Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Slow Walk to Involency: Air Force Edition

This ain't good for anyone:
Every time the Air Force sends a B-1B bomber on a mission over Afghanistan, it spends costs $720,000 in fuel, repair, and other costs. And when the plane comes back, it has to spend 48 hours being repaired for every hour it was in the air. All of which is double-crazy, because the bomber doesn’t really drop bombs over Afghanistan any more, thanks to the military’s airstrike restrictions. The B-1B just lingers over the country with a camera: a big Predator drone, at many, many times the price. “If the B-1 is not dropping its load of ordnance, we should withdraw it, and use unmanned systems instead,” Michael Wynne, former secretary of the Air Force, tells me. “They’re much cheaper.”

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Slow Walk to Insolvency

The passage of Health Care Reform was only one point in the long debate about how to provide health care in the United States. As a red head I've long advocated for a change to our health care system. We spend far too much money for too little results. It's really a disgrace having a system that combines the worst of the private sector with the worst of the public sector.

Now comes word that the Obama Administration will require health care plans to provide certain tests/screenings at no cost. As the NY Times editorializes in its article:
The new requirements promise significant benefits for consumers — if they take advantage of the services that should now be more readily available and affordable.
Unfortunately, I'm not so optimistic, because health care ain't free in this world. And though the preventative tests claim long term health cost savings, I'm doubtful. The article goes on to say:
The administration said the requirements could increase premiums by 1.5 percent, on average.
1.5%! I know it doesn't sound like much, but here's the thing. First off, the 1.5% won't be spread evenly and more likely than not, individual plans will get hammered, while large plans won't be hit too hard. Second, 1.5% is still real money. For my individual plan for two people that 1.5% equals $92. Real money.

Alas, I understand the Administration's desire to help the average American see that health care is changing. This piecemeal change, however, does not address the root problem of out of control costs and a bloated, bureaucratic system.