Who is right on Health Care?

To be frank, I am getting a bit confused with the relentless bombardment of HealthCare News 24/7. As a layman, I have a few basic questions:

(01) What is the current Profit Margins of insurance companies like United Health Care? The reason this is important is because in the Technology world, it is not uncommon for companies to have raw profit margins of above 30-40%. Are the Insurance Companies as hell bent on “insane profits” as is being claimed? [I intend to research this]

(02) Is every single US citizen going to have an option for Health Insurance? I thought all this was mainly because of 45 Million (there is debate regarding this number) uninsured citizens and their sad plight? Looks like even after all this, we are going to have millions of uninsured citizens.

(03) Is the Medical Costs to a Family really on the rise? Let me check my numbers from 2009 and the projected expenses for 2010. Though my out-of-pocket premiums remain roughly the same, the copayments for each doctor visit (or procedure) has doubled from 10$ to 20$. But the real question should be posed to those folks who are paying for their own HealthCare, as opposed to people like me who get it through big corporations who have significant bargaining power with the Insurance Companies. From associates I hear numbers like 1500-2000$ per month for a family of 4-5 people.

 

The current solutions being debated seems to me like methods to “help” US citizens pay for their Medical Insurance. For e.g. Government might give a credit which you can apply to your yearly HealthCare costs. If the cost is say 1000$. Government will help pay 300$, so you have to only worry about 700$. But is it really “cost reduction”? The question I have is: Why is the current HealthCare cost 1000$ in the first place?

Hmmmm …. Something to think about!

Trip to Washington.D.C., Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia … [October, 2009]

Have always wanted to visit this area, but has been putting it off mainly because my wife (Rosemary) is not a huge fan of what this area has to offer. With the “forced” PTO at Cisco Systems, Inc. and my SouthWest Travel Funds (which were set to expire soon), I decided to do a 6-day trip to this area. I am glad I did.

Some thoughts from the trip:

(01) The Baltimore Inner Harbor is a very nice place to people-watch. There were quite a few street performers also. I enjoyed it.

(02) Man, the National Mall area is huge! My poor feet was sore for 2-3 days after the intense walking I did in Washington D.C. It was well worth it, though. I probably should have worn a good walking shoes. My original plan was to move around in the car, though my research told me that parking is not going to be easy. After 1 hour of searching, I parked in a residential area after a careful checking of signs (or so I thought!). When I returned at 4.25 PM, what do I see on the windshield? A 30$ parking ticket left there at 4.23PM! A good souvenir though!

(03) The Lincoln Memorial has some fantastic views.

(04) I wish the entire National Mall Area is a bit more well-maintained. I am referring to the grass and walkways. The buildings were all immaculate (especially the Library of Congress). Lot of random construction and not-so-great-looking grass and surroundings. Also, the Reflecting Pool looks like it needs some cleaning.

(05) The staff at the museums were very friendly.

(06) Should have booked 6 months in advance for the White House tour. But as I mention above, this trip was planned in a hurry and did not provide me the opportunity for such a booking.

(07) Philly Cheesesteaks!!!! I thoroughly enjoyed the visit to Pat’s and Geno’s. I ate 3 sandwiches in one sitting! Though the restaurants are in a so-so neighbourhood, the drive down is worth it.

(08) Thoroughly enjoyed the drive through Maryland (e.g. Annapolis) and Delaware (e.g. Dover). A very beautiful area of the country, with only mild traffic (compared to California). Annapolis is one of the cutest towns I have seen in US.

 

I put photos from my travels in my Orkut and Facebook pages …

ATP Tour Finals – 2009

I would be surprised if Djokovic does not win it, the way he has been playing. Both Federer and Nadal have not been in great form and Murray, Del Potro and Djokovic does provide significant challenge. Its a pity that this tournament is not easily accessible on TV in USA. Let me see if I can follow it online.

I actually watched live only a few games of the Australian Open 2009 finals between Nadal and Federer. The timing is very inconvenient for folks in USA. But lately, I watched the highlights on YouTube. That match had supreme shot-making from both the players, especially in the first 3 sets. If you are a tennis fan, might want to check that out …

Hello world!

Noticed that Roger Federer lost to Novak Djokovic at Basel indoors. Overall, when one looks back at the 2009 season, though it has been a remarkable year for Federer, the quality of oponents he had to beat (for his titles) were not that great. It leads me to believe that if Nadal was not injured during the critical part of the season and if he had to face the likes of Djokovic, Murray or Del Potro in the latter half of tournaments, the results could have been much different. Not to take away anything from Federer’s 2009 victories, it seems to me that the days of dominating the other top players (ranked from 2-5) are done with. Based on his performance at Paris Masters and the rest of the season, he might even lose his No:1 ranking.