Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Getting in Shape

I've had the bike for five days and I've managed to travel 20 miles; eight of it yesterday. The flat landscape in Florida makes it less strenuous but the wind can be a problem. The bike's design keeps me upright and more visible to traffic but it also prevents me from getting into a more streamlined position. My torso makes a great sail. If I'm trying to maintain eight to 10 miles per hour in a 10 mile per hour wind, it takes some serious pedaling. We get a steady wind here and it adds to the challenge so I welcome it. Getting in shape for the Ride will take some time. Traveling an average of 30 miles per day will require some serious conditioning. It would be a little easier without arthritis but it's not an impossible goal.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Ride

This is the bike I'm riding on the trip to Tallahassee. There are some changes on the timing of the Ride; more on that later.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Universal Health Care and an Increase in the Cigarette Tax, Needed Why?

The state of Massachusetts has universal health care and it's costing them a lot more than expected. One of the reasons is that a lot more people are signing up for the subsidized Commonwealth Care insurance than anticipated. The anticipated number was 140,000 and as of December, 169,000 signed up. The enrollment is expected to increase to 225,000 by June 2009.

I was born and grew up in Massachusetts. I know about the problems the state has experienced when the politicans have done the right thing in providing for their citizens. My experience in the past has been that when the state passed legislation to assist the poor and disadvantaged, the number of people signing up for the benefits far exceeded the anticipated numbers.

I wonder how that happens. Does the population of poor and disadvantaged citizens in Massachusetts suddenly increase? Did the politicians underestimate the numbers to make the math work so that the populace would accept the legislation? I would think that someone would want to find an answer to these questions. Personally, I know of former citizens of Massachusetts who have moved south to enjoy the sun and use a relative’s address in Massachusetts so that they could enjoy the benefits of being poor or disadvantaged in Massachusetts.

We all know that there will be a certain amount of fraud but how much is there in Massachusetts? Doing the right thing is frowned upon by so many because they believe that too many will take advantage. Doing the right thing is for the suckers the weak. I think it's about time the politicians in Massachusetts accept the responsibility of finding out why the number of enrollees in the Commonwealth Care insurance is so much greater than anticipated before considering more taxes.

Take a moment and read the article. It appears that the politicians in Massachusetts have found a group of citizens that can be gouged without creating uproar. This is important because we will all be considering universal health care as an option in the United States and if Massachusetts is used as an example of why it's a bad idea, we need to know why it's not working as anticipated.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The $4,284 Monthly Premium

The title to this post is the title to an article at Consumer Reports. You would enjoy the article. The following excerpt is a sample of the exciting information you'll get.

"Companies also control their risk by using a maneuver known as closing a block or book of business. They stop accepting new customers in a plan, which kicks off a process known as a "death spiral."
I love the use of the word death when referring to health insurance. Enjoy the read and relax in the knowledge that insurance companies are truly working on our behalf.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Wana Buy a Car?

Consumer Reports magazine has a great series of articles about health insurance. One of the articles starts with the following.

Imagine that shopping for a new car worked like this: If you really didn't need the auto and lived two blocks from work, any dealer would sell you a car for a song. If the commute was 50 miles, much too far to walk, no one would sell you a car at any price. You wouldn't get to see a full contract until you plunked down your cash. Your monthly car payment would go up 20 to 30 percent every year, and, by the way, the steering wheel might be extra.

If you don't recognize this, thank your lucky stars but be aware that it might be short lived.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Second Opinion on U.S. Health Care Costs

Here’s another great article from the New England Journal of Medicine. It’s titled Market-Based Failure — A Second Opinion on U.S. Health Care Costs. There are many assumptions about why our medical coverage is so expensive. This article suggests some other reasons that we all suspect.

The article talks about something that I find very repulsive, people in leadership positions that abuse the trust they have been given. The article talks about companies and industries that are responsible but we forget that its people in leadership positions in the companies and industries that make the decisions, determine policy, and establish the standards.

When you take a leadership position and have the power to affect lives, you accept a responsibility; you are entrusted with the welfare of other people. That’s stewardship. You can choose to be a good or a bad steward. How many leaders do you believe are good stewards? Often being a good steward takes a lot of courage. That might be a characteristic that’s lacking.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Are You Really Covered?

I thought this article Are you really covered? was very interesting. I especially enjoyed the comment following the article. Of course, the article is asking whether our health insurance covers us when we need it. I found that the article is composed of excerpts from several articles in Consumer Reports. I think we can trust the source.

Give it a read.