Ventura Inferno

California winds are at it again only this year, with all that rain they received the vegetation took off resembling the wildfire that is now devouring the state.

Residents are forced to flee a fire that is burning out of control while Firefighters battle the blaze that won’t go out anytime soon. The fire has claimed several racehorses and over 4 thousand acres of land in a short amount of time. People are being told to “get out” leave before the blaze reaches their neighborhood. [1]

That’s a lot of acreage and a lot of displaced people. Where will they find shelter?

322 Schools had to cancel classes on Thursday and Friday. The fire continues to spread property loss quickly keeps mounting. Residents need to pack up essential water and food while remembering to take crucial documents. Undocumented and legal immigrants will be hardest hit by this fire since most will not have fire insurance for their homes. Moises Rodriquez is one of those immigrants living in a trailer park that is threatened by the blaze. He fears his home will be gone when he returns.[2]

Because Mr. Rodriquez is an undocumented immigrant, he does not qualify for any federal emergency assistance to rebuild or replace his mobile home even though his four children are American citizens. Even though they are staying at a local shelter, Mr. Rodriquez has returned to work at the Cement factory where he fills sacks with cement.[3]

 

Suzanne White, a resident of Ojai, was interviewed, and she said that she has grown used to the constant threat of fire. But this year has been worse than other years, and the winds are making matters worse than usual. Another resident reported that the entire town of 7,500 people slept with one eye open as the fires came closer to the community.[4]

One of the most significant obstacles the firefighters have is the 70 mile-per-hour winds being driven by the Santa Anna winds. The air quality due to the smoke and ash is the biggest threat to the residents. With a scale of 1 to 500 with 100 being poor quality, the air quality in Ventura County has been recorded to be as high as 330.[5]

What I think

Between the abundant rainfall that created all the new vegetation in California and the coming Santa Anna winds that has helped fuel the fire that is kindled by the dried-out growth of the past summer the fire is more devastating than in the past. So far this year, more than a million acres have burned. And someone says there is no such thing as climate change. Maybe they will change their mind when the entire state of California is nothing but ash because the rains will return and bring the mudslides with them since the trees and bushes are gone. It is a cycle that will continue until everyone is forced to move out of the state because it will become too expensive to rebuild.


Notes

[1] (Medina, Jordan and Smith 2017)

[2] (Medina, Jordan and Pérez-Peña 2017)

[3] (Medina, Jordan and Pérez-Peña 2017)

[4]  (Medina, Jordan and Pérez-Peña 2017)

[5]  (Laffin 2017)

 

References

 

Laffin, Ben. “California’s Fires, by the Numbers.” The New York Times. Los Angeles: The New York Times, December 2017.

Medina, Jennifer, Miriam Jordan, and RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA. Wildfire Threats in Ventura and San Diego Counties. December 7, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/07/us/california-fire-ventura-county.html (accessed December 9, 2017).

Medina, Jennifer, Miriam Jordan, and Mitch Smith. Southern California Fires Live Updates: ‘We’re Not Out of the Woods Yet’. December 9, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/08/us/california-fires-ventura-los-angeles.html (accessed December 9, 2017).

Medina, Jennifer, and Jack Healy. ‘It Burns and It Keeps Burning’: Scenes From Southern California’s Wildfires. December 7, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/07/us/southern-california-wildfires.html (accessed December 9, 2017).

 

 

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Forced Healthcare can be an Accepted Policy – but it will take a lot of work, especially in the professional sector

Political parties are bickering in Washington about Healthcare coverage. The question they ask is to either reform the ACA or replace the policy. I remember a time when everyone that worked for a prominent company, big business and small business, the biggest perk offered to the employees was the health insurance. Back then it was reasonably price and the coverage was more than adequate.

What happened to our employee perk?

ACA happened. Let me tell you the why behind the insurance premium price increases that I learned from my recent research project.

If a politician were to ask me what I wanted I would have to say, let the corporations give back their employee perks especially now that unemployment is reaching an all-time low. I’m talking about Cadillac Insurance for those who are employed like the good ol’ days.

But that is only my opinion.

Here is what I learned when I researched the why Healthcare costs have gotten out of hand.

Forced Healthcare can be an Accepted Policy

Linda Nelson

Franklin Pierce University

Author Note

[This paper was prepared for Microeconomics ET102, term IV, taught by Bill Crowley.]

Abstract

Forced Health Care or Reformed Health Care. To learn the Financial benefits of Affordable Care Act versus Health Care Reform. To determine the efficiencies and inefficiencies of any Health Care Policy in regards to the public and the government. Is health care still affordable under the current plan for the citizens of the United States? Healthcare faired in the free market even though some individuals lost their health insurance policies when facing serious health issues such as Cancer outbreaks. Cancer patients get to keep their policies, but healthy individuals who don’t feel they need healthcare find that it is becoming unaffordable due to the high deductibles to be met before healthcare costs are covered by their plans that may involve other factors not taken into consideration by the public.

Keywords:  Obama Care, Affordable Care Act, repeal healthcare, high deductibles

Forced Healthcare

Since the Affordable Care Act, healthy individuals must pay more money for healthcare benefits when they become sick with either the flu or a bad cold. Many health insurance premiums have high deductibles that a healthy individual will never be able to meet from a range of $3,000 deductible to a $6,000 deductible. If a healthy person visits their doctor only once a year, they will need to pay for the physician visit from their pocket before a co-payments are applied. This type of policy is appearing to be unfair to the healthy individual compared to the person who visits the doctor once a month. The Affordable Care Act was created to bring about more stable costs in healthcare and insurance premiums by pooling healthy individuals with those who need constant medical care. A pending Cadillac tax on high-cost health plans is behind the decrease in employers providing health insurance plans with full coverage.

Health reform is a controversial issue

American’s want four fundamental things from healthcare. They want quality healthcare with the freedom of choice to see who they want when they want and where they want. Healthcare needs to be affordable, and every fellow citizen should share the costs across the board. Not all hospitals participated in the ACA when the policy took place and limited where patients could seek care which is slowly changing as more facilities and healthcare providers come on board to meet the ACA requirements. (Jeanne Merkle Sorrell, 2012)

A difference in Priorities among Americans in regards to health care

Every American individual has their priorities when it comes to health care. Some are seeking quality health care regardless of the cost other are living with a lower income and must find an affordable plan. Some Americans like to have the freedom of choice to choose which doctor they wish to see and where to seek medical care. (Jeanne Merkle Sorrell, 2012)

Affordable Health Care Substantially Impacts the Health Care Industry. 12 percent of the population are seniors, but by 2050 the senior population will have increased to 21 percent. The increase in the aging population with chronic disease will add additional stress to the health care workforce. Another problem is the ratio of specialists to primary care physicians. Only one-third of the physicians are primary care physicians due to the increased costs associated with student loan debt. Shortages are also found in dental, mental health, pharmacy and allied health and have added strain to the health care workforce. (Amy Anderson, 2017)

Wage growth is expected to impact the cost of health care. The greatest increase will be in the physician and registered nurse fields due to the length of training or supply bottlenecks. An increase in the population with health care insurance will increase the demand for services including wellness check-ups. Additionally, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) guarantees all individuals must be treated in emergency rooms regardless of whether they have health insurance. Having a health insurance card does not guarantee access to medical care because of high deductibles or having trouble finding a physician who will accept Medicaid patients.  (Parente, Feldman, Spetz, Dowd, & Baggett, 2017)

Three significant changes took place in 2014. Expanded Medicaid and Statewide insurance marketplaces offering subsidies for low-income residents and the guarantee that insurance is provided regardless of existing health conditions.  (Parente, Feldman, Spetz, Dowd, & Baggett, 2017)

The expansion of Medicaid was designed to deliver coverage for additional low-income residents and to reduce the burden hospitals felt from providing free or cost reduction. Evidence found that by expanding insurance to cover more low-income individuals reduced the provision of hospitals footing the bill for uncompensated care. However, hospitals in non-expanded states are more likely to experience shortfalls when covering the costs involving uncompensated care because they will not have the same increase in the Medicaid revenue nor the decrease in demand for uncompensated care. (Camilleri, 2016)

The creation of State-based insurance marketplaces that provides subsidies for low-income residents. Health Insurance Marketplaces, also called health exchanges are to facilitate the purchase of health insurance in each state by the Affordable Care Act policy. The Marketplace exchange opened the door for individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid but are considered to have incomes between 100 to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level to purchase affordable private health insurance plans however the rates were found to be much higher before the expansion of Medicaid by many states. Since the Medicaid expansion, the rates of the Marketplaces are dropping. (Jost, 2016)

Lack of Medical Professionals appears to be the biggest problem behind the price increases in Health Insurance Premiums. By implementing an education policy to attract more student to enter the health care industry and to keep them living in the state of their studies. Free tuition considered with a contract involving area hospitals to provide employment and additional training as necessary.

High School students are finding job searches after graduating a difficult task. Most low-skill job opportunities are filled by older workers. Recruitment at area high schools to enter the medical field with the promise of continuing their education and becoming a medical professional. Early recruitment would open the door for employment and help students to decide a career path early in their training years.

By providing additional medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, and lab technicians. The pool of professionals would increase lowering the demand for health care workers. With more working professionals medical cost would drop in the form of wages, allowing healthcare insurance premiums to respond to lower costs.

Lower Health Insurance Premiums would lower the resistance of residents to purchase health insurance taking away the feeling of being forced to buy any health insurance that does not meet the buyer’s needs.

References

Amy Anderson, D. R. (2017). The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on the Health Care Workforce. Healthcare Reform. Retrieved April 16, 2017, from http://www.heritage.org/health-care-reform/report/the-impact-the-affordable-care-act-the-health-care-workforce

Camilleri, S. (2016, April 21). Study Highlights Impact of ACA Medicaid Expansion on Uncompensated Care. Humanities and Social Sciences News. (N. Dunn, Interviewer) Raleigh, NC: NC State University. Retrieved May 7, 2017, from https://news.chass.ncsu.edu

Jeanne Merkle Sorrell, P. R. (2012, November 9). Ethics: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Ethical Perspectives in 21st Century Health Care. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 18(1). doi:10.3912/OJIN.Vol18No02EthCol01

Jost, T. (2016, August 26). ASPE: Medicaid Expansion Lowers Marketplace Premiums. (Project Hope) Retrieved May 7, 2017, from Health Affairs Blog: http://healthaffairs.org

Parente, S. T., & Feldman, R. (2013). Microsimulation of Private Health Insurance and Medicaid Take-Up Following the U.S. Supreme Court Decision Upholding the Affordable Care Act. Health Services Research, 48(n2pt2), 826-849. doi:10.1111/1475-6773.12036

Parente, S. T., Feldman, R., Spetz, J., Dowd, B., & Baggett, E. E. (2017). Wage Growth for the Health Care Workforce: Projecting the Affordable Care Act Impact. Health Services Research, 52:2, 741-762. doi:10.1111/1475-6773.12497

 

 

Getting Hooked to RWA

Ah…

Have you ever gone to a writers’ group?

If you haven’t yet you really should check one out sometime.

I’m pumped. My word count for the week is around 2k. This is kind of low with NaNo looming around the corner but then again it really isn’t half bad.

Why am I so pumped?

Today I attended my second RWA chapter group. They meet at the Baker Free Library in Bow, NH. I really like these gals, they are so much fun. In fact I never really realized how fun it could be to write a romance until now.

We had a guest speaker too, one of the things I like about attending writing meetings.

Today’s guest was Shannon Stacey.

She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author from New Hampshire who is published with Carina Press and Harlequin. Her presentation was on Infusing Your Romance with Humor.

What a great topic…

How many times do you try to write with a little bit of wit? I know I try to add at least a small amount of wit in my works. Even Friends of Choice had a smidgen of wit when I wrote the scene where Karla had her old friends sleep over at her new home. I just can’t leave a dark read totally dark, if you know what I’m saying.

She said one of the best things for finding the humor in your writing is by shutting off the internal editor. One of her examples about this was how she accidently came up with the “magic penis” in her book Yours to Keep. Shannon said it was late at night when she was working on this scene and it never occurred to her until she went to edit the story. She almost cut this part out of the story but her editor loved it along with all her readers.

We had a blast listening to all the examples she gave us in how she used humor in her stories and warned about forcing, or trying too hard to make your story funny. She said just write and wait to see where all the pieces fall and try to keep it natural as possible.

You can learn more about Shannon Stacey by visiting her website: www.ShannonStacey.com

Another part of our meeting, a part that I like most besides the speakers is the challenges. One of the members comes up with monthly challenges for us. I guess last month was clean up your office and organize it as best as you can. I didn’t take part in this challenge. I must not have been thinking about how hooked I was to this Chapter Group.

 

This month’s challenge, created by Lisa, is called bichokwed. This stands for… you got it… butt in chair – hands on keyboard – write every day.

I’m going to do this one. NaNo is right around the corner and I really need to get this manuscript done. I will be happy with even having the first draft done by November.

I’ll even set the draft aside and edit it after NaNo if I have too. I want to get to work on the next book in the Orgarlan Saga for NaNo, or at least start it.

So if any of you want to take part in the bichokwed with me we can use the hashtag #bichokwed on twitter and you are welcome to share my little BICHOKWED logo for you blog if you would like.

I’m just piling the challenges up. ROW80 will go hand in hand with bichokwed this month. Maybe I finally find my discipline I have been shooting for.