Good news and bad news on health insurance

About the drugs

I have good news and bad news from my own little private front in the constant battle to afford health care.

You probably don't remember this passage from my Nov. 26, 2007, column ("‘Health care reform?’ Hush! You’ll anger the Insurance Gods!"), so I'll repeat it here:

    Just the other day I went to my allergist’s office to get the
results of my first skin tests in 20 years. I’d been getting allergy
shots based on the old tests all that time, and my allergist, being a
highly trained professional, thought it might be a good idea to see if
I was still allergic to the same stuff. Actually, I can’t tell you for
sure that the shots ever helped. So why get them? Because my insurance pays for allergy shots, but won’t pay any more for me to take Zyrtec, which I know relieved my symptoms. The Insurance Gods say I don’t need Zyrtec.
…    Earlier this year, after surgery worked only briefly to relieve
head-pounding sinus pain, my surgeon gave me a prescription for Allegra.
I started to protest adding yet another drug to the 11 I was already
taking, counting the prednisone he was putting me on, but then he said
it was the generic version, so I said OK. My copay is only like $10 on generics; the Insurance Gods say generics are good.
    Then my pharmacy said my copay for my 30 generic pills would be $81.95. Stunned, I asked why? They shrugged and said no one knew; the Insurance Gods just said so.
I shut up and paid it, even though it meant delaying paying on my
mortgage or my electricity bill or some other frill. I think the pills
helped, but I certainly wasn’t going to get a refill.

Well, two good things have happened since then.

First, at the start of 2008, Zyrtec became available over-the-counter, quickly followed by the cheaper generic version, also available over the counter, so I've been able to supply myself with that for the past year at less than my co-pay would have been had my insurance covered it.

Unfortunately, the Zyrtec hasn't been helping all that much (and "helping" for me, with my extreme allergies, simply means keeping the ever-present symptoms down to a dull roar), even though I take twice the recommended daily adult dose every night (as my allergist told me to do).

So, on a whim, I asked him to write me a scrip for the generic version of Allegra 180, just to see what would happen at the pharmacy now that I have a different health care provider, and lo and behold — it went through, with only a $15 co-pay. So I said "fill it!" I'll tell you the results later, I've only taken it once so far.

That's the good news. Here's the bad…

The reason I was at the allergist yesterday is that I needed some Xopenex vials for my nebulizer to treat my asthma. I've been blessed the last couple of years by being almost completely free of asthma symptoms thanks to a miracle drug called Asmanex, of which I take two puffs nightly — and which, Thank The Lord, my insurance pays for, with a reasonable co-pay.

But the latest stage of this crud that I've had for three weeks is that ever since the weekend (about the time I was finishing the course of Levaquin, for the second stage of the crud, which was bronchitis), my bronchial tubes have been closing up on me even as the more obvious signs of infection subsided. A breathing treatment Tuesday night helped, but I needed refills. Rather than just calling in the refills, the allergist insisted I come in yesterday, and sure enough he told me what I didn't want to hear: I needed to do a course of prednisone.

He had me scarf down 60 mg. there in his office, and told me to take 20 mg more that night. Today, I scaled down to 40 in the a.m., and another 20 tonight. I'll repeat that tomorrow, then step down again the next day, and so on until I'm off it. You don't just go cold turkey off prednisone.

Now, I don't know if you've every had 80 mg. of prednisone rattling around in your skull, but that's just about enough right there to give you brief "Band of Brothers" hallucinations. And that's not the whole story.

Between the prednisone (which ought to have dealt with the worst of the asthma by tomorrow) and the Allegra, I forgot to get my Xopenex refill. I used my next-to-last dose last night, and called the doc back today, and they called it in.

But not so fast. They called me back minutes later, and said my insurance won't cover Xopenex. They had to go with the older, cruder drug, generic albuterol.

Now that's fine, except for one thing. Even when not taking prednisone, a dose of albuterol, administered via nebulizer machine, causes my heart to pound like I just ran about a mile. (If you take albuterol via the simple inhaler, it doesn't do that — but then, it does nothing for my asthma, either.) But I can live with that, because it opens me up. The only trouble is, if it's the middle of the night, I've got to sit up an hour or two until I calm down, because the pounding of my pulse through my throat and head against my pillow makes sleep impossible — pretty much the same as if I HAD just run about the block.

The nice thing about Xopenex is it has the therapeutic effect without the heart-pounding, so I can go to sleep within minutes after a treatment.

I asked my druggist, and he says Xopenex costs about twice as much. And of course, if my doctor and I jumped through a few more hoops and demonstrated that yes, we've tried albuterol, and yes, my doctor does have a legitimate reason to prefer that I use Xopenex because he is a trained medico and not a complete idiot (nor am I, but I doubt I could get them to believe that), they'd probably spring for the name brand. But of course, the business model of private, for-profit health insurance is to make you jump through enough hoops that you give up, and I had already spent WAY more time than I had time to spend on all this being-sick garbage this week. I've got work to do.

So I paid my $15 co-pay, took my albuterol and my nebulizer machine back to the office, and did a treatment sitting at my desk while reading The Economist. I started breathing a lot easier, and the only ill effect was that when I was proofing Robert Ariail's cartoon for tomorrow, I noticed my hand was shaking à la Tom Hanks in "Saving Private Ryan." But I could still lead my company up the beach.

Here's the thing about all this: If the insurance simply demanded double the co-pay for me to get Xopenex (the way they do with Asmanex), I'd probably just say the heck with it, give me the albuterol, and put up with the heart-pounding. I AM cost-conscious. (In fact, I tried to talk my primary-care doc into giving me the much-cheaper tetracycline for the bronchitis, but he insisted it wouldn't work but Levaquin would — my allergist agreed yesterday when I asked him the same question. I'm VERY cost-conscious, and am always asking about these things.)

But they don't do that. They get all "we-know-more-than-your-doctor" on me, and assume that I don't care about cost, and so they have to tell me what I can have and what I can't have. And frankly, that ticks me off. I've had asthma for 55 years, and I know what I need and what I don't need.

I know what you're thinking: If we had a single-payer National Health plan the way I want, the gummint might also tell me I can't have Xopenex. Maybe. Then again, if the gummint was the sole provider of coverage, the drug company would be MUCH more likely to figure out a way to offer it at a lower cost, since they wouldn't be able to play all these difference consumer groups with different payment rules against each other. If the gummint wouldn't allow it, they wouldn't sell ANY Xopenex.

Of course, if they COULDN'T sell it cheaper, we'd all have to take albuterol. But that wouldn't be the end of the world, either. It gets the job done — ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom…

Anyway, I think that explains the drug reference earlier. All perfectly legit, I assure you.

31 thoughts on “Good news and bad news on health insurance

  1. Brad Warthen

    Folks, I promise to get off talking about my illnesses as soon as I feel better. But as long as I’m suffering, why not share?
    Besides, I DID have an editorial point on this one.

  2. Karen McLeod

    I’m inclined to agree. Trying to figure out what you can use for each different health plan is beyond the medicoes’ area of expertise, so they just give you what they think best (or whatever the last pharmacy salesman recommended). Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the medical community was focused on what is best for the consumer, rather what would give them the best profit. I’m surprised that no pharmaceutical company has noted the benefits of leeches for the purpose of decreasing blood pressure, and hasn’t tried to sell them for a noted mark-up.

  3. Lee Muller

    This is a good example of why we need to move away from medical insurance plans tied to your current employer, and away from the even worse control of government bureaucrats, to a system of each person buying their own medical insurance and having their own retirement plans.
    Those who are still stuck on the corporate plans, which were created to get around the wage controls of the so-called New Deal, have no idea of how much simpler and less expensive it is to pay cash, or have your own medical insurance.
    Those dependent on government really have no clue.
    The Democrat socialists’ goal is to remove private choice as an option, and dumb down medical care to the GovCo level. Then their propagandists will rewrite history and tell children what a failure private choice was.

  4. bud

    This is a good example of why we need to move away from medical insurance plans tied to your current employer, and away from the even worse control of government bureaucrats, to a system of each person buying their own medical insurance and having their own retirement plans.
    Lee, like all good conservatives, completely misses the point. Nothing about anything Brad said is evidence of a problem with “government bureaucrats”. Nothing, nada, zippo. Yet somehow the modern conservative manages to invent that.
    Brad too misses the point. The system that has evolved is essentially REPUBLICAN health care. Remember Hillarycare? It was shot down by REPUBLICANS so what we ended up with is REPBUBLICANcare. This is not hard to follow. The GOP along with it’s willing accomplices in the healthcare industry, along with a few bluedog Democrats managed to defeat Hillarycare. The result is the mess that Brad (and my family too along with millions of Americans) suffers with a completely unintelligible hodgepodge of plans, providers, copays, deductibles, exclusions, paperwork and expense just to get the treatments we need to stay alive.
    The end result of course is a greatly reduced life expectancy compared to other countries. Hopefully Obama will have better luck than Hillary. This is definitally NOT the time to dilly-dally with bipartisanship. It’s time to ram a good healthcare plan down the throats of the obstructionist GOP, whether they support it or not. Otherwise we’ll be no better off. That’s what the American people voted for, so let’s get on with it.

  5. martin

    we are paying for the billions the drug companies are using for all the TV and magazine ads they should not be allowed to run. Remember when the only time you saw an ad for prescription meds was in a doctor’s professional journal type publication that somehow got to the waiting room? I read an article about the British NHS having a division that decides which drugs to purchase. They have told certain American drug makers they will not buy their products and the prices are lowered so that they will. They could afford to lower the prices if they stopped the advertising and were willing to make less tha Wall Street.
    What should bother people is that we are rapidly approaching a time when drugs are going to be manufactured almost exclusively in China and India, even aspirin. Do you trust the Chinese, the nation that poisons its own children, to make your drugs? Like the Heparin fiasco? This is another manufacturing industry we need to bring home. But we are paying for the FDA to open shop in China. Bad idea.

  6. bud

    My last post was off topic. But the two are related. As unemployment increases folks have a tougher time affording health care. (If insurance were privaticized instead of handled by business as a perk then folks could still have their insurance even without a job. Except for one important problem: Lack of job means lack of income.) Either way the number of uninsured would still go up. That would force people into emergency rooms even more often than is currently the case. Then medical care for folks like Brad would cost even more since providers would be forced to charge even more for those who still have insurance to cover the uninisured. This forces people to spend even less on non-essentials like plasma TVs. That forces even more businesses to go under thus increasing health care costs for those still employed even higher. And the circle of sickness continues.
    So it seems like a good national healthcare plan would help the economy by freeing up money spent on healthcare so that folk could spend on other stuff. Both individual and economic health would improve.

  7. slugger

    Bud says by having a national healthcare plan it would free up money to spend on other things?
    The people that do not have insurance now show up at the hospital and the hospital has to eat that loss. That is not freeing up any money to spend on football tickets, basketball shoes and sports paraphernalia.
    One of the problems that people do not have insurance is that they have no job that provides coverage. Some of the people are not going to spend money on any kind of insurance unless it is mandated (thank goodness car insurance is mandated).
    Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security now make up 40% of our national budget. Where is the money coming from to add mandated healthcare?
    This country is upside down financially and we keep piling it on.

  8. bud

    Where is the money coming from to add mandated healthcare?
    Medicare and Medicaid would be discontinued. The national system would cover everyone, including the folks currently covered by M and M. Since everyone has health insurance there would no longer be a need to go to the ER for routine stuff. Health care costs for all would decline thus paying for itself. The rest of the world believes universal health care is cost-benificial. Why can’t we adopt what everyone else understands is obvious?

  9. slugger

    When Medicare and Medicaid is grossly and financially a tremendous drag on our economy, why would you bunch it all together and call it National Healthcare and expect it to not bog down the economy even further?
    The private sector is where all of this should have been in the first place. There is nothing free. The tremendous cost increases in everything that has to do with healthcare started when the federal government decided we needed Medicare, then Medicaid (which the county’s supported and paid the hospital bills for the indigent people). The doctors did their charity work and got paid in chickens and eggs.
    You put your lives in the hands of those elected officials that forget whey they are in Washington. They represent you the voter.
    Private enterprise not the federal goverment is how we solve our national problems. All this bailout is nothing except trying to prop up automakers that could not make a buck because of government regulations and the unions.

  10. Lee Muller

    Since the federal and state governments are unable to manage Medicare, they surely cannot manage the rest of medical care.
    According to the GAO, in 2007, over 31% of Medicare and Medicaid money was lost to fraud.
    Medicare is 21,000% over its original projected cost for 2008.
    Obama just proposed putting all the unemployed without medical insurance onto Medicaid, which is already bankrupt. How dumb is that!
    Lastly, Brad Warthen is no on “the Republican healthcare plan”. Brad is on a corporate defined benefits plan which originated during World War II to attract and retain workers under the wage freezes. It was a temporary work-around for another socialist failure of FDR to manage the economy. It should have been abolished in 1945.

  11. bud

    Slugger, why single out the auto industry? They got peanuts compared to the bloated financial companies. And those guys had the nerve to schedule expensive junkets and pay huge CEO bonuses AFTER taking huge handouts from Uncle Sam.

  12. slugger

    I did not single them out necessarily. I just put an example forward that auto bailouts is one result of government interference in private industry by placing so many restrictions on how an auto must be made in order to meet emission standards etc.
    The banks, Wall Street, Fannie and Freddie etc is a horse of a different color. These were a bunch of greedy financiers that got rich at the expense of the trusting public. I blame the board that oversees these institutions for letting them get away with the fraud.
    The legislature appointing a committee to oversee the rules and regulations leaves out the Board of Trustees as being asleep on their watch while they are being paid mega bucks to protect the interest of the stock holders.

  13. Greg

    Your playing with fire. Your taking predizone with Levaquin? Better look at the black box warning or you might rupture a tendon. I’ve seen it happen.

  14. XXX

    I am always amazed at the naive faith so many Americans have that the discipline of the market–the invisible hand of Adam Smith–will somehow solve our fiscal problems. If only government were basically out of the economy, including regulating it, then all would be well because underperforming companies would go under and people would be motivated not to make bad personal decisions or they would simply starve.
    In the best of all possible worlds, the discipline of the market would indeed be sufficient to compel people not to over-consume, to save, to invest wisely, and generally to be parsimonious with discretionary income. Our banks would be flush with cash which they would then use to invest in going concerns and carefully conceived start-ups. Mortgages would be written on home for people with solid incomes, 20% to put down, and some savings (about two months’ worth of family expenses) to get by after purchase.
    Our vehicles would be green, gas-sipping beetles, not voracious behemoths. The transport industry would rely heavily on the rails and American industry would heavily emphasize producer goods, technology, and financial services for worldwide export, for which in turn we would continue to consume the household products and personal goods that can be made more cheaply in China.
    Our educational system would focus on real skill development rather than semi-pro sports. College courses would be rigorous and more students would be seriously getting a solid technical education rather than aspiring to four years of drunken partying on the public dime.
    Even though I am not fond of our governor, I had to admire his budget proposals and I will be listening to him speak on the state of the state. Too bad he has such a terrible relationship with the General Assembly. But that august body also has its share of problems, among which is the tendency to support programs we manifestly do not need while starving state agencies such as the Corrections Dept.
    In a state such as ours which has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, let alone the Union, we dare not ignore our need for well-paid, well-staffed law enforcement and corrections. Yet, our troopers and police are generally paid about $15K less per annum than the average teacher salary. Our prisons are downright dangerous.
    And in a state with a population low on salable skills in the marketplace, the sports-oriented universities and their overlapping campuses are a significant source of waste.
    Sanford is right to want to close three satellite campuses, but he should also be concerned about the vaunted self-styled research missions of Clemson and Carolina. In a poor state such as ours, these should be teaching, not research, universities whose mission should be training the professionals we need for education, engineering, business management, the law, etc. We do indeed do a lot of that, but we also waste millions on so-called “research” and attempting to attract, not the best teaching talent to our universities, but the most high-profile scholars whom we can pay $150K-plus a year, not to teach, but to do research. Nanotechnology is quite nice when you have a state population that can spell and pronounce the word, let alone understand what it is!
    In the Dept. of Ed., Sanford could cut some real fat, and I am not talking about the 20% cut in the staff of the Rutledge Ivory Tower. I am referring to such boodoggles as the teacher, curriculum, and principal specialist programs.
    I remember once a few years ago I helped a colleague fill out an application for curriculum specialist in our public schools. Although he held a PhD in educational administration and had been a principal, he had only the vaguest notion of such things as the IB program, Advanced Placement, differentiated instruction, etc. But at one time he was a great football coach!
    The specialist program costs millions and is a huge boodoggle. The TERI program and the National Board Certification program, however, are worthwhile. You have to earn those through longevity and hard work.Only about 45% of teachers who start the National Board process actually ever finish it. If they do, it means that they have undergone some serious professional development which cannot help but make them better teachers–not better than everyone else, just better than who they were to start with.
    I know that this blog initially started on health care, but the idea that private industry can do it better is absurd. We have essentially a private system now with little corporate accountability, much paperwork, and duplication of effort–not to mention differentiated quality depending on your ability to pay!
    But don’t get me started. Suffice it to say, the governor, for once I believe, is on to something. And he is so right about our good-ole-boy backscratching culture in this state!!! We are so third-world about this!
    One example: in the public schools, you must be properly certified under federal law to walk into a classroom. The PACE apprenticeship program counts because participants must have degrees and standardized test scores to prove that they have the minimum qualifications now to teach.
    Not so if you want to be an administrator!! Not only is school administration EXEMPT from the requirements of No-Child-Left-Behind, in S.C. you can hire your friends for school administration without even so much as a master’s degree, let alone proper certification. Just so long as you commit to being in a program–which you can stretch out indefinitely–and are already certified in something other than administration, you can be a school administrator at the Assistant Principal, District-Office, or Assistant Administrator levels. Pretty cool, huh?
    Here’s a reform I have advocated for years: no one should be allowed into administration unless he or she has completed all the certification requirements for administration first. Administrative positions are at a premium and are much sought after. We don’t need a critical needs program supposedly to find “talent” for administration. We already have a corps of properly state-certified administrators in waiting who are currently teaching in the schools and would be interested in promotion.
    Alas, this latter group is not necessarily counted among the friends of the people currently in power everywhere in this state in school administration!
    As the governor has consistently and correctly noted, in South Carolina whom you know is far more important than what you know. As a result, we waste tons of money on principal specialist programs or just the simple ignorance of many administrators who are not properly trained and certified to do what they do. The teachers know what’s going on and it makes them cynical and disrespectful of the authority that governs them.
    We need to start emphasizing competence first in S.C. at all levels. The magic hand of the free market won’t necessarily do it. If you reduce the role of government that we have now, I do believe people would starve in this state. Some are starving now. And the rich cannot afford a social revolution that would turn us into a people’s republic.

  15. slugger

    XXX seems to be into school administration. He seems to know all there is know about how it is run and how it should be run.
    A lot of what he expounds I feel quite sure he is talking from personal knowledge.
    The fact that we have a public school system paid for by taxpayers to educate our children for a job that would place them in employment that would allow them to join the taxpaying community is a wonderful thing. With a job they could pay for their own insurance, mortgage payments, car payments and alimony and child support.
    Our dreams would be to have full employment with a salary to support a meaningful lifestyle.
    There is no way you will ever turn this state around education wise with no drop-outs and all receiving at least a high school education. There have been too many years of jobs that did not require an education with generations quitting school to go to work in textile mills etc.
    Now we have welfare set up to take care of all the people that did not get an education. The numbers grow with every child born out of wedlock to a child that should be in school.
    Dreams are a way of escaping reality.

  16. Lee Muller

    Whenever you hear someone sneer at “..naive faith so many Americans have that the discipline of the market–the invisible hand of Adam Smith…”, it is obvious they are completely unfamiliar with basic economic theory, and mistake that gross ignorance for some higher vision.
    These ignorami are the ones operating on blind faith, in demagogues, dictators, and pseudo-scientific Marxist mumbo jumbo.
    The problem is, all the other theories since Adam Smith have been some flavor of socialism, and they have all been grotesque failures which killed over a billion innocent people in the 20th century.

  17. XXX

    I teach economics in a public high school and I can tell you that I am not the ignoramus here. No less an economist than Nobel-prize-winning Paul Krugman would agree with me that Keynesian economic theory may be the only thing that will work in our current economic spiral downward.
    Keep in mind that it was unregulated capital markets, with the blessing of a Republican laissez-faire administration under George Bush, that sought the quick buck and helped turn the US from a country that produced goods to a country that now seems only productive of debt.
    Of course, I exaggerate. We still have a strong technology sector and our producer goods are world class. Rather than manufacturing the TVs and the toys, we should be designing and producing the high-tech machinery that can manufacture it ever more cheaply and safely. We should be leading in green technology and taking advantage of the low-price gas breather we have been given to retool Detroit and make it at least competitive with Toyota and Honda. Yes, that does mean union and management give-backs. If a worker on the line should no longer make $75K a year, then neither should management take home their enormous paychecks and perks.
    The idea that government is the problem when it invests in social programs, infrastructure, or industries that hold promise or need to be propped up to keep the economy from collapsing is an absurdity. Government is the problem when capitalism is insufficiently regulated to protect the consumer; government is also the problem when it invests in reckless foreign imperial adventures overseas.
    We should never have invaded Iraq; we should not now blindly support Israel, even though they absolutely have the right to exist in peace within secure borders. A way must be found to create a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem and containing all areas within Palestine that contain Arab majorities. This could be determined by plebescite; the resulting peace could be guaranteed by an international peace-keeping force with the authority to shoot to kill.
    Even this might not work, but if we were less dependent on fossil fuels, then the middle east could go to hell where it belongs anyway!
    Let’s not assume that running companies in a businesslike manner is what usually happens in American corporations. There is cronyism, backscratching, promotion of incompetents on a grand scale, and chicanery of all kinds hidden by clever accounting and only revealed when a firm is about ready to collapse of its own dead weight. Unfortunately, if the firm is big enough, we cannot let it collapse if it is vital to the economy. It should, therefore, submit itself to the discipline–and low wages–of government service.
    Nationalizing our healthcare industry would be an excellent start, although I doubt that Obama would go that far. All hospitals and insurance companies should become state institutions controlled from state capitals and Washington. There would be rationalization of expensive and wasteful managerial functions by eliminating a lot of administrators and red tape. Since the profits made by the newly nationalized companies could still theoretically be made in the open market, they could be plowed back into the insurance/health industry for public benefit rather than to enrich coupon-clipping investors whose only concern is the bottom line, not the health of the people.
    The problem with Soviet-style socialism is that it failed to submit to the discipline of the market. Whether a firm is controlled privately or by the state makes little difference, except that civil service law would prevent high salaries for management and cut down on the massive managerial waste that exists in America’s private sector. Instead, firms would compete in the open market as usual, but their profits would be plowed back into the firm and in taxes that would benefit government at all levels.
    Folks, in the final analysis, what is government?? It is we the people, not King George. What good we do economically would be for our benefit, rather than for the increasingly super-rich who seem determined to kill the goose that laid the golden egg of free enterprise by arrogating as much of America’s resources for themselves and their families and cronies as is humanly possible.
    Lee, you’re the ideologue, not me! I am willing to do something different, particularly since what we have now manifestly does not work, and the Hoover solution of balancing the budget and cutting taxes, which he instituted in 1929, only succeeded in deepening the Depression. People were destitute, dying in the streets, and hunger stalked the land in 1933. When Roosevelt took over in March of that year, we had already been suffering under Republican rule for four years. Had the Republicans won again, we could have ended up in a revolutionary situation, a second civil war between those who are able to eat and those who need to do so.
    Let’s avoid that on Obama’s watch, if at all possible.

  18. Doug Ross

    XXX says ” All hospitals and insurance companies should become state institutions controlled from state capitals and Washington. There would be rationalization of expensive and wasteful managerial functions by eliminating a lot of administrators and red tape.”
    That may be the funniest line I’ve read so far in 2009 and likely won’t be matched.
    Try Googling “medicare fraud” and then get back to us with how the “rationalization” will happen.

  19. Lee Muller

    I hope “XXX” is lying about teaching economics in public school, because he demonstrates no knowledge of the subject.
    1. The New Deal was a failure. Unemployment was as bad in 1938 as it was in 1932. In fact, it was worse, when you discount how crummy most of the make-work government jobs were, compared to the private sector jobs they replaced.
    2. Paul Krugman has no experience in real world economics. He came up with theories about international trade, but he has no experience in international trade. Krugman doesn’t even try to persuade – he just points to his diploma then tries to use his title in lieu of argument.
    I happen to be practicing economist who is actually paid by businesses, unlike Mr. Krugman.
    3. All that XXX Marxist drivel about “managers should not be allowed to take home huge salaries” shows a profound ignorance of how markets work, much less a knowledge of factories. When I state an opinion on an industry, it is based on my experience in that industry. That includes 27 years of work for automobile manufacturers. Mostly, I state the economic facts, such as union wage and benefit costs being too high for American manufacturers to make a profit. That is a fact, not opinion.

  20. Rich

    Are you an academic economist, Lee, or just a financial adviser? Not that there is anything wrong with being the latter.
    I teach US history, not economics, but I know enough about it to agree with XXX.
    Randy also makes the interesting observation above concerning how non-ideological Connecticut seems to be. Toleration and acceptance come with skepticism. When you’re not certain that Jesus will return soon, you tend to be less like Sarah Palin and more like Barack Obama.

  21. Lee Muller

    I am a consulting economist and engineer, hired to analyze markets, new products, operations, and financing, and make improvements. I don’t know any business that ever paid Paul Krugman for project work. I read the street writings of economists like Krugman, just to keep up with the current excuses of the hired expert excuse-makers for socialism.
    “Financial advisor” is a broad term, but legally refers to those who sell financial products, and are licensed by the state securities and insurance commissions, and the federal SEC.
    If you are going to teach American History, you need to understand why the New Deal failed, and explain that to the students. Too many people still want Obama to ape FDR, who wrecked America, because they believe the socialist myths about FDR being a success.

  22. x-ray fluorescence

    This is a good example of why we need to move away from medical insurance plans tied to your current employer, and away from the even worse control of government bureaucrats, to a system of each person buying their own medical insurance and having their own retirement plans.

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