Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Far afield, in the land of Colorado health care reform, Amendment 69 (updated 10/10/16))

It's been a couple weeks since posting anything here and it's frustrating since there's plenty I read about that I'd like to comment on.  Particularly with the American elections drawing near.  However an unexpected Colorado issue has derailed me for a while with a brand new blogspot.  Although this one is an ad hoc affair specifically for the upcoming election and Colorado's universal health care Amendment 69 which would establish "ColoradoCare".  

I'm sharing it here to let my friends know I haven't folded up, just yet.  {Well and maybe to help give it a circulation boost, come on down for a visit.  Especially if you are from Colorado. ;-) }

ColoradoCare/Amendment 69 Information Kiosk

This blog is dedicated to collecting and sharing information 
explaining why voting YES on ColoradoCare’s 
Amendment 69 makes sense. 

It’s one man’s independent and unaffiliated effort, 
so it is far from complete, but its a good start.

Response to Pinnacol's CEO Kalin's Amendment 69 bashing letter.

Phil Kalin Pinnacol Assurance president and CEO has been going around Colorado writing self-serving letters and articles denouncing Amendment 69 the ColoradoCare health care reform amendment on this November's ballot.  I'm responding to the letter he had published in the September 8th issue of the Durango Telegraph and titled "Amendment 69 and workers comp." I have made the effort to incline footnotes with links to further information for your convenience. (September 11, 2016)

Why start this blog? + Intro to Dr. Horiagon's response to Kalin

My little excursion into ColoradoCare's Amendment 69 has snowballed on me.  All I was doing was researching my response to the Pinnacol CEO's flippant letter to the Durango Telegraph because I have personal reasons to be irritated with Pinnacol Assurance's dishonest practices, but I had no idea.  The cascade of information so impressed me that I’ve decided to start this blog in order to share some of this information.   It's turned into an adventure of dark discovery that just keeps on going. …

Dr. Horiagon responds to Pinnacol's Phil Kalin's Amendment 69 bashing.

Mr. Kalin's assertions fly in the face of the facts. 

Let's address the big errors: Kalin cites the CHI report that had to use very tortured and adverse assumptions in order to derive a year 10 deficit. This long-range prediction assumes no dynamism or adjustment by the ColoradoCare board of directors, no structural cost savings, no effects of decreased administrative costs, no effects of decreasing unnecessary capital expenditures in over-served areas, and adverse assumptions about Federal actions. …

Michael Grabell's "Insult to Injury" workers comp investigation

Michael Grabell has written an impressive collection of articles looking at today's Workers Comp realities.  He uncovers plenty of information to help us put Pinnacol Assurance's CEO Phil Kalin's misleading Amendment 69 articles into a more realistic light.

Al Tompkins explains how NPR and ProPublica exposed unequal workers’ comp system

Al Tompkins at poynter.org tells us about the background story to Michael Grabell's "Insult to Injury" series which looks into how certain self-interests have stealthily been eroding state workers comp programs.  

Always seeming to put the workers interests last and executive incentives first.  It's a frightening trend that will continue without an engaged public that stands up and says enough is enough.  We deserve fair and available health care!  Vote Yes on Amendment 69.

About ColoradoCare, Amendment 69

Details of what ColoradoCare Amendment 69 is all about, courtesy of BallotPedia.org.  Sure Amendment 69 isn't perfect.  Still, the reason I’ve become whole-heartedly supportive in Amendment 69 is because it offers a thoughtful constructive framework upon which to rebuild a health care system that’s become dominated by an amoral corporate structure.  Which incidentally is also the most cost effective way to go.  


Colorado Open Records Act pries into Pinnacol Assurance’s dirty laundry

After suing KMGH Channel 7 to block a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) inquiry into expenses related to an “extravagant” golf trip to Pebble Beach, Calif., Pinnacol Assurance was told Thursday by a Denver District Court judge that the state workers’ compensation giant should adhere to the same CORA requirements as any other public entity.

“This is the right decision under the law and the right decision for the people of Colorado,” said Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, who testified before the court Thursday. “If we learned anything over the past year, it is that Pinnacol needs to answer to injured workers, to the businesses it serves, and to taxpayers about how it does business, just like any governmental agency. I’m glad the courts agreed.”

Colorado Medical Board "adjusts" policy 40-3 Physician Patient Relationship

In doing more research I found this example of the subtle way that our Colorado Medical Board (CMB) is slowly dehumanizing our medical system and evolving it into a corporate industry.

My source is “The Colorado Medical Board Abolished The Hippocratic Duties” written by Dr. Horiagon MD MOccH October 10th, 2015

Physician suicides, courtesy of our profits driven medical industry.

These past few days I’ve been spending my spare time trying to learn more about Dr. Tom Horiagon MD, MoccH and his conflict with the Colorado Board of Medicine, or more accurately with some powerful bureaucrats who seem to think they are above the law

My Response to C.Conover's response to W.Potter's outrage at CEO compensation packages.

… Conover deftly skips over the reason for the outrage at health insurance company executives with his little math trick….

What Pinnacol’s CEO Kalin Doesn’t Want You to Know about 69.  by Ralph Ogden

The lawyer Ralph Ogden recently wrote an op-ed countering Pinnacol Assurance's CEO Phil Kalin's claims about how Amendment 69 would impact Workers Comp pricing and practices. … 

Summary ColoradoCare Amendment 69

A copy of the official summary of Amendment 69 and how it will be implemented.

Why even bother to vote ? ? ?

The strange saga of Tom Horiagon MD vs. the Colorado Medical Board

… Even more startling was all the evidence that shows “independent medical exams” have become anything but impartial efforts to arrive at the truth. Patients complain of feeling like they are up against a stacked deck. The negotiation and appeals processes are likewise rigged against workers, who are treated more like bothersome expenses than humans trying to get the health care they need.

In the middle of all this I learned of the strange ongoing saga of Dr. Tom Horiagon, master of occupational health (also internal medicine, pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine) and his non-profit clinic that was summarily shuttered in a matter of a couple hours. What could the man have done to deserve it?

It wasn’t patient complaints; there were no professional or medical misconduct charges against this doctor. His sin was being a vocal advocate for down ’n’ outs and injured workers. His non-profit clinic had insurance companies on edge because of the precedent he was trying to establish and they took their gripes to the Colorado Medical Board. …

Ryan Warner hosts debate on ColoradoCare and Amendment 69

Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner hosted a debate on the measure with T.R. Reid, who leads the campaign to support it, and Cody Belzley, a consultant with the largest opposition group, called Coloradans for Coloradans.

Politifact.com Weighs In On ColoradoCare Revenues

The report, by the Colorado Health Institute, is a primer on the potential benefits and drawbacks of ColoradoCare, a proposed state health care cooperative that would resemble single-payer health care systems like those in Canada and Europe. …

We examined the statement that ColoradoCare’s projected revenues would be $38 billion and overshadow huge corporates. We found that the number is right in theory, but it depends on the federal government signing off on a first-of-its-kind health system for Colorado. …

Passing Amendment 69 - Why the Fear? Embrace the Challenge!

… The medical health professionals who have done the most to formulate ColoradoCare understand health care above all else.  They were tired of having their talents and time squandered by meaningless costly paper work that only serves to make life more difficult and stressful for everyone.  They understand the system's good and bad better than anyone.  

What they have done with Amendment 69 is to define a process and a structure around which the details can be molded.  It's well thought out and passing Amendment 69 will conclude the first chapter, with the next chapter being the formulating and finalizing of exact details of the ways and means of ColoradoCare.  I do trust these experts to work together for the most constructive outcomes.  I also believe they will learn from mistakes and refine the system as we move forward.

Rather than fear, we should embrace the chance to rebuild our outrageously overpriced and ineffective health care system.

US Labor Department - Workers Comp "race to the bottom”

When workers comp insurance executives fly around Colorado proclaiming how well Colorado's Workers Comp functions, remember their number one concern is how well it functions in making profits for them.  Once we get past the pretty advertising brochures patients are merely revenue producing units.  These harsh words are justified by the ugly little secret that even the US Labor Department has had to acknowledge. Workers Comp programs are being straggled by insurance corporation more interested in profits that caring for people.

“Labor Report Urges Study Of A Federal Role In State Workers' Comp Laws”
Howard Berkes, Michael Grabell

Executive Summary Labor Department Workers Comp Report 2016

This is a follow up to the previous post.  Here is the full text of the reports Executive Statement.  It belongs here because it underscores the need for substantive change that will not come about from the same corporate interests that have created this problem to begin with.  ColoradoCare, Amendment 69 provides a solid framework upon which to build a patient responsive Colorado workers comp and health care system.  Vote Yes on Amendment 69.

“U.S. Labor Department Workers Comp Report 2016”

Worker Comp Insurance Cost Shifting Study. Leigh 2012

Workers' compensation benefits and shifting costs for occupational injury and illness.

Whereas national prevalence estimates for workers' compensation benefits are available, incidence estimates are not. Moreover, few studies address which groups in the economy pay for occupational injury and illness when workers' compensation does not.

Total benefits in 2007 were estimated to be $51.7 billion, with $29.8 billion for medical benefits and $21.9 billion for indemnity benefits. For medical costs not covered by workers' compensation, other (non-workers' compensation) insurance covered $14.22 billion, Medicare covered $7.16 billion, and Medicaid covered $5.47 billion.

Incidence estimates of national benefits for workers' compensation were generated by combining existing published data. Costs were shifted to workers and their families, non-workers' compensation insurance carriers, and governments.

ProgressNow Colorado should reconsider their opposition to Amendment 69 (Senator Aguilar)

In keeping with my mission to collect relevant information that can help folks make an informed decision on how to vote for Amendment 69 I want to share this article by Senator Irene Aguilar, one of its architects.  It was written in response to ProgressNow’s rejection of Amendment 69 due to fears of it’s impact on reproductive rights in Colorado. (PS my title, her op-ed)

Senator Irene Aguilar, MD: “ColoradoCare is real progress, right now”
… By opposing ColoradoCare, ProgressNow showed it is not looking for real progress, and certainly not now. But real progress is exactly what the people of Colorado need. Right now.

Our current health care system is broken. Corporate insurers care about their wealth, not our health. One million (one out of five) Coloradans are underinsured. 350,000 Coloradans have no insurance. 535 Coloradans die each year because we cannot afford the care we need. The sick, poor, and elderly, terms that apply to most of us at some point, are often stuck with inadequate care and costly medical bills.
Meanwhile, profits under the corporate system are skyrocketing.

NARAL Takes The Coward's Approach on Amendment 69

What we should say, acknowledge and demand is the recognition that the mother is supremely her own life and body!  She is the host to that potential human being.  She possesses an awareness and love for that little life developing inside of her beyond what any outsider can appreciate.

There are times when a pregnancy will do fundamental harm to a woman’s life and wellbeing.  She, NOT outsiders with an ideological ax to grind, along with her loved ones and caregivers are best suited to evaluate the situation and support the woman in making the appropriate choices no matter how heartbreaking.  It is not society’s concern beyond allowing the woman to do the best she can, given her circumstances.

A woman has a right to self-defense and these bans on abortion are an affront to that right of self-defense, a fundamental American Right.  …

Coloradan$ for Coloradans - Who’$ your $ugar Daddy?

Here's a look at who's providing the financial might to "ColoradansForColoradans" for their massive campaign of misleading ads attacking Amendment 69.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Check out HotWhopper Chat ! - internet’s serious climate chat room

My previous post is pretty bleak.  But, I’m a healthy human and hope does spring eternal even when marching into the valley of destruction.  That’s why I was excited when Sou of HotWhopper blog fame invited me to join HotWhopper Chat before it went public and to help with getting it rolling and iron out any glitches.

I’m enthusiastic about this promising discussion forum.  It’s not a place for childish contrarian arguments about the validity of climate science.  After all, the science is pretty well established.  As any constructive honest debate will make plenty clear to anyone who engages in it with good faith.  Don’t believe me? Try it!  

Or check out the folks who collect all the studies for our general edification SkepticalScience.com.

Here’s a summary: 
... global warming and climate change myths, sorted by recent popularity vs what science says. Click the response for a more detailed description. You can also view them sorted by taxonomy, or by popularity,

Instead HotWhopper Chat is a serious place for serious people who are concerned about what we are doing to our climate, you know, our Earth’s life support system. 

People who want a safe space for constructive discussion about climate issues and public communication issues among like minded individuals.  It’ll also be a great place to help us network and hopefully develop a sense of community among people who are concerned with climate science and communication. 

There are many of us out here, now we have a new interesting place to get together and discuss such things among friends.  Drop on by for a visit.

By Sou | September 12, 2016

We’ve launched! A big thank you to everyone who helped in the early stages. A warm welcome to everyone who visits.