primarily affect poorer people, so from a public health point of view I completely applaud this

This healthcare “leader” also has some public policy thoughts.

Noting that a “fat tax” shouldn’t be punitive, and families “making do by cheap calories” can’t just suddenly find it impossible to eat, Bettigole suggested that revenue collected through the tax could fund food stamp benefits toward healthy options, vouchers for produce or farmers market expansions — a particularly feasible and attractive option in agriculture-rich areas of the Garden State like Cumberland and Salem counties.

How about this? Ms. Bettigole can continue leading her medical group and the elected officials can propose taxes to the citizens. That way, when the overtaxed folks are taxed more, we can hold our elected officials accountable.

Really, a healthcare official proposing taxes to get people healthy rather than promoting the most healthy thing of all: people use their God-given brains to lead a healthy lifestyle. Instead, a government-entrenched crony “leads” by doing what all politicians bereft of ideas do: raise taxes!

Phooey!

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New Jersey is second in the nation in the number of foreclosures. It seems like it is tied to the abundance of regulation we have in this state that prevents more timely action being able to be taken. Fancy that, regulation is stifling the economy. States that streamline the process are seeing rising home values . . . Want to see the difference between liberal governance and conservative governance? Read this. California and New Jersey faced similar problems. The states took different paths to addressing those issues. The outlook for the two states are much different precisely because of those decisions. Raising taxes does not get the job done . . . ObamaCare is beginning its destructive path. A Catholic College has given up offering health insurance to students precisely because of the law requiring contraception. Again, how is this the federal government’s purview? . . . A few colleagues were talking today in the faculty room about why some of their children have off tomorrow. They were unsure of the reason. One turned to me and said, “You’re more Catholic than I am, why are the children off tomorrow?” Wow! This convert is “more” Catholic than these lifelong folks. Ha! . . . Fasting. Feeling great . . . Although despondent. Confirmed a major sleight. It is a conspiracy . . . I love the expression, “toilet paper for your ego”. Thanks Greg Gutfeld . . . I won Table Topics at Speak E-Z this evening. I was asked what job I would do if I had to do over again. I recounted my meteorologist spiel . . .

Ask the Correct Question

Healthcare has been (and is being) debated throughout our country. ObamaCare has certainly caused a lot of discussion. Regardless of one’s position on that issue, I encourage you to consider the issue in another light. Rather than debate whether government is responsible for this or not (not, fwiw), ask whether health insurance is structured properly.

When I was a boy, my father had health insurance through his work. He was a teacher just as I am. Yet, when my mother took me to the doctor when I wasn’t feeling well, she paid for the visit out of her pocket. Yes, even with health insurance.

Y’see, health insurance used to be major medical/hospitalization. It kicked in when serious stuff happened. Have a heart attack and spend time in the hospital and health insurance was there for you. Have the sniffles, you pay from your own wallet.

There are benefits to a system like this. We didn’t run off to the doctor frivolously; we had to be sick enough to warrant paying the bill. We ate well, were dressed appropriately, and exercised. That kept those visits to a minimum.

Insurance is protection for worst-case scenarios. If insurance picks up anything remotely medical, costs are going to explode. That is what has happened in our society. The argument shouldn’t be whether or not government pays the bill. The discussion rather should be whether or not we should expect this level of insurance. I do not begrudge anyone from purchasing such insurance if he chooses. My issue is whether or not we should expect our employers or the government to provide this level of insurance.

Consider how the debate would change if we changed what we expected.

Don’t want to change your expectation? Then explain to me why you deserve this level of coverage because I certainly cannot do so.

Cancer Treatment

I found this fascinating.

Back in college, 25 years+ now (wow!), I recall Ted Schick (frat brother of Sen. Al Franken) lamenting that modern science is really based on theory and not observable data as it purports. It seems to me Dr. David Agus supports that claim here.

I really like this guy’s demeanor, although he should not thank the audience . . . it is the audience who should thank him.

Obama’s Aborted Mandates

There’s been much hoopla regarding ObamaCare and the mandate that Catholic charities and institutions provide birth control as part of its insurance package. Many misrepresented the argument. The Catholic Church was immunized to that mandate. It was only the hospitals, schools, charities, etc. that were forced to do this. Yeah, the everyday places the Catholic Church works.

After mounting criticism, President Obama released a compromise that he thought would stem the debate. Instead of the entity providing this mandate, the insurance company will. He thinks that will remove the awkward position the Church is in regarding the issue.

Of course, doing so demonstrates just how out of touch the president is with Catholic teachings. It is not awkward, rather sacrilegious. To him (and many others), that there are congregants who disavow church teachings by using birth control, is enough to force the Church to comply. Ha!

This new “wrinkle” on the matter, however, opens up the issue further. What President Obama has proposed is that the federal government is permitted to force a private company (the insurance company) to provide a service for free. Think about that.

On what authority does the federal government act in this matter?

Are you comfortable with the government telling a private business it must offer a product for free?

Listening to Obama’s Chief of Staff, we learn that the counter to that argument is that the insurance company doesn’t really lose money by providing birth control. Whatever it pays out in pills, doctor fees, and disposal of fetuses, it makes back by not providing for doctor fees for babies that will now not be born.

It’s a faulty argument. Whether that is accurate or not does not address the complaint that the federal government doesn’t have the authority to mandate a private business provide this service.

There has been a severe turn of late to look for the government to provide services to the masses. That isn’t its function at the federal level. Just because we can ascribe that many benefit from an entitlement doesn’t make it something that should be done.

If we accept that the federal government is going to manage healthcare for everyone, be prepared for this kind of squabble daily. Today it is birth control, tomorrow it will be Ritalin. Next week, toothpaste. I mean really, how brutish of a society are we that we are going to let the poor have unclean teeth!

The federal government has no role here. SCOTUS cannot act quickly enough in striking down the individual mandate.

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‘Twas surprised to learn that my mandated healthcare will provide for Viagra but not gym memberships. We used to have that provided, no longer . . . pension reform affects those who can do nothing. My father accepted fewer dollars to ensure my mother had benefits through her life. Dad died, Mom lives on. New Jersey recently cut her benefits. How does an elderly (sorry Mom) woman compensate for lost earnings? Changing the rules after retirement is hardly a fair deal. Change my deal. Change the folks being hired now. Change the deal for those who will be hired. But those who worked for decades, made life decisions based on the deal cannot be shafted. Shame on us! . . . Was going to purchase a jump rope. Was willing to buy a “good” one. Balked at the $9+ for handling. Bah! . . . It’s been an extremely busy opening to the school year . . . I love it when the Inbox is at zero . . . am being recruited to be a Knight . . . so busy I can’t even make it to visit another Toastmasters club. I am hopeful to set the course for an area governorship . . . Thrilled that the BOE meetings have moved days. I felt guilty missing TM meetings regularly. Now I am out virtually every evening of the week . . . I guess it’s not surprising, but I didn’t realize Meetup.com charged to list a group. Totally killed a leadership project I was working on . . .

Now What?

Okay, Governor Christie finally got what he wanted; public employees will now pay significantly for their healthcare costs and pensions. Bravo!

A few years ago I went round and round with Ken Adams and Enlighten regarding this issue. I stated that I was willing to give in and pay more if the prices were controlled. They dismissed that. I came around to giving in first. That is where we are now.

Now, who is going to control the costs of healthcare? I am now on the hook for 30% of a $20,000 health insurance policy. Let’s just say I pay $7,000 annually for my policy today. Who is going to ensure that the policy remains $20,000?

You see, the essence of my conservatism is seen here. When I purchased our home, I opted for a fixed rate payment. Why? Because I don’t want that payment to fluctuate on factors out of my control. I want control of my costs. That is freedom.

I don’t have that now. I agree I need to pay more of the freight than I was. I supported reform. But I have no control now. If the policy skyrockets to $40,000 annually, there is nothing I can do.

And for those of you who look at the free benefit, understand that as public employees, this isn’t exactly the perk you might think. It’s not just added to the top of the salary. If it were, then because we are two public employees, we would have two $20,000 policies. But we are penalized because we married another public employee. My wife does get a nominal payout for eschewing her policy. If this were a true fringe benefit, she would be paid $20,000 for not using the policy. If we each married a non-public employee, then taxpayers would be on the hook for more money. In other words, the Owens household has already given back $17,000 in benefits; now we are hit with a $7,000 bill.

Pay my wife her benefit. We could just have two policies that would cost taxpayers more, but we like to be efficient. Don’t penalize us for it.

All that aside, we all know that our policies will increase next year. And the year after. And the following. Who is going to control that cost? I don’t see Governor Christie filling that role.

City Commission Health Insurance

Last week I applauded Millville City Commissioner Joe Derella for announcing that he was opting out of the taxpayer-funded health insurance plan for his part-time work.

Commissioner Derella took a big step forward in my book by announcing he would forgo health benefits from the taxpayers. It would be even better if he confirmed he will not gobble up the $4200 stipend for opting out.

Now, what about the rest of the Commission? Who else is going to man up?

The other evening at the Candidates Forum for the Board of Education, moderator Paul Porreca claimed the entire Commission has voluntarily given up its benefits.

That was news to me. I hadn’t heard anything like that. In today’s Daily Journal, Joel Landau reported on this issue.

Administrator Lew Thompson said all the commissioners have indicated they will not accept any health benefits from the city’s plan starting July 1.

That is fabulous news!

Unfortunately, there is a detail sorely missing from this discussion. Are any of the commissioners going to receive the $4,200 stipend for declining health insurance? That is information the public should know.

I would also love to see the Commission take the bold step to block health insurance for commissioners going forward. Let’s have our public employees serve for altruistic reasons rather than monetary considerations. Let’s correct this issue now while it is being attended to rather than shoving it in the corner and forgetting about it only to be disappointed sometime in the future.