Educating the U.S. Senate

Official government photograph of the 111th U.S. Senate

Official government photograph of the 111th U.S. Senate

What, if anything, can we learn from examining the colleges attended by the 100 men and women of the U.S. Senate? Quite a lot, actually.

Last week, I decided to start an interesting experiment in which I would research which institutions of higher learning the current members of the U.S. Senate attended, which degrees they earned, and what  (if any) difference exists between members of the two major parties. No long introduction is needed here, so I’ll just jump right in to the numbers and analysis. Continue reading

The Missing Link in the Affordable Care Act

President Obama signs the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010, surrounded by Democratic supporters (except, perhaps, for the boy in the front, who seems a bit too young to have a definitive political ideology). White House photo by Pete Souza.

President Obama signs the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010, surrounded by Democratic supporters (except, perhaps, for the boy in the front, who seems a bit too young to have a definitive political ideology). White House photo by Pete Souza.

The creators of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) overlooked one essential link in the unbroken chain of historical health care service in America: the important role of the insurance salesperson. Call him/her what you will, but here we will use the term salesperson or sales representative.

For the purposes of this article, let us think of the health care chain as containing five main links: 1) patient, 2) sales representative, 3) insurance company (or other payer), 4) health service provider, and 5) patient care.

In the Affordable Care Act (hereafter “ACA”), the second link is either weak or missing. The creators of the ACA have made a fatal mistake by trying to go around the sometimes maligned and unappreciated lowly insurance salesperson. To their credit, they have made lame attempts to furnish substitutes — namely the website (which is a joke), the Navigators, and others. Continue reading