Category Archives: Commentary

Pride Flag

Seems adding two colors to represent a specific group changes the universal theme of the rainbow flag of being inclusive to all regardless of anything. Additionally the flag represents states of mind not groupings of people.

Red = Life
Orange = Healing
Yellow = Sunlight
Green = Nature
Indigo = Serenity
Violet = Spirit

Regardless, the LGBT movement has seen many a symbol during the years and I’m sure will see many more iterations.

Myself, I’ve always related to the rainbow flag the best as it is seen in nature, everyday life, makes millions of colors and by those virtues instills that being gay is a normal product of life.

Nonetheless, Be Proud of who you are and if that means creating a symbol of that, then by all means do so.


Trump Health Care Act

Health insurance by definition should be available to all and shouldn’t preclude you based on age or pre-existing condition. Insurance is about spreading the risk amongst an entire grouping of people. To start creating separate “pools” for the elderly, people with pre-existing conditions, people with cancer, or other life challenging conditions is outright discrimination.

Next we will allow employers to access your health records as a condition of employment to determine how expensive it would be to manage your health while you are employed with them. I warn you allowing this health care act to go thru like this will start this journey.

Here is a listing of major pre-existing health conditions:
AIDS/HIV, acid reflux, acne, ADD, addiction, Alzheimer’s/dementia, anemia, aneurysm, angioplasty, anorexia, anxiety, arrhythmia, arthritis, asthma, atrial fibrillation, autism, bariatric surgery, basal cell carcinoma, ipolar disorder, blood clot, breast cancer, bulimia, bypass surgery, celiac disease, cerebral aneurysm, cerebral embolism, cerebral palsy, cerebral thrombosis, cervical cancer, colon cancer, colon polyps, congestive heart failure, COPD, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, DMD, depression, diabetes, disabilities, Down syndrome, eating disorder, enlarged prostate, epilepsy, glaucoma, gout, heart disease, heart murmur, heartburn, hemophilia, hepatitis C, herpes, high cholesterol, hypertension, hysterectomy, kidney disease, kidney stones, kidney transplant, leukemia, lung cancer, lupus, lymphoma, mental health issues, migraines, MS, muscular dystrophy, narcolepsy, nasal polyps, obesity, OCD, organ transplant, osteoporosis, pacemaker, panic disorder, paralysis, paraplegia, Parkinson’s disease, pregnancy, restless leg syndrome, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder, seizures, sickle cell disease, skin cancer, sleep apnea, sleep disorders, stent, stroke, thyroid issues, tooth disease, tuberculosis, ulcers.

Don’t mess with something unless you can make it better. This current bill fails and is outright false in stating that premiums will go down – read the fine print: Premiums will be less for young healthy adults but will be cost prohibitive for less healthy populations. Health Insurance keeps costs down by including a healthy population of people in the pool to assist with less healthy people. That is what health insurance is and is imperative in keeping an overall healthy society. Failure to follow this model will place a tremendous burden on our elderly and people with health issues.

You might as well just start screening everyone in the womb and terminate any “unhealthy’s” and if you are old or have a health issue or “pre-existing” condition you are shipped underground to die. Then health care will be affordable to all!


Opiate Addiction License to do Crime

Opiate Addiction License to do Crime

Ok, call me insensitive but we’ve been dealing with this opiate addiction in whatever form for decades now. As a community we’ve demanded ways to remove drug dealing from our streets. We’ve asked for tools and followed thru with those tools to assist law enforcement in tackling this menacing problem. We’ve taken pictures, we’ve created logs, we’ve created online forums and community pages, and documented the trafficking by people and by vehicle. We’ve set up networks to advise neighbors near and nearer and we are still dealing with this problem. We diligently take time to do this so that our police can do their part just to have these criminals face our criminal system just to be put back in our communities doing business as usual.

So now we have made this big humane issue of these poor addicts that need all the help we can provide them so that they can overcome their addiction as defined as a disease. So now we are saying that since they have a disease it’s okay that they robbed 5 houses on the street so they can walk to the corner drug house to get their “next fix”. It’s ok that since they have a disease it’s ok that they killed two people in an automobile accident. Perhaps it’s finally been identified along the way somewhere that you can’t incarcerate an addict in hopes of “rehabilitating” them to not be an addict when they return to our neighborhoods.

In short I see leniency towards the drug dealers so that they can continue the cycle of selling to addicts; I see empathy and compassion towards the drug users that are not responsible for their actions and therefore should not be held accountable for their crimes. So now that we’ve established that no-one is to blame, perhaps we need to look towards our doctors and pharmaceutical industry for creating three generations of people addicted to opiates, pain pills, antacids, OTC pain, and everything from staying hard to keeping pimples off your ass.

Meanwhile our communities, the victims, continually absorb the ever increasing drug trade, drug users, crime, vandalism, decay, prostitution, stealing, and finally being the absolute victims of being stuck in all this because even though with all our efforts to make a better community, we’ve condemned ourselves to living in the continual squalor, the squalor intensified by the many used needles on our streets (of course provided for by our city), the freely available naloxone (of course provided for by our city), to assist our drug addict friends, and now discussions of non-criminal offenses for this disease.

I have a disease myself, I believe you’d all call it unempathetic or non-humane. Perhaps someone can help me and my community friends by finding ways to cure this disease. I think the treatment is realizing that we are victims too, we tend to be the ones fighting up front to get help in combating this drug epidemic and although we aren’t the ones reported dead in the media, shown strung out in the streets, or showing pictures of the drug addicts families trying to recover from the loss of an addict; we seem to be the ones that are pushed aside, neglected and although thanked for our dedicated endeavors in bringing a drug dealer to trial we are rewarded by seeing them back on our streets continuing where they left off and now we feel the progression of the disease by now being afraid to walk in our own neighborhoods because that drug dealer knows who we are and although the courts had mercy on them with lenient sentences, those dealers sure won’t have leniency on us!

So pish for posh, I really don’t want to hear about those “poor” addicts who cannot control their actions without equally hearing about how we can combat the drug selling and discussing how a community can protect itself from both the addicts and the dealers.


Some say myth of Hilltop

Was in a discussion thread yesterday and a prominent community person challenged by saying that “we keep maintaining the myth that the Hilltop is some sort of slum.” and that “we must limit ourselves to the actual truth.” We cannot continue to sugar coat issues that steadily occur on the Westside-Hilltop from entities that sit in ivory towers holding award ceremonies on accomplishments to our community and neighborhoods that perhaps would seem “mythical” to us. We cannot have members of our community continue to sit on prominent boards or lead in prominent entities when they themselves fester the problem with their own slumlord properties or properties that sit on prominent corridors of our Westside-Hilltop that have been decaying for decades with no improvements or plans to develop. Perhaps we can wonder why these people sit on such entities and ask businesses from outside of our community to develop here when they themselves have made no effort to make something viable of their properties?



Immigration Ban on Select Populations

I’m not a fan of Trump but I do believe we need to review our borders, review our immigration polices in order to protect our nation. This is only a temporary order.

The United States has the world’s most generous immigration system but we cannot continue to feel obligated to take on every persecuted, threatened, tortured or disadvantaged populations of people around the world. Especially not when we have people in our own country that our going thru the same ordeals. Let’s take care of ourselves first as many are suffering here at home.

America First, may have been Trump’s campaign but it sits fine with me!

Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry To The United States

Release Date: January 29, 2017

The Executive Order signed on January 27, 2017 allows for the proper review and establishment of standards to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals. The United States has the world’s most generous immigration system, yet it has been repeatedly exploited by terrorists and other malicious actors who seek to do us harm. In order to ensure that the United States government can conduct a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the national security risks posed from our immigration system, it imposes a 90-day suspension on entry to the United States of nationals of certain designated countries—countries that were designated by Congress and the Obama Administration as posing national security risks in the Visa Waiver Program.

In order to protect Americans, and to advance the national interest, the United States must ensure that those entering this country will not harm the American people subsequent to their entry, and that they do not bear n\malicious intent toward the United States and its people. The Executive Order protects the United States from countries compromised by terrorism and ensures a more rigorous vetting process. This Executive Order ensures that we have a functional immigration system that safeguards our national security.

This Executive Order, as well as the two issued earlier in the week, provide the Department with additional resources, tools and personnel to carry out the critical work of securing our borders, enforcing the immigration laws of our nation, and ensuring that individuals who pose a threat to national security or public safety cannot enter or remain in our country. Protecting the American people is the highest priority of our government and this Department.

The Department of Homeland Security will faithfully execute the immigration laws and the President’s Executive Order, and we will treat all of those we encounter humanely and with professionalism.


Respect begets respect

It upsets me to read on social media the people that are upset because people on their feed did not vote for the candidate they did and therefore deem it acceptable and appropriate to remove them. It upsets me the closed mindedness of people that act this way as it demonstrates the same bias that they feel they saw in the candidate they didn’t vote for. I have worked and interacted with many a person that had differing views as I on many things but we both worked together to accomplish our goal. After all the true act of accepting of others is learning to interact together regardless of each other’s differences. Respect begets respect and at the end of the day has nothing to do with who you voted for.



Best’s Review – January 2017

The new president’s policies are a potentially potent elixir for insurers.

Donald Trump’s inauguration this month represents the end of an intense period of speculation and sophistry about his administration’s policies and the beginning of their implementation. Trump’s impact on the structure and operation of government will be profound, chiefly because his administration will benefit from majorities in both houses of Congress, and only secondarily because Trump is the ideological antipode of his predecessor. His impact on the economy, on the other hand, could be even more impactful—music to the ears of the growth- and yield starved insurance industry.

For insurers and their policyholders, changes large and small are in store. There’s no question the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—first on the long list of Obama-era legislation Republicans have queued up for annihilation—will be ceremonially extirpated in the opening hours of the new administration. And yet, Trump has already made multiple concessions to reality: Republicans suffer from pre-existing conditions just like Democrats and have trouble affording health care. And they’ve come to like the option of keeping their kids on parental plans until the age of 26. The bottom line is that the campaign promise to “repeal and replace” Obamacare will be implemented as something more akin to a reform and restructuring effort rather than a complete repudiation of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. Popular elements of the ACA will be retained, while the much-loathed individual mandate to purchase coverage will almost certainly be eliminated. Private health insurers are likely to gain more underwriting freedom as coverage mandates are jettisoned, which should help arrest and reverse the adverse selection death spiral that has led many insurers to abandon the ACA exchanges. Competition in terms of price and product should increase, moving the American health care system away from the single-payer model in which it was headed.

The early messaging on Obamacare is encouraging because it suggests Trump’s vision for “making America great again” involves a pragmatic approach toward vexing problems. Overregulation is one of those problems, and insurers are hoping for relief from bank-centric regulation through a partial rollback or reform of Dodd-Frank. Easing of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule could benefit life insurers. The urgency with which a Trump administration will tend to insurance industry concerns, apart from the ACA, is unclear. Trump is said to reward loyalty, and when it comes to prioritizing, administration insiders may notice that insurers donated nearly five times as much to Hillary Clinton’s campaign as they did to his own.

After a momentous election such as this, the industry’s political pundits can be forgiven for focusing too much on the regulatory trees and not seeing the economic forest. The reality is that the greatest gift Trump and his compliant Congress are likely to bestow on the industry is the potent combination of faster economic growth and higher interest rates. A mere one percentage point improvement in GDP growth could add $5 billion to $6 billion in premiums per year to the top line of growth-starved property/ casualty insurers. The expectation for faster growth is pushing up yields. Higher interest rates could arrest the slide in P/C insurer investment income, which remains nearly 20% below pre-crisis levels. Insurers were as surprised as any industry by Trump’s victory. The potent combination of a lighter regulatory burden, faster economic growth and higher interest rates could be just what the industry needs to jolt it from its growth and ROE doldrums.
Best’s Review columnist Robert P. Hartwig, Ph.D., CPCU, is past
president of the Insurance Information Institute and current professor
of risk management, insurance and finance as well as co-director of
the Center for Risk and Uncertainty Management at the University of
South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business. He can be reached