Test at Tonopah solar project ignites hundreds of birds in mid-air

March 2, 2015

Well done, Green Movement, well done.

Watts Up With That?

Uh, oh. From NatureWorldNews

crescent-01[1]

“It’s no secret that solar power is hot right now, with innovators and big name companies alike putting a great deal of time, money, and effort into improving these amazing sources of renewable energy. Still, the last thing you’d likely expect is for a new experimental array to literally light nearly 130 birds in mid-flight on fire.

And yet, that’s exactly what happened near Tonopah, Nevada last month during tests of the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project.”

“According to Rudy Evenson, Deputy Chief of Communications for Nevada Bureau of Land Management (NBLM) in Reno, as reported by Re Wire, a third of the newly constructed plant was put into action on the morning of Jan. 14, redirecting concentrated solar energy to a point 1,200 feet above the ground.”

“Unfortunately, about two hours into the test, engineers and biologists on site started…

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#Obamacare: people who think they have coverage get hit with massive bills

March 23, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t our new, glorious, designed by unicorns healthcare system supposed to prevent things like this? If you signed up for coverage and made your payments, you weren’t supposed to get crushed by the ensuing medical bills, right? All those horror stories from the dark days before Obamacare the Affordable Affordable Affordable Affordable Affordable Care Act (1) of people with unbearable financial burdens? Gone. Banished forever. Not gonna happen ever again in our new progressive paradise.

Just ask Alex Szablya of Washington:

Alex Szablya just wants the best health care she can get for her children. So she got a gold plan, the highest level possible with the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. She picked a plan with Lifewise, an affiliate of Premera Blue Cross.

In early March, her 16-year old daughter had a medical emergency. Alex drove her to the nearest hospital, which was Seattle Children’s. Alex says doctors there felt her daughter’s situation was so dire she needed to be admitted to the hospital immediately. She was there for nine days.

Then came news that her stay, which involved specialized mental health care for adolescents, was going to cost $36,000 and her insurance would only pay for half because Seattle Children’s was considered on out-of-network facility.

She thought by going for the highest premium PPO gold level coverage offered the state exchange, a majority of the bill would have been covered.

“I’m paying a premium for that and I’m willing to pay that premium, but I expect to get services that are not so limited by the insurance companies,” she said.

Premera told her to take her daughter to facilities either in Yakima or Bremerton, the one a three hour drive and the other two hours away via ferry, while Seattle Children’s was just 15 minutes away. Now, where would you go with your child in an emergency? Remember that she bought a gold plan. Among the many problems we’ve heard about regarding the exchanges is that is can be hard to tell if a particular doctor or hospital is included. Ms. Szablya might well have looked at the online offerings and just assumed that, of course, nearby Seattle Children’s would be included. When you have an emergency, especially one involving your child, you’re not going to stop, call your insurance agent, and ask if a particular doctor or hospital is part of the network. (via Katnandu)

An even worse bill awaited Larry Basich of Las Vegas, who thought he had done everything right, but, after undergoing triple bypass surgery, found himself on the hook for over $400,000:

The hospital bills are hitting Larry Basich’s mailbox.

That would be OK if Basich had health insurance. But he doesn’t.

Thing is, he should be covered. Basich, 62, bought a plan through the state’s Nevada Health Link insurance exchange in the fall. He’s been paying monthly premiums since November.

Yet the Las Vegan is stranded in a no-man’s-land where no carrier claims him, and his tab is mounting: Basich owes $407,000 for care received in January and February, when his policy was supposed to be in effect. Instead, he’s covered only for March and beyond.

Basich has begged for weeks for help from the exchange and its contractor, Xerox. But Basich’s insurance broker said Xerox seems more interested in lawyering up and covering its hide than in working out Basich’s problems. Nor is Basich the only client facing plan-selection errors through the exchange, she added.

Xerox, meanwhile, said it’s working every day to fix Basich’s problem, and its legal counsel is routine.

In the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its insurance exchanges, you can find a success story for every failure (2). But Basich’s case is extreme.

Be sure to read the whole thing. Basich worked for weeks to make sure he had coverage, both using the crappy online exchange and telephone help. He’s dealt with Xerox and even gotten Governor Sandoval’s office involved. His case is so bad that Harry Reid won’t even call him a liar; his office is instead trying to help.

The problem in this case is the web site, itself. It looks like Xerox did almost as good a job with it as Oracle did with Oregon’s exchange. While payments have been deducted from Basich’s bank account, UnitedHealthCare has no record of his coverage beginning when he was told it would begin, the exchange says he signed up with a different company (even though he has proof otherwise), and that company has no record of him and doesn’t want to be stuck with the bill.

Before this ever gets worked out, the stress may drive Mr. Basich to another heart attack.

In both cases, the the articles miss the mark when attributing blame. By limiting its networks, Premera is doing what any company would when faced with government mandates that impose highers costs: find ways to control them. In Larry Basich’s situation, Xerox deserves all the blame that can be heaped on it, but they’re not the root.

The source of the problem isn’t corporate greed or incompetence: it’s Obamacare, itself. All these problems people are experiencing are due to the top-down mandates that are the essence of the Affordable Care Act. A bunch of legislators and bureaucrats trying to control by law something as complex as the health care system of the United States was bound to fail. And that ongoing, rolling disaster is causing real-life misery for Americans all over the nation.

It has to go.

Footnote:
(1) There apparently are five “affordables” in the bills name. Just ask Nancy Pelosi.
(2) Why do I think that last sentence was meant to deflect the ire of Harry Reid? “Sure there are success stories, too! Just trust us!”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Nevada #Obamacare exchange goes into “disaster recovery” mode as director resigns

February 21, 2014
x

His plan is working

Via Hot Air. After projecting 118,ooo enrollees and getting little more than 20% actually paying for their insurance, in addition to the seemingly ubiquitous “technical glitches,” Nevada’s Silver State Health Insurance Exchange now finds itself without a director, who resigned:

Troubles with Nevada’s glitch-riddled insurance exchange may have claimed their first casualty.

Jon Hager, executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, said Thursday that he will resign from the agency effective March 14.

Hager’s announcement follows a Feb. 13 meeting where the exchange’s board of directors chastised him for cutting March 31 enrollment goals from 118,000 to 50,000. They also told Hager to put together a “disaster recovery plan” to fix technical problems that have plagued the exchange’s Nevada Health Link website since it launched on Oct. 1.

They said alternatives to consider would include firing vendor Xerox or joining the federal exchange.

Hager said in a statement that “it is time to use my newfound knowledge to pursue the opportunities that have been offered to me.”

He did not say what opportunities he’s been offered.

Given Las Vegas’ history, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the opportunities was a ride to a remote location in the desert. One way.

But it’s the highlighted portion that amused me. I would have thought Oregon’s exchange was a likelier candidate, though California’s seems in need of an intervention, too. Hawaii’s has been a wreck, while Forbes called Massachusetts’ exchange the worst-performing  in the nation. Maryland is considering tossing their state exchange into the Potomac.

Perhaps all state exchanges need a “disaster recovery plan,” but what can they do when the disaster is the Affordable Care Act, itself?

Note: I changed “site” to “exchange” in the title, since the problems are with more than the web site, itself.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Kickbacks and carve-outs: this is how the immigration bill will pass the Senate

June 23, 2013

satire Money suitcase bribe corruption

Remember the deals bribes various senators were offered for favorable consideration to buy their vote for Obamacare? There were Mary Landrieu’s “Louisiana Purchase,” Ben Nelson’s “Cornhusker Kickback,” Chris Dodd’s “U-Con,” Bill Nelson’s “Gator-Aid” for Florida, and others. In each case, a senator sold their vote in favor of an unpopular, badly written bill few had read in return for a legislative 30 pieces of silver.

Now there comes the immigration reform bill: an increasingly unpopular, badly written bill that few have read in full and is being rushed to passage before many can.

And it’s happening again:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) have inserted a provision that amounts to little more than a handout to Las Vegas casinos into the repackaged immigration reform bill, Breitbart News has learned. This provision, a brazen example of crony capitalism, was inserted into the immigration law enforcement section of the bill despite the fact that it has nothing whatsoever to do with “immigration” or “law enforcement.”

On page 66 of the repackaged bill, the following provision appears:
“CORPORATION FOR TRAVEL PROMOTION.—Sec- 9(d)(2)(B) of the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (22 U.S.C. 2131(d)(2)(B)) is amended by striking ‘‘For each of fiscal years 2012 through 2015,’’ and inserting ‘‘For each fiscal year after 2012.”

The Travel Promotion Act (TPA) of 2009 allows the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury to spend up to $100 million on promoting travel to specific areas of the country. If the provision Reid and Heller inserted into the proposed immigration reform legislation becomes law, the benefits of the TPA would be extended indefinitely.

As the Heritage Foundation’s Jena McNeill wrote in June 2009, the Travel Promotion Act creates “a government-run public relations campaign funded by a tax on international visitors.” After the law was passed, the PR campaign touting Las Vegas casinos and other tourist destinations in the U.S. using that tax was rolled into a government-run corporation called “Brand USA.” In October 2012, Jim DeMint and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) released a report that “reveals a history of waste, abuse, patronage, and lax oversight” with the Brand USA program and the Department of Commerce that oversees it.

Why any state needs a federally funded campaign to attract tourists is beyond me; they all have tourism boards of their own, after all. And, if the big casinos want to boost Vegas, somehow something tells me they make enough money to fund a campaign themselves.

But, the question of where the federal government gets its authority to promote tourism aside, here’s the kicker and the kickback: per the Breitbart article, Senator Dean Heller (R) was not a sponsor of the original immigration bill. Now, with the amendment, something he can brag about in his next campaign, he suddenly is. You can just hear the clink of the silver in his palm.

So, what should we call this one? How about the “Silver State Sellout?”

via Jay Cost

UPDATE: Ooh! And here’s another, this time for Alaska! Clink, clink, clink.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)