01-01-11 Ugh…Posted: January 1, 2011
Hello everyone, glad to see that we are another year closer to the end of days…You know, 2012? My father seems to have taken advantage of this Mayan Doomsday prophecy. His excuse for pretty much anything these days is, “Why bother, the world is going to end in 2012 anyways…” I don’t have a problem with his pessimistic attitude. Hell, when you are Sicilian it is a required trait. I just don’t like that my kids are now developing the same opinion of 2012. The narrative is something like this:
Me: “Jake, do your homework.” Son’s response: “Why should I, it will all be over in 2012? Who cares if I pass 7th grade or not?”
Me: “BeBe, shut the light off when you leave your bedroom. The electric bill is enormous.” Daughter’s response: ” Hey, What for? The world will be over in 2012, so what does it matter if we have money for bills or not.” (Actually, she does not say that, it is more of a disgusted groan and flicking off the light switch, but you get the picture.)
Well, since it is the new year, the news should have a fresh ring to it…right? Well, like my father’s worn out excuse of the end of the world, why bother…the news today is just the same tired reporting that it was yesterday.
Anyway, let see what we can find in the headlines today:
The new rules are designed to help those caught in Medicare’s “doughnut hole,” offer seniors more preventative care, and limit how much of their customers’ money health-insurance companies can keep for overhead and profit.
They all go into effect on Saturday.
The new rules include:
*A provision that limits what health insurers can do with the money their customers send in as premiums.
The rule requires that insurers spend at least 80 percent of this money on the customers themselves. The companies must either spend this money to pay insurance claims or use it for activities that improve customers’ health.
For policies that are sold to large groups instead of small companies and individuals, the number is even higher: 85 percent. The remaining 15 or 20 percent of the money can be used for a company’s salaries, marketing and overhead – or kept as profit.
Previously, there was no federal restrictions on insurance companies’ spending. The federal government says some insurers kept 30 or even 50 percent.
Insurance companies say this could cause them to cut back on the services they offer, or even pull out of states where administrative costs are higher.
State officials also worry that the companies might cut the fees they pay to insurance brokers. That, they fear, would eliminate key middlemen who help individuals navigate a complicated insurance system.
*A provision that provides prescription-drug discounts for seniors in Medicare’s “doughnut hole.”
The doughnut hole is a controversial gap in the Medicare prescription-drug benefit passed in 2006. In 2010, for instance, Medicare paid for part of the cost of drugs – until the total cost of the drugs hit $2,830.
*A rule giving seniors free screenings for cancer and other diseases.
Nearly all Medicare beneficiaries will be able to receive for free all “preventive services” screenings given an A or B rating by the U.S.
*The creation of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.
This new agency is aimed at slowing down the rapid rise of health-care costs. It is supposed to foster innovation in both caring for patients and processing their payments and claims.
Well, I am sure that this will just add to the gibber jabber about those Baby Boomers and the drain they will be putting on the budget.
The first baby boomers will turn 65 Jan. 1, beginning a flood of applications for Medicare benefits that experts fear could drain the economy and hold political repercussions for President Obama.
But this post-World War II generation’s overwhelming demand on the Medicare system could possibly leave future generations with a bigger bill.
See, same tired stuff…
What else can we find? From the White House, the Presidents Weekly Address: Democrats and Republicans Have Shared Responsibility to Move America Forward
In his weekly address, President Obama resolved to do everything he can to make sure the economy is growing, creating jobs, and strengthening the middle class in the new year. With each party controlling one house of the Congress, Democrats and Republicans will share the responsibility to move the country forward, and the President reiterated his commitment to work with anyone who has a good idea in either party.
Yes, the same ole’ stuff from last year. Damn, I better lighten up. It is to depressing to start a new year like this.
Well, there are a bunch of “Bowl Games” going on this weekend. I remember when there was just those few coveted Bowls that had names like Rose, Orange, Cotton, Sugar…Now can you believe the list of Bowl games this weekend? Check it out. My alma mater, University of South Florida played in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Geez, I wouldn’t be surprised if next year, they play in the “Charmin Toilet Paper, Wipe Your A$$ Bowl.” I can picture the logo and mascot…a big toilet dancing about. It sure would be an improvement from those Bears with the Dingle Berry problem that Charmin has as its recent ad campaign.
The latest going on over in Africa, and the Ivory Coast: Ivory Coast Gbagbo’s last chance to avoid force: rival
ABIDJAN — Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo has only days in which to leave power peacefully with immunity, the prime minister of Ivory Coast’s presidential rival Alassane Ouattara said on Saturday.
Three presidents from West African regional bloc ECOWAS are planning a second round of talks on Jan. 3 with Gbagbo in an effort to convince him to cede power to Ouattara or face force after last month’s disputed election.
“The message seems clear. This is the last chance for Mr. Gbagbo to get a peaceful departure from power and a guarantee of immunity,” Ouattara’s Prime Minister Guillaume Soro told reporters at the Golf Hotel, his rival governments’ headquarters protected by some 600 U.N. peacekeeping troops.
The article goes on to say that more than 170 people have been killed in the stand-off. This situation seems to be getting more media coverage. I hope a resolution will come shortly, but I fear that it may only get more violent. Yet another area of unrest in the world. There are so many of them. Whether it is violent government take-overs, the protest of raising tuition in Britain, massive protest in Greece, crazed dictators in North Korea…not to mention the Iran problem….it surely seems like that whole idea of the end of days is a plausible outcome.
Well, what are you reading this morning? I would have listed more news links and interesting tidbits of the day…but the world will be over in 2012, so why bother writing about it…;) [Wink and a nod…Happy New Year!]