headline

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/21/health/policy/21health.html

“Fearing that health insurance premiums may shoot up in the next few years, Senate Democrats laid a foundation on Tuesday for federal regulation of rates, four weeks after President Obama signed a law intended to rein in soaring health costs.”

In other words, they realize the bill they passed will skyrocket insurance rates (40% estimated increase in individual premiums, above the already expected increase) and now they want to control premiums now, too.

Let’s pretend you’re a company with a, say, 2% profit margin.  Let’s say one line item of expenses (health care claims) equals 84% of your revenue.  Now, say those costs go up…by 40%.  How much does your revenue need to increase to cover those higher expenses?

33.6%

That’s right, your premiums will have to increase 33.6% to cover that increase in costs.  Do you think the federal regulator will approve that increase?  Here’s a hint:

“After a hearing on the issue, the chairman of the Senate health committee, Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, said he intended to move this year on legislation that would ‘provide an important check on unjustified premiums.'”

Nope.

Since the politicians keep linking insurance premiums to GDP growth, what if they only approved rate increases that were at par with GDP growth?  What a company’s profit margin be then?

-27.6% in year 1.

-41.1% in year 2.

Somewhere between years 5 and 6, they have a 100% loss.

Before that happens, you will not be able to buy individual health insurance, except for from the government.

Which is what Obama and the Democrats have wanted all along.

Soon, the government will be telling you what to eat, what outdoor activities you can do and what medicine you can and can’t take.

Dear Bubbers and Scooters (and our other kids who might be reading from heaven),

I saw a news story today and it made me think of you. It’s about a little boy in Texas named Cody. He was born without legs that work. Not all babies grow perfectly in their mommy’s tummy and things like this can happen.

When Cody was 18 months old, his parents and doctors decided the best thing for him would be to take off the legs he had that didn’t work. When they did that, they gave him new legs. Legs they had made just for him. And not just one set of new legs but five! He has a different set of legs for all kinds of different fun, like running, climbing and swimming.

That’s right, he can swim and run and even play soccer!

Here are a couple of pictures of him:

See that? He’s smiling! Even though he doesn’t have legs of his own, he’s still happy. And if you read some of what he says in the article, you can tell he’s full of hope and joy and laughter.

The second thing I want you to notice is this: he can do just about everything any other kid can do, without his own legs. You know how when you get frustrated, Daddy sometimes says “Don’t get upset. Just solve the problem.”? That’s what Cody (and his family and doctors) did. He didn’t get upset and quit. He solved the problem, even though it was really hard, and now he can do anything!

You’re both strong, smart boys, full of faith, hope, joy and laughter. You can accomplish anything Heavenly Father wants you to. Heavenly Father and Mommy and I love you (so much!). When you get discouraged and sad, please come tell us and we’ll give you a big hug and listen and help you solve any problem you have (if you want us to).

But please don’t lose your legs. ‘Cause then we couldn’t tickle them!!

Love,
Daddy

Tag clouds are fun (and useful) for visualizing the text of a given speech or website.  It counts the number of times each word is used and the more a word is used, the bigger the font size.  It then jumbles each word together in a fun cloud.

LDS Media Talk has a post with a tag cloud by Connor Boyack.  It’s a great-looking cloud (they call it a Wordle, after the site where the cloud was made).

Recently, though, a site has been made called Tagxedo, that allows you to conform your word cloud to an image.  So, I tried it out with the text from General Conference and the results are below.

I’d love to see what other people come up with, so here is the text from April 2010 General Conference.  If you make a cloud, please put a link to it in the comments.  I’d love to check it out!

A surgical team from Wilford Hall Medical Cent...
Image via Wikipedia

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/04/07/study_health_care_savvy_workers_cost_conscious/

“‘If people are more aware of their overall health care costs and how the different types of care have different costs, then people will use the health care system more efficiently,’ said Amy Lischko, the lead author of the report and former commissioner of the Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy.”

and

“Those who knew their co-payments were more likely to have more office visits and fewer emergency room visits, which are typically more costly, according to the study.”

Interesting words from someone so closely tied to the spectacular failure that is Massachusetts’ new health care system (and the model for the Federal Health Care Reform Bill).

However, she’s correct.  As I’ve been saying throughout this debate, forcing insurers to cover everybody without a significant mandate to always be insured is a recipe for lost freedom and extremely high insurance rates, not the solution to our problems.

The solution is to lower the cost of services through competition for those services, based on quality and price.  Let’s make price and quality information freely available and step back and watch the market work.  Then services AND insurance will be affordable for everybody.

Subway
Image via Wikipedia

(read Part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, part 5 here)

Well, it turns out, timing is everything.  After I asked her out, Heidi attended a personal safety class with a friend of hers.  The purpose of the class was to teach women how to defend themselves in case they’re attacked, a very noble purpose.  Unfortunately, it had the unintended consequence of freaking Heidi out.

From her perspective, she has now given permission to a stranger to take her to a place she’s never been, surrounded by people she doesn’t know and to, potentially, give up her free will and do who knows what.  And I know hypnosis doesn’t work like that, but Heidi didn’t!

So, she cancelled.

The day of the date.

At this point, my psyche was giving me a superior look and saying “I told you so!”  I couldn’t figure out what had happened, but I at least had the presence of mind to ask for a raincheck (yes, I used that word).  What that raincheck would be, I had no idea.

I racked my brain to think of fun date ideas.  We could go to the International Cinema and see a foreign film.  Let’s see, last time I went there, I saw an Argentine film where a man slammed a woman’s hand in the door.  Not the handle side, but the hinge side.  Lovely.  Plus, I think there were bees in it, too.

Okay, that’s out.  The problem was, there were a thousand things we could do and I had no idea what she was into.  Then, I remembered!  She had mentioned she liked Peter Breinholt, a local musician.  And he was doing a concert soon!  And I could buy tickets to it!  And then we could go!

I asked if she was interested in that and, indeed, she was.  I also asked a good friend of mine, Jimmy, and his wife to go with us and they happily agreed.  We would pick everybody up, grab something from Subway to eat at the show (it was an outdoor concert) and head up to Sundance.  Everything was set for Friday.

So, why was I alone on Friday night when I was supposed to be on a date with Heidi?!!

(to be continued…)

Adonis. Marble, antique torso restored and com...
Image via Wikipedia

(read Part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here)

Those of you who were in attendance in that copy room (that is to say, none of you) will recall a man standing there with his arms in the air, parading about the room triumphantly.  To say a certain swagger had found its way into my step as I walked back would not be an exaggeration.  A peacock would have felt humble by comparison.  Not even my psyche could deny that Hot Law Library Chick had written my name on her notes.

I returned her notes and went back to my table, plotting my next move.  I held all the cards, now.  She was smitten, head-over-heels, if you will.  To imagine the word “twitterpated” would not be out of the question.  Clearly, her life would have been but a meaningless shell of an existence but that I were a part of it.  You get the idea.

So, how to proceed?  I certainly didn’t want to lose the upper hand or tarnish my Adonis-like image in her mind.  Finally, I settled on my next move.  I decided…to sit at her table the next time I was in the library.  “Yes!”, you’re thinking.  “A real man of action!”  That’s right.

And did I shy away from this bold endeavor (which essentially put me back on the same level I was at the day I first met her)?  No.  I DID sit at her table.  And not only did I decide to sit with her, but I was going to ASK HER OUT!!  ON A DATE!  TOGETHER!!  Did my boldness know no bounds?  IT DID NOT!!

So, in keeping with my debonair, suave way (no cracks in the comments!), I sat with her for probably 2 hours.  We studied, talked here and there, etc.  Plenty of time to ask her on a date.  Did I do it?  Surprisingly, yes.  When?  As she was pushing her chair in to go home for the evening.

That’s right, friends.  Nothing says confidence like waiting until the last second, literally, of a 2-hour window to ask somebody out on a date.  Notwithstanding, she was a true gentlewoman and accepted my bold advances.  She did want to go on a date with me!  She did think it sounded like fun to go see a hypnotist at Johnny B’s.  She was excited for me to call.

So, why did she decide to call me the day of the date and cancel?

(to be continued…)