First of all, additional commendation to
LeftyBlogs. As you can see, the graph there on your left shows that this month was my highest-traffic month ever, even beating May when I got hundreds of hits from David Horowitz's piece of crap website. Most of the credit for this month's jump belongs to Kari Chisholm, who is doing the hard but needed work of making the left-local blogosphere more visible and more viable. I have added that site to the blogroll; and you should probably bookmark it.
While we're on the topic of hard work, Joe Thomas at Shut up and Teach did it again with a new Advocate Weekly. Speaking of which, I believe that "anon." in the comments to the post directly below this one is the first person ever to tell me to "shut up and teach." Thanks to Paul and Dean in the comments for sticking up for me when I didn't have time to blog today.
The event motivating the post below gets fuller coverage in today's paper; that is, the arbitrator's selection of the Board's contract proposal over the unions. I will add something I wrote in comments elsewhere:
There are two choices for MTEA-represented groups in MPS: The HMO, which offers a narrower choices and more limited coverage; and the PPO, which is like a blank check.I'm hoping that encapsulates a little better why I fear for the future not just of my health insurance, but of the district as a whole.
The decision means that the HMO is free, and the PPO is now expensive, with the threat of greater expense down the road (which the district can impose unilaterally).
Now, wait a minute, you might think, how is that different from the state’s plan? The state offers employees a choice between two or more plans, with one free, right?
This differs from the state’s plan in two distinct ways: One, the state’s “free” plan is free only to the extent that nothing comes out of employees’ paychecks, yet they suffer co-pays, high deductibles, etc. So in the end, there is a cost to the employees. In the MPS HMO, there is virtually no cost for in-network services. So there is no cost sharing at all.
Two, the state does not self-fund its plan, so all state employees are pooled with non-state employees to balance costs--the healthy cover the costs of the ill, and so forth. What will happen in MPS is that the healthy will jump to the plan for which they pay nothing, leaving only those who overuse health services paying anything. This will undoubtedly bankrupt the system.
Under the union’s plan, all employees would contribute, leading to a big enough pool to cover those who are ill and those who are not. Sadly, the arbitrator did not select that plan.
Speaking of Boots and Sabers, Owen follows up on the story from the WI-8 that I wrote about here. Owen, of course, absolves John Gard of most of the charges Kerry Thomas leveled against him. But only in the "there's no evidence that this thing that looks possibly damning was actually a felony" kind of way.
I submitted a piece for the Carnival of the Badger (though I may have missed the deadline), which BBA is hosting. It will be up tomorrow.
Finally, the devestation on the Gulf Coast seems unfathomable right now. Xoff has the list of where to send help.