Another serious problem with the ACA

I don’t think people realize how marginal medical care is right NOW in the US — observably and in comparison with the other developed nations; and some not so developed. I am truly concerned at the damage being done to the entire system by these “glitches” in the ACA Get ready. The small business delay IMO is big and won’t get lost in the holidays.

The poor in need of Medicaid expansion and small businesses represent a huge percentage of those to be benefited by the ACA. The states are torpedoing the Medicaid expansion and now there will be a full year delay in help for small business, which tends to have a loud voice. IMO this does not bode well for the overall program. ( I try not to waste time gnashing my teeth at the incompetence in the Obama administration which is the cause of much of the hazards to the program.)

Don’t waste your time complaining I am just being negative. Put the energy into supporting what is working. But IMO be ready.

My take on the current position of the health care act

This is a cross post of my comment on a FaceBook entry. I like how I have said it and thought it worthwhile to be sharing here. I have no interest in partisanship around this essential need for our nation. I have made some minor edits from the original.

We need not just the politicians and business people to strive to make it  [the ACA] work. We need all of us.

IMO if the Media, GOP and Blue Dogs continue to criticize and, (in the case of the Senate, House and States) actively obstruct implementation of critical aspects the ACA is in danger of collapsing from its greatest design flaw, reliance on  market driven private forces. It is irrational to assume private insurance or employers  in private business to facilitate anything they see not in their short term bottom line.

Remember funding to hospitals for care of the uninsured is gone. The GOP led states could partially remedy this by voluntarily expanding Medicaid. Otherwise  a number of small hospitals will close and in desperation there will be little choice but to divert from Medicare benefits to support emergency room treatment of the poor. If insurance companies are given a legal way out of complying with ACA required  benefits by the GOP in the House and Blue Dogs in the Senate, that will add to an even greater number of uninsured in the emergency room. 

If the media continues to distort the ordinary properties of insurance of any kind., the anger resentment and splitting among us could be enough in its own right to bring it down. You pay when you can for the times that may happen when you can’t.

A society is held together by sharing risk. It cannot not survive without sharing.

I am Malala – a review

This is an informative book, making almost comprehensible many of the cultural/religious streams of thought that create and influence the politics and movements in the cultures of Pakistan, especially the tribal lands. The ghost writing is evident in the reportorial style of writing but acceptable considering the nature of the book. Malala presents as a genuinely intellectually sophisticated young woman who is answering a call to human rights activism. She is already an impressive world presence.

The real hardships and obstacles to even a modicum of freedom especially for women in the region are pictured with clarity. They are testimony to the passion and determination of the Yousafzai family to overcome and forward the education of their people. The father, and I believe the mother, are intellectuals in their own right. We hear more of the father’s influence but I believe both must be given responsibility and praise for their exceptional child Malala.

To experience the immersion in fundamental religionism and at the same time comprehend the violence inherent in the culture described in the book is almost overwhelming. It was not the first time and will not be the last time I have shuddered at the impact of violence; but the callous coarsening of everyday life that casual bloody violence brings presents a huge obstacle to the ends Malala Yousafzai seeks. Misogyny a distinct and softer obstacle is equally powerful in that it forms a major supporting structure of the religion fundamental in the lives of the indigenous of the area.

This is a political book. I mean no insult in making that observation but noting it as a harbinger of a powerful woman emerging in the world’s public arena; if she is permitted to live. I cannot resist prophetic commentary. Not a focus of the narrative, but what is there confirms the irrelevance and futility of empire and national power, with all its capacities to kill and intimidate and plunder, contribute little worth while in the long arc of history. The conversation quoted with the late Richard Holbooke is telling.

This is an easy and satisfying read that encourages the reader to give attention to, not only this young woman, but to those martyrs for civil liberties who have risked and, more often than not lost, all in the service of their cause.

Comment on: “Tom Watson’s mean streak maligned his political foes”

W L Watkins
W L Watkins

This is in response to a Gainesville Times column y Johnny Vardeman that appeared in the October 27, 2013 issue.

Mr. Vardeman’s column may be read here:

Statues of individuals in the environs of governing are put there not just to tell history but to celebrate the individual. “Mean streak indeed!” It is hard to find any tyrant in history that has not done some good for some people and certainly does not excuse the evil. Anyone who has read extensively the history and especially the words of Tom Watson understand what a travesty it has been to celebrate this man with statues or words. Looking at Georgia history, perhaps it would be just as well if more statues did start to fall like flies.

The blood on the hands of our deep south forebeares who committed and sustained a system of profound evils toward fellow humans is passed to the hands of the descendants and will not be washed away as long as we continue to declare solidarity with “heritage of that nature.”

Sadly until remorse for the sins of the fathers is experienced and expressed this region will continue to be seen as pariah by many in the rest of the nation and the world. The people who hold on also continue to suffer through being inhibited in reaching full promise because, deservedly or not, they are judged on actions and opinions coming from the region and deprived of easy access to many of the opportunities this nation provides.

The sins of the fathers are destiny only for those who let them be. Looking at the corruption (and just plain meanness in depriving large numbers of our poor of health care) by Nathan Deal, the man with the silver tongue who was promised great achievement by his political forebearers, one wonders.

Mr. Vardeman’s column may be read here:



There’s no denying how science describes global warming

Letter to the Editor, The Times of  Gainesville, Georgia
October 24, 2013

The letter by W.T. Hinds in The Times on Friday cannot be permitted to stand unanswered. His inaccurate and distorted description of this year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is breathtaking.

I have no notion of his intent in describing the IPCC Report as a political document. IPCC, a body established by the United Nations, has been a driving force in asking questions and urging scientists to do the research that can answer the critical questions about the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere and its waters, which was first reported in 1979. Reports are summaries, analyses and predictions derived from thousands of scientific studies.

The IPCC is meticulous in reporting level of certainty for all data and conclusions reported. The information is collected and made available to governments (political entities) so that they may develop remedies and prepare their nations for the radical changes coming. Science, the journal of record for general science states: “The latest assessment includes plenty of highly confident statements about how humans are messing with the climate… In fact, the new report presents the consensus range (how much/how soon) with far more certainty than ever before.” The full report and the excellent summary may be found at

Mr. Hinds quotes a single meteorologist known for years for his stance denying the facts of the Earth’s changing climate. Highly compensated by carbon-based energy industries, Dr. Richard Lindzen’s claims that the Earth is no longer warming have been readily refuted by many. This from the National Geographic website: “‘If you take 1998 out, there is no pause,’ (Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) said. According to NASA data, the 10 hottest years since 1880 have all happened since 1998, with 2010 being the hottest of all.”

The falsehoods repeated by Mr. Hinds and his selected mentor, Lindzen, are not simple differences of opinion. They rise to the level of psychological denial and are an invitation to dangerous willing ignorance.

W. Lorraine Watkins

More on violence

I don’t believe limiting or at least delaying access to lethal weapons will resolve all or even most issues of alienation and violence. I also don’t see how unlimited access is related to freedom.

Knowing of and fearing violence in this country has already led to severe limitations on travel and full joyful participation in certain public events and the fear continues to spread.  Now every time I shop at the Gainesvile  PetSmart I wonder if the people in front of me are likely to pull out guns as they did a few weeks ago. Now I find myself being less trustful and friendly in chatting with strangers standing in line.

While individual pursuits bring their own esteem and joy, participation with others in common ventures and goals bring trust and the sense of importance and belonging. It diminishes the feelings of alienation that drives the rage at and fear of faceless others (the public) that creates mass killers.  IMO we as a culture have tipped the balance too far away from public projects in favor of privatization of enterprises which by definition lead to a less cooperative and more competitive, even dangerous social atmosphere. Inevitably there are those who become so excluded by lack of power, fraud, random chance or incompetence that they become alienated and fodder for violence.

Average people living in nations that have public spaces and shared activities along with a modicum of decent conditions of living are just more peaceful and happier. The need for collaborative national events, projects and goals is proven in the very fact that “terrorism” is defined as violence against the public and those episodes do bring so more widespread reactions than “private violence.”  About the only projects of any size the citizens in this nation have shared in for years is the violence of war.

Times special report: Is the health act affordable?

This is a transcription of my comments on the Gainesville Times article by the above title in today’s paper.

But the real question is not can we afford what is essential for life? The question more appropriately is:

Can the United States afford to serve up the ill and disabled as a source for immense corporate profits?

IMO a legitimate criticism of the ACA is that it does indeed, well beyond that of other developed nations, assure continued high profits for private sector corporate industries. Efforts to decrease cost to consumer are largely based on the ACA focus to diminish utilization through incentives to medical care providers; paying less for more care. Yes. A sick patient becomes a liability. But he/she remaining sick is a money source in the current system. It is fair to say perverse incentives are being looked at critically by many in and out of government and insurance companies. IMO this will likely be remedied by future tweaks in reimbursement criteria.

That said; IMO essential health service cannot be managed on the principles of a business intended to make high profits.

We must afford health care. What we cannot afford is to simply provide customers for high profit industries and investors.

Original Article: The Times of Gainesville, Georgia

Thoughts on energy

From my  summary comments on The Times of Gainesville, Georgia blog last week.

There is no doubt we have already been delayed in making the critical decisions around energy for far too long. It now is, if possible, even more vital that the sources of information on which these decisions are made and supported be examined in detail. A change over under best of circumstances has to be gradual with focus on some areas more than other. The longer the delay the more disruptive the changes will be.

This long delay in acting on preventing and modifying the climate change being caused by carbon emissions has perversely at least given the people a chance to examine the track records of these well funded advocates of expansion of poisonous fuel sources. They would have us ignore the overwhelming consensus among the scientific community as to facts of carbon emission caused warming, and now the risks calculated by investor class in regard to nuclear power.

The science as to warming is settled and the documentation in the scientific literature is plentiful. The problems of nuclear are self evident. The creation of waste, dangerous to man forever, and what to do with it is the first. A second has shown itself in the inevitable unpredictable accidents of man and nature that create vast unlivable areas of devastation or contamination that endure endure operationally forever.

Something to Think About

Oklahoma: Something to think about: The massive rains that flood Oklahoma today came from a heating Gulf of Mexico putting increasing level of moisture into the atmosphere. under the best of circumstances there is no doubt this will continue to increase for many years creating events on land of greater frequency and severity. Check out the news as to what now the capital of Oklahoma and metro are are dealing with today.

Query: Just how long can Oklahoma continue to operate as a civil entity while having to deal with the chaos of weather events?

Also as the jet stream changes in response to the warming and melting in the Arctic it is predictable that these kind of events will be brought to wider areas of the country. Climate change is not just another “shock” for business to profit from.

President Promises Perpetual Chaos.

Maybe we won’t notice the foxes raiding the hen houses. Sooner or later, we will notice.

I can’t believe what I just heard! Obama is guaranteeing perpetual chaos, violence under oppression of the American people. It is disgusting that he could with such banality make such statements. Their hatred of us is arising de novo. We are just innocent victims of inexplicable ideology held by what he chooses to call an “organization.” (If he has been so successful in destroying al Qaeda leadership and their families and neighbors ;why is there still an “organization”?

The voices of the “terrorists” and their grievances are out their and clear. He is choosing and calling on Americans to ignore them.

I am certain the oligarchs of power through the plunder of chaos are reassured.
The rest of us must be very concerned.