When John Oliver Made a Gift of $16 Million to 9,000 People By Forgiving Their Medical Debts

Even though this didn’t happen during the Christmas period and I sorta watched the episode on YouTube, it didn’t dawn on me of the significance of this action until a person I respect blogged about it. Now I think the world, my city, or at least my tens of followers should know as well.

Diane Ravitch's blog

John Oliver broadcast this show in mid-2016. It remains one of the most amazing, most generous gestures I have ever seen.

Oliver, as you may know, mixes up great information and in-depth reporting with funny graphics and unexpected jokes. He keeps viewers entertained as he educates them.

In this segment, he explains debt collection agencies, how they buy debt of all kinds for pennies on the dollar, try to collect, and if they don’t succeed, sell it to another debt collector. The hapless consumer can expect to be harassed with increasingly unscrupulous and aggressive tactics.

Oliver’s team goes to debt collection industry meetings, where the industry leaders talk about consumers as dumb clucks. He films an Arkansas legislator pushing a bill to reduce consumer rights and misrepresents its purpose. It passes easily.

Finally, he does something utterly remarkable.

He creates and incorporates a new debt collection agency Of his…

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Brian Stelter to host special, Late Night in the Age of Trump

Brian Stelter to host special, Late Night in the Age of Trump

I know, another network has coined the phrase “Must See TV”. This sure applies to me.

CNN Commentary

Monday night at 9pm, Reliable Sources host and senior media correspondent Brian Stelter is slated to host a CNN special report, Late Night in the Age of Trump.

The special examines how President Donald Trump single-handedly transformed late-night TV and comedy, along with the hosts of some of America’s most popular television shows.

Stelter sits down with some of comedy’s greatest voices to look at how the entire world of late night comedy has been reshaped by one person- an unprecedented change- much like this unprecedented Presidency, the press release notes.

He explores both the hilarious and polarizing moments from the last year, and analyzes the impact President Trump has had on comedy, including the blurred lines between late-night and news.

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Five Blockchain Use Cases for Healthcare Payers, Providers

Five Blockchain Use Cases for Healthcare Payers, Providers

This is a technology I am really excited about. The common wisdom and current case uses are an underpinning of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. While this is important, only secondary to the technology highlighted below and from the base article.


Blockchain may offer a solution to these issues by keeping all members of the community instantly updated on where a provider is allowed to practice, whether or not she is accepting new patients, and what new affiliations she has formed.

This is important, because of current mHealth initiatives, such as CMC Virtual Visit, requires you to physically be in North Carolina, though the system servers both Carolinas. That has to change.

Administrative tasks such as claims processing and underwriting may also benefit from a blockchain approach, since managed permissions make it easier for payers to assess the validity of a claim, manage pre-authorizations, and ensure that providers are meeting the criteria laid out in their value-based contracts.

“Smart contracts could automate these processes and decrease the time and resources needed to execute the terms and conditions [of value-based contracting],” the report says.  “And because smart contracts are decentralized and cannot be changed, all parties can be confident that terms will be consistently executed.”

Pages from CMC Mercy Wound Care 10062017_Redacted_Page_1I continue to get notice of bill payments, similar to an actual bill image to the left, despite my plan being straightforward, at least as I know about it. Possibility to save much headaches and time wasting.

Blockchain would nearly eliminate this as rules can be set; such as “only render services covered under Medicare” to a particular patient. This removes the doubts about all parties getting compensated.


Enhanced security and transparency may also drastically reduce the amount of fraud that slips through the defenses of public and private payers.  When entities must have current and authenticated identities before a transaction is approved, the ability to push suspect claims through the reimbursement process is diminished.

Payers with access to a patient’s complete medical record and all of the individual’s approved providers would be more able to identify suspect claims or payment requests that do not match the patient’s documented conditions or normal care habits, explains Deloitte.

Source: Five Blockchain Use Cases for Healthcare Payers, Providers


8 Powerful Voices in Defense of Public Education – Diane Ravitch – Network For Public Education

Take 3 minutes to watch NPE President Diane Ravitch talk about how we can stop the steamroller that’s destroying our public schools – privatization.

Source: 8 Powerful Voices in Defense of Public Education – Diane Ravitch – Network For Public Education

DISCLAIMER: I’m subscribed to her education blog and think the world of her! 


Disability backlog tops 1 million; thousands die on wait list (H/T = @scottsantens & @AP_Politics)

NC Disability Department

I can vouch for this as my application process took about 3 years to finally get my benefits. I truly believe this is done on purpose because they know if it’s finally accepted, they would have to go back to the beginning to pay all of the back awards. Universal Basic Income solves this problem nicely.

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 1 million Americans await a hearing to see whether they qualify for disability benefits from Social Security, with the average wait nearly two years — longer than some of them will live.

All have been denied benefits at least once, as most applications are initially rejected. But in a system where the outcome of a case often depends on who decides it, most people who complete the appeals process will eventually win benefits. The numbers come from data compiled by the Social Security Administration.

About 10.5 million people get disability benefits from Social Security. An additional 8 million get disability benefits from Supplemental Security Income, the disability program for poor people who don’t qualify for Social Security. The disability programs are much smaller than Social Security’s giant retirement program. Still, the agency paid out $197 billion in disability payments last year.

Recipients won’t get rich as the average benefit is $1,037 a month — too small to lift a family of two out of poverty.

Source: Disability backlog tops 1 million; thousands die on wait list (H/T = @scottsantens & @AP_Politics)


Marcus Welby M.D. had it right all along

marcus_welby_intro_screenFor those too young to remember, this was an ABC series that ran from 1969-1976. Though the program had house calls as part of its outreach, this was not the main point of the series. Having said that, wise people understand what is old tends to come back as new again to a different audience. With Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announcement (PDF) of Medicare-for-all sponsored legislation being first an impetus to cover everyone with healthcare and second to do so cheaper than the current system, all opportunities to flip the current fee-for-service payment model are welcome; that is if your ox is not gored by doing so. Right now, the throwback concept of House Calls is limited to the most intensive patient care clients, as is the case with most test programs. Hey, it’s 2017, it is known what works and what doesn’t by now; let’s just get on with it.

Personally, I have a chronic leg situation that has alternating bouts of treatment. If home visits from Nurse Practitioners at a minimum and Doctor’s based on need were truly funded, the system and my condition would be greatly improved.

This is not an isolated cause, despite it being new to me. Another organization in Virginia is employing a provision of the Affordable Care Act named Independence at Home. It is a project that involves 14 practices and consortia with the closest branch being a group in Durham (NC). A team-based approach to care that involves physician assistants, pharmacists, social workers, and other staff (Daniel Farmer, 2016), I would be interested to know what the other staff is; one way it can be enhanced is the utilization of Electronic Health Records that are clean and functional.

via Bringing Back House Calls to Cut Spending on High-Risk Patients

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Some say people on disability just need to get back to work. It’s not that easy.

Some say people on disability just need to get back to work. It’s not that easy.

The Washington Post does an excellent job covering this topic. This blog has alluded to one of their stories specifically on this matter. DISCLAIMER: I am a paying subscriber to the Washington Post national digital edition.

One of the overriding themes of this blog is an advocacy for a Universal Basic Income that is coupled with Universal Health Care. It shouldn’t take a natural disaster such as Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey to realize that everyone deserves a place and feeling that they are not abandoned or uncared for, not to mention unloved.

Lisa Daunhauer wanted to be one of the few to get off benefits. But first, she had to succeed at Walmart.

Source: Some say people on disability just need to get back to work. It’s not that easy.