This one belongs in the false equivalence hall of fame
There are differences, but who remembers when Clinton banned a reporter she didn't like from her pool? https://t.co/8ecpilFvOr
— Annie Linskey (@AnnieLinskey) February 24, 2017
What are the best Mardi Gras songs?
I’ve always loved Iko Iko.
In light of this new world we find ourselves in, I figured I’d plan a few tech posts to share some knowledge and best practices relating to privacy and security. I hope this encourages some good conversation, questions, and other tips from readers. More or less, this mostly a good idea/bad idea discussion.
To be clear, this is a mix of technical, conceptual, and philosophical information and represents my views only. When it comes to governments, my concern as a civil libertarian is to preserve all of my legal and civil rights in all situations as possible, and this means preventing anyone except duly authorized parties from accessing my private information.
You may disagree with my stance regarding compliance with government searches of electronic devices (for any physical or electronic search or access to my information, I say “warrant or exigent circumstances, with me or my lawyer present, no you do not have my permission and I will not give away my precious rights”), but I did want to make clear my absolute position on this up-front.
When it comes to privacy and security of my information, there are three realms that concern me:
In these three realms, you should always consider your privacy and information security.
I don’t include Work because that is not an area where you have privacy, no matter what you think. Your employer has the right to observe and track you, and many do, so you cannot really protect what you don’t have!
Similar to the Realms, there are Threats. In truth, there are countless Threats, but for the most part, they break down into the following groupings:
As there is a lot to cover and things are in flux, this will be a multi-part series.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 27, 2017
The Guardian has all the grimy granular details here.
Thanks to the GOP, Mr. Ross was confirmed regardless of his many conflicts.
Speaking of Repubs with questionable ties to shady Russian financiers, and their defenders…
MORE: House intel committee chairman says hasn't seen transcripts of Flynn's talks with Russian diplomat; nothing worrisome from briefings
— Reuters Live (@ReutersLive) February 27, 2017
Per CNN, “House intel committee agrees to scope of Trump-Russia probe” [warning: autoplay]:
… “We have a document that we’ve signed and we’ll be giving out obviously, some announcement at some point,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes told CNN when asked if the members had agreed on the terms of their investigation.
Nunes, a California Republican, added that members have already been briefed on the transcripts of calls between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador and are proceeding deliberately on the investigation…
Nunes also brushed off calls by Democrats and at least one Republican, Rep. Darrell Issa, for an independent investigation into Russia’s influence and hit back against allegations that he coordinated a response to previous reports with the White House.
“They can say whatever they want, but at the end of the day, I hold the gavel, they’re in the minority and we’re going to do what we want to do. We have the votes and we’ve been elected to do that. If that ever changes, then obviously that would be different,” Nunes told CNN. “At this point, I’m not going to give up jurisdiction of this committee that for a long time that has been trusted with the nation’s top secrets. We are not going to give up that jurisdiction to anyone else as long as I’m here.”
Tensions escalated Monday between Nunes and the top Democrat working on the Russia investigation, Rep. Adam Schiff, after Nunes said he had seen no evidence yet of Russian officials communicating with Trump campaign aides and Schiff said it was too early to tell.
“You’re a Republican, you’ve been running to repeal Obamacare, they put a repeal bill in front of you,” Doug Badger, a longtime Republican leadership health policy adviser, told the Journal. “Are you going to be the Republican senator who prevents Obamacare repeal from being sent to a Republican president who is willing to sign it?”
I’m sure some see this how Vincent Vega did. This is a moral test of one’s self; whether or not you can maintain loyalty. Because being loyal is very important.
But…if they think they’ll lose their seat over this bullshit, they won’t go along with it. Today’s a good day to double down on the phone calls, faxes, letters, and in-person encounters with members of Congress.
This is interesting. The Republican strategy right now seems to be a game of chicken run against their own members.
— Harris Meyer (@MHHmeyer) February 27, 2017
The idea is that there are not 24 House members who fear a general election more than their primary or 3 Senators who have either principles or a legitimate fear of a general election to vote against the leadership. They would try to rush through a reconciliation bill that takes out most of the funding of the ACA, the individual mandate, the employer mandate and perhaps add some type of age adjusted subsidies to replace income related subsidies. The idea is that this bill can pass with 50 Republican Senators and the Vice President voting for it in the Senate.
There is a problem:
Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told CNN on Monday that he will vote against a draft of the GOP Obamacare repeal bill that was leaked last week….
Meadows said what is unacceptable to him are the refundable tax credits included in the draft of the bill. Those tax credits, the North Carolina congressman said, are nothing short of an “entitlement program.”
The House Freedom Caucus thinks that the 2009 individual market and Medicaid levels are too generous and too nice. A bill without any age adjusted subsidies of any sort is guaranteed to death spiral the individual market instead of only possibly death spiral the market. The House Freedom Caucus is also sufficiently large to deny a majority to the bill. The challenge is that anything that makes the bill more tenable to the House Freedom Caucus makes it much harder for the twenty three Republicans who are in districts that Hillary Clinton won last year and the dozen or so that are in competitive districts to hide the fact that they are killing the individual market.
Getting to 218 could be much harder than I thought as I always placed my hope on assembling a 51 vote blocking coalition in the Senate.
The following map is where rates for a 40 year old non-smoker would be for the cheapest Bronze plan on the market if there is age adjusted subsidies only. These are plans with $7,000 out of pocket limits. The red zones are very expensive plans for very high deductibles and are the points of local constituent pain that can be used to hammer representatives to look out for their own districts.
Let’s tell local stories with good data of the pain that the House Freedom Caucus wants to inflict on us.
I was home with my family last week. That meant a lot of time at the playground, a lot of reading Seuss and then once the kids were slightly more exhausted than I was, grown-up task time. The first three days was cleaning up the basement tool room. It is no longer an eligible Super Fund site. The other major task was doing last year’s tax return and talking through the family budget with my wife for 2017. Yes, very exciting stuff.
The start of the process was box 12-DD on my W-2. This was how much of the family’s health insurance cost. It was significantly under the Cadillac line and 3% more than last year. We spent some more this year as my wife had a surgery but even with that surgery, we were a net profit center for my former employer. The family’s individual medical loss ratio was under 75% of the total premium.
My family had three distinctive utilization patterns that are fairly common. My daughter and I are part of the 50% of the population that uses 3% of medical resources. We each had a well visit, a flu shot and no other interactions with a billable service. I had a couple boxes of mint and honey tea for sniffles and a box of Claritin for allergies. My daughter had ice cream several times for psychological placebo effects. This utilization pattern is common and it means that basically any system of reform won’t matter to us if we repeat the same pattern next year.
My son had a well child PCP visit, a few vaccines, a flu shot, and a pair of sick child PCP visits for a nasty rash and a nasty case of daycare crud that turned out to be nothing. He also has successfully been able to control his asthma with the combination of a brand name preventative inhaler and emergency generic nebulizer tubes. The nebulizer tubes cost $5 every six to nine months. Without the inhaler, his total spend would be under $600 for the year. With the inhaler, he probably costs $1,500 for the year. At this point healthcare reform could touch matter as he has a low level chronic condition that we hope he will outgrow at some point.
My wife is usually healthy. She normally has a utilization pattern that looks a lot like mine. This year she had a one-off event of a surgery. We have fairly high actuarial value insurance so the insurer paid some for most of it and we paid for some of it. In 2016, my wife was around the 75th percentile in healthcare costs. In 2015, she was in the 15th percentile. And we hope that she’ll be down in the 30th percentile in 2017 (I need to bug her to get her well visit in every year) As a one time event, health care reform of any sort would hit us to some degree as the push towards lower actuarial value plans with more cost sharing would have made this surgery more expensive.
My family’s utilization patterns are why health finance reform is so difficult. We have protection from “get hit by a meteor” events including getting old, and other than that, we don’t touch the system too much. Even in a high cost year like 2016, we are net contributors to the pool that pays for people who got hit by a bus or who have long term chronic conditions. Since this is what I do for a living, I’m more than fine with that, but this is where people scream that why should they pay for XYZ when they’ll never need XYZ (or until they need Z). There are far more no and low utilizers than super utilizers but that is common in every form of insurance.