Tag Archives: Obamacare

Sad Day in History

Sad Day in History

I find it a sad day in history.  I saw this based on the actions of the Supreme Court of the United States.  It is based several facts, not just one single notion.

I’m going to restrict most my comments to a few scriptures from the Book of Mormon — it being a type of things that are to come, and a warning voice for the 21st Century.

The first thought about their ruling on ObamaCare and gay marriage was, when did they become a legislative branch?

I remember being taught they can only interpret the law, but here, they are dictating the law to states that in many cases have chosen otherwise.   Their ruling also tramples sovereignty of the states, the voice of the people in those states, and seems to lump us in to one huge state – not the United States, but the Supreme Court’s State.

I find that disturbing.

While many celebrate their rulings, I’m reminded of Alma’s talk to his son Corianton – especially Alma chapter 41:

Now, the decrees of God are unalterable; therefore, the way is prepared that whosoever will may walk therein and be saved.  And now behold, my son, do not risk one more offense against your God upon those points of doctrine, which ye have hitherto risked to commit sin.  Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.

And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.

(emphasis added)

One cannot substitute sexual sin for “love”.  Wickedness never was happiness, nor is it ever love. Nephi, son of Helaman (Helaman 7:5) wrote:

Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills

And, from Alma 10:

Yea, well did Mosiah say, who was our last king, when he was about to deliver up the kingdom, having no one to confer it upon, causing that this people should be governed by their own voices—yea, well did he say that if the time should come that the voice of this people should choose iniquity, that is, if the time should come that this people should fall into transgression, they would be ripe for destruction.

There are several cases where the voice of the people chose righteously, but then the courts chose iniquity.  In either case, I believe it is setting us up for some troubled times.

To go on the record, I don’t hate anyone.  I do have an abhorrence of evil (or sin as it is also called).  Over and over we read in the scriptures that God sends calamities to deal with the world when it becomes ripe with iniquity (sin, evil).   I believe in the doctrine of forgiveness, and while I work at being a forgiving person, I hope my friends who do not believe the same as me will understand why I cannot, will not, rejoice over todays SCOTUS decisions.  To me, rejoicing would be as abhorrent as getting excited about someone who over-doses on heroine because it made them feel good.  It goes against everything I’ve been taught to be good.   I hate smoking, drinking, drug abuse, adultery, yet I have friends who engage in some or all of those activities, and in spite of their vices, they are still my friends.

Latter-day prophets and apostles have voiced their warning too:

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

On a brighter note…

The Book of Mormon also tells us if we’re found doing what we should be doing (keeping God’s commandments) we need not fear as we read in 1 Nephi chapter 22:

Wherefore, he will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire. …

And the righteous need not fear, for they are those who shall not be confounded. But it is the kingdom of the devil, which shall be built up among the children of men, which kingdom is established among them which are in the flesh—

While the righteous need not fear, the calamities will have their impact.  Loved ones will be lost.

Conclusion

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I belong, issued this statement today:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acknowledges that following today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States. The Court’s decision does not alter the Lord’s doctrine that marriage is a union between a man and a woman ordained by God. While showing respect for those who think differently, the Church will continue to teach and promote marriage between a man and a woman as a central part of our doctrine and practice.

The statement was followed with a reference to this document:  The Divine Institution of Marriage

So, What Will It Cost?

Today is supposed to be the day people can learn what Obamacare is going to cost them.  Well, don’t hold your breath.

First, I went to http://www.healthcare.gov

It asks you to select your state.  It took me to the New York State web site.  I clicked on Individual and Family and….

HTTP 500 Error

This is an error that means there is a problem with the website’s server.  Lovely.

So, I went to my heath care provider and got a message basically stating (and I’m paraphrasing), “We’re still trying to figure things out.  Check back after October 14th.”

I then went back to the state site and was still getting the 500 error.  In fact, the 500 error continued all day.  Then it was brought to my attention that perhaps it was caused by the shutdown.  I’m not sure how that can be since the shutdown is Federal and this is state.

Who knows?  May be the state uses a non-essential Federal server that’s been placed on furlough.  In any event, I don’t know what Obamacare is going to cost.

Let’s just hope this isn’t indicative of things to come…

(tri-tone sound when a number is out of service)  “Nine-one-one is not a valid number.  Please try your call again.”

Or, you’re in the E.R. and the triage nurse says,  “I’m sorry Mr. Walton, the state health insurance site has been down for three days.  Please take a seat.”

In all seriousness, they have known that this is coming down the pike for a long time now.  They’ve had all this time to get prepared.  This is an excellent example of why the Federal Government should not be running the show.

Tomorrow We Find Out

Tomorrow we find out how much Obamacare is going to cost us.  It’s got me quite anxious.  It is already a burden, financially, to pay for the coverage Elizabethe and I have.  I hate to think it might cost us more.

Someone said they are grateful that under Obamacare everyone will have medical insurance.  I’ve read a lot about the topic.  That simply isn’t the case.  If you’re poor, you already qualify for Medicare – that won’t change.  But if the government doesn’t consider you to be “poor”, how is this going to impact you?

Here’s some facts I’ve got off healthcare.gov (the official Obamacare site):

  • You must select a coverage from your state’s exchange.
  • If you don’t enroll, then you will pay a fine and you will NOT be covered by insurance. (Nothing new there except the fine.)
  • If you do enroll, and you don’t have enough coverage, you can still rack up medical bills that can financially drive you in to bankruptcy. (Nothing new there.)
  • Pre-existing conditions won’t keep you from getting insurance (that’s good)

The fact of the matter is simply this… until they release the actual costs and what we qualify for, nobody knows how this is going to affect us.  Facing the unknown can always be scary.

Finishing Spring Cleaning

I think I’ve got my spring cleaning done.  The studio floor painting is done.  I’ve moved a lot of clutter out of the studio.  (I might be moving some more stuff out.  Take that back… I will be moving more stuff out.)  The studio feels more inviting now.

I’ve got a viewing screen on the wall where I can now let client’s see what the unprocessed pictures look like immediately after the session.  My plan is to move one of the bistro tables to that corner with a couple of chairs.

This morning’s Tri-County Networkers meeting had a presentation about the new health care law.  By the end of the presentation, I do not know a if a single person was pleased about what we learned.  At one point, I thought I read that the most someone will be fined is $695/year if they refuse to go with Obama-care.  That’s not the case.  It can be more than 9.5% of your annual income.  So, if you make $50,000/year, that’s $4,750/year.

There were other surprises… like a 6 month waiting period to make sure you don’t have pre-existing conditions if you change jobs.  If you cut employee’s hours, they will take the hours and add them all up, divide by 40/hours per week.  (In other words, that’s not a loophole, which sounds good, but the fees and taxes being placed on businesses is very scary.  Big businesses might be able to afford it, but mom-and-pop shops… they may not survive this.)

It sounds like the real winners in this law are huge businesses with huge group policies and people on welfare.  On the other hand, it sounds like the real losers in this law are the small businesses, sole-proprietors, people who may lose their job/coverage and have a chronic illness, and anyone who makes enough that they don’t qualify for welfare.

These are troubled times.

Another 5 Things

If find it disturbing that the portion of Obamacare that charges us a 6.9% tax on medical services kicked in AFTER the election.  I got my first explanation of benefits (EOB) for Elizabethe’s lab work and some of my doctor’s visits and there was this new charge of 6.9%.  I thought this was supposed to be the affordable medical insurance act?

Now, get this, if you are a sole proprietor you must pay 20% more for your insurance.  WHAT A CROCK!  If anyone needs a break, it is the small business owner who struggles every day to get customers, keep customers and make ends meet.

If you are one of those people who thinks this act was a good move by our government, I really wish you’d take your head out of the sand and study up on this thing.  You personally, are going to pay dearly, a lot of money, for health care.  Many insurance companies have already raised their rates and plan to continue to raise them.  This 6.9% tax and the 20% surcharge for sole proprietorship is dangerous to our economy and our children’s future.

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I had a great portrait session this morning, but before I could really look at the results, I had to rush off to speak in Seneca Falls at the Finger Lakes Professional Photographers.

At FLPP I presented the “Five Things Business Owners do to Undermine Their Own Business.”  The presentation went well.

From the Canadian Side

After breakfast we headed down to the falls.  We met a couple from England.  When we introduced ourselves, the man said, “That’s my last name!”  It would be interesting to see if Adam Walton from England is a long-lost cousin.

You don’t get a complete feel for how much water goes over the falls until you stand at the brink.

Horseshoe Falls

Horseshoe Falls

The weather the last two days has been great.  What a great time to visit Niagara Falls.  Less people and better weather means a better visit.  It wasn’t cold enough to require a coat, but it wasn’t hot and miserable.  The crowds were mostly Chinese tourists.

Our hotel deal came with one night at the Courtyard, $20 off dinner at T.G.I. Friday’s, breakfast at T.G.I. Friday’s, a shuttle pass and a queen/queen room.  Parking was $10 for the night.  The total package with tax and parking came to about $130.

The Canadian side has some beautiful gardens.  Elizabethe asked if I could live in Canada if things got real bad in the U.S.A.  I could.  It’s clean.  The people are very nice.

Elizabethe

This all comes at a price.  Sales tax there is 13%, and I would guess their other taxes are high too.   I did price my asthma medication.  It’s about 1/2 the price of the U.S.  That said, it is important to note that the reason why my asthma medication is so expensive is that Congress outlawed the use of fluorocarbon in the U.S.  As a result, those tiny inhalers went from about $25 each up to about $250 each.  And you really think Obamacare is going to bring prices down?  If you do, you’re really mistaking.  There is nothing in it, whatsoever, that brings the cost of prescription medication down, nor does it require your insurance to pay for it.  Suprise!

Clifton Hill Gardens

Clifton Hill Gardens

Getting back across by car was easier than getting back across walking.  We pulled in to the plaza, our pictures were taken while in the car, we showed our passports and told why we went to Canada and that was it.

Retained Earnings Could Go Bye-bye

Hey, I went outside today and all my trees had $100 bills on the limbs.  Thousands of them.  … April fools!

With all the cheering you hear in the media for the new health care, we are now starting to hear companies announce the projected impact.  Yesterday, Boeing said it will cost them $150,000,000.  The day before, AT&T was in the news stating it would cost $1,000,000,000.  And yet, you hear people cheering and making comments that this big businesses can afford it, and they’ve been ripping off the public, and la-tee-da.

Well, I’ve got news for those folks:  Money doesn’t grow on trees.

If you look at any corporations balance sheet, you’ll see an entry that is called “retained earnings”.  This is like a savings account.  It is money that the company holds on to in the form of read-to-use funds.  Just like your savings account – it is money you can access in a hurry.

Now, here’s my fear…

Let’s take a large corporation like McDonald’s.  Their 2008 annual reports shows that they $2,063,400,000 in “cash and equivalents”.  This is their retained earnings.  This is two-billion dollars that they have in-the-bank, so to speak.  In 2007 they had close to the same amount – just a little less.

McDonald’s employs 1.6 million people.  That means, their retained earnings per employee is $1290. 

What does that mean?  It means their savings account would be wiped out in one month if they had to pay $1290 per employee for monthly health insurance premiums not being paid now.  That is not a lot of money per employee, but multiplied by 1.6 million people, it is.

My fear is the huge backlash this is going to have, as employers large and small face bills they cannot pay.  McDonald’s, in this example, did not sock that $2.1 billion away in a single month, or even in a single year.  It has taken them quite a while to save it.  I fear that many companies will have to dip in to their retained earnings to pay for health coverage. 

This is going to mean fewer earnings-per-share, lower stock prices (lower than they are now), lay-offs, business closures, and other financial disasters.

So, please, don’t tell me how great it is that everyone will get health insurance.  I’d rather have a job than health insurance any day of the week.  I’d rather eat than get a check-up for “free” every year.   I’d rather heat the house than know I can go to the doctors if I catch pneumonia.  Please don’t use that argument with me when people will be getting pink slips between now and 2014.

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Here’s a question to ask the next time your at any fast food restaurant or anyplace where they might pay close to minimum wages…

“Does your employer supply health insurance now?”

If they answer, “No”, then ask…

“Has your employer told you how many people will be laid-off once they are forced to buy health insurance for all of the employees?”

If they answer, “No”, then state…

“You should ask them.  I’d be real curious to hear what they have to say.”

If they answer, “Yes”, to this last question, then write your representative in Congress and let them know that this bill means layoffs.

There also can be trickle-down effects.  Supposed a husband and wife both work, but only one carries heath insurance.  And, suppose the one carrying the insurance gets laid-off.  Now, the other’s employer is forced to pick up the tab for both.  What if, that other employer cannot afford it?  You guessed it, another lay-off.

It is moronic to think the government just has to print more money to cover the debt which will be created by this bill.  That type of money is called “fiat money” because it is declared by the government to be legal tender, but it has no backing or objective value.  In other words, you can’t go to Uncle Sam and say, “I would like to exchange this $100 bill for gold.”  You used to be able to do that, but when the United States when off the gold standard, that changed.

What is the danger of this type of debt?

Bondage, slavery, indebted servitude, wars, inflation, poverty, excessive taxation, and more can result from massive debts.  When you are in debt, you are subject to collection.  And, when you cannot pay, or when your payments are of no value, you suffer the justice of the debtor.

In our case, it looks like it is going to be excessive taxation.  Someone has to pay for those free preventative care visits.  Someone has to pay for those health education classes.  Someone has to pay for insuring high-risk patients.  And, when someone has to pay, the government taxes people.  And, in our country, history has shown that the poor get paid from tax dollars, the rich find the loopholes, and the average citizen pays the debts.

When all is said and done, our personal retained earnings could be a thing of the past.  Yes, when this all started, President Bush was encouraging people to save.  Now, it looks like those savings might be gobbled up for paying someone elses medical insurance.