How to fix Medicaid?

Dear Carol, I hope this blog finds you well.¬† ūüėČ

Seriously…

The question was asked, “how would you fix medicaid”?

My short answer is “I don’t really know, and my gut response would be to root out any fraud to not waste money.”

My responses will only be high level with one example I know of when dealing with Medicaid.¬† I apologize if my thoughts are half baked and come off ignorant.¬† They are.¬† Simply put, these are my thoughts and have not been “in the system” to give clear examples.

We’ve seen enough 60 minutes, 20/20 to know that there are examples of fraud in the system.¬† We hear stories of people “who has a brother in law” who collects public assistance but earns good money under the table.¬† Either way, fraud is not good.¬† I also understand that there is a cost to policing the fraud and that factors into how much an agency will explore and spend on the matter.¬† Some Fraud is accepted if the cost of policing it outweighs it.

With that said…¬† As a conservative (some might call me libertarian) I believe our society should uphold public assistance.¬† We DO have needy in this country.¬† The system should understand that public assistance for the truly needy which I believe it does but with any government agency there is inefficiency.¬† Therein lies the debate… how does our society define the needy.

“Fixing” Medicaid probably starts with identifying why people come to need the assistance.¬† Aside from disabilities (mental and physical), what we have remaining is mostly low income from a variety of factors. Why the low income?¬† It is lack of employment right?¬† Why the lack of employment?¬† Downturn in the economy or unskilled/uneducated to the point of no opportunities.¬†¬† This leaves the answer to be jobs.

But I don’t want jobs to be the answer.¬† Because it is not.¬† When able bodied people are employed, they want off the public assistance and this largely happens.¬† This is the Utopia of public assistance… people only temporarily using the assistance.

OK….¬† next component.¬† Accountability of individuals.¬† Children are not part of this discussion but they are a potential negative side effect.¬† Children who grow up on assistance mostly likely continue on assistance.¬† This is not a golden rule, but a potential hazard.¬† From the start, children are not to be blamed for receiving Medicaid.

Accountability of adults is important.¬† Medicaid should have mechanisms built in for people to work to move out of the public assistance realm.¬† Job Training, home economic education (balancing their money, etc).¬† These may exist.¬† I don’t know for sure.¬† If they do, great.¬† If a recipient shows up at the Medicaid office holding a smartphone and drove up in a new car, an eyebrow should be raised.¬† I only speculate this happens.¬† I would hope this type of fraud is discovered and eliminated.

My only example of how Medicaid is taken advantage of deals with the elderly.  When someone is to the elderly point in life when nursing care is necessary, the elderly couple can be divorced with all assets moved to the healthier spouse leaving the other spouse under the income/asset level to qualify for medicaid and have all nursing care paid for.  Yes, this is a real life example that has been used.  It is unfortunate, but real.

Medicaid is a facet of our government that is fiscal in nature but is at the crossroads of social issues.  Back to able bodied people on public assistance.  Some who receive Medicaid most likely receive food stamps.  If an individual is a high health risk due to behavioral factors (smoking, drinking, poor diet, lack of exercise) they should engage in programs to reverse those negative factors.  If on food stamps, we can track what people purchase and help guide them.  This is not a sure fire tool, but you get my point.

I know this sounds intrusive to individuals, but when you receive public money and engage in something not healthy for you then you should receive some scrutiny.

Whew… I hope this does not come off as a right wing kook.¬† My short answer is, public assistance for those who need it, find and eliminate fraud, help those able bodied people move off of Medicaid.

 

Roy Blunts SOPA response

Stop SOPA

I emailed my senator via congress.org to express my opposition to the SOPA legislation.  As it appears now, the SOPA is an overreach effort to stop piracy and could potentially effect the entire internet.  As understood in the legislation, a foreign website can be accused of piracy (copyright, counterfeiting, etc), the US then blocks the DNS (domain name service) to that site.

Problem:  1. that website could be falsely accused thus creating a huge mess with internet communication.  2. If the website is pirating goods, there are ways around DNS to get to those sites.

In the response below, I would like a deeper inspection to the claim of “$135 Billion lost revenue”.¬† How does one come up with that figure?

>>>

Dear Craig,

Thank you for contacting me regarding S. 968, the Protect IP Act.

Intellectual property industries employ more than 19 million people, making it an integral part of our economy.  Rogue websites dedicated to the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and pirated content are a direct threat to these jobs and to entrepreneurs growing and building legitimate businesses online.

Businesses have lost $135 billion in revenue annually as a result of these rogue sites.¬† Customers have also been harmed by these sites; for example, online pharmacies that don’t adhere to U.S. regulations have been reported to cause a rapid increase in prescription drug abuse.

I am a cosponsor of the Protect IP Act which would cut off foreign websites dedicated to counterfeiting and piracy that steal American jobs, hurt the economy, and harm customers.  It would allow the Justice Department to file a civil action against those who have registered or own a domain name linked to an infringing website.  The bill does not allow the Justice Department to target domain names registered by a U.S. entity.

Innovation is a cornerstone of our nation’s economic growth.¬† Proper intellectual property protections and incentives ensure that inventors develop products that benefit consumers.¬† Without such incentives for innovators, we risk falling behind places like China and India.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I look forward to continuing our conversation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SenatorBlunt) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/RoyBlunt) about the important issues facing Missouri and the country. I also encourage you to visit my website (blunt.senate.gov) to learn more about where I stand on the issues and sign-up for my e-newsletter.
Sincere regards,

Roy Blunt
United States Senator

<<<<<

Mr Coffee commercial 2011

This commercial has been bugging me all holiday season. I don’t understand the scenario (other than cute chicks wanting coffee)

The single cup Keurig coffee makers are getting popular and this device shows up on the market (still has a Keurig relationship).

Stanley sits at the machine and brews a cup of coffee to be thwarted by gal after gal until he sees the gal he digs (so it seems).¬† It’s somewhat flirty or her manipulation.¬† I don’t quite understand it.

Where is Stanley in the scene?¬† Is it a workplace kitchenette?¬† Is this some upscale Hostel?¬† Soberhouse?¬† It’s weird.

Watch and ask yourself the same question.

Why are we (Americans) such lemmings?

It’s the beginning of the new year (an election year) and TV is cluttered with every different kind of commercial for exercise equipment, workout gadgets, workout DVD’s, weight loss pills like Hydroxycut, and diet plans.¬† Oh, I totally understand it.¬† It’s the new year and we all want to start our weight loss efforts.

It’s the constant bombardment this time of year that is so crazy.¬† Are we that stupid?¬† We must be.¬† These commercials come back this time every year.

As a followup to my last post about politics.  We are collectively stupid about voting too.  We fail to educate ourselves with the issues and vote based on superficial sound bytes.  Politicians are not stupid.  Narcissists yes, but stupid no.  The politics industry is full of professionals who craft the messages to the stupid (or apathetic).

We’ve stopped thinking for ourselves.¬† I can’t say for sure when it started, but you can see it all around.¬† The Movie Idiocracy portrays where we are headed.¬† It is funny in its construct and gives us a laugh but you can see the possibility of our future within.

TV is full of reality TV, game shows, and pundit shows who repeat themselves with the same blah blah blah.¬† All of which spoon feeds us fructose media info.¬† It’s crap.¬† I don’t want to keep people from enjoying the release of 30 minutes of Snooki, but step away before you are tempted to buy her book.

Reality TV used to be a novelty.¬† Now almost everything is reality.¬† Somehow we turn these “normal” people into stars.¬† Why?¬† Cuz we are the stupid ones.¬† The end result, more reality shows.¬† The real housewives? …please.

News Pundit shows are almost as bad.¬† These programs simply reinforce what you already believe (by and large).¬†¬† They talk about the days events without any true analysis.¬† They just nitpick and try to bring on other mouthpieces.¬† I can’t stand when they talk over each other.¬† It’s insane.

I recommend watching a show from the network that is mostly opposite of your views (MSNBC or FOX).¬† You will quickly find it frustrating when certain facts are skewed and personal attacks are used to make a point.¬† Don’t go back to your comfort channel either.¬† You already know what they are going to say.¬† Find some true thought provoking media.¬† Read this piece from LifeHacker regarding Reading Comprehension.

Movies are no different.  Franchises are the comfort food of the movie biz.  Same Movie characters rehashed stories.  Not that the movies are not entertaining but it speaks more to how sequels get people to buy tickets.  Admittedly, I liked Rocky Balboa.

Start thinking for yourself.  Read more.  Watch a documentary.  Question your own beliefs.  Read: How to Watch TV News.

I also understand the digest version of everything around us.¬† There is a lot of information to absorb and it can be confusing.¬† We are busy.¬† It’s hard to make the time to go in depth.¬† We often try to find trusted sources for the information.¬† I wish we’d not trust the major networks as much as we do.

Politics 2012 – GOSH!

Buy the T-shirt.

One of my resolutions this year is to pay less attention to politics.  This will be a difficult task given this is a presidential election year.

I am tired of the hard left and hard right consuming the news media.¬† I already know what they are going to say.¬† It’s boring.

The “base” for each side is not going to switch teams.¬† Recently I read that 25% agree with Occupy Wall Street and 25% agree with the Tea Party.¬† I paint with a broad brush here, but it is safe to say those 25%-ers will vote along their party line.¬† That leaves 50% of the country who will listen to common sense despite a liberal or conservative tilt.¬† I have never understood why a politician burns so many calories “appeasing the base”.

I digress…

I plan on keeping up with the issues and voting with an educated mind, but I will try to avoid the fringe opinions that infuriate me.¬† These are the same expressions that turn people away from politics.¬† This is the 25% of each side.¬† I want to focus on the issue and the serious analysis.¬† This analytical content is hard to find.¬† It’s out there, you just have to find it.

I wish the voting public would pay more attention to politics to the level of who they are represented by at their local, state and federal levels.  The 60% voter turnout is too low and of that 60% too many people base their decisions on sound bytes and negative ads.  Too often people ignore what is really going on and then wake to see some douche-bag elected to a seat that represents their district.  I get the frustration of voting then the other candidate wins, but you still need to cast your vote.  I encourage anyone who votes to take a serious look at your true needs and wants, and find that in your candidates.  Let your candidates know how you feel.  Remind them of your disagreement.  Congratulate them when they represent you well.

Crap… I am rambling.¬† This blog post may evolve into something else.

I just wish in 2012, we see a better educated voting public.