Survey of a Small Group of Medicare Recipients – by Bobill

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Introduction and Overview

One of the most talked-about topics among seniors is health insurance, and the Medicare Health Insurance Program which was set up by the US government to serve the medical needs of senior citizens. So, I started to write down my opinion about how well Medicare has served my medical needs. Then I thought it would be interesting, and instructive as well as fun to do a little survey among my senior friends, as well as a few others to learn how satisfied they are with the Medicare Program. I first discuss my own opinions about Medicare and follow that with what I learned from my friends and others I interviewed.

I hope you will continue to read this article, and I invite you to comment on your experience with Medicare, and I hope you will rate your personal experience with Medicare on a scale of 1 – 10, as well as your reasons for your rating, especially if you give a low rating. Please note the rules I suggested for providing a rating.

My Opinion About Medicare

I can’t recall any significant issues I’ve had with Medicare. Before I was eligible for care under the program, it was not uncommon for my health insurance company to deny payment for some recommended treatments. That was not as much an issue as it would be now, because I was healthier then and required less medical treatment. I’ve only had one doctor who declined me as a patient because he was not in the Medicare Program. I have a supplemental health insurance plan which pays essentially all medical expenses that Medicare does not pay. Since becoming eligible for Medicare I’ve had numerous routine doctors’ visits and scores of other types of treatments, and I’ve undergone some very expensive treatments and procedures. I don’t recall ever having to pay any significant medical charges and I have not had to pay any portion of the high-dollar treatments. I give Medicare a rating of 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 -based on my overall experience in the program and for the quality of health treatment I’ve received through the program. Please note the survey did not include medicines, either prescription or non-prescription.

About the Survey

I make no claims of being an expert in the medical field, in general, or in the administration of the Medicare Program. Nor do I claim that my simple little survey is scientific, or that or that it represents more than the opinions of the people in this group. The sample is made up of 20 people; some are my friends whom I see frequently, some are people I see from time to time, and some are people I just walked up to in public and asked them to participate. Politics sometimes influences people’s view of government programs, but I did not ask the participants their political affiliation. All the people I interviewed were in the Medicare Program. Almost all receive primary care directly from Medicare and have a supplemental health plan to pick up a portion of costs that Medicare does not pay. About two or three participants are in one of the all-Inclusive Medicare programs such as Humana, and I did not make a distinction between the two types of plans. Nobody that I asked to participate declined and each spoke freely about his/her experiences with Medicare. I asked each person to rate his/her opinion of the program on a scale of 1 to 10 – based solely on his/her personal satisfaction with the program, as well as the quality of healthcare he/she received from the program. They were told not to consider what they have heard in the news or from other people about Medicare or how Medicare affects healthcare providers, including doctors.

Results and Analysis

How the 20 participants rated the Medicare Program is listed below. Of the 20 participants, one half (10) gave Medicare a maximum satisfaction rating of 10, 5 gave it a rating of 9 and the group gave it an average rating of 90%. None of those who gave a rating of 10 expressed reservations in making that assessment; that is, they were pretty much 100 percent satisfied with Medicare. One person who gave a rating of 9 said that even though the program was excellent overall, that he/she was not 100 percent satisfied. Those who gave ratings under 9 remembered some experience(s) that were not totally satisfactory, and one person had experienced several problems, which I believe he/she said were mostly related to how the program was administered. Several of the participants had undergone a joint replacement (some two) and those were mostly hip and knee joints. None of those expressed any complaints about those surgeries or their outcomes. Several had also undergone other types of major surgery, and most of those were not remarkable. One participant added a bit of humor when responding to one question when he/she responded, “Kiss my grits.” I had to explain that grits were not on the menu for this survey.

Rating                     How Many

10.0                           10
9.0                              5
8.5                              1
8.0                              1
7.0                              2
5.0                              1

Summary

I was a little surprised, but happy to learn that some of my friends and others with whom I associate are so well satisfied with the program, as well as the level of medical care they receive. I found one published survey with a large national sample that showed the national satisfaction rating among Medicare recipients is 77% while my survey shows a satisfaction rate of 90%. I enjoyed the interaction with my friends during this survey and I thank them for their willing participation and for their candor in the information they provided.

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My Own Recipe for Baked Fish Filets

My favorite fish filets (all fresh as possible) that I use in this recipe are salmon, cod and rockfish, which are all healthy, but I’m sure many others, especially any cold-water fish, will work quite well.

The Fish:

Filets, 4-8 ounces each with skin on or off.

The Sauce:

Add as many of the following ingredients as you like in amounts that suit your taste and nutritional needs. Add additional ingredients as you wish. Check the taste from time to time as you add ingredients. It’s your meal, so follow your heart and taste to create your own feast.

Sour cream
Mayonnaise
Butter
Tartar sauce
Horseradish
Olive oil
Coconut water
Vinegar
Mustard
Wine
Black pepper
Salt
Oregano
Finely chopped spring or white onions
Lemon, lime and lemon piccata cooking sauce

Put all ingredients in a cup or dish and mix well; heat in microwave for a few seconds.

Preparation and Cooking

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Place each filet on a piece of tin foil large enough to make a packet in which to enclose the fish and sauce. I use two layers to prevent burn through. Slather the sauce onto the fish in amounts you feel good about. I cover the fish completely and add more for good measure. Fold the sides and ends of the tinfoil upward and over to enclose the fish in a neat packet. Place packet(s) directly on a rack located near the middle of the oven. If you have a convection oven, turn on the fan and cook the fish for 18 – 22 minutes and then check it out. I place each packet on a plate and open the tinfoil and eat the fish and sauce directly from the tinfoil. When I fish, there’s hardly a trace of fish or sauce. I hope you’ll try this build-your-own fish feast and then let me know what fish and ingredients you use. I forgot to mention that you might want to dress the meal up with a slice or two of lemon.

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Sean Hannity – Truth Or Consequences

Fox News host Sean Hannity is seen in the White House briefing room in Washington, DC, on January 24, 2017. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Hannity Points to Democrats In Annapolis Shooting – Then Denies It.

Text in “quotes” is Hannity’s own words; text in bold is my words.

This is what Sean Hannity had to say about the recent shooting in Annapolis, Md. – during which five people were killed – shortly after he learned about the shooting:

“It’s so sad that there are so many sick, demented and evil people in this world. It really is sad. You know imagine you go to work and this is what you’re dealing with today. Some crazy person comes in — and I’m not turning this into a gun debate, I know that’s where the media will be in 30 seconds from now. That’s not it,” Hannity said Thursday on his radio show.

The above comments are unusually honest for Hannity, but he goes on in typical Hannity fashion – to explain what he believes the shooting was really about:

“You know, as I’ve always said, I mean honestly—I’ve been saying now for days that something horrible was going to happen because of the rhetoric. Really, Maxine?” he asked, referring to Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

But Hannity doesn’t stop there; he adds further comments to make it even clearer that he blames the shooting on Congresswoman Waters’ words – and even mentions President Obama:

“You want people to create—‘call your friends, get in their faces,’ and Obama said that too. ‘Get in their faces, call them out, call your friends, get protesters, follow them into restaurants and shopping malls,’ and wherever else, she said.”

Hannity and his supporters have fought back hard against accusations that he was correlating the words of Maxine Walters with the shooting, but his own words make it hard to dispute those accusations. No further proof required. Lighten up Mr. Hannity.

 

 

 

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders

A Profile In Obfuscation

The first six months of President Trump’s tenure was chaotic, but nowhere was the disorder more apparent than in the arena of communicating with the public and the press. The President’s first press secretary was Sean Spicer, who will be remembered for his condescending and contentious style. But Spicer will be remembered most for his claim that more people attended President Trump’s inauguration ceremony than that of any previous president – a claim that was patently false. Spicer abruptly resigned on July 21, 2017, after only six months on the job, when President Trump appointed Anthony Scaramucci to be Communications Director. Later that same day, Scaramucci announced that Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be the new White House Press Secretary. Ten days later Scaramucci was fired by the president because of derogatory statements Scaramucci had made about some White House staff staffers. From that day on, Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been the official voice of the President and the White House.

Most of this early tumult and controversy was over attempts by the president’s representatives to explain and make sense to the public and press members what the president was saying and tweeting daily. Not much has changed since those early days except that Sarah Huckabee Sanders has shown more willingness than others to use her position as press secretary to defend the President with all her might and at any cost, which includes inflicting damage to the country, the presidency and to her own credibility. It’s painful to watch Ms. Sanders as she tries to put on her best face and her best spin on answers to tough questions by press members about the President’s conflicting and dubious statements and tweets.

But give Ms. Sanders her due credit: she bites her lip, swallows her pride and bumbles and mumbles her way from one dubious answer to another, many of which are laced with obfuscation and misinformation. She stands firm in her unconditional support and defense of the President in the face of all criticism, and she does not admit to mistakes, mischaracterizations or misrepresentations. That makes her the perfect front for this president, and she has honed her skills to deflect as much criticism from his dishonesty as possible. President Trump lost his credibility a long time ago, and that of  Ms. Sanders is now tarnished beyond repair. I wonder how Sarah Huckabee Sanders feels about herself – knowing that most members of the press and much of the public do not trust her as an honest spokesman for this  dishonest president. I expect that historians will not judge Ms. Sanders kindly, and I wonder whether she will conclude in the end that her willingness to defend this president at all cost was worth the price of her credibility and integrity.

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Trump and Kim – A Preview

Introduction

Recently South Korean officials announced that Kim Jung Un, the leader of the North Korea Republic wants to meet directly with Donald Trump, President of the United States – and the president was quick to accept the invitation. Now the details and conditions of the meeting must be worked out between the two countries, like where and when the meeting will take place. The agreement on the place and time will likely be easy compared to such things as preconditions for the meeting and what will be discussed. Here are a few things which might turn out to be sticking points between these leaders.

What title or name will President Trump and Kim call each other?

This one might pose a few problems when one considers in what high esteem each leader holds the other. Here are just a few names each has called the other and/or comments each has made about the other:

Trump has called Kim “Madman”, “Rocket Man” and “Bad Dude” and has accused him of “killing his own People.” He has also said that aggression by the Kim regime against the United State will be met with “fire and fury.”

Kim has called President Trump “a gangster”, a rogue”, an “old lunatic”, “a frightened dog” and a “mentally deranged US dotard.”

Lots of people in and out of the US government, including some within Trump’s own political party, have openly referred to President Trump in terms no less flattering than those used by Kim Jung Un. Citizens and government officials in North Korea are prevented, under threat of retaliation, from criticizing Kim, but no doubt many, if not most, hold him in utter contempt. Let us hope that President Trump and Kim come to this important meeting with optimism and open minds and will demonstrate at least some courtesy and respect for each other. Here are my suggestions for how Trump and Kim might address each other:

Kim to Trump    –  “Your Orange-Haired Majesty and Most Gracious and Excellent Genius.”

Trump to Kim    – “Your Exalted Fat Highness and Leader of  the Not-So-Free Republic of Korea.”

Some Possible Demands

I really have no idea what pre-conditions President Trump and Kim will lay on each other before proceeding with this meeting, but I will discuss a couple of areas where each might begin.

Trump might propose the following – That Kim agree to renounce his goal of making North Korea into a nuclear power and to destroy its entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. North Korea must also permit the US government to station two brigades of US army personnel, together with all necessary provisions, in the Republic of Korea. The President would also require Kim to never again call him by an unflattering name – even if the name was completely appropriate and descriptive. I’m guessing that the last demand would meet the most resistance from Kim.

Kim might propose the following – That Trump agree to dispose of Trump Tower and his Mari-Largo Golf Resort, to play golf only three days a week and to spend more time with his wife and son, Baron. He must also fire John Jr., Ivanka and Jared from their Whitehouse jobs. Finally, Trump must release his tax returns for the last 10 years and agree to allow his hair stylist to be interviewed by Rachael Maddow of MSNBC. I’m guessing that Trump would give up, if grudgingly, his favorite properties for the good of his of country and agree to spend more time with his wife and young son. He would also likely agree to fire John, Jr. and Ivanka, and even Jared if he’s ever indicted by Bob Mueller. There’s a fifty-fifty chance that Trump would release his tax returns, provided he could redact anything he thought would threaten the nation’s national security (meaning his own interest). Now, if the deal comes down to agreeing to let Rachel Maddow interview his hair stylist on MSNBC, God help American.

 

 

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Fiction Writing – Ethical and Moral Guidelines

I love fictional literature, and from time to time I try my hand at writing an amateurish fictional piece here on my blog, as well as other places. I learned recently that other people have opinions different from mine about the purpose of fiction in literature, as well as what is considered ethical and moral in fiction writing. So, I write this post to make some brief comments on this, and I welcome your comments, whether favorable or critical.

I agree totally with the following quote which I lifted from an on-line article which you can read in its entirety at this link.

“Most fiction stems from real life, but if you think about the lives of ordinary people, there’s not usually a novel to be had. Real life is messy and complicated and doesn’t follow the rules of fiction; it’s also boring at times…mundane. The trick is to lift characters, events, tragedies, and triumphs from the pages of real life and create a new existence for them—using literary techniques and a good dose of creativity to make them more exciting, more interesting, more disturbing—more worthy of being read.”

According to one of my fiction-writing professors from years ago, imagination, not truth, is the most important factor in writing a good piece of fiction. In my opinion it makes no difference whether the fictional piece is totally true, totally false or part truth and part fiction. In fact, in some cases, it’s good practice to let the reader decide for himself about what is fiction or truth in an article which purports to be fictional, as that builds tension in the reader’s mind. Ethical and moral considerations come into play only when persons, situations, or events in the fictional article can easily be recognized and associated with real-life persons, situations and events. The degree of the offense depends on how your description reflects on the real-life people, situations events and circumstances identified by the fictional article. The writer must be careful not to state or imply something false about a person, especially something that might damage the person’s character.

In summary, real-life situations, which are part of the writer’s experience or that of other people can make for good fiction if the writer lets his imagination do the work. Furthermore, it doesn’t hurt to enhance the real-life story to make it more interesting. As for ethics and moral issues, I try to stay steer clear of describing my characters, situations and events in a way that would make them recognizable and associate them with real-life people, situations and events. That way I hope to avoid ending up in court facing a libel suit.

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Murder or Self Defense? – You are a juror.

ZZZ

On one of my recent trips out of town, a stranger sat down by me in the rest area of a shopping mall, and after we had exchanged pleasantries, he told me a story which is as disturbing as it is interesting. He started out by letting me know that he was carrying a concealed weapon on his person. I asked him how long he had carried a concealed weapon and if there had been a specific event or situation which had prompted him to decide to do that. The stranger responded by telling me a story about an incident which he said happened late one night many years ago. He went on to say that after that incident, he had never been without his concealed weapon. The stranger told his story in a slow, deliberate and convincing manner which leads me to conclude that his story is at least partly true. Even though I cannot vouch for the truth of the stranger’s story, I can say that what I recall here of his story is accurate in its most essential details.

The stranger said that it all started late one night when he and his wife were awakened by a disturbance in the apartment neighborhood where they lived. I believe (but am not certain), that he said that his wife was pregnant at the time, which would have made the disturbance more objectionable.  The disturbance was caused by a group of men who were doing car wheelies in a grassy area just outside their apartment. The stranger said he got up and dressed and put his pistol inside the back of his pants and went outside to talk to the men. He did not at first reveal to the men that he was armed. He said he approached the men to a distance of about 25 feet and told them in a calm and polite manner that they were disturbing his and his wife’s rest and that he would appreciate it if they would stop the disturbance. One of the men responded by asking the stranger who did he think he was, then pulled out a pocket knife which he opened and lifted above his head.
“I’m gonna cut your head off” the man with the knife said and started walking slowly toward the stranger.
“You’re not going to cut my head off, the stranger said he told the man with the knife.
“I’m gonna cut you,” the man with the knife repeated.
“No you’re not going to cut me” the stranger said as he pulled out his pistol and pointed it at the man with the knife.

At that point, another man appeared at the stranger’s side with a drawn gun and said to the man with the knife, “no, you’re not going to cut this man.” The man who had just appeared then walked to the man who was still holding the knife over his head, stuck the barrel of his pistol to the man’s chest and shot three times.  The stranger said that three close-together bullet holes were found in the dead man’s heart. According to the stranger, the man who fired the shots was an off-duty police officer.  The policeman was put on paid leave during the police investigation, then charged with and tried for murder. The police officer, the stranger said, was found not guilty on the grounds that he had acted in self defense. I asked the stranger if he had testified at the trial, and he said he had. I then asked him if he had told the court exactly what he had told me, and he said he had.

The stranger didn’t mention any details about the court trial, like whether the police officer or any of the other men on the scene had testified or that either side had presented any evidence. Now, assume that you had been a juror in this trial and assume that the stranger testified to exactly what he told me. Further, assume that there was no other witnesses or evidence presented to confirm or refute the stranger’s testimony.  Would you have voted to acquit the police officer or to convict him of murder?

I would love to hear your answer, especially if you elaborate a bit.

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