Thursday, July 31, 2014

NO MEETING REPORT

Well I did try to go to the Mayor's tell all! but at 6:40 there was no parking spaces om either side of Front Street within comfortable walking distances. Indeed; there was nothing as far as Richmond.

With Emerson or Washington Schools or even the High School auditorium with better parking available there is no excuse to using the Senior Center for a community informative event.

Several years ago when the Rutger's planning study was taking place I had proposed that the old Wood Factory site-even though it was in the 4th Ward  be developed for both outdoors and indoors recreational site.
Outdoors would include a soccer field, tennis courts a big indoors building with meeting rooms for  youth clubs as well as a Gym.  

Since the Grant Ave/West End Ave axis is a normal route from 22 and north as well as South Plainfeld the station should be rebuild  and that area could be a perfect transit village as part of the city's revitalization .


Sorry  to have missed the meeting I hope Bernice made this one so I can read a good report.

TONIGHT'S TOWN HALL



Today’s blog was to be a change from the heavy stuff of the first three days of this week. I do have more ongoing additions to my writings on Gaza, Putin and the Ukraine, and the ACA. Although I believe important all can wait for next week, since for today at least I would like to go back to OZ.

As I posted earlier I had been writing about tonight’s Mayor’s Town Hall meeting and had been busy complying a list off about 15 questions I would have wished to ask or hear answers to if I could attend that meeting.  

Then suddenly everything vanished into unknown cyberspace. I have no reason to believe that those Chinese Army Hackers are interested in Plainfield; but have no other possible answer.


I am going to try to reconstruct my list but unfortunately can’t remember many of them; but here goes:
  1. Has this administration any policy about the Muhlenberg Hospital?  Has it even given any consideration to my suggestion in a blog a week ago? 
  2.  When will a quality Director of Public Works be appointed? Are we going to have a repetition of the last administration’s policy of Acting Director?
  3.  Is there a 2014 plan for street resurfacing? Is there a plan for preventive treatment of roads, such as tarring cracks before potholes develop?
  4. Why hasn’t the Water Company repaired according to code the openings on Watchung Ave?
  5. What is happening with vacant property code enforcement? Do we have the staff?  Over a week ago I forwarded a former resident’s complaint about a vacant house; to date I have not received a response to give her.
  6. What is the status of required health inspections and enforcement?
  7. The Monarch: (a) What is the status of the developer’s claim for additional funds for the Senior Center? (b) Is the conversion of the building from a condo development to a combined large numbers of rental units a violation of the agreement? If so what is being done about it? (c)  The Veteran’s Center was dependent upon the sale of the condo units. Since there has been a change to rentals that can never be consummated. Is there not a “contract breach” and if so has the City taken any action to obtain possession of that spac
  8. Will the Council object to this meeting being taped and broadcast as being “political?
  9. Why has this Council abandoned the practice of past Councils to hold Ward Town Hall meetings 
  10.    I will recall the others as the day wears on.

 I intend to attend the meeting, but may not be able to do so since parking is a problem and I have difficulty walking distances. If I am unable to get there I too will be dependent on Bernice, David, and Dan the bloggers.


BLOG LOST

Sorry I was writing a blog about tonight's Mayor's Town Hall when my klutzy fingers hit something wrong and I wiped it all out. Will repost later today.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

ACA INSURANCE POLICIES



How about a hiatus from war and civilian deaths for at least 24 hours. This blog neither Hamas nor Israel can refuse to cooperate; nor can Putin claim we are spreading nefarious untruth about him or Russia. Instead we’re going to return to one of my favorite topics the impacts of ACA.

It is almost time for renewal of contracts. As I stated before many who have obtained their health insurance through the state exchange will have beginning in November a new open enrollment opportunity for 2015 insurance. Some will have the present policies automatically renewed. Many of them will be surprised as I previously noted by a high single or double digit percentage increase in their monthly premium.

It is possible and should be researched for present policyholders to change their carrier or the policy level to better meet their needs.

As I have noted there are federal subsidies based on income level for those obtaining policies through the exchanges. The subsidy is individualized and is the same for whatever level policy, bronze or, the individual chooses no matter which carrier has written the policy. The subsidies vary from state to state and region.

There is controversy about the federal subsidies and federal district courts have issued conflicting opinions about whether the subsidies can be given for policies issued through federal sponsored exchanges. This question will probably ultimately go to the Supreme Court.

At this time the administration has indicated that all policies issued through the federal sponsored exchanges will be automatically renewed. But there is a caveat; the present carrier may no longer offer the best priced policy as a result of this years’ experience. In that case certainly will be advantageous for the individual to seek a better policy.

Additionally, if there’s been an income level change individual would have to re-enroll because the subsidy amount would be affected.

The federal subsidy is based on a so-called benchmark policy which is the second cheapest silver level policy and that area. Since the subsidy is static, it is possible that even with the same subsidy the monthly payment could substantially increase upon renewal of the present policy. The individual’s monthly payment is based on the difference between the actual premium and the federal subsidy.

Monday’s Ledger in an article concerning this problem gave as an example a fictional Maryland resident, “Sue”, whose 2014 affordable monthly payment was $58; because Sue qualified for a subsidy of $156 to meet the $214 monthly premium. Her policy was the second lowest silver policy which was a benchmark for that area.

However in 2015 the monthly premium for that policy will be $267 and it is no longer the benchmark policy. The new second lowest policy which becomes a benchmark has a monthly premium of $231. The federal subsidy for Sue at her income level will now be $173 to meet her $58 monthly payment it if she were to be enrolled in the benchmark policy. However, if she renewed her present policy she would now have to pay $94 a month which would be an economic problem.


The other problem is that the subsidies are so written in a strict interpretation of the law makes it applicable only to state-sponsored exchange. As noted despite his language administration as indicated that it will be applicable to the federally sponsored exchanges of matter what state is involved.

Therefore, anyone receiving a policy through an insurance exchange should review their policy and make sure that there is not a better plan by another carrier before accepting automatically renewal.

Note that the automatic renewal provision which is applicable in New Jersey  applies to the Federal sponsored Exchanges. Where the Exchange is State operated, it is up to each State to make the decision about automatic renewal.. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A BLACK (RUSSIAN) FUTURE



We had become so focused on the Gaza Strip warfare and that we have forgotten there is so much more serious events ongoing in the world today.

Some have to do with our own nation including the status of the affordable care act [ACA] and the present impact on the cost and delivery of health care.

But more critical are the multiple conflicts elsewhere. In Africa alone there is still ongoing fighting in the Sudan, the Congo, and above all the Muslim terrorists (Boko Haram) in Nigeria.

For us however the outstanding danger is in the Ukraine where the Russian sponsored separationist movement is not only receiving Russian equipment including antiaircraft missiles but active intervention. There had been noted Russian artillery activity from their side of the border as Ukrainian Army is approaching the site of the airplane crash.

There is evidence that the recent shooting down of Ukrainian military aircraft had been by missiles fired either from across the Russian border or just inside the Ukraine.

There is an uncanny similarity of Putin’s actions since his assumption of power with that of Hitler prior to the start of World War II. He is acted to “protect the rights of ethnic Russians” in Georgia, by supporting and setting up client states in what was part of Georgia. Most recently was the invasion and absorption of the Crimea into Russia.

There is such a similarity between Hitler’s militarization the West Bank of the Rhine, incorporation of Austria, and invasion of Czechoslovakia with the annexation of Sudetenland. We know what followed when he invaded Poland the West specifically France and England finally reacted by declaring war in an effort to control Hitler. Chamberlain’s appeasement “Peace in our time” had not only failed but had encouraged the attack on Poland.

It has recently become knowledgeable that Putin has reestablished Cold War relationships with Cuba and is planning to supply that country with arms.

Today, Tuesday, the European nations, England, France, Germany, and Italy are meeting with the United States to formalize and put in place new and more severe sanctions against Russia. The European countries are beginning to realize and fear the danger that Russia’s leader represents.

Russia’s concern with the Western world’s reaction to the aggressive warlike policy can best be summed up by the remark of his Foreign Minister, “Russia is not going to impose sanctions on the West”. That of course is pure cynicism and

Even more disturbing is the fact that the United States on Monday, July 28 as reported that Russia has violated the agreement reached between Michael Gorbachev of the USSR and president Reagan which in effect as part of the end the Cold War to prohibit the production, testing, and possessing of ground launch missiles the range of from 300 to 3400 miles. Another violation, like Hitler, of its international agreements.

Russia’s answer was that the United States had already violated the agreement by placing Aegis missile batteries in Eastern Europe which are purely defensive rockets by complaining that they can be converted to launch offensive missiles.

Putin’s Russia represents a great danger in that his adventurism is going to lead to World War III. The West has to be prepared to go to the brink in the hopes that the Russian nation will force him to back down, perhaps abdicate power. Otherwise, there is no possibility of peace in our time. It may already be too late.