18. March 2012 · 1 comment · Categories: Cycling · Tags:

Well, here’s the truth.  I’ll never be great at cycling.  Oh yes, I manage to get around and do some climbs and races, and I am a USA cycling licensed racer blah blah blah.  But so what?

Yes, I cannot imagine ever not riding and experiencing hilly climbs around New Hampshire and elsewhere with friends.  I could not imagine NOT feeling my lungs burn and my legs screaming in races and rides when someone in the group decides to push the limits.  But……

…… I know that at age 50, there are not as many matches and they tend to burn less brightly.  I managed to watch [on the Internet yesterday – not on TV] parts of Milan-San Remo.  259 k ( 185 miles) of full on racing for just under 7 hours ( 6 hrs, 59 minutes, 24 seconds to be precise) (the length of the race, not how much I watched!).  Racing, not riding, with an average speed of 26 mph.  At the end Fabian Cancellera, Simon Gerrans, and Vincanzo Napoli were sprinting as though they had just warmed up, with Gerrans sneaking across the line just slightly ahead of Cancellara and Napoli.  I considered the math and the effort and realized that the mere thought of that achievement is so astounding and mind-boggling that just to think of it made my legs feel tired.

And to think that my riding this weekend ( the fourth and fifth times this year) left me with that feeling of having “done something” in my legs…

But I can’t wait for the next ride.

This weekend – 80 miles or so with climbs – a good start to the spring.

 

Awhile back I posted a short note regarding the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).  This is a plan under the healthcare reform law that creates options for small employers to offer employee health coverage under the new “State Insurance Exchanges” implemented under the Affordable Care Act (health care reform).

Well, this week, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (the federal agency that administers the Affordable Care Act-health care reform) announced a “final rule” covering those State Insurance Exchanges.  The final rule builds upon and incorporates two preliminary rules and a whopping 24,780 comments from the public.  The rule is fairly long, and it covers a variety of issues governing how state exchanges will be run.  I’m still digesting the thing.  Actually I have yet to finish the first course.  Regardless of where I am in this “buffet of delight,” I do offer some salient points:

  • According to HHS, states will have flexibility in designing how the state insurance exchanges will work.  That is, the state exchange in Vermont need not look exactly like the one in Tennessee.
  • The rule governs how the Exchanges will be established and operated; how health insurance plans can participate in the Exchanges; how individuals will be eligible to enroll in the Exchange health plans; and how small business employers will be eligible to participate in the SHOP.
  • For individual “consumers,” the rule states that there will be a stream-lined and “web-based system” for enrollment in qualified health plans through the Exchanges.  Each individual is supposed to be able to use the same application without the need to submit “multiple applications.”
  • On the tech side, the comments to the rule demonstrates a significant, though perhaps anticipated, emphasis on using existing “electronic data sources…to the maximum extent possible” in the Exchanges.  HHS appears to be pushing for the US and states to officially enter the 21st century.
  • The SHOP will begin in 2014.  SHOP is supposed to provide small employers with the ability to choose the level of coverage they will offer to their employees and choices for the employees of qualified health plans enrolled in the Exchanges.  Under SHOP, states will be able to set the size of their small group markets, as well as offer employees different levels of coverage through different participating plans.

Back to the meal, though I think I’ll be eating the leftovers for awhile.  Can you say “one thin mint?”

09. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Health Law · Tags: ,

The U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled a full three-days (3 days!) of oral argument on the constitutionality of the healthcare reform law.  For those not familiar with the normal workings of the Supreme Court and the cases it hears, that’s a big deal. When the Supreme Court takes up the challenges to the healthcare reform law, here’s what the key arguments will be about:

  • Whether the requirement that all Americans obtain insurance is constitutional.
  • Whether, if it is not constitutional, the rest of the healthcare reform law should be tossed out.

Huh?  Isn’t there more?  Yes, but those are the key issues.  OK, we can quibble about others, but when the press engages in its usual “Sturm und Drang” over the law, these two issues should remain front and center.  Many desire that the entire law be tossed.  Whether the so-called insurance mandate is integral to the entire reform bill’s success is a significant point of debate.

More to follow.