Monday, August 15, 2016

KMUD RAdio and The Veteran's Asminisstration

I was listening to KMUD radio yesterday afternoon- Bud Rogers' (I thought) Edge of the Herd show to be specific I wasn't paying too much attention although I did notice he didn't seem to be presenting conspiracy theories as much as he usually does. Then, towards the end of the show, he got into something which had me very annoyed.

He had a guest on, whose name escapes me. The guest brought up some issues with Veteran's Administration health care. He went on the say there was an effort afoot to "privatize" the V.A. By way of example he pointed to an I.D. card sent to veterans recently that would require them to see a private practice if they needed medical attention.

I recently signed on with the V.A. health care system and received one of those cards the other day. It does not require you to see a private practitioner. It simply gives you the option to see a local doctor instead of driving hundreds of miles

I'll admit to not completely understanding the accompanying letter but it seemed to say if you had to travel more than 40 miles to visit a V.A. health facility, the card would allow you to see a local private practitioner and, I assume, the V.A. would pick up the tab.

That should be an improvement in anyone's book. As it is now you might have to go to the V.A. facility in San Francisco, not all that far from UCSF where we already regularly go. Another thing Rogers' guest didn't mention is that, even if you do have to go the hundreds of miles to an out of town facility, the V.A. reimburses you for travel expenses- $240.00 for a trip to San Francisco, so I've been told. Hardly something to complain about and hardly amounting to veterans in the system being victims.

I was so pissed off listening to the guy I almost called in, but then I would have actually talked to somebody.

The guest also insisted private health care was more expensive which I doubt is true. Premiums for the Affordable Care Act- Obamacare as it's commonly known- have gone up by a third this last year. I know mine have, but it's still affordable for me.

He also insisted V.A. health care was substandard, which is contrary to nearly everything I've heard. Most in the know have told me "they're pretty good".

I didn't see much truth in anything the guest said but Bud Rogers played along making it akin to some conspiracy against  veterans. I get pretty fed up with hearing the whining from these supposed victims who, from what I've seen so far, get a pretty good deal. I can tell more in September after I've been to their facility in San Francisco. I do know their new headquarters at the Eureka Mall seems nice enough, security guards and all.

Veterans are not victims, despite what some want you to believe. I'd say health care for life is a pretty good deal. You won't see me complaining, at least not yet.


At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bud Rodgers was NOT on the radio yesterday!!Get your facts straight.

At 8:58 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I actually wondered if that was him. After I listened for a while, I was pretty sure it was. On Sunday and about the same time as his show.

At 11:13 AM, Blogger Bob Wallace said...

"Premiums for the Affordable Care Act- Obamacare as it's commonly known- have gone up by a third this last year."

On average ACA premiums were about flat in 2015. Up in some states, down in others. Some insurance companies overestimated their potential costs and some underestimated. It's a new market and will take some time to stabilize.

Rates are expected to rise by about 10% in 2017. Let me make a couple of points:

1) Rising health insurance premiums are something that has been happening for years. The average health care rate increase for mid-size and large companies was 3.2 percent in 2015, marking the lowest rate increase since 1996. That's for all health insurance, not just the ACA policies. In fact, people with non-ACA policies are probably being helped because the cost of treating the uninsured is not getting pushed off on their hospital bills.

2) One should expect ACA premiums to jump up in the early years as those of us who have been unable to obtain health insurance due to existing medical conditions rush to get coverage. The young healthy folks are likely to hold out for awhile. When they sign up we should see lower premiums.

"I know mine have,"

You might want to talk to someone about your condition, Fred ;o)

I've seen you do this before, take a very limited number of datapoints and try to use them to make a meaningful statement.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

According to the Sacramento Bee, which reported on projected rate increases earlier this year, increases would affect different areas of the state differently. Not sure who got the big increases and who didn't.

At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The guy on the radio was out of his logic. It's supposed to be set up as you yourself described. He must be making political propaganda statements for an upcoming measure. They were pushing solar cars so hard the other day I had to turn the radio off. It's one thing to transition when possible, totally wrong to be forced in to it.

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, you shouldn't judge the cost of government-provided healthcare by the Affordable Care Act. It's an atrocious act even (maybe especially) by progressive standards... namely because the insurance companies had to sign off on it, in order to get enough votes. What we got was a polished turd. ACA is not single payer or anything any progressive is talking about when they discuss universal healthcare.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Bob Wallace said...

What's a "solar car"?

At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Electric cars that use tesla or other charging stations, preferably solar. Some of the cars have solar cells on the roofs & back windows, to charge on the go. Great invention, but when forced onto the public. The assembly hearings give the oil & gas & car manufacturers until 2020 to become 50% less gas & oil dependent. They extended them to 2030 but are still pushing hard for 2020. The car manufacturers said it's impossible to sell the models they have available due to lack of charging stations. There are now special Tesla charging stations popping up everywhere. Tuning in to the assembly & senate hearings can be informative.

At 2:47 PM, Blogger Bob Wallace said...

OK, thought you might have meant EVs. There's not enough surface area on top of a car to capture enough electricity via solar panels to move it very far on a sunny day.

Tesla built a nationwide (and covered most of Europe and significant parts of Asia) system of rapid chargers in less than three years. You can go to this page and see where they have chargers today and where they should have chargers by the end of the year.

(I really want to see what the EOY 2017 map will look like. Tesla is upping their output from 50k cars a year to 500k per year. And those cars will need chargers for long trips.)

The other car manufacturers are talking bull. Most already have plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) like the Chevy Volt. The average driver could cut their fuel use 85% with a PHEV. That can be done with no rapid charging stations. Over 50% of all drivers already have a place to plug in where they routinely park.

Furthermore the big car companies could go together and build a rapid charging system like Tesla's for about the cost on one CEO's annual salary. Or they could take up Tesla's offer and use Tesla's system.

At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what country you are from, but here in America, we used to be prosperous due to innovation, entrepeneurships, love & passion. Now we are broke, subdued, & hindered every which way. The consumers still do the talking or they do the walking, despite pressure from authortarians. Consumers demanded electric cars, back when gas prices climbed. The industry listened. The car manufacturers created hybrids, in hopes they would catch on. But the consumers had limited ways to charge them, which meant they still had to rely on gas. The manufacturers lost huge chunks of investment. The govt stepped in & demanded they produce electric cars. The states refused to spend funds on charging stations.
Now, years & years later, the charging stations are being installed. But the manufacturers are still in debt from the models previously released that wouldn't sell.
The states raised electricity prices. The solar cars & road cells became a pipe dream. The manufacturers are still determined to provide hybrids that meet all the consumers wants & forced needs.
When you call BS on them for not switching over faster then or even last year, because we have charging stations being installed NOW, I call you out.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger Bob Wallace said...

Born, raised and reside in the good old USA.

The United States is in very good financial shape. Unemployment is about historic lows. We're seeing wage growth. (It's been a hard slog out of the Bush Recession thanks to the Republican Congress not being willing to do anything to help.)

We've got a very large federal debt, thanks to George Bush's oil wars and failure to pay for them. But we'll get debt back under control.

Consumers did want EVs back when OPEC started jerking us around but we simply didn't have the battery technology that was needed to make long range EVs affordable. Had we not turned things over to Reagan and allowed Carter another term we probably could have developed those batteries years earlier.

In a couple of months GM will release their 200+ mile range Bolt. And about six months later Tesla is expected to start selling their 200+ mile range Model 3. Both will be priced at as mid-level cars, mid $30k range like the least expensive BMW. But if you bought one no (money down, 4% financing, 6 year payoff) the monthly out of pocket (car payment and charging) would be the same as a 40 MPG ICEV that sold for $28k.

Tesla is going to force other car manufacturers to market affordable long range EVs. Tesla is on track to manufacturing 500,000 EVs per year by the end of 2018. And they intend to be manufacturing 1 million EVs per year by the end of 2020. That will put Tesla in the top 20 car manufacturers globally. They will be taking market away from other companies and other companies will have to bring a competitive EV to market.

We do have charging stations being installed but only Tesla has the sort of charger that lets one drive 500 miles in a day with a couple of half hour charges. There are thousands of Level 1 and Level 2 chargers but they don't charge batterie fast enough for long distance drivers.

GM, Ford, VW and all the other car companies that are developing long range EVs are going to have to come up with a charging solution. GM is going to be selling their 200 mile Bolt but it won't be practical to drive to LA from here. Charging along the way would take too long.

At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first electric car invented in 1896, became available in 1900, but were ignored due to lack of charging stations. Fast forward to the 1990's, manufacturers are being forced by govt to switch over to all electric cars to save the planet from their greedy & callous gas & oil productions. The car manufacturers create the hybrids, like the Ford Prius, to help consumers make the transitions. The govt makes a killing off regulatory fines & taxes, while charging stations still evade us. Electricity prices sky rocket. Save the planet carbon taxes rise. Fast forward to 2016, finally, the Tesla charging stations are being installed. Many car manufacturers that previously gave up & moved out of the states, are returning. The propaganda against the auto industry still rises. Greedy car manufactures the headlines read.
Since 1900, we could have all been driving a Porshe if it weren't for politics.
Tesla & his free use battery plans have been laying in wait for decades.
Yet, the propaganda still accuses the car maufacturers for all the woes in the world, that other heavily taxed items aren't accused of.
Cigarettes, vapor, ranching, farming, recreation, ... when the planet has to shut down because someone somewhere stirred up dust on a footpath, you know a dust tax is on the horizon.
First electric car.


At 10:32 AM, Blogger Bob Wallace said...

Early EVs were very popular. Henry Ford's wife drove one. They were short range vehicles and the market moved to ICEVs when Ford produced an affordable ICEV with long range and easy refueling.

The federal government via CAFE standards has pushed for cars to be more efficient. Since efficiency is measured in terms of fleet average some EVs and PHEVs have been developed and sold mostly to permit continued sales of less efficient ICEVs. California has pushed for zero emission cars, I'm not sure if other states have as well.

Tesla, the man, did not invent lithium-ion batteries.

Taxes are the way we pay for the stuff we get from the government. I suspect every single one of us can find something the government does that we don't like and don't like paying for.

Personally I'm fine with the government spending money to make our pharmaceutical and food industries safe, to clean our air and water, to build and maintain our highways, to fund research and medical care. I'm not happy about spending on unneeded military weapons and bases.

You probably have a different list.

As long as we live in a democracy then we each have to compromise and see some of our personal tax money to things we don't like in order to get others to agree to fund things we want.

At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

News to you Bob. We do not live in a democracy! We live in a Constitutional Republic that was designed for voting on Constitutional issues only.
Had the govt not stepped in, innovation would have solved most of the woes, through the free market. Tesla's ideas would have been examined by innovative free market systems decades ago had they not have been hidden & forbidden. Sure, some were dangerous as hell, but not all of his ideas were.
It was the people who protested against pollution, not the govt. The govt stepped in to make a killing off it. That's it. They do not clean or depollute anything. They just collect taxpayers money so they can steal more money. The state's could have unlimited entrepreneurs & enployees cleaning the toxins, inventing new toxin cleaning gadgets, hiring workers to install & to get down & dirty cleaning the messes. When companies compete, there will always be a company that is affordable. Others that are expertly ready & more expensive. Companies, business owners, homeowners, would still own their own livlihoods instead of having to sell out to pay the fines so govt can go confiscate more properties & collect more monies. The pollution still resides. Look at the Navaho's against the epa themselves. You love the epa, I love the planet.

At 5:34 PM, Blogger Bob Wallace said...

We live in a democracy. We elect our government.

"We live in a Constitutional Republic that was designed for voting on Constitutional issues only. "

That's right wing crackpot junk. It's the kind of thing that sent some dumb bunnies to a take over a very minor federal office and earn themselves some time in prison.

"Had the govt not stepped in, innovation would have solved most of the woes, through the free market"

And that's more of the same. Take away the protection we provide for ourselves via our government and we'll rapidly deteriorate into one holy mess. It will be a rush to see which of our most unethical and greedy fellow citizens can grab most of the goodies and crap on the rest of us.

Turn it over to the states and you'd have some states taking their jobs seriously and some reinstating Jim Crow laws and sanctioning witch trials.

Step away from right wing radio. It's rotting your brain.

At 6:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To quote a constitution scholar instead of a govt employee:
"We are a Constitutional Republic that uses the democratic ballot process to vote on Constitutional issues."

After the Constitution was signed, a lady asked "Are we a Republic or a Democracy"? Ben Franklin responded "A Republic mam, if we can keep it"

The Constitution is online, free to read. You can insult all you want, that's your right, thanks to the First Amendment. Or you can read it & learn it for yourself, like the first, ninth & tenth amendment assure you can.


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