Friday, July 31, 2009

Thanks to Rebecca (daughter) I sent this to an NPR reporter.
Got this notice from my daughter in PR. I am a 63 year old white anglo saxon protestant with two post graduate degrees and in good health.

As of July 12, 2009 I was laid off from a lower level management position in an agency providing services to intellectually and developmentally disabled citizens of D.C. I specialized in the area of "cash benefits and health insurance." This means Supplemental Security Income payments (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) and most importantly Medicaid (state/federal partnership that provides poor and disabled individuals with health insurance and life supports (housing, habilitation, vocational training, etc.)

I was the only person in our agency to be laid off. I was told it was a 2010 budget reduction. In our whole Department on Disability Services 10 to 12 workers were "riffed." (Also, more than 20 empty positions were eliminated as well.) I was in a Management Service position, which means I was dismissible without any cause or improper behaviors on my part. I served D.C. since the Spring of 2001; I was providing a valued service (I guess not so valued now) for the agency. Keeping people on Medicaid ensured the Medicaid funding of their programs. I was hoping to work until I turned 70 and then do the retirement bit.

I would still need to work to "pay the mortgage." I just might not have to work full time. Now, I'm in a different place. Because of my years of service I earned 26 weeks of severance pay. I was given 4 weeks of administrative leave. The severance pay ends in mid-December. Two of my grandchildren have been visiting my wife (a Federal disability retiree) and me for a total of a month. So, I've been being "Papa" and enjoying not working for the first time in 50 years.

As the summer wanes, I will begin to play the network I've built in twenty-one years of living in D.C. to find a suitable employment situation. I'm going to aim for a Federal Government position; I have just over two years of Federal service before I joined the D.C. government. I want to make sure that the contributions to the retirement plan, Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) is vested. If they aren't, I don't collect. Given the stimulus movement and the return of the Democrats to the White House, there are lots of positions being created and filled.

I'd be happy to talk with you; maybe I can give you usable material.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Who pays for health care costs?

Let’s end this foolish bickering.

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor and professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkley said, in his Blog on 7/26, that President Obama needs to insist that any act on Health Care Reform contain:


(1) A public plan option,

(2) A mandate on all but the smallest employers to provide their employees with health insurance or else pay a tax or fee (so-called "pay or play"),

(3) A requirement that every individual and family buy health insurance, coupled with subsidies for families [earning] up to 300 or 400 [percent over times] the poverty level in order to make sure it's affordable to them; and

(4) A small surtax on the top 1 percent of earners or families to help pay for this subsidy . . ..”

This is one of the most succinct listing of necessary basic operational elements seen to date. These will substantiate the three absolutely essential philosophical tenets:

(1) Insurance for all the people,

(2) The elimination of pre-existing exclusion practices, and

(3) A reduction of overall health care costs as soon as possible.

This citizen has been a resident of the “representation-less” District of Columbia for more than twenty years. Believe me the workings of Congress as a whole provide an unlimited amount of entertainment and a great deal of frustration over its actions and non-actions. One of the most palpably pathetic arenas of nabob nattering is “Who will pay the cost of reformed health care services?”

The minority leaders in both houses blather incessantly about not only “socialized medicine” but also the “spend, spend, spend” of the administration’s plan. Employers – mostly the so-called small ones – yammer about them being forced to drop the benefit because of the increased costs. Those citizens blessed with incomes in the top one percent of our nation, who can most easily pay an additional amount into the social insurance system, also decry how they will need to reduce the number of their employees to cover the additional costs.

Let’s get one thing clearly understood – crystal clear to recall a former president – the only “ones” who will pay the cost of reformed health care are the same man and woman who pay it now: John Q. and Jane Z. working tax paying citizen. Increased expenses have to be covered by increased incomes. The wealthiest among us won’t stand for any reduction in profit levels for their corporate stocks; they demand an increase in service and/or goods prices. The health care service system simply executes the now classic cost shifting to cover the “uncompensated care” costs. The health insurers increase premium amounts or restrict services or both to keep their shareholders happy. And the social insurance system (read the government) eventually is required to raise the level of its income. Who pays the higher taxes? Who has insurance premiums hoisted to the stratosphere? Who pays the higher prices for goods and services? John and Jane do.

John and Jane cover all of the “uncovered” costs now. They will do so at an increasing level whether or not the health care system changes. This should be the end of the debate about costs. Let’s get on with the reformation so that our health care system can begin to nearly rival those of other first world nations.

Everyone insured - No one excluded - An extra mite from the wealthiest - A true social insurance sharing of the costs for the benefit of all Americans

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Being a score long resident of Washington, D.C. gives a person an "almost" native status.  What follows will be reflections about Washington during my summer of Freedom.  More on that later.