Archive for August 31st, 2009


by problembear

but did anyone see this in yesterday’s paper.……hmmmmm. thoughts, opinions, insight…anyone want to share their favorite ped/bike story here? i am all ears. looks like mr smith takes a pretty good drubbing here. is it deserved? do you agree with the editor?……..just sayin’……………

by jhwygirl

Anti-health insurance reformers have repeated, in comments to posts on this blog a number of versions of “Get a job!” as if everyone supporting reform isn’t holding down a full-time job.

I have trouble fathoming the utter ignorance to the very world/community that these live within. Do they think that all – and I mean all – employers pay employees enough to buy insurance on the market? Or do they believe that by and large employers provide health insurance? I mean, I’m really having trouble understanding comments like this.

Beyond that – are they completely unaware of the exponentially rising cost of health care? Do they consider how long that their own employers will be able to maintain real health care coverage? Not huge deductibles that render a policy to catastrophic coverage?

From the Government Accounting Office, 2001:
Small businesses, with fewer than 50 employess, make up 3/4 of America’s private establishments and 1/3 of the private sector workforce

In 1998, 96% of employers with more than 50 employees provided health coverage while only 71% of employers with 10 – 49 employees provide coverage. Employers with less than 10 employees only provide insurance 36% of the time.

Now – think about that. That’s 1998. But think about this: How many businesses do you deal with in any given week that employee less than, say, 20 employees. The coffee shop – the Thai restaurant – the towing company. A small non-chain convenience store/gas station. Maybe a small non-profit? The chances of them offering health care to those employees? Those employees you chat up…those working-40-hours-a-week people?

The likelihood – and this is a 1998 statistic, mind you – of those businesses offering health insurance hangs down there around 40%.

And what about that 71% figure for those employing 10 to 49 employees? What are they doing? Much the same as that 4% leftover from the large (50+ employees) business: Making sure that their employees are working no more than 32 hours per week so that they can avoid offering them benefits.

There’s the “contracting” bit that beauty salons, barber shops, and wholesale distributors use…

Yeah – it’s a funny world out there.

More from the 2001 GAO report:
Employees and employers, of both large and small businesses pay basically the same for health insurance….with small employers paying slightly more (keeping in mind, again – 1998 figures – but

Small employers get less insurance for their investment, and employees of these small employers must contribute more via higher out-of-pocket expenses.

So, small employers – when they do provide health insurance (remember, only about 40% do – will pay more for what they provide with less benefits and coverage, and their employees will pay higher deductibles.

The assumptive insult by naysayers that someone needs to get ‘a real job’ to get health care is completely ignorant to the realities and needs of people employed across rural towns coast to coast.

People that you deal with every day. People that – if you ask – don’t have health care. You might be shocked if you asked.

by JC

They’re “Stonewalling” says Trib Reporter

Update 2:30pm: John Adams, reporter for the Great Falls Tribune, tweeted this a bit ago:

“the stonewalling on this is highly unusual–will be part of my story tomorrow. No one is returning calls.”

Update 9:30pm: MTLowdown has posted Rehberg’s blood alcohol report for us. It shows him at .054 at 12:58am–2 1/2 hours after the accident. Do the retrograde extrapolation below, and it shows that Denny most likely was legally drunk when the crash occurred.

Nobody here is trying to say anything other than the facts about this. Others can argue the law, or debate whether or not it is politically important. The prattle from Iverson about him being only .05 was only an attempt to sugar coat his condition and misdirect criticism.

by JC

The AP’s Matt Gouras, reporting after today’s press conference, stated that Rehberg’s blood alcohol content was measured in the ER sometime after 1am, three hours after the accident, and more than that from the time he left the party at the Docks.

BAC decreases at approximately .015% per hour after your last drink (update: YellowShark points out in the comments that this is called “retrograde extrapolation“). So if you take Rehberg’s .05, and add in the .045% that his BAC decreased after the accident, you’ll get him potentially having a BAC of .095%, which is over the legal limit at the time of crash.

So when you hear the .05% figure trotted out as a defense of his moderation, remember that was hours after the accident. Whether or not there are measurements taken on the scene or not remains to be revealed by the ongoing investigations.

In related news, Gouras reports that the FWP has turned over its investigation file to the Flathead County Attorney, Ed Corrigan, whom I may add, is a Republican who endorsed Barkus for his State Senate bid in ’06.

How long does it take for the Sheriff, FWP or the County Attorney to let us know what Barkus’ BAC was? They can and should release that information as soon as possible. You see that kind of information released immediately for most DUI’s and accidents. Why not in this case? Letting the defense build a case first?

by Jay Stevens

From Salish Kootenai chair James Steele’s excellent op-ed on health care reform:

My other interest relates to a recent visit by a Fox News reporter to an Indian reservation in South Dakota. He made the argument that if the IHS couldn’t provide decent health care there, how could the federal government do so nationally? This is the first I had heard of Fox News being concerned about the health of the American Indian people. The crocodile tears they shed were not only disingenuous but a continuation of their misleading attacks on anything Obama. They were comparing apples to oranges. On the reservations they visited, the federal government, through the IHS, is providing direct care with federally employed doctors and nurses.

If the debate in Washington was over the question of whether we should have nationalized health care then comparisons to the IHS might be interesting and educational. That is not what is on the table and Fox knows better. What is pending is legislation that would, among its other positive components, prohibit insurance companies from cancelling policies when their customers get sick. Isn’t that something we would all want to see?

Although Steele didn’t say it, I will: if we had nationalized health care for everyone, including Anglos, we wouldn’t be talking about a lack of funding…

Anyway, read the whole thing. Steel makes an excellent argument on why we need health care reform, and why we need it this session of Congress…

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