Category Archives: SPQR

The technical flaw in Hobby Lobby’s case.

There is one technical flaw in Hobby Lobby’s argument, it is a corporation. If the owners wanted to apply their “religious views” upon their business, that is that the business truly reflects their views, then they should have remained a sole proprietorship or partnership. When you’re an SP, there is legally no difference between the business and the owner. When you incorporate, you are officially telling your state that X is a separate legal entity to you, which affords certain legal protections. The owner could hold any faith or religious views it wants, but your firm, if incorporated, is a separate legal body. The only time this is not the case is if you incorporate as a type of non-profit organization akin to say the Salvation Army for example.

Of course all of this could have been easily avoided by simply de-linking healthcare and employment. We all know how employers came to be offering health insurance plans. But that was a different era. Those benefits should have been terminated decades ago allowing the market to develop an alternative forcing employees to come up with their own plan or some sort of alternate public system.

Another thinking that is striking here is the composition of the health plans in the Exchanges. Why can’t there have been plans tailored to males and females? Prior to the “Obamacare” passage, we had that. Now everyone is mandated to buy the same plan with a ton of stuff they would never need, for example why would men need pregnancy coverage?

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Another move step closer in me losing love of Obamacare

Accenture replaces CGI for troubled Obamacare site

Thursday, January 16, 2014

CGI Federal has been replaced as the lead contractor for the Obamacare enrollment website by Accenture after a series of setbacks.

The Accenture contract which will replace CGI Federal’s contract after it is scheduled to end on the28th February, has been valued at £58 million.

The HealthCare.gov portal which failed to function after becoming overloaded by visitors, provides enrolment services to the public, as part of the U.S. government’s nation healthcare reform plans.

Accenture Federal Services chief executive David Moskovitz, said: “Accenture will bring deep healthcare industry insight as well as proven experience in building large-scale, public-facing websites to continue improving HealthCare.gov.”

The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which supervised the launch, said: ““As CMS moves forward in our efforts to help consumers access quality and affordable health coverage, we have selected Accenture to become the lead contractor for the HealthCare.gov portal, and to prepare for next year’s open enrolment period”.

via Accenture replaces CGI for troubled Obamacare site – News – outsourcing – sourcingfocus.com.

In the past few months I helped 4 people get plans. I dealt with their crap website. So far, only 1 person even was contacted by the insurance providers. When the Affordable Care Act passed, I approved the concept, having dealt with private insurers who have screwed me and family and friends in the past. I grudgingly approved of the mandate, which goes against my civil libertarian ideals  because I’ve seen a lot of people either unable to get insurance get financially burned using the ER or simply decided to not get insurance even if they could afford it and pass on the cost to others. As a disabled person, I approved of pre-existing conditions portion of the law. The law was based on Nixoncare, Romneycare and Swisscare and what the Heritage Foundation proposed; the Swiss had it for almost 20 years and from what I can tell is highly successful (it is still slightly different than Obamacare and Romneycare).

Saying all that, the legislation has a lot of problems. While I personally would have preferred a single payer system or a “public option” or at least some kind of system that had univesal coverage. But we didn’t get that, we got what conservatives proposed in the past. It is what it is. But, then I see here something like this, that our tax dollars are being used for firm who will outsource the labor overseas. The website may have been done this way as well. Look, if a private firm wants to outsource to an offshore location, hey it is their money. But when it comes to utilizing OUR tax dollars, I want the work kept inside our borders! Between the half ass follow through by insurers/system after signing up to now this, I most likely will have to re-think my support for Obamacare. It probably doesn’t matter what I think, not like it has any impact. But still man, it ain’t right that our tax dollars be sent overseas for work that could have been done here. And don’t even get me started on how even when it is done here, a lot of software firms are utilizing H1-B visas to bring in workers from India. How many coders here are looking for work? There are Americans who are easily as qualified who could have coded for that damn website. But no, American tax dollars for foreign workers. Madness..I tell you..pure madness.

Reviewing some political stances after meditating

While meditating this morning, I found myself or my mind afterwards reviewing where I was a year ago with some issues. From a year ago, on some things I’ve become far more to the left of the political spectrum (becoming more open to worker owned firms), but on some other things I’ve also moved more towards the right (especially recently with one subject that has shocked me, the Death Penalty).

In the past I’ve been more prone to classical capitalism, indeed back in 2007-09 I was closer to what many would dub an anarcho-capitalist.  But the Great Recession and some personal experiences, that hasn’t been the case. The economic upheavals rekindled some of my old Keynsianism but also opened my mind to other schools like Modern Monetary Theory and even some minor tingles of industrial democracy.

Though what I found myself shocked with, as mentioned above, was my attitude towards the Death Penalty and some other social issues. A decade or so back I was for the execution of criminals. But growing up and reading about so many cases of innocent individuals being sentenced and ending up on Death Row, my mind had changed. For the sake of even saving one innocent person, I was for scrapping the act. Death sentences in America are an expensive proposition, as our (luckily?) inefficient justice system takes years (if not decades) to execute someone. The appeals process also adds to the costs. Still, like I said, if it saved even one innocent than perhaps it was worth it.

But then I see all these stories of some really sick human beings (can they even be called that anymore?) committing acts of brutality like rape and murder and sex slavery against children and women, that one has to really ask an important question. If…without a doubt that individual is guilty, is it worth keeping them alive at the cost of the tax payer? We do not have labor camps in America, so in reality we would be warehousing these type of monsters, who probably would get better medical care than the people paying for his stay in prison!

There are other social stuff, but for now, this is all I’m going to cover. I will say though, I have been rekindling with my spirituality, and it has felt great. Now, I understand, not everyone needs to believe in God, but for some of us have a need for it. I’m still having trouble believing in Jesus, but God and just plain old spiritual immateriality like Buddhism or Taoism. It has helped me with dealing with some internal stresses and my work both on the job and in my creative ventures has improved.

JFK

To me, America’s future was changed on that November day 50 years ago. But I’ve always wondered how things would have turned out had either the assassin(s) missed the target or whatever the case may be where President Kennedy was not killed that day. How would have America fared going into the 1960s? Would we have gotten out of Vietnam earlier? Would the Space Program have gotten off to an earlier start? What about the Civil Rights Movement and legislation? From my observation, the culture and tone of the decade definitely changed upon his death. But what if he lived?

Detroit goes BK

Detroit files biggest-ever U.S. municipal bankruptcy | Reuters.

 

I’m just surprised it didn’t happen 20 years ago. A damn shame how this city went downhill. A while back there was a documentary that compared the city of Detroit with the city of Stuttgart in Germany. Both metropolitan areas are each nation’s automobile centers. What intrigued me was how in Germany there was an industrial and civil policy to maintain that region’s economic viability, an active partnership between that industry and the state. Whereas in Detroit, the opposite occurred. Of course Motown put all its eggs in the auto basket whereas Stuttgart diversified. Chicago at one point was in a similar danger.

We also cannot deny the other major political reasons and social issues that helped keep the city down. Both Detroit and Stuttgart were under multi-decade rule of a party, the Democratic Party for Detroit and the Christian Democratic Union in Stuttgart. Yet one city opted for more pragmatism that helped it thrive to today and the other into race-based opportunism and cronyism and corruption that lead it to its present condition.

My idea for fixing immigration

So I hear about immigration reform. One of the biggest problems (besides crossing the border illegally and employers taking advantage of the situation) is the long wait times one has to go through to get a green card. Now this experience isn’t universal. I’ve known some folks who were able to get something in as short as two years or so and others who have waited decades. Its obvious that the government beauracracy is either underfunded/understaffed and/or just plain inefficient.

So here’s my simple solution…privatize the damn green card/work permit process out to credit card people like MasterCard or Visa. They already virtually everyone on file already, their product is used almost the globe over. I bet they could process a work visa application faster and cheaper than the government could. It would be funded by whatever fees it costs, and both could compete by offering add on services from debit banking to even some form of health insurance.

What would have happened to the rest of the British Empire if it, instead of Russia or Germany, faced a revolution after World War 1?

Having an intellectual discussion on historical what-ifs with a friend of mine. I would love to know what you think. We basically switched the history periods of Britain with Germany from 1917-20. At the time the major powers were all on the cusp of revolutions similarly seen in Russia. What I’m wondering is, assuming there was a revolt akin to either Germany (deposition of the Kaiser, the Sparticist Uprising) or the February Revolution in Russia that overthrew the Czar, what would have happened to the rest of the British Empire like India or Nigeria or Australia or Canada?