Better Than Television…

Obamacare survives.  Sandusky’s crimes = state pension.  Holder in contempt.  My hometown going broke.

Do you remember Chicken Little screaming “the sky is falling, the sky is falling!” as he ran around the barnyard?  Today is one of those days when running indiscriminately around the barnyard screaming may explain things better than words.

Did I expect Obamacare to survive?  Honestly, no – not in its entirety.  Should Sandusky or his wife (who spent years living in the house where young boys screamed in the basement during Jerry’s “tickle monster” rampages, but knew and heard nothing) receive one pension penny from PA?  No.  In fact, I think they should have to reimburse the state for any salary paid since the moment he began his (documented) rampage on young boys.

Should Eric Holder be held in contempt?  I don’t care if you are black, white, red or purple.  Republican, democrat, libertarian or green.  Ruler of the world or peasant.  If you lie or withhold evidence in the course of an investigation – and it is an investigation that is warranted as defined by the law and to the benefit of the people – you should be slapped with contempt.  As a people, we have looked the other way too long and let our laws grow more loosely defined by those who are in a position to use the law to their advantage.  At the end of the day, all that will remain is our humanity and our dignity – and the law, when used to represent the greater good and establish boundaries that ensure both, is something we can generally rely on when all else fails.

Would I ever have predicted that Stockton, CA, could become the largest city in the U.S. to declare bankruptcy?  Sadly, yes.  Many years ago a brilliant futurist and author Ken Dychtwald (read Age Wave and his other amazing books) predicted the demographic trends that are playing economic havoc on countries, nations and cities like Stockton around the world.  In simplistic terms, we are living too damn long because we have become a race of greedy, unreasonable humans who want to live to see 100, do so in the best of health, and afford a wonderful lifestyle until the day we drop dead.

There’s not enough of us paying into a system that is trying to support a disproportionate aging population. There aren’t even enough jobs for the folks who could pay into the system – still would not be enough to support the surging cost of caring for a geriatric global community who require massive amounts of health care and resources, not to mention pensions and social security benefits.  Factor into this the folks who take from the system yet do not contribute in the form of taxes, and you have a formula that can only lead to disaster.  Today it starts with Stockton, CA.  Tomorrow the world.

I sort of wish it was only the sky that was falling.


I am a big fan …


I am a big fan of the insurance industry. Ask anyone I know. I place dealing with insurance companies right up there with having a root canal sans Novocaine or gas on my “favorite things to do” list.

To put my affection in perspective, I like to refer to interesting facts.  For instance, according to “Dying for Coverage,” the latest report by Families USA, 72 Americans die each day, 500 Americans die every week and approximately 2,175 Americans die each month, due to lack of health insurance. You guessed it, that means that 26,000+ people are dying in the U.S. each year due primarily to no access to medical care.  Something tells me that this number is probably a conservative estimate.

As the nation and White House await the Supreme Court’s decision on President Obama’s health care law, I wonder what the few folks making this mighty decision are thinking. Are they secretly pleased that they don’t have to worry about their insurance since they receive the most generous plan on the planet (for life, by the way)?  Or are they overcome by a strong sense of obligation to make the right decision, empathetic to the plight of the average American and the daunting cost of health coverage?  Do they step outside themselves to consider what it must feel like to watch a child die from a flu simply because their middle-class parents could not afford to insure the family?

I suspect they do know, and to some degree they care…in a sort of “I read about it” and “saw the pictures in Time Magazine” sort of way.  Busily applying the letter of the law to each clause and addendum, I am sure their ruling will be well within the lines to avoid any sort of challenge down the road.  The impact of that ruling is massive and will touch every level of business and person in the U.S. in terms of costs, quality of life, longevity, productivity and dignity.

The tragic irony of our situation is that even the lucky Americans who receive health insurance under an employer plan will be forced to pay an average of $20,000 for a family of four (U.S. average) in 2012.  If the median household income (2006-2010) in the U.S. is $51,914 – as the U.S. Census Bureau reports – then Americans are in fact in serious trouble when it comes to the cost of health coverage and access to care in this country.  If you want to eat on a regular basis AND see a doctor, you will need to make a choice.

So here is what I am hoping and praying that the Supreme Court ruling states (of course their language will be exceedingly legal compared to mine):

1. We like the elimination of “pre-existing conditions” clause and we are going to keep that because it evens the playing field for all Americans and will immediately end discrimination against those who really need coverage and those who really, really need coverage. By the way, let’s kick this into effect on January 1, 2013.

2. Interstate laws governing insurance competition are out. In fact, anything that blocks a consumer or company from obtaining affordable health insurance from wherever they want to buy it from is out the window. Again, we want to open up competition and place everyone on an even playing field.  Start date: January 1, 2013.  Let the games begin.

3. The rest of this law is confusing and doesn’t make much sense so we are going to give it back to a designated panel of physicians and patients who have endured the worse of the system (i.e. survivors of cancer and other life-threatening diseases, returning military injured in the act of duty, Veterans, poor seniors, America’s working poor, etc.) to make sense of it and come back to us with their recommendations, complaints and solutions. Once they do, we will give insurance companies 6 months to make this happen while charging an affordable amount (based on household income stats, economic growth and performance, and other data).  From now on, when times are tough insurance companies will make less, not more.  This is what I like to call my Economic Sliding Scale model.

4. Finally, we are kind of tired of companies that hike up their rates well beyond the national average cost-of-living increase or the amount of growth in the economy. So, from now on they won’t and can’t.  We asked the insurance folks to behave and they have shown they cannot, so now we will dictate that they are limited to a designated increase per person or per company annually. No excuses.  Find a way to be efficient and work within this structure in a truly competitive environment.

5. You cannot force everyone to have insurance or be insured by the government. Are you kidding? You guys can’t even deliver my mail. But we can create a low-cost, low-level insurance product that would be required for children and people with histories of health challenges so that they have access to basic care and services. I’m talking 20,000,000 to 40,000,000 Americans paying $20 monthly per child.  Do the math.  That’s a lot of flu shots, birth control, blood pressure readings, mammograms, shots and stitches.

This is what I would call ‘a good start.’  Take out the confusing, costly, daunting crap that’s sending the system into a tail spin and leave in the good stuff that creates an open market scenario for consumers and businesses alike. Give the power back to the consumer and let us decide where, when and how we want to be cared for – and by whom.

There is no easy answer to this mess.  I certainly don’t envy those chosen nine people about to make a decision that will impact a nation.  But I do hope that they discard their nine robes for a moment to reflect on what this decision means for all of us. I hope they remember what it’s like to be an average American with average problems and average resources.  That would really be something.





I am reading th…


I am reading the latest and greatest on two major news stories.  One being the Sandusky trial, and the other is the premature death of Rodney King. Polar opposite lives, situations and outcomes. On the one hand, you have a man who rose through the ranks to relative affluence to become an influential person in the lives of many young people.  Apparently, he abused that influence, regardless of how the information was collected and witnesses were questioned.  Net effect: lives ruined, reputations ruined, tragedy.  On the other hand, you have Rodney King who simply was in the wrong place at the wrong time more than 20 years ago. A victim of the abuse of power and those who we as a nation entrust to protect and serve.  He wasn’t a saint by any stretch of the imagination, but in the eye of the storm during those riots he rose above the hate to ask all of us, “Can we all get along?”  I hope Rodney found some peace in his life and learned that there are plenty of people who can get along, just simply not enough of them at any given moment.  Net effect: anger expelled, soul saved, people saved, hope from the ruins.  I hope for justice of the victims of Sandusky – whatever that means and if it can ever make a difference for them in their lives now.  I hope for peace at long last for Mr. King, and for all of us.

The Blog Begins…

It’s a rare and beautiful thing when you can look back on memorable moments in your life and many of them are moments shared with family, friends and clients. Clients have become friends. Friends are my family. They all blend to create a warm blanket around my life that protects, insulates and carries me each day. I would like this blog to be about human insight and exceptional stories – two things that help me to be an effective marketing professional regardless of the situation at hand.  My greatest passions are people, travel and discovery, and the business that empowers me and makes me whole – marketing and communications. In time, the dominant influence in my life will surface through my blogs. Until that happens, I want this blog to reflect my experiences, the amazing people I know from every corner of the world, my passions and the many moments when I have found truth in what people do in their everyday lives. My name is Laurie and this is the world that makes me possible. I hope you can relate, participate and enjoy!