Daily Archives: October 8, 2013

Obama: If you’re happy with your current doctor, you can’t keep her

Connecticut: United Healthcare drops 2,250 physicians from its Medicaid Advantage program.

All as expected and predicted: ObamaKare was specifically designed to slash Medicaid Advantage payments and the insurance companies are cutting their services as the result.

Here’s how Obama’s designed this:

Under Medicare Advantage, beneficiaries are allowed to shop around between given providers in their area. Unique to Medicare Advantage, providers receive a rebate from the federal government if they offer coverage at a price below the government benchmark – or the price the government would be willing to pay in the given area for patients enrolled. Providers were able to use this rebate to lower prices further and expand coverage for their enrollees. As a result, Medicare Advantage enrollees often enjoy additional health, wellness and non-essential coverage well beyond that of traditional Medicare enrollees.

This may sound familiar. It’s healthcare coverage based on choice and the marketplace, which Democrats claim define Obamacare. There is just one problem: Obamacare completely guts Medicare Advantage.

Provisions of the law are almost explicitly structured to drive the government’s  premier choice-based healthcare program into oblivion. First, Obamacare lowers Medicare Advantage benchmarks across the board. The law lowers the benchmarks so much that many Advantage enrollees will only qualify for a reimbursement to their providers worth 95 percent of what the government would cover under traditional fee-for-service Medicare.

Adding insult to injury, Obamacare also slashes the available rebates that are used to lower costs and provide additional benefits to Medicare Advantage patients. Previously, companies that provided care efficiently were eligible to receive 75 percent of the difference between their costs and the government benchmark. Obamacare, in addition to the lower benchmarks, slashes these rebates. Most companies will now only be eligible for 50 percent rebates, raising the cost and lowering available benefits for Advantage enrollees.


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Greenwich Association of Realtors (GAR) cracks down

Brother Gideon’s got the story – certain brokers representing bank-owned properties (Gideon’s too polite to name names, but Raul Villacis is the primary, but not the only offender here) list the properties on out-of-town multiple listing services but do not, contrary to the Greenwich Multiple Listing Service’s rule, put it up on our board. They hide the property from people actually looking for Greenwich homes, sell it to their own clients and assure their bank client that “sure, I listed it on the MLS.”

There’s no rule that requires a broker who is not a member of the GAR to list here; but if he is a member, then he has agreed to abide by our rules. The applicable rule for these matters states that, if a GAR member lists a property on any other multiple listing service, he must also list it here.

Long past time the board cracked down on this. Not only is it annoying to agents, it’s a fraud on clients who think their property is getting exposure to the full marketplace when in fact it’s being hidden.


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Head Start can accept private donations to keep going during the shutdown – not parks, not White House tours, not …

$10 million for Head Start “gratefully accepted”. The White House has since the sequester last spring doggedly refused all offers to fund the handful of guards necessary to conduct White House tours; since October 1st, the government has refused to permit states to pay to reopen places like the Grand Canyon, Smokey Mountain National Park and Mt. Rushmore. The military has told Catholic chaplains that they will be arrested if they attempt to perform mass, even as volunteers, on military property.

If you can’t see a pattern here, you’ve got your eyes wide shut.


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Thugocracy, take 78

National Mall closed to all visitors except a rally for illegal aliens. As NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis likes to say, “our national parks are for everyone to enjoy”- as long as they are officially endorsed by Barack Obama and his gang of goons.

UPDATE: I still have fond memories of heading down to D.C. during the Vietnam War to toss tear gas back at the National Guard. In those days, 500,000 protestors was nothing. You’d think in this era of the Internet we could get a million folks down at the National Mall by this Sunday, no? I think I’ll start a movement.


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Another success story from the (existing) GHS auditorium

Rob Mathes, GHS alum from Old Greenwich, is producing Sting’s new album. Rob’s had a hugely successful career and to be fair, is on record (bad pun) as supporting a new auditorium, but he’s only one of at least eight of my peers who have gone from the GHS auditorium as it existed in 1971-1975 to very, very successful musical careers. Will $50 million increase that number? I rather doubt it because money can’t buy talent and talent can’t be muffled by bad acoustics.


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Contract on Riversville

717 Riversville Rd

717 Riversville Rd

717, asking $7.250 million. This is a beautiful house in many ways and built with a hurricane-proof steel frame, but it’s had a troubled sales history. Its builder put it on the market in 2007 for $14.7 million and, eschewing an offer by my client for $6.5 million, which would have paid off the foreclosing lender, dumped it just ahead of that impending doom for $8.550 in 2009, so he was wise to reject our lower bid.

On the other hand, his buyer was not so wise. Having paid that $8.550, he apparently convinced a lender to give him $8,603,675 million, presumably to allow him to make further improvements. The sale price now will likely be much closer to the $6.5 offered by my client.

UPDATE: I’ve been writing about this house off an on since at least 2008 – I never did like its price.


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Off to hit the open house tour, but here is a snippet of real estate activity

One quick deal, one busted.

16 Francine Drive

16 Francine Drive

16 Francine Drive (near Greenwich Academy), new construction asking $2.975 million, has a deal after just 12 days on the market. Just 0.28 acre, but apparently the buyer considers this “in-town”, and doesn’t need or want more. 3,892 sq. ft.

18 Spezzano

18 Spezzano

Poor old 18 Spezzano Drive, in NoPo Riverside, reported an accepted offer just last week but it’s back on today at a lower price. Last week, it was $525,000; now it’s $487,500, which I suspect was the price accepted seven days ago. At some point this will be  bargain and it looks pretty good right now,  0.10 of an acre or not.


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Good: this is where the progressives get their news, so maybe …

Jon Stewart accuses Sebelius of lying about the ObamaKare exemption given to employers. You may remember that exemption, the one where Obama waved the royal wand and changed “the settled law of the land”, the “health plan voted in by the majority” that droolers like Francis Fudrucker have been spluttering about, by creating an exemption for businesses (and unions) where none had existed. This has upset Mr. Stewart, if not see-no-evil-apologists like Francis.

During his interview with Sebelius, Stewart repeatedly sought an answer from the secretary on why big businesses got a delay in their Obamacare mandate to provide affordable health insurance to their employees, while individuals did not get a delay in their Obamacare mandate making them purchase health care or face a penalty.

In a rare monologue at the end of the show, Stewart said he remained confused and that he suspected that the secretary may have been lying to him.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/10/08/jon-stewart-accuses-kathleen-sebelius-of-lying-to-him-about-obamacare/#ixzz2h86WI15s


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The science isn’t settled

Harvard physicist criticizes global warming hysteria

Dr. Mike Stopa is a Harvard physicist who says that there is a great deal of “hysteria” surrounding global warming. He’s also a conservative Republican running to take the seat Democratic Sen. Ed Markey has vacated in Massachusetts’ fifth congressional district.

In a YouTube video produced by his campaign, Stopa highlights the economics, science, and politics surrounding global warming and ends by showing the vacant lots of two green companies that have since gone bankrupt after profiting off of renewable energy subsidies.

Stopa — who is director of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network Computation Project and a nationally recognized expert on nanoscale electronics and computation — predicts a change in climate science in the near future.

“Thomas Kuhn described changes in scientific paradigms that are sudden and surprising with the term ‘scientific revolutions,’” Stopa told The Daily Caller. “We may be witnessing such a scientific revolution in the theory of global warming right now. But alas, there are reactionary forces outside of the scientific community that are fighting vigorously to hold the line and keep up public concern if not outright panic.”

Stopa is especially critical of international organizations that are calling for more regulations of greenhouse gases.

“The IPCC (Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change), in releasing their Fifth Assessment Report, are struggling to maintain a sense of urgency about climate change that is belied by: a pause of fifteen years in global warming, a failure (until now) to correctly incorporate important natural climate driving effects such as solar forcing and ocean current, and a continued inability to fully incorporate the effects of cloud formation in their models,” Stopa told TheDC.

Nothing grabs hold of the human mind more powerfully than religion – sometimes that’ good, sometimes, as in Islam fanaticism, liberalism or the Church of Gaia, that’s bad.




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