Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jeez, its been a month

since I checked in here. And close to that at Angry Bear. But I am still around and still thinking about stuff but not with enough intensity to actually get a coherent piece together. But a hint of things to come.

Today is the day for Health Care Reform. It is a big day for me, for a variety of reasons I would never get insured through the individual market under the rules operating today, and the market for jobs with such coverage from the employer being kind of bleak in my field (property research and development). But it is a bigger day for the country, this will be transformative in ways that go far beyond simple health outcomes.

One example is the breaking of the handcuffs that keep people stuck with their employers. I had a co-worker who was independently wealthy, he had parlayed a successful career in commercial real estate into shrewd investing into what I surmised was a pretty comfortable portfolio. His hobby was to go on cruises and his dream was to organize a cruise travel agency which would allow him to organize and lead cruise groups, which if it were up to Jim would have meant him being out at sea all the time. Instead he was stuck working along side me at a demanding and often frustrating mid-level customer service job issuing building permits and explaining zoning regulations. Why? Because he had some medical conditions that would have made buying insurance literally impossible. If this bill had been in place ten years ago who knows how many thousands of cruise miles he might have under his belt (literally, Jim loved to eat, and cruising is the right place for that).

And this country is full of people like Jim, entrepreneurs and artists and free-lance writers who would love to strike out on their own but who have to take a boring job simply because they, or more often perhaps their children, need access to health care. The bill being enacted today doesn't break this bond between job and health coverage, people will still be attracted to jobs with "bennies", but the knowledge that losing a job doesn't mean losing access to health care outright will be extra-ordinarily liberating.

Up to today a lot of my Health Care blogging has been focused on defending the current bills from attacks from both the Left and the Right in a situation where the opposition from both sides has been arguing from bills that mostly existed only in their own imaginations, or the bill they thought would emerge from negotiations. And this combined with the fact that the bills were in fact always changing and not always for the better, made it difficult to pin down exactly what this new Health Care system would look like. Well hopefully starting tomorrow all that back and forth and change will be stabilized by two pieces of enacted legislation. At which point I expect to present a series of posts laying out not what the bills might do but what the law will do in terms of access, affordability and cost control. After I take my own advice and "Read the Bill".

On another front we are fast approaching what I semi-jokingly call "The Bestest Day of the Year", the release of the Annual Report of the Trustees of Social Security. This year is much more critical than years past because of a combination of a bad job situation that really is hurting Social Security combined with the existence of the President's Entitlements Commission. People who have always hated Social Security on principle are gearing up for one last run at killing it or transforming it beyond recognition. So in response I am planning another series of tutorials on various aspects of its financing.

I can't promise daily posts, but hopefully it won't be a month, I wouldn't be surprised in people aren't purging me out of their blogrolls as I type. Arrivederchi.

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