We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Yesterday I received a notice in the mail. Apparently, Obamacare be beri beri good to me. My kindly insurance carrier is sending me government has forced my insurer to send me a rebate on 0.5% of my premiums from last year. That should be about, let's see, $32.50.
I really like getting money back from anyone. I suppose I should be pleased. But I'm not, I'm offended.
It seems that the ACA has set what is considered to be a 'reasonable' amount for spending on administrative costs and the coverage of medical fees. That split is 15% for administration, 85% for fees and services. My carrier hit only 84.5% on the fees and services portion, which means I get .5% back.
What kind of system allows the government to tell companies how much is reasonable for administration? In some regions of the country, those costs could be very low and in others they could be very high. So the government now says no matter where you live, those splits should all be the same. Does this strike anybody as remarkably inefficient at the core? A vast waste of resources, which could be solved by getting the government out of setting prices and managing costs, and allowing the market to play a role by having firms compete over state lines.
I'd also like to point out that last year I received a notice about my Flex Spending. It seems the ACA now requires I have a prescription to use Flex Spending for OTC products such as antacids and ibuprofen. Interestingly, I can still use my Flex Spending for vision-related goods like glasses and contacts without a prescription. Notice something odd here? I can only get my glasses or contacts with a prescription. Yet the government wouldn't require the prescription for payment. The all-knowing and forever wise arbiter of my health care needs.
Let's not forget the cost of mailing me these notes, which increases administrative costs. Time spent composing, typing, printing, these letters? 5 working hours at $50/hour or $250. Paper costs for 10mm insured? $20,000. Cost of postage to 10mm insured people? $4,000,000. Sure, it's a drop in the overall bucket, but reduces my $32.50 to $32.00. Again, inefficient and a waste of resources. Thank you, Mr. President. Doesn't look, sound or smell like a permanent job for anyone. Nice 'focus'.
That picture of Oprah Winfrey is appropriate for this post when you consider that Oprah's giveaways to her live TV audience never came out of her own pocket, but were donated by her program's sponsors, the most famous case being the cars that were donated by GM as a PR stunt (Is it any wonder then that GM always verges on bankruptcy?). Like her close buddy Obama, Oprah is an example of a liberal Democrat who loves to give away other people's money. Do you see the pattern?
I have a friend who desperately wanted in on the FB IPO. I was not interested. As successful as that company is, and will continue to be, I began to believe the hype was overshadowing the reality.
Facebook may well represent the absolute end of the tech bubble, in which IPOs are finally fairly valued once again. As I said to my saddened friend (who did take part in the IPO and lost) "well, Facebook actually did it right and left nothing on the table for their IPO, unlike all the other companies which technically did it 'wrong'"
I was working for a former investment banker when Netscape went public. He called a friend of his who worked on that IPO and gave him a hard time for screwing it up, as Netscape took off and made fortunes in the aftermarket (however briefly).
His friend said they were all shocked and upset and had apologized to Netscape. But that event changed things for a very long time and it was assumed that IPOs HAD to go through the roof right out of the gate. Until now.
Facebook has many problems, not the least of which are the fake accounts. There are also issues with mobile which have to be dealt with, but probably are going to be very difficult to fix.
In addition, the fact that so many parents are on it means that kids are losing interest. Facebook is aging, which means their ability to stay in the demographic sweet spot is becoming difficult.
They need to morph and they need to do it quickly.
On a related note - Yahoo's new CEO? I expect a very short tenure and if she doesn't find a way to patch a few holes and sell it, she may well see a very young and promising career come to a less than auspicious end. Not that it matters. They are paying her far more than she is worth. She can retire next year if she chooses.
Just my opinion....Yahoo needs a media person, not a tech person. It's the fatal flaw of internet companies that they assume they need a tech person to 'fix' problems. Yahoo needs a new content and sales approach.