Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1137, Mar. 31st, 2010

BREAKING NEWS

WNEP TV is reporting and LuLac has confirmed through two other sources that Kevin Lynn has been let go at WILK. Lynn was absent from the morning show today on WILK and there was no talk about where he was once except for when weathercaster Joe Snedecker made a reference to Lynn's being off during the Easter season. Lynn himself confirmed to WNEP that he has indeed been asked to leave Entercom. John Webster who resigned yesterday from Rock 107 is expected to take a position, most likely Lynn's at WILK.
I always thought Kevin Lynn brought humor, intelligence and wit to the task of hosting a radio show. Many people have disagreed with that opinion. But Lynn made people think and exposed those who did not. And with the raging debates and misinformation regarding issues of the day today, that was very welcome. We wish him well in whatever he tackles next.

The LuLac Edition #1136, Mar. 31st, 2010


PHOTO INDEX: JOHN WEBSTER AND STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOHN YUDICHAK.

YUDICHAK ON TV

John Yudichak, Democratic State Senate candidate in the 14th Senatorial District, launched his first campaign TV commercial this week addressing government reform and the culture of corruption in politics. The 14th Senate District encompasses parts of Carbon, Luzerne and Monroe Counties in Northeastern PA. The 30 second spot forcefully stakes out Yudichak’s competitive advantage in the race – his strong record of independent leadership on reforming government and standing-up against the culture of corruption in politics. “The people of Northeastern Pennsylvania are tired of reading about their elected officials being implicated in one scandal after another, whether it is ‘Bonusgate,’ ‘Kids for Cash,’ or some ‘pay to play’ deal for no bid contracts,” Yudichak said. Yudichak recently attended a job summit where Luzerne County businessman, Charles Cohen, told the forum attendees: “It is hard to be in business in northeastern Pennsylvania when we have a culture of corruption.” (Citizens Voice, March 26, 2010) “If we are going to create jobs and get people working again we must start by cleaning up this pervasive culture of corruption and restoring the public’s trust in government,” Yudichak said. As a State Representative, Yudichak has consistently stood with the people of northeastern Pennsylvania by voting ‘No’ and refusing to accept the pay raise and pension increase in Harrisburg, Yudichak also stood firm with the people of northeastern Pennsylvania when he voted to strip taxpayer pensions from corrupt politicians. The new television spot - which opens and closes with Yudichak with his wife, Heather, and their three young daughters, Sarah, Anna and Evelyn - emphasizes Yudichak’s “No” votes on the controversial legislative pay raise and pension hike, as well as his leadership in denying public pension benefits to politicians found guilty of corruption, prompted by the guilty verdicts against two Luzerne County judges in the “Cash for Kids” scandal that brought unwanted national attention to the region. The commercial also makes reference to Yudichak’s recent introduction of legislation that would require state lawmakers to submit expense vouchers for all per diem expenses, as well as setting term limits for House leadership positions. He also called for a state constitutional convention to address issues such as campaign finance reform, reapportionment reform, and local tax reform. Pennsylvania’s Primary Elections will take place Tuesday, May 18th. Here's the ad:


KANJO TAKES THE HEAT

U.S. Representative Paul Kanjorski met with constituents at a Senior Center in Scranton on Tuesday. He took some heat for voting for the Health Care Bill. What is extremely scary is that Kanjorski was criticized by senior citizens. Most of the benefits senior citizens enjoy today are the result of the policies of the Democratic party. Listen to what one seasoned citizen had to say the Congressman, "This Obama bill is no good, This Obama bill is no good." Never said why he thought the bill was no good, just said it was no good. This senior American might have made better use of his time if he just shut his mouth and went off to play bingo someplace.

WEBSTER

John Webster, the half of the popular morning duo Daniels and Webster quit his job yesterday. Webster was known as the wise cracking side kick of Jay Daniels. Legend has it that John, a former employee of WCDL Radio was working as a business manager at 107 in the early 80s. His quick wit caught the imagination of a GM and he was teamed with former KRZ disc jockey Jay Daniels. Webster’s success and popularity came from the fact that he represented the “everyman” in northeastern Pennsylvania. He was fond of saying “This isn't heavy lifting”. As a sales rep, it was a pleasure working with Daniels and Webster because they knew that clients drove the economic success of their show. Behind the facade of fun and frolic Webster had an innate curiosity about politics and pop culture. I thought he would make an excellent teacher or writer. John had confided to me as long as 5 years ago that the daily grind of the show was leaving him unfulfilled. I had thought though that he’d be able to hang in there but apparently there was a breakdown in contract talks. No matter how those negotiations ended, Mr. Webster deserves some kind of send off from Shamrock. He was a major part of the landscape of local radio. Whatever he does in the future will be interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him enter the political arena or land at another media outlet. Webster is always our featured photo on our anniversary blog since he was instrumental in teaching me the intricacies of the various enhancements. John helped make LuLac, like he did local radio, a little more creative.

ISSUES AND EGGS

If you would like to meet our Republican candidates on the federal and state levels and want to know how they stand on issues that are important to you, here's your chance. The Luzerne County Republican Party is hosting an Issues & Eggs Forum on Friday, April 9, at 7:45 a.m. at Genetti's in Downtown Wilkes-Barre. We're starting early so that you can enjoy a breakfast buffet with us and then sit back and listen to the stellar GOP candidates who are running for state and federal offices.
All Republican candidates who have races in Luzerne County are invited to participate. With the help of some local media, you'll hear how they stand on federal issues such as health care and taxes and state issues such as property taxes and gas drilling along with their ideas for passing a budget on time. (Novel idea!) You will be able to submit questions and meet the candidates. The forum will run from 8:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. so you still have time to head to work or class. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $20 each. Candidates, groups and businesses that purchase tables of 10 (for $200 each) may display business signs or candidate signs at their tables. Call the County GOP office at 208-4671.

TOM SAXTON

The Times Leader reports that the man who many say left an indelible mark on the quality of health care in the Wyoming Valley area has died. Thomas P. Saxton Sr., former chief executive officer of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, was responsible for bringing the open-heart surgery program to the community more than 25 years ago. Saxton, who served 21 years as a hospital administrator, passed away Monday after a 1 ½-year battle with cancer. He was 84. When I was a staff person at the United Way of Wyoming Valley in the Communications Department Mr. Saxton was a very cooperative volunteer who easily helped communicate the mission of the agency in the eighties. It was a pleasure to work with him and we mourn hs loss.

JOSEPH X.

When I was a youngster just getting interested in politics, a must read for me was Joseph X. Flannery, the political reporter for the Scranton Times. Mr. Flannery gave us all a bird eye view of local, state and national politics. One of the first stories I read was in 1967 when the Sunday Times was just gearing up and he wrote an incredible piece on the political future of William Scranton Senior. Mr. Flannery also penned the Roderick Random column for the Times for years. I saw him in passing when I worked for Rock 107 in the late 90s occasionally sharing an elevator with him. Once on a rainy day he got in the elevator and the Times operation, (yes they had elevator operators take you to your floor in those days) said to Mr. Flannery “How long you have that raincoat?” “As long as you’ve been alive he said, good stuff endures”. That was oh so true of his raincoat, his words and prose as well as his reputation as one of the premiere print jourbnalists in this area.




Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1135, Mar. 30th, 2010



PHOTO INDEX: STEVE CORBETT MAKING A POINT TO THIS BLOGGER, AND THE PCN LOGO.

PCN AIRS GUBERNATORIAL FORUM


Six gubernatorial candidates will converge of the campus of Harrisburg Area Community College for a forum to discuss making state government more accountable and transparent. LIVE coverage will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31, followed by a special LIVE PCN Call-In program on Election 2010. Gubernatorial Candidates forum, co-sponsored by the Committee of Seventy, Common Cause, Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) and the PA League of Women Voters Expected to attend: Democratic candidates - Joe Hoeffel, Dan Onorato, Jack Wagner and Anthony Williams along with Republican candidates - Tom Corbett and Sam Rohrer. Moderated by John Baer, political columnist, Philadelphia Daily News, LIVE coverage begins at 7:00 p.m.
Re-airs Thursday, April 1 at 9:00 a.m. PCN will host a LIVE Call-In about Election 2010 following the conclusion of the forum. Viewers can join in the discussion by dialing toll-free at 1-877-PA6-5001. Scheduled guests will include Ray Zaborney of State Street Strategies and Mark Singel of The Winter Group. For more information about this program as well as a list of channel designations, visit pcntv.com. PCN is a nonprofit, noncommercial news organization created and supported by cable television companies. PCN receives no state or federal funding. Network programming is distributed on more than 150 cable systems in Pennsylvania serving more than 10 million Pennsylvanians in 3.3 million homes.

COMCAST DROPS PCN

I understand Comcast Cable has dropped PCN from its rotation. This is pretty bad since PCN focuses in on statewide issues and programming. If you live in the Comcast service area and don’t get PCN, here’s a link to complain.
http://www.onlinecomcast.com/customer-service.aspx. Call the installation number, it’ll torq them off.

CORBETT NUMBER 1

Steve Corbett won an AP Award for the number 1 Talk Program in this size market. Here’s a reprint of his column from the WILK website. Pay special attention to the Larry and Bernie portion of it.
Nursing a glass of cheap red wine, I shared a banquet table at the Holiday Inn in Grantville Saturday night with Sue Henry, Nancy Kman and others. Representing WILK News Radio at the Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcasters Association awards dinner, my colleagues and I had a chance to have a drink and a laugh and a few words about what we do every day and why we do it.We do a lot, but mostly we talk. And we urge you to talk, to find your voice and use it.WILK received seven awards Saturday night - six second places and one first.I received a first place plaque that the AP presented for the best news talk show in the state. Nancy picked up a second place for “The Morning News with Nancy and Kevin,” the show she co-hosts with Kevin Lynn.Had the judges permitted us to enter three shows, I believe Sue Henry would have received an award for her talk show as well, as she did last year.Acknowledgement for success feels good. But, like I said this morning when I spoke with Nancy on the air, without listeners and talkers, no rewards would have been forthcoming. Without people like you, nobody would need people like us.More people like to listen than talk, especially to breaking news or commentary about the mostly local and regional events that shape their lives – talk they will not hear anywhere else. But I like it best when the people respond. I like it best when the people call and talk. That’s when I feel the true power of the people. That’s when we’re at our peak. That’s when news talk tells the world that what we have to say matters.Our numbers and ratings at WILK prove that people are listening. But I argue that the official ratings don’t even come close to the true numbers of listeners reflected. I believe that countless uncounted people listen every day on our AM and FM signals. I simply base my impression on the increasing number of people who talk to me on the street, in supermarkets and wherever else I go. My motto, “You better listen!” has become a battle cry that’s been picked up by men, women and even children throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. For that I am very proud.My most recent highpoint came a few weeks ago when a woman pushing a sleeping 11-week-old stopped me by the vegetable aisle in a Wilkes-Barre supermarket and asked if I would pose with “Raymond.” I lovingly put my arm around his plastic seat, whispered “You better listen” to the infant and smiled for the camera.Weeks before that, in a nearby aisle, a young brother and sister asked for my autograph. The children and I talked about the importance of expressing yourself. We talked about telling the truth and shared a few moments as friends.A few weeks later, two other children stopped me to shake hands. We, too, talked briefly about the importance of talking with each other. Meeting new people and learning and sharing are helpful at any age, I said. The kids enthusiastically agreed.At one point Saturday night, the voice of Larry from Berwick echoed in my mind. He had called “Corbett” last Wednesday to rail against “queers” and oppose gay marriage. I had asked Larry why he would use such a hurtful term about so many people he didn’t know.Larry was in no mood to negotiate.On Thursday, Bernie from Wilkes-Barre called the show to say that he had heard Larry and felt bad because Larry’s slur made him relive being taunted when he was young by people who also didn’t know him but called him “queer” anyway. Bernie is a good man, a concerned citizen with a caring heart and a sense of humor. But despite his strength, I sensed his voice crack briefly as he relived the moments of his youth when strangers lashed out and hurt him deeply.On Friday, Larry was back on the air. He, too, had heard Bernie and wanted to say he was sorry. Life’s a struggle for Larry, too, and he didn’t want people to think he was a bad person. Larry said that he used to be fun and that people would have liked going out with him before his legs and feet gave out and he had to sit home alone all day with his thoughts and frustrations that made him want to explode.Larry said he felt better after he apologized.I hoped that Bernie did, too.WILK news talk radio made all these encounters possible. And, these are the moments that mean as much to me as any moment in my decades-long career in journalism.Thank you for talking.Thank you for listening.Thank you for being there.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1134, Mar. 27th, 2010






PHOTO INDEX: THE PICTURE OF THE NIGHT HAS TO BE LINDA AND STEVE URBAN PICTURED WITH LOCAL DEMOCRATIC ACTIVIST SABINA McLAUGHLIN. (NOTICE THE STICKER ON HER LAPEL). FORMER MAYOR JIM McNULTY MADE THE EVENT AS WELL AS MY COUSIN P.J. PRIBULA WHO TOLD HIS OLD FRIEND JOE VALENTI THAT HE CAME TO THE EVENT TO SEE ME, NOT JOE. I GUESS THAT BLOOD IS THICKER THAN WATER THING REALLY MATTERS. A PLEASANT SURPRISE WAS MY CHANCE MEETING WITH FATHER LAWRENCE HOMER WHO TAUGHT ME AT ST. JOHN'S HIGH SCHOOL ON WILLIAM STREET IN THE 70s. FATHER WAS HAVING DINNER, I BELIEVE HE WAS HAVING SOME SORT OF SEAFOOD IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF, DARE I SAY IT, POLITICAL SHARKS. MAYOR TOM LEIGHTON HAD AN ANIMATED CANDIDATE WITH ATTORNEY JOE TERRANA AND STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOHN YUDICHAK WAS THE FIRST TO ARRIVE, THAT IS BEHIND POPE JOHN PAUL RINGO, NOT PICTURED HERE. (PHOTOS FROM JOE VALENTI AND GORT 42).

A CIVIL MATTER

Friday night in Pittston in an Irish Pub on Main Street, people in this area went against the political grain. Yes, this hotbed of politics which has seen both good and bad over the last few years actually moved a bit backwards. But in a way, this movement was a good one. While we’ve seen the political landscape divided right down the line with boorish name calling, insults and threats, insinuations of character weakness, accusations of political strong arming and total gridlock because one side won’t budge on a national level, here in LuLac land we witnessed a degree of civility, respect, fellowship and even a few differences of opinion. On Friday my fellow bloggers got together and invited area government officials, candidates, posters, friends, foes and just interested observers. And much to our surprise they came out in full force. Unlike politics on the national scene our get together featured candidates for the same office in the same room actually not clawing each other’s eyes out. Unlike politics on the national scene, people actually engaged in meaningful differences of opinion. (I’m sure the beer helped but you take what you can get!) I’m sure there were people there who think I’m a self promoting left wing baby killing fascist/socialist/reactionary but they didn’t try to stone me for it. And I’m am certain there there were people I met who think might have slammed unfairly in the past. But we all adhered to the Rodney King admonition from the 90s, “We all just decided to get along”. At least for one night.




The LuLac Edition #1133, Mar. 27th, 2010

PHOTO INDEX: OUR INTERVIEW LOGO.

INTERVIEW

I had a brief conversation with a good friend who works in a small factory in Old Forge. Most of his conversation centers on baseball when he does engage his co workers. But the last few weeks his department was buzzing about the President and his policies. I asked him what they were saying about Mr. Obama.
Q: What are they saying?
A: Well a lot of negative things. Some are outright racist. Most of them say Obama will be a one term President.
Q: Why?
A: The Health Care debate.
Q: Does your employer offer health care?
A: Very limited.
Q: So theoretically this bill can help your plant if your employer gets a tax break. Did you tell them that?
A: I did but they said it will be worse.
Q: How many of them are covered?
A: One guy is on his wife’s plan but the other three don’t have any coverage.
Q: Did you tell them that something is better than nothing?
A: I did.
Q: What happened?
A: They well they said I was some type of love you know.
Q: So they used the “n” word regarding the President?
A: They did.
Q: What else are they saying?
A: Well that Obama will make sure all the illegals get benefits and take them away from us. And that Obama will let them and all the Puerto Ricans in.
Q: You know Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory right?
A: Yes.
Q: And you did tell them that Puerto Rico residents can vote in the Presidential primaries right?
A: Yes. It didn’t make any difference. I can’t waste my energy arguing with people who just don’t have the facts.
Q: So what do you do?
A: Tell them I’m a political, slap on my headphones and listen to the radio.
Q: What do you listen to?
A: ESPN, Fox Sports for Dan Patrick and WARM.
Q: Does that make you feel any better?
A: Yeah.
Q: Do these guys that are screaming about the President, how did they vote the last time?
A: I don’t think they did. I’m not even sure they are registered.
Q: You’re a smart guy, no sense trying to win an argument with blowhards right?
A: Right. I just make sure I have enough batteries in my lunch pail.
Q: Good idea.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1132, Mar. 26th, 2010





PHOTO INDEX: RICHARD M. NIXON, HEALTH CARE REFORM LOGO, OUR 1966 LOGO AND MILTON J. SHAPP ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL IN 1966.

16 OUT OF 21

A big deal has been made out of Legislative Reconciliation as if this was some new form of government. It is not. Did you realize that since 1981 reconciliation has been used 21 times by various Presidents to pass their agenda. 16 out of 21 times it happened under a Republican President.

THREATS

I lived through the 1960s. There were demonstrations and violence over the Vietnam War and Civil Rights. Draft age people opposed the war. They staged sit ins at various colleges. At the 1968 Democratic convention the Chicago police let loose and caused a riot injuring many protesters. On Civil Rights, black and white activists were killed for supporting racial equality. Ironically blacks in the north rioted in the streets and it can be argued that their motivation was more poverty than equality. The Vietnam War and Civil Rights took its toll on the nation. It was a fight literally over life and death. War and peace in our own country. The issues were clearly defined. You either were for or against it and you could clearly articulate your position. Not so with the health care bill. There has been so much misinformation that it would be a crime if someone were seriously hurt or killed over a lie or misconception. It is very important to our nation but it’s not worth threatening or killing someone over. My father used to say the only thing you might want to fight over is a lot of money. I amended that to a lot of money and beautiful women. Civil Right and the War in Vietnam produced its martyrs as any big history altering moment would. The threats and meanness might add Health Care to that list....and that would be a sin.

HEALTH CARE BILL OVERVIEW

There has been so much misinformation about this health care bill and this President (don't miss Saturday's Interview feature) that it is refreshing to finally see what is in the bill. This synopsis of the 2600 page bill was sent to us by our friend from the 2009 campaign trail Wil Toole. Toole regularly e mails the President and anyone who will listen with ideas and opinions. This breakdown should at least calm down the fears of what this bill will actually do.

IMMEDIATE BENEFITS

1. Small businesses can immediately take advantage of a tax credit of up to 35% of premiums to help provide their employees coverage.
2. Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole in 2010 will receive a $250 rebate check this year.
3. All Medicare beneficiaries will receive free annual checkups and free preventive services and screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies.
4. All early retirees aged 55-64 can take advantage of a temporary re-insurance program to offset the cost of health claims for employers that provide health benefits for retirees.
5. Insurance companies are now prohibited from denying coverage or dropping individuals when they get sick or make a claim.
6. Children with pre-existing conditions will have access to coverage through the high-risk pools, and insurance companies can no longer drop coverage for children based on pre-existing conditions.
7. Insurance companies are now prohibited from placing lifetime caps on coverage.
8. Insurance companies are now prohibited from overly restrictive yearly caps on coverage.
9. All new private plans must provide free preventive care like mammograms and colonoscopies.
10. From now on, all consumers will have the opportunity to directly appeal insurance industry coverage decisions by their health insurance plan.
11. Insurance companies must spend at least 80% of your premium dollars on medical services, not CEO salaries, marketing or administrative services - and must send consumers rebates for any non-compliance.
12. Americans who are uninsured due to a pre-existing condition can immediately receive quality coverage.
13. Insurance companies must extend their parents’ health insurance coverage to young adults until they reach the age of 26 years of age.
14. Health insurance reform will invest in community health centers to allow them to nearly double the number of patients they see over the next five years.
15. Health insurance reform invests in new training programs for nurses, public health officials and primary care physicians to increase the number of care givers
16. Insurance companies are now prohibited from discriminating based on an individual’s salary.

FOR FAMILIES

You will likely see lower premiums, a result of lowered administrative costs and greater competition between insurance companies. You will have more options, more benefits, and more protections against insurance company abuses.
Health insurance reform eliminates the hidden tax your family currently pays due to uncompensated care from the uninsured. On average, that increases family premiums over $1,100 a year. Also, insurance companies now have limits on what they can require families to pay out-of-pocket in co-pays and deductibles -- and lifetime caps on benefits are prohibited.
Your family will be able to access the health insurance Exchange, where you can do a side-by-side comparison of all the different health care coverage options. This way you can easily find the best quality, least expensive choice which will inject much needed competition into the health care marketplace and bring down costs.
Children with pre-existing conditions WILL get health insurance coverage. If your child currently has coverage, the insurance company can’t deny them care. So if he or she has asthma, no insurance company can refuse to cover his or her inhaler. And if your child DOESN’T have insurance and gets denied because of a pre-existing condition, they can join the high-risk pool in their state. Those pools start within the next 90 days, so your child will have a number of options for quality, affordable coverage.
If you make less than $200,000 a year individually or less than $250,000 as a couple your taxes will not increase. If you are a family of four who makes $88,000, you will be eligible for tax credits to help pay for your premiums and slash our out-of-pocket costs for medical coverage.

IF YOU'RE ON MEDICARE

Guaranteed Medicare benefits will not be touched.
If you like your doctor, you can still see him/her. Or, you can see different doctors if you want to -- it's up to you. And you now have access to free annual checkups and free preventive care such as mammograms and colonoscopies.
Health insurance reform will lower your prescription drug costs by offering 50% discounts on brand-name and biologic drugs as well as reducing the prescription drug donut hole. Also, if you hit the donut hole this year, you can expect a $250 rebate check in the mail.
Additionally, reform cuts red tape by allowing your doctors, nurses, specialists, and primary care physicians to coordinate your care more effectively. This will help improve the quality of care, save money, reduce avoidable readmissions, and prevent hospital acquired infections that occur too much.

IF YOU HAVE NO HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE NOW

There are three ways health insurance reform helps you afford coverage:
1. Tax credits to help you afford it.
2. Bans insurance companies from price gouging you simply because you don’t currently have insurance or have a pre-existing condition.
3. Prohibits insurance companies from denying you coverage.
Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny coverage because you have diabetes, cancer or any other pre-existing condition. In fact, if you have a pre-existing condition and are uninsured, you are immediately eligible for coverage.
If your employer doesn't provide insurance, you could be eligible for tax credits to help you buy quality, affordable coverage. If you buy your own individual insurance, your premiums are expected to drop anywhere from 14 to 20%. Additionally, you could take advantage of new tax credits that can help reduce your premiums by an average of 60%.
For the first time in American history, there is a limit on how much the insurance company can make you pay. In addition to historic protections against insurance company abuses, all insurance plans must have a simple appeals process to challenge coverage decisions by your insurance company. If you disagree with their decision, you can bring it before an independent appeals process.

IF YOU RETIRED EARLY

For too long, insurance companies were able to take advantage of early retirees because they were not employed and too young for Medicare. Health insurance reform prohibits outrageous age ratings for premiums. Now there are limits on these insurance company abuses! You could benefit from $5 billion in financial assistance to employers to help them provide early retiree coverage. This will make it easier for employers to provide early retirees coverage and will provide premium relief of up to $1,200 for every family. You will be able to access the Exchange where you can do a side-by-side comparison of all the different health care coverage options. This way you can easily find the best quality, least expensive choice which will inject much needed competition into the health care marketplace to bring down costs for you and your family.

IF YOU RECENTLY GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE

You are allowed to stay on your parents’ health care plan until you turn 26. This will help cover many of the one in three young adults who are uninsured. Under health insurance reform, you will always have access to quality, affordable health insurance choices regardless of how their lives change.

IF YOU HAVE CANCER, DIABETES, OR OTHER PREEXISTING CONDITION

Until now, insurance companies could deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, cancer, asthma, heart burn, pregnancy, or even acne! Even domestic violence was counted as a pre-existing condition in some instances.
However, insurance companies are no longer allowed to deny coverage based on a person’s medical history, including genetic information. In fact, if you have a pre-existing condition and are uninsured, you are immediately eligible for coverage in a brand new insurance pool.

IF YOU ARE A SERVICE MEMBER OR VETERAN

If you are eligible for VA health care, you will remain eligible. If you have TRI-CARE or TRICARE for Life, there is no provision in the legislation that would increase co-payments, deductibles, or change eligibility requirements.
If you have VA health care you add or change to private insurance from the new health care marketplace – the Exchange. If you are uninsured, you can purchase quality, affordable health insurance on the Exchange as well.

FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

For small business owners, health insurance reform provides tens of billions of dollars in tax credits that will help employers afford coverage for their employees. Additionally, employees can get tax credits to help them afford coverage.
Reform means more stability for small business owners, who will no longer be at risk of their insurance company raising premiums up to 200% because employees get sick, older, or because they hired a woman. If you employ 50 workers or less, you are exempt from all health insurance responsibility requirements. In fact, you are most likely eligible for tax credits of up to 35% of premiums to help you provide coverage to your employees.

BOTTOM LINE: REFORM HOLDS INSURANCE COMPANIES ACCOUNTABLE

1. Insurance companies that spend too much on CEO salaries and marketing are required to send you a rebate check.
2. Insurance companies that engage in price gauging will be banned from offering plans in the Exchange.
3. Insurance companies must now be transparent and provide notice for all rate hikes, so you can easily shop around for less expensive coverage.

WHERE WAS NIXON?

The other day as I listened to President Obama recite the names of Presidents who fought for health care reform, I was dismayed to not hear him mention Richard Nixon's name. Even the late Ted Kennedy said his biggest legislative mistake was not embracing the Nixon proposal. I was glad to see that someone recognized Nixon's vision. Here an article Ben Stein wrote on the 37th President's role in health care reform. All eyes have been on Washington in the past year as the parties debated President Barack Obama's shifting versions of national health care. On Sunday night, after a highly questionable series of parliamentary maneuvers, President Obama signed into "law" his health care plan. With some considerable reason, he noted that health care for all is an idea whose time has come. (His plan still leaves more than 20 million not insured, but let that be.) And, with some justification, most of the media rejoiced that national health care had arrived for people with low incomes, with pre-existing conditions, without jobs, with impoverished employers.To call Barack Obama's response to the passage (however questionably executed ) of this bill "triumphalist" is like calling Mount Everest "tall."But among the glorying, there was little or no mention of my former boss, Richard M. Nixon, and this was a monstrous wrong, one of an innumerable number of wrongs directed at Mr. Nixon. The flat truth is that in February 1974, with the hounds of hell baying at him about Watergate, with a national trial by shortage under way after the Arab Oil Embargo, with the economy in extremely rocky shape, and with large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, Republican Richard M. Nixon submitted to Congress a national health care bill in many ways more comprehensive than what Mr. Obama achieved. Mr. Nixon's health care plan would have covered all employed people by giving combined state and federal subsidies to employers. It would have covered the poor and the unemployed by much larger subsidies. It would have encouraged health maintenance organizations. It would have banned exclusions for pre-existing conditions and not allowed limits on spending for each insured. I know a bit about this because I, your humble servant, as a 29-year-old speech writer, wrote the message to Congress sending up the bill.In many ways, the bill was far more "socialist" than what Mr. Obama has proposed. It certainly involved a far larger swath of state and federal government power over health care. Please remember that this was 36 years ago, when middle-class Americans still had some slight faith that government was on their side.My point is not whether or not Mr. Nixon's plan was better than Mr. Obama's. In fact, they have many points in common. My only point is that if you want to call someone a visionary, if you want to call someone compassionate, if you want to note that someone was a foe of inequality and a friend to mercy, think of Richard Nixon, with a host of problems of his own the likes of which Mr. Obama cannot imagine, reaching out to the poor and the uninsured to help. The plan, of course, was killed dead by the Democrats, led by Edward Kennedy, who later regretted what he had done. Still, attention must be paid to a prophet without honor in his own land.

JUST WHO'S LACKING?

The Times Leader reports that Northeastern Pennsylvania economic development leaders have long touted the region’s employee pool as hard working, skilled and possessing a strong work ethic. Those days may be gone. “Using that sales pitch might not work any more,” said Susan Spry, vice president for workforce development at Luzerne County Community College during a break in the Luzerne County Jobs Summit, held Thursday at the college. Concerns have been raised by area business leaders in recent years about the decline of the work ethic, according to Spry and others involved in the local economic development sector.
Maybe the work ethic has declined because workers are getting sick and tired of getting low paying jobs and being told it’s a good thing to have. Maybe the work ethic has declined because two families sometimes can’t even break $50,000 a year between mom and dad. Maybe the work ethic is declining because companies waltz in here with huge tax breaks and are gone at the drop of a hat. Maybe the work ethic has declined because workers have been through the mill on various companies that offer the same routine. They might work hard but that doesn't make them stupid. After hearing the same line for generations maybe it rings a bit hollow. And I think it is hysterical that when an impotent chamber can't bring in many jobs, they blame the work force.

STUBB SNUBBED

How about that Henry Stubbs? You remember him. He was the animal that killed a young mother and her little girl in 2001. This brain trust said his defense attorney Al Flora blew his case. Anyway, his claim was denied and we could only hope he ends up like his victims. Stubbs was convicted of killing Elena Herring, 33, and her daughter, Viktoria Ivanova, inside their Stark Street. Herring was found raped and strangled, while Ivanova was found hanging from a board in the basement of the home. Calling Al Flora a bad defense attorney is just this coward’s way of justifying his sorry existence.

JESSE & SANDRA

You see Sandra Bullock? Then do you see who her husband Jesse James was stepping out with? WTF!

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT


1966

The 23rd Communist Party Conference is held in the Soviet Union; Leonid Brezhnev demands that U.S. troops leave Vietnam, and announces that Chinese-Soviet relations are not satisfying......The Labour Party under Harold Wilson wins the British General Election......in Pennsylvania State Senator Robert Casey charged that industrialist Milton Shapp was trying to buy the primary election. Shapp continues to spend heavily on TV as well as newspapers. Casey who has the Democratic endorsement charges that Shapp will be a tool for businessmen. Casey was annoyed that Shapp hired a political consultant from Massachusetts by the name of Joe Napolitan to come to Pennsylvania and direct his outsider campaign against his Party and its endorsed nominee. Napolitan was the first hired gun to come into the state and assume a high-visibility political role that I can recall. His success in managing the Shapp primary campaign earned him considerable national publicity. In retrospect, it may have been, in fact, the one political campaign more than any other of the era that gave birth to political consulting as a cottage industry across the country. The theme of Shapp’s Napolitan-directed campaign was ”Man Against the Machine.” Its heart and soul was a devastating 30-minute film of the same name which virtually saturated, at great personal expense to Milton Shapp, Pennsylvania television in the last days leading up to the primary balloting. Its producer was Joseph Guggenheim, a filmmaker of some renown. The film was part biographical, for Shapp was a virtual unknown to most Pennsylvanians. But the biggest impact of the film was political, however. It attacked the Democratic Party establishment as a closed corporation whose leadership was out of touch and unconcerned about the needs of real Pennsylvanians. The closing visual was particularly graphic. The Democrats had a party functionary Larry Rooney who performed a variety of mundane chores at party events. The day the Democratic State Committee met in private session to endorse (Lackawanna County State Senator) Bob Casey for Governor, Larry Rooney was the doorkeeper. Shapp’s television cameras were there to record the scene. They were not allowed in the proceedings themselves. So the film captured Larry Rooney closing the doors of the meeting room to Shapp’s cameras, and, by extension, the Pennsylvania electorate. Rooney may even had his hand up to the camera as the scene closed. The visual effect was devastating. The 30 minute documentary was played on all three local TV stations. Sometimes it was played back to back on the same station. You couldn't get away from it and with only three channels, Milton Shapp was everywhere......in Casey’s old Senatorial district Jim Haggerty, who lost a very close election to Joe McDade in the 1964 10th Congressional race appears to be on his way to garnering the Democratic nomination for the seat Casey vacated to run for Governor.....and 44 years ago in LuLac land and America the number 1 song was a song no one to this day has understood, “Elusive Butterfly” by Bob Lind.




Thursday, March 25, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1131, Mar. 25th, 2010


PHOTO INDEX: A SAD PACHYDERM.

LOCAL GOP ON HEALTH

For whatever reason they felt compelled to do it, the local GOP issued a statement regarding the Health Care victory for America. I wanted to give you the statement and then respond to it. My response is in blue. As in blue state.
The Luzerne County Republican Committee has released this statement regarding the passage of the health-care reform bill by the U.S. House of Representatives on Sunday night:
It is clear to us that the “D’s” that follow the names of Congressmen Paul Kanjorski and Chris Carney stand for “deal makers.”
No, the D stands for Democrats. What deals? You see any $30.00 an hour jobs anywhere here?
We now see that both men forfeited principle and their role as elected officials in a representative government to further their own political goals. They ignored the will of their constituents in a last-ditch effort to salvage their congressional seats.
Forfeited principles? Are you kidding me? They both went out on a huge limb. They put their beliefs first and maybe their careers second. Both understood the historical significance of their role and their moment.
As each new detail of this legislation is exposed, we learn that this massive document is not just about health care as the American people were told. The backroom deals contained in this bill are astounding: special deals for some states; regulations on student loans; preferential treatment for some financial institutions; and promises of special favors.
And those items will be jettisoned by reconciliation. Unless your negative national GOP Senators throw a monkey wrench into the fixes for political gain.
This is disturbing on any level but is especially disconcerting to those of us who live in Luzerne County and have been bombarded for more than a year with revelations of quid pro quo governance by our elected officials.
I don’t know what this has to do with the Judicial scandals and Courthouse corruption. Carney and Kanjorski waited until the last weekend to take the plunge. You can’t compare the two. And if you do, you’ll lose whatever base of independent support your party needs to win local races. Concentrate on winning Luzerne County, then worry about the world next.
We stand united with our Republican candidates and remain committed to our mission to restore honesty, ethics, accountability, reform and transparency to government at all levels.
Don’t worry about the feds or even the state level. Do you want to be associated with the wing of your party that has threatened members of Congress? Stick to your guns at home in defeating the Democrats. For God sakes stay away from the big, national picture because it ain’t pretty. Reap what you sow on a local level. There is plenty of room for achievement.
Terry Casey is Chairman of the Luzerne County Republican Party.
And a fine fellow he is!


ANOTHER FINE FELLOW

Another wonderful guy, Patrick Umbra has been sending me invitations for various groups on Facebook. Met Pat at my Forums in 2007 and 2009, at a couple of Walter Griffith events and a few GOP parties. But this is what he sent me:
Patrick invited you to join the Facebook group "Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, & Harry Reid MUST GO!".
Love your pasta sauce at the 6th district soirees and will vote for some of your local candidates, but Pat…….c’mon.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1130, Mar. 24th, 2010




PHOTO INDEX: GOP STATE REPRESENTATIVE CANDIDATE JIM O'MEARA, THE VERY FIRST SATURDAY INTERVIEW SUBJECT ON LULAC, THE COORS LITE GIRL AND ME, AND IN THE BOTTOM PHOTO TOM "MR. GLUM" CHIPILEWSKI, ME, AUSTIN FORD'S DAD AND AUSTIN FORD.

WANSACZ UP ON TV

Jim Wansacz is launching the first TV ad in his campaign for the state senate, focusing on his hard work for constituents during his time in the State House. The 60-second ad, which will run over 1,000 times during the next two weeks, details the story of Kyle Miller, a local farmer who lost his leg in a tractor accident. The Miller family spent 9 months trying to get Kyle a new leg without gaining approval. Finally, they contacted Jim, and after only 4 days, he was able to secure approval for Kyle's new leg. "Throughout this campaign, Jim's going to be highlighting his record on the tough challenges ahead: creating jobs, reducing property taxes, educating our kids for the 21st Century, and expanding access to quality, affordable health care," said Wansacz campaign manager Tony Coppola. "We also, however, want to ensure that voters know about Jim's record of working on behalf of individual constituents. This is the type of constituent services that Jim has provided for the last 10 years and will continue to provide if elected to the state senate. Kyle's story is only one demonstration of a career of fighting for Northeastern Pennsylvanians." Here are two of his ads:





O'MEARA SAYS THANKS


State Representative candidate Jim O'Meara issued the following statement. He's running against Eddie Day Pashinski in the 121st. First, I would like to thank everyone who helped me in any way during the Primary Election petition drive.
Whether you offered words of encouragement, gathered signatures ...one or a hundred, each and every one was critical... or simply gave me a pat on the back and said: "Go get'em!" I was deeply moved by all the help I received. It spurred me on as I knocked on countless doors to gather signatures. When the dust cleared, we had 436 signatures ...well over the 300 required and all gathered over a very short period of time. It is a testament to the spirit and determination of the 6th District that we were successful in getting these filed and getting me on the ballot.
God Bless each and every one of you for your hard work and your words of encouragement. To see people willing to work so hard for me was humbling and inspirational.

BLOGGER MEET UP

This is positively annoying but I’m posting it anyway. I’m not much for going out because at my age I pretty much hate people. But my friend Gort 42 puts these blogger meet ups together and the last time he and Mrs. Gort scored me a hat from the young hottie Coors Lite girl that was ethically bound not to give me the hat until after 9:30PM at Dan’s Keystone Grille. I had to leave before then because I had something to do the next day but Gort God Bless ‘em and that hottie from Coors scored me the hat. Most everyone who knows me realizes I’m a hat whore and will do just about anything, bend any principle for a hat unless of course it is a right wing tea party or post 1996 GOP (that’s the year I voted for Bob Dole) hat. So I owe Gort big time and you just never know there might be another Coors Lite hottie around to talk to. (As a matter of fact that Coors lite hottie actually was the start of our regular Saturday Interview feature) so maybe I better go and discover another feature for the old blog here. Plus I hear that the local Michael Smeconish look a like, Joe Valenti (the live one) is going to be there. So here are the details. The next blogger meetup will be Friday March 26th at Rooney's Irish Pub 67 S. Main St. Pittston, PA 18704 starting at 5PM. There is big bar area with tables off to the side and plenty of free parking across the street where the Tomato Festival is held. It's easy to find just drive north on River Street from W-B and it's on the left.It looks like we will have a good turnout. So far I have received confirmation from about 15 campaigns for Congress, State Senate and State House that the candidate and/or supporters will be attending. That includes Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and Pastafarians. See you there but if it stinks I’m leaving early to see the Vogues and Grassroots at the Kirby.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1129, Mar. 23rd, 2010


PHOTO INDEX: DID THIS LITTLE FELLA GET A CLOTHING ALLOWANCE? AND FORMER STATE REPRESENTATIVE MIKE VEON.

BLOW IT UP

Lost in the heath care coverage, the beautiful weekend weather and the NCAA Basketball tournament was the fine reporting over the weekend by the Times Leader on the County Courthouse. Jennifer Learne-Andes wrote about how the county has a patchwork quilt of benefits and goodies for their workers. There is a certain inequality all across the board and no uniformity. Here are some of the highlights:
The county paid more than $15 million for health care last year, with only about $1.2 million contributed by employees. There’s no deductible, and co-payments are $10 for both primary care and specialist visits. The plan is administered by Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The BC employees that service the plan have deductibles. The county employees do not.
Six union pacts guarantee bonuses based on longevity. More than $350,000 was paid in longevity bonuses last year county records show. Longevity bonuses? You get money for staying in one place? Mrs. LuLac has been in the same place for more years than she’d care to admit. My brother in law has worked for the same company since 1964. Both never heard of a longevity bonus. I tried to ask my current employer about a longevity bonus and unfortunately I caught him in mid sip of his morning coffee. He nearly choked before throwing me out of his office.
We touched on the on call pay situation last week where workers in several departments receive stipends ranging from $15 per hour to $585 per week, costing taxpayers $261,400 last year.
Since the County Courthouse is a family affair, how about this: Employees also receive a $1,500 bonus for opting out of county health coverage, even when a married couple works for the county.
But my persona favorite of all is a clothing allowance of $450.00 for court employees. I’ve known TV reporters, fashion models, Corporate Trainers that are constantly in front of the public where their clothes are part of their presentation and none of them had a clothing allowance. I guess what really irks me is that I’ve seen how some of these third floor lackeys dress and I am sure they pocketed the money and went for the Sam’s Club attire. Someone in the article pointed out that “It’s not all gravy having a county job”. Maybe not, it’s more like a Thanksgiving feast every day at lunch when you see what underpaid private sector taxpayers have to go through to make a living.
Commissioners Petrilla and Cooney say they are saddled with these contracts and are trying to scale back. The unions are fighting them. Look, my father benefited from unions on the railroad BUT this stuff in the county budget is outrageous.
It is time to start over.
1. De certify the unions. Ronald Reagan did it with the Air Traffic Controllers who were a hell of a lot more indispensable than the Courthouse employees.
2. Suspend operations of the entire Courthouse. 1 month. Put everyone except elected officials and senior managers on unemployment compensation and then have them reapply for their jobs.
3. End the money for on call pay, double dip health coverage and clothing allowances.
4. Blow it up and start all over. To those who say this is unreasonable, I say the more we find out about this operation, the more it needs to be destroyed and rebuilt to fit the challenging economic times of this century.

By the way, Eric and I paid for own suits, ties and shirts!

VEON GUILTY

A Harrisburg jury convicted former state Rep. Mike Veon
and two of his former aides of some charges and acquitted them of others — but the panel acquitted a fourth defendant of all charges in the public corruption case. The jury on Monday found Veon guilty of 14 of the 59 counts he faced. The panel found former aides Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink guilty of five counts and Brett Cott guilty of three counts. Defendant Steve Keefer was acquitted of all charges. The jury verdict comes after nearly six weeks of testimony by dozens of witnesses, many who had been given immunity or struck deals with the prosecution. Even though it wasn’t a straight guilty verdict on every count, it was a vindication of sorts for Attorney General Tom Corbett who is currently running for Governor. The ramifications of this verdict will be felt in the other trials of former lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.




Monday, March 22, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1128, Mar. 22nd, 2010


PHOTO INDEX: HISTORIC HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY ("IF YOU WANT SOMETHING SAID, ASK A MAN, IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DONE, ASK A WOMAN") PELOSI.
219

The House has passed the health care package of fixes meant to reconcile differences between the bill the House passed last year and the Senate bill it passed earlier Sunday night.
The vote was 219-212.
The reconciliation package now heads to the Senate.
In my opinion here were the turning points, the clear political reality that no matter what the Democrats offered on a bi partisan level, that offering was soundly rejected by the moderate GOP. Pressure from the progressive wing of the party to ensure that the Democratic wing of the party was indeed the Democratic party of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson in terms of legislative victory. The decision by Anthem Blue Cross of California to raise rates on small businesses. This gave the progressive movement the political hook it needed to galvanize members. Plus the movement of Representative Bart Stupek to act in the interest of his party but not hijacking his principles.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1127, Mar. 21st, 2010

PHOTO INDEX: REPRESENTATIVE KANJORSKI.

KANJO SAYS YES

Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) provided the following statement explaining how he will vote for the health care reform bill. The bill will be voted on later this evening. “Today I will vote for legislation designed to improve the affordability and accessibility of health care. Americans already spend more on health care than the people of any other nation. If we take no action, health care costs are expected to double over the next ten years, just as they have over the last ten years. It is not the bill I would have written if it were up to me alone, but it is the best we can do at this time. “This was one of the most difficult votes I have ever cast, primarily because there is a great deal of confusion about what this bill will do. Senior citizens do not have to worry about losing any benefits because of this bill. In fact, their coverage for prescription drug costs and preventative care will improve. No federal funding will be used to fund abortion. The bill does not empower the federal government to take over health care. If people are happy with the insurance they have, nothing needs to change.
However, this bill allows the American people to choose the health insurance plan that best fits individual and family needs by creating a marketplace of insurance plans. For too long, private insurance companies have monopolized how health insurance operates. This bill attempts to rein in those private insurers by prohibiting their most egregious abuses: denying coverage for individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, imposing a lifetime cap on medical care, and limiting the ability of individuals to change jobs without the fear of losing insurance coverage. It will also enable young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. “I thank the many Northeastern Pennsylvanians who have shared their thoughts with me on this important legislation over the past few months. When you are sick, the last thing you should have to worry about is how to pay the bills. Insurance is supposed to relieve this worry, but instead the current system has made that worry worse. Today, we are working to reverse this course.” Thanks to the Congressman for jumping on board.

The LuLac Edition #1126, Mar. 21st, 2010

PHOTO INDEX: REPRESENTATIVE BART STUPAK.

STUPAK SAYS YEA

Representative Bart Stupak has said he will vote for the health care bill because he has the assurance that President Obama will issue an Executive order preventing federal funds for being used for abortions. This paves the way for the Pro Life Congressman on the fence because of that issue (Paul Kanjorski included) to vote for the bill. Essentially, it is almost clinched.

The LuLac Edition #1125, Mar. 21st, 2010

PHOTO INDEX: A CHRISTIAN SYMBOL.

A CHRISTIAN NATION????

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol, angry over the proposed health care bill shouted obscenities at members of the Congressional Black Caucus and spat on Representative Emmanual Cleaver of Missouri. The protesters used a racial epithet toward Representative John Lewis of Georgia. They also confronted Congressman Barney Frank with anti gay taunts.
John Lewis is used to this. He was beaten to a pulp by white segregationists in the '60s during the Civil Rights struggle. Those tactics were used by "Christian Americans" to merely stop equality for all races. Apparently those same ignorant "Christian American" forces are at work again. I guess they want to preserve the America they know. Like ignorance and bad manners, old habits die hard. Or just move on to a new generation.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1124, Mar. 20th, 2010

PHOTO INDEX: CONGRESSMAN CHRIS CARNEY.

TAKING A STAND

Congressman Chris Carney will vote yes for the Health Care Bill. The Congressman issued a press release Saturday. It is my opinion that all of the negative ads directed at the bill and in effect blackmailing Carney into a no vote might have backfired on his thought process. I know if I was in his position I'd not want to be pushed around by that barrage of garbage paid for by special interests. In his statement Carney said, “We’ve been through a long, difficult debate over health care. I’ve listened to my constituents through 14 town halls and thousands of phone calls, personal visits and letters. I’ve talked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. And I’ve heard from health care experts, economists, and the Congressional Budget Office, which estimates the cost of the program," Carney stated. Carney continued: "Throughout this debate I have focused on several overarching priorities and I believe, after careful review, that this bill addresses them. This measure denies insurers the ability to reject coverage to people with so-called ‘pre-existing conditions,’ a common sense provision that, as a cancer survivor, I feel particularly strongly about. Covering maternity care will no longer be optional for insurers; pregnant women and their unborn children will be guaranteed coverage when they need it most. And the arbitrary and exorbitant insurance premium increases that have hamstrung small businesses and working families will no longer be possible." As Edmund Burke once said, “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” This health care bill is a good example of that thought. Carney recognizes that it is a start. It is historic. I give him credit for helping to make history. And I urge him to disavow the reader comments I saw in the newspapers. Threats from thugs masquerading as citizens.
The bill is not everything America needs but it is a start. Thanks to the Congressman for doing his job.

The LuLac Edition #1123, Mar. 20th, 2010

PHOTO INDEX: OUR INTERVIEW LOGO.

INTERVIEW

With this weekend’s big health care vote coming up, I spoke with a person that has an individual/ personal plan they pay for every month.
Q: What plan do you have?
A: I have a traditional health plan. It is one I pay for as an independent entity.
Q: What do you pay every month?
A: Over $500.00 a month.
Q: So that covers everything right?
A: Nope I got deductibles.
Q: Explain how that works.
A: Well if I go to the hospital I have to pay a sort of entry fee of $100.00. Then I have to pay $25.00 a day for I think the next 10 days.
Q: So to enter the hospital, you might have to pay a copay of $200.00. How about testing?
A: Well I d get blood work and diagnostic testing but I have a $250.00 deductible to meet. Then after the $250.00, it’s covered.
Q: Do you have Major Medical?
A: Yes I have it in case I need to go to a chiropractor or physical therapist. That’s covered but only after I meet my $500.00 deductible.
Q: Major Medical covers prescription drugs, right?
A: Well I have a drug plan but that kicks in after that $500.00 deductible is met.
Q: Okay, let’s add this up, you pay about $525.00 a month, that’s $6300.00 a year. Then adding the two $500.00 deductibles plus the $250.00, that comes to about $7500.00 a year.
A: Right.
Q: So if you were married and needed to add a spouse you’d get a break, right?
A: No it would be roughly double of mine.
Q: Are you happy with your plan?
A: I’m glad I have it and can afford it. At least now. Barely.

Q: Ever postpone tests?
A: Yeah.
Q: Do you think health care needs an overhaul?
A: No, I think health care is just fine, the way it is administered by the insurance companies needs to be changed.
Q: What do you think about the protesters who say the health care plan will ruin America and our future health care system.
A: I think they can say that from their own perspective.
Q: Why is that?
A: Because they don’t have my health insurance bill.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1122, Mar. 18th, 2010




PHOTO INDEX: OUR "LOOK AT WHAT WALTER AND STEVE DID" LOGO, OUR 1966 LOGO AND AN AD FROM 1966 TOUTING BLUE CROSS OF NORTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA'S 65 SPECIAL.

PIGGY, PIGGY?

A big controversy is brewing about overtime pay for Luzerne County Human Services managers which includes 911, Area Office on the Aging and Mental Health Officials. Steve Urban and Walter Griffith voted against the over time stipends saying that the entitlement mentality of managers needed to end. The opposite side of that is that compensation is needed for managers who are on call on certain situations after hours. Really? Look, if you take a salaried position or if you are raking down over $60,000 as a manager, extra on call pay is ridiculous. Whatever happened to serving the public? I value the hard work and education of some of these managers BUT getting extra on call money as a manager doesn’t happen in private business. If you are a small business owner or a salaried employee and you have a task to perform and it takes extra hours or someone calls off sick, you do it. And you don’t ask for extra money. An extra $500 a week? Sorry, no mental health or social worker I ever met in this county is worth that amount!

BASIL RUSSIN

A great public defender who literally held that office together resigned the other day. Controller Water Griffith fretted that Russin should not have been allowed to resign because he can still collect his pension. He earned the pension and he too the extra money at the direction of a county higher up. I have a problem with people saying that officials don’t have a right to a pension or a set amount. They do, they earned it. And just because we don’t like the rules that engendered it, that’s not the problem of the person who holds the pension.

HILLARY CARE

If you have any doubts about whether a health care bill should be passed, think about this. The Clinton Health Care bill didn’t pass in 1993. Since then has health care costs gone done? Have insurance companies given any breaks to its consumers? Have premiums gone done? Have you payed less for your health care? I thought not.

GETTING CLOSE

There is so much misinformation about health care it will shock me if this bill passes. The bill is far short of what it needs to do but it is a start. It will save money and allow the already strapped middle class to afford health care. 3 million -- that's the decrease in the number of middle-income earners who obtained health insurance from their employers from 2000 to 2008. And 3 times -- is how much faster health care premiums are rising compared to wages. While our broken health care system is hurting everyone, it's the middle class that's feeling it the most. A report just out from the non-partisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that the middle class became uninsured at a faster pace than those with less or more income. And if we do nothing, the problem will only get worse. Health insurance reform will lower costs and put America's middle class and small businesses back in the driver's seat of their own health care. The stakes are just too high for the millions of Americans who are hurting because of the way our current health care system works. What astounds me is the way people are reacting to this. I have never seen so many people be so vocal against their own self interest as I have from callers to talk radio or people on the street. The biggest mistake President Obama continues to make is that he says “if you like your health care, it won’t change”. If this bill doesn’t pass, health care will change. The premiums will go up and up and pretty soon the middle class will be squeezed out of health coverage. This isn’t perfect but it is a start.

LOVE IS BLUE

Ever wonder why Blue Cross has such a hold on people? Blue Cross was started in the 1930s as a way for people to obtain health insurance. It was actually encouraged for people to join. Blue Cross Blue Shield was even promoted by the Boy Scouts of America who in some communities passed out membership forms. It was your patriotic duty to buy insurance. And the Blues were non profits that took everybody. But in the 70s other insurance companies began to undercut rates and deny people coverage. As a way of survival the Blues had to reconstitute their business plan and try to turn a profit. That have done that. Some say the premiums are too high and with that whopping surplus that is very hard to dispute. But the health coverage for those insured has been a such an institution that there are some people who buy Blue no matter what. Medicare Supplemental programs are favored by seniors., When I worked at BCNEPA, some of the most illuminating conversations I had were with senior citizens who had supplemental plans to pick up the 20% Medicare doesn’t pay. With the yearly rate hikes, some had to defer other purchases, tighten their belt and in some cases borrow money from their kids to pay the supplement. But they were never going to let go of their Blue because of the large part it played in their lives. When Medicare came about the naysayers said it would end the insurance companies. Blue Cross and other health plans offer a Medicare Supplemental plan for purchase. And if a Government Run Health Exchange is approved or some form of it, guess who will be what is technically called the fiscal intermediary? Your insurance company. So please don’t spout off or believe everything you hear on right wing radio or from the national party of no. They are lying and approaching the propaganda level of Goebbels in war torn Germany during WWII. If you tell a lie long enough…….

WHAT'S UP DOC?

Remember when there was such a crisis at the start of this century that doctors were going to leave Pennsylvania because of medical malpractice? A few retired but as far as I can see the doctors have not migrated.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT


WOMEN FOR WAGNER

Twenty-nine influential women from across Pennsylvania have joined forces in "Women for Wagner" to support Auditor General Jack Wagner's gubernatorial campaign. These women recognize Jack as an advocate for structural reforms in government that would open opportunities to women who are often shut out by the status quo, as well as someone who will lead by example in hiring women and minorities in his administration. The new group follows "Students for Wagner," which was launched in November. "Jack Wagner has all of the qualities that are essential to being a great chief executive. He knows state government inside and out, and he has spent his career fighting the political establishment. He's been pushing for reform at every level," said Sandi Vulcano, Easton City Councilwoman. "As Auditor General, he has identified hundreds of millions of dollars in waste and abuse, and he's made some enemies along the way. The people in power today are wary of Jack because he answers only to the public interest, and not to the special interests. He has my full endorsement and support for Governor of Pennsylvania." "Jack's interest in people is as valuable to Pennsylvania as his outstanding record of accomplishment. He has this record because of his commitment to doing the right thing for people all across the Commonwealth. He sees us not just as voters, but as people," said Dianne Gregg, Centre County Democratic Committee Chair. "Too often, politics and government in Pennsylvania are focused on Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but Jack has come to Centre County many times. We feel that he knows us and that he cares about our concerns. When Jack is Governor, we know that the middle of the state will matter too. For us, Jack is a breath of fresh air."
No one from LuLac land on the list I’m sorry to report.

RUN A.J. RUN

I am not surprised by the level of support and sympathy for Lackawanna County Commissioner a.J. Munchak. Some I have talked to are even seeing him as a victim of circumstances. If I were A.J., I’d run from my long time bud Bob Cordaro and use that as my defense strategy. Today Former Lackawanna Commissioner Robert Cordaro and current Lackawanna County Commissioner
A.J. Munchak pleaded not guilty to charges contained in a 40-count indictment returned against them on Tuesday.

1966

In
Washington, D.C., General Motors President James M. Roche appears before a Senate subcommittee, and apologizes to consumer advocate Ralph Nader for the company's intimidation and harassment campaign against him……Pope Paul VI and Arthur Michael Ramsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, meet in Rome…….20,000 anti war demonstrators converge on Washington to oppose the Vietnam War….In Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Raymond Shafer on the campaign trail advises that there should be formations of Economic Development Councils in key geographic areas of the state………in Wilkes Barre city the Council continually slams Mayor Frank Slattery on the wage tax and threatens to change the form of government…...and 44 years ago the number 1 song in America and LuLac land was by an Army Staff Sergeant, Barry Sadler.




Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1121, Mar. 16th, 2010



PHOTO INDEX: DREAMERS AND SCHEMERS. (BOTTOM PHOTO FROM SCRANTON TIMES).

DOUBLE TROUBLE

The late Johnny Carson lamented often that people associated him more with his sidekick Ed McMahon than they did with one of his wives. “When I go out in public” he once said, “people expect Ed to be with me. It’s like they think Ed’s in the trunk of my car”. So it always seemed with Bob Cordaro and A.J. Munchak. My association is very limited and goes back to 1994 when Cordaro bought the old WARD AM off of Jim Ward’s widow. I saw Cordaro breeze in every once in a while along with an older guy. The striking thing was Cordaro, the owner, attorney and chief investor dressed in a running suit while the older gentlemen, later known to me as A.J. Munchak dressed like, well an accountant. (Earlier I had attended an event with a attorney friend of mine when Cordaro ran for Congress in 1988 against Joe McDade. Always, Cordaro was never without Muchak within reach. So it is ironic and fitting that both men were charged today in a federal corruption probe that has all the earmarks of a bombastic scandal. It has everything, Playboy mansions, the New York Yankees and yes even foreign intrigue and travel. While most politicians in LuLac land are content to attend church sponsored Monte Carlo nights, these guys went for the real thing! The Scranton Times reported that:
None of the cash, trips and "other things of value" was disclosed by Mr. Cordaro or Mr. Munchak on required financial interest statements filed for 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, the indictment states. Mr. Munchak did not disclose them on his 2007 statement. Mr. Cordaro never filed a 2007 statement. Both men never reported the cash on their federal tax returns and never paid federal taxes, according to the indictment. Cordaro and Munchak won a storybook election in 2003 by a scant 200 votes. On the night they were going to the rally they were prepared to make a concession speech. But the late returns put former Democrat Commissioner Randy Castellani first, Munchak second and Cordaro third just edging out incumbent Joe Corcoran. When the duo took control, there were problems left behind but I think the resignation of Castellani and his inaction as a minority commissioner from the get go gave Cordaro and Munchak carte blanche to do whatever they wanted. By the time Mike Washo came in the train was running full steam down the track. It seemed like Cordaro was the Admiral and Munchak was the willing first mate. Always joined at the hip, the time to separate is now. Break up the partnership boys and fight for your own individual lives. Munchak is saying he’ll be vindicated, Cordaro is speaking through his high priced attorney. In every partnership there is always one person slightly more dominant. It is evident that Cordaro was calling the shots. It is evident that Munchak was Ed Norton to Cordaro's Ralph Kramden following along with the dreams and schemes and not quite fully realizing the mess he was getting into. To prove that all you need do is look at the alleged payoffs:
Cordaro: $410,000.
Munchak $65,000.
That indicates who was leading and who was following. Friendship and associations evolve over the years. Lasting ones that survive adversity and result in triumph have always fascinated me. On that election night in 2003, Cordaro and Munchak must have thought of that old Dr. Seuss book title "Oh the Places You'll Go." Bet they never thought of jail.