Category Archives: Health Insurance

Veterans Health Care – My Experience

If you’re a U.S. military veteran. or a family member of a veteran, then this blog post is for you. Those whom are also interested in government managed health care, and haven’t first hand knowledge, this may help you.

Most of what I’m going to discuss is only one man’s opinion, but in a sea of opinions, I’m going to do my best to accurately inform anyone still reading past the opening paragraphs.

CH-46s on runway destined for Viet Nam

CH-46s on runway Kaneohe Hawaii, destined for Vietnam

I’m a Vietnam era veteran. That means something specific, and to anyone that has also served during a time of war, but wasn’t a directly involved participant, meaning they weren’t in the designated country, served in a non-combat role, their benefits may differ from those serving during peace time operations.

The VA has different designated levels of assistance, depending on the time someone has served. They provide service for all in some capacity, but you may need to pay more for services rendered, depending on your current income, and when you served. Those details are available online, and if you aren’t aware of them, please follow this link.

VA heath care and the Affordable Care Act.

If you read the information, don’t fully understand it, and need more help, you can drop a response at the bottom of this post, along with your real name and how to contact you. Nothing you send will be automatically posted. I have to review comments before yours goes public. If you send personal information, I’ll not publish it. Of course I’m hoping I won’t be deluged with questions or some scammer trying to take advantage of my willingness to help explain what the VA can provide. I may just post a link, if I see the answer already available for your specific question.

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Me standing outside of a TAC – 1975

I want to encourage any veteran or family member that hasn’t been involved with VA health care to not defer or postpone the services which you’ve earned. Of course, if you’re enlistment or your appointment with the military wasn’t based on what you might later receive, it’s natural to ignore your benefits.

I enrolled about 2 years ago. Since then, I’ve been in for two annual physicals, and an eye examination and a new prescription with glasses.

I went into the Atlanta VA hospital yesterday on a scheduled surgery. It was a same day, recovery at home afterwards type of care. I went in at 9am and was out by 5pm. 0900 & 1700, military time.

I can tell you my experience was as positive as I’ve had. As it has not been my first or second hospital rodeo. I think my national and international health care provided experience gives me a basis from which I can make comparisons.

I’m at home recovering today. The surgery appears to be completed without complications. I’ve had two calls from the VA. The last one was from one of the doctors who assisted in the surgery. She left her pager number on the discharge sheet in case I have a problem.

All of that without copay or out of pocket expenses. That of course is based on my time, duration of service and current level of income. If you’re a veteran or a close family member, I urge you to become acquainted with the VA. Be sure you’re not missing out on health care services. If you’ve read or heard horror stories, which I’m not going to suggest aren’t based on fact, my experience doesn’t align with those concerns. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite.

Find a VA location near you.


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Why is this so difficult?

struggle to see in front of noseI’m continuously amazed at our collective national inability to see the forest for the trees when it comes to analyzing politics and the impact of specific acts that sound good but with negative long-term consequences.

I know how easy it is to get caught up in long and fruitless on-line debates over a specific candidate, an office holder and the continued gift that keeps on giving, “nationalized health care – part 1”, otherwise known as the Health Care Reform Act. From cash for clunkers, TARP, NSA spying on U.S. citizens, IRS scandal, Predator Drones, Benghazi Embassy cover-up, up to the most recent activity of swapping an alleged Army deserter for 5 enemy combatants, the public, at least through many media supporters excuse the President and find rationalizations for continuing the march toward centralized government with autonomous authority.

Barack Obama speaking

Barack Obama delivering a speech.

Let’s assume for a moment that you really like the current President, I admit, I do as a person. I’m not able to tell what’s in a person’s heart, unlike so many critics, but I can judge actions. Continue to imagine, this President won’t be in office past 2016. Yes, as hard as this may be for some supporters to accept, President Obama, just like those who supported George Bush, will see the man complete his two terms in office. Someone new will come along to take his place, and eventually, maybe not in the upcoming election cycle, a Republican will take office.

Here’s the problem as I see it for political partisans. You like it when your man (or woman) takes charge and uses the excuse, Congress isn’t moving fast enough or they’re not cooperating. I had to use executive authority to enact, create, or bomb another country. You see there’s this problem I have with this executive order or unilateral decision-making. That problem is, even if you like the person currently in office, believe they’re doing this with the highest principles and for the public welfare, they have short circuited the provisions of the Constitution which prohibit this level of control and protect us from authoritarians.. In fact, this sort of thing preceded President Barack Obama, George Bush, William Clinton, etc. What we are seeing over decades, but accelerating now with this presidency, is the expansion of the role of the federal government and a President who simply does what he wants while blaming and using the other political party as a scape goat to do what he wants.

As I started to explain, it won’t always be the person you support or want in office and if a future President isn’t a magnificent specimen of humanity, they will have the authority previously accepted by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court. Even the principle on providing social security for the aged, has seen the collected funds used for other spending and then the feds claiming the fund can’t be sustained due to the large number of retirees compared to new worker contributions. Sooner or later, the federal government will have sufficiently stripped us of our privacy, self-incrimination protection, search and seizure, health care options and business opportunities to the point where we no longer live in a country noted for entrepreneurial success, freedom and individual liberty. I think a large number of people already recognize this point has been surpassed and the Constitution a distant relic of the past.

avoid the government trapThe significance of this and the lack of sufficient public push back has astounded me. The 60’s generation as well as many of the key vocal participants who launched the free spirit, liberate the masses, and don’t trust the government, have become the ones most strongly in support of the collective. They mask their charade in flowery speech and doing the most public good with their power aggregation, central authority activity and eventually we are going to find their aren’t enough chairs for the masses in this musical merry-go-around.

The New & Old

Once again we witness the nature of any person or organization with power, applying this simple maxim:

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” Letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, 1887 from Lord Acton

We presently live in a world where things that were once considered far-fetched science fiction fantasy are becoming the new reality.

Mark Twain patriotismThe NSA intercepted packages to put back-doors in electronics. The NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division, has a catalog of all the commercial equipment that carries NSA back-doors. It includes most of the big names in tech products. Storage products from Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor and Samsung have back-doors in their firmware. Firewalls, designed to protect an organization from predatory intrusion such as from Juniper Networks have been compromised. Network equipment from Cisco, Chinese company Huawei and unspecified products from Dell. TAO intercepts on-line orders of these and other electronic products to plant ‘bugs’ in them.

Every company spokesperson contacted by Spiegel denies having any knowledge of these product modifications. Dell officials stated the company “respects and complies with the laws of all countries in which it operates.” Hewlett-Packard wrote that the company was not aware of any of the information presented in the report and that it did “not believe any of it to be true.”

All of the denials are typical but the evidence presented by Edward Snowden confirms this story.

Technology marches on and so do methods of keeping secrets. Here’s one that’s not so difficult to swallow, a pill that encapsulates electronic password access. Motorola has come up with a password pill to enable devices you select to work with this product such as phones, tablets and computers. The edible password pill contains a tiny Integrated Circuit powered by stomach acid but unfortunately the granted access is only temporary. As Sherlock might say, the solution is alimentary, Watson. I can see the writers in Hollywood salivating over this breakthrough. Sorry about the puns.

Thalmic Labs’ MYO has come up with an arm band which links through a blue tooth connection to enable gesturing. The company claims you’ll be able to run presentations by waving, steer a helicopter drone, or simply control your TV or stereo with simple movements. I believe the idea of using gestures to interact with many different devices will be as revolutionary as the mouse was to desktop computers. Perhaps rap artists will be able to use gang signs to author new music, (just kidding).

Mouse patent EnglebartMay I add a footnote about the computer mouse? Douglas Engelbart died on July 2, 2013. Douglas Engelbart’s achievements included the computer mouse and he was the first person to demonstrate video conferencing in 1968.

Reviving a phone after it takes a dip in water has many seen many ideas circulated among the tech community, such as placing it in a bag of rice on a shelf. Well, as most know, this would do nothing to remove the minerals that typically collect on circuits in the phone after such an occurrence. These minerals do the damage, including shorts between traces on the circuit board. This product has to be one of the most useful I’ve witnessed in years.

Obamacare Has a New Money Problem: It Won’t Fix Emergency Rooms. This news item has to fall under the no s___t Sherlock department. Since when does asking government to produce a solution to rising costs in anything, seem viable? The words ‘government efficiency’ are a classic oxymoron.

The promotion of government sponsored health care is a scam of the highest order. It wasn’t passed because those in government really care about us, they did it for the power it purchases. If you control 1/6th of the economy, you buy future votes and create whole new lobbies of those wanting to court the government for favor. fish for life

Costs won’t go down unless draconian methods are used to mandate specific cost reimbursement by procedure code. All this will do is drive people out of the health care field because the choices made by bureaucrats often don’t cover the actual cost to do the procedure. Fewer people in medicine will create another set of problems as this thing spirals out of control. Refer to my first paragraph on this one.

Here we go 2014 . . .

clock tower

Clock tower at Trimet station – Wilsonville Oregon