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  • Talmud 7:16 as Quoted by Rishon Rishon in 2004
    Qohelet Raba, 7:16

    אכזרי סוף שנעשה אכזרי במקום רחמן

    Kol mi shena`asa rahaman bimqom akhzari Sof shena`asa akhzari bimqom rahaman

    All who are made to be compassionate in the place of the cruel In the end are made to be cruel in the place of the compassionate.

    More colloquially translated: "Those who are kind to the cruel, in the end will be cruel to the kind."

    Online Source:

  • Abraham Isaac Kook
    "The purely righteous do not complain about evil, rather they add justice.They do not complain about heresy, rather they add faith.They do not complain about ignorance, rather they add wisdom." From the pages of Arpilei Tohar.
  • Heinrich Heine
    "Where books are burned, in the end people will be burned." -- From Almansor: A Tragedy (1823).
  • Simon Wiesenthal
    Remark Made in the Ballroom of the Imperial Hotel, Vienna, Austria on the occasion of His 90th Birthday: "The Nazis are no more, but we are still here, singing and dancing."
  • Maimonides
    "Truth does not become more true if the whole world were to accept it; nor does it become less true if the whole world were to reject it."
  • Douglas Adams
    "Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" Epigram appearing in the dedication of Richard Dawkins' The GOD Delusion.
  • Thucydides
    "The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools."
  • Milan Kundera
    "The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting."


  • Care to Read What I Read?

    I've embarked on a great reduction in privacy by bookmarking my web-based reading on the "" utility. It may tip my hand as to what I have in mind for blogging, but the same may help friends and frenemies alike track my thinking: here is the URL:

  • Author's Wish Each Friday Night
    Shabbat Shalom. May our arguments be resolved through perceptive words and good deeds only; may we live another week helpful to one another in relative peace.
  • Photography: Prints & Services
    A gentle reminder: I'm in business as a producer of fine art prints and as a provider of shoot-for-fee services, including portraiture and weddings plus assigned photojournalism. My general location: intersection of I-70 and I-81; core camera system: Nikon; transportation: Mustang.

    Main web:

    E-Mail: [email protected]

    Also: as of 2011, I am building a photography print-on-demand presence at Fine Art AmericaM. This is the address:

    Effort in print-on-demand will not offset the production nor value of signed, limited edition prints made under my own hand. However, for very good convenience, price, and quality, print-on-demand may work out well for many fans and patrons.

  • Research Services

    If you're engaged in funded research in conflict analysis or other areas that may be addressed here and wish to engage my mind in your project, feel welcome to drop me a note at [email protected].


J. S. Oppenheim's Other Blogs and Webs

  • Flickr!

  • Communicating Arts - Main Web Site
  • Communicating Arts - The Journal
  • Mustang Highways
    American highways and a six cylinder, 190 horsepower Ford Mustang 2000, Nikons, and philosophy.

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December 09, 2008


James S. Oppenheim

I'm sure I signed up for the privilege of paying premiums plus co-pays plus assorted expenses that were once contained in the HMO's simple premium-payment plan.

My childhood HMO was Group Health Association. Here is the 1994 book concerning its sale to Humana, Inc.: (flip book) or (text).

It's hard to believe this country has not been able to "get it together" to produce an affordable, responsive, and universalized health care system. Insteads, it beats up its middle class, pitting fat cats against ordinary workers with middling incomes, and those against others with fewer means.

tammy swofford

I somewhat disagree with the analogy by Gerard. A burnt out light bulb is minimal cost and labor (my own). Yet my out of pocket expenditure for flu vaccines using our local practitioner was $172.00. Health insurance benefits include convenience and options not afforded the poor who use county facilities. That being said, a family member of mine was denied reimbursement for a new foot rest for a wheelchair, because it "would not improve function". (United Healthcare) My own family uses Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas and have found it to be a reliable source of coverage.

Jim, so much in medicine now is based on an overlay of charges and services. This is especially true in the E.D. While the emergency department may issue a blanket charge for the treatment room, the visit to triage for assessment will include a charge for a spot check with pulse oximetry. The x-ray ordered by the E.D. physician will be a unit cost and an additional fee will be generated by the radiologist who also views the film.

Your lab services are not too bad. The pathologist fee is on its way! smile


J. S. Oppenheim

To separate catastrophic health costs from routine annual costs, the industry would need to define each and produce estimated metrics in each category. If that were done and consumers to were assume some averaged annual risk, I would think them within their rights to expect a corresponding reduction in the annual premium rate.

What some part of the system is doing today is hitting up the subscriber for an annual premium far in excess of expected annual needs, which creates the contribution pool, but then asking for additional funds when needs become apparent.

For those struggling to meet health insurance premiums, there may be little, if any, working margin for covering the descrepency.

Even where funds are sufficient to cover a course of treatment, a number of questions will still stand: how much money over the premium rate needs to be amassed annually to cover what insurance will not?

Is there a useful median expectation for total annual personal health care costs in the absence of a catastrophic or major medical need?

Who will meet that standard?

Who won't?


Gerard Denys

One problem with our health insurance system is that most agents and customers purchase insurance in the wrong way. The actual definition of insurance is to protect you financially against unforeseen losses. The key here is unforeseen. When you expect your health insurance to pay for every little expense it starts to get very expensive. Just imagine if your homeowners insurance paid to replace burnt out light bulbs or your car insurance paid for oil changes. That would not be insurance. People need to start understanding that if they pay for the smaller things themselves that the premiums will be 1/2 or less. I run a Blue Cross Blue Shield agency in Florida and have noticed that a family can save thousands of dollars a year by only insuring themselves for the things they can't afford to pay themselves. Just like auto and home owners insurance works.

James S. Oppenheim

Health care is a little like education: the better off in either that you are, the better off I am too.

The character of our culture contributes to how well public service industries fare as regards both the development of personnel and sustained revenue generation.

In American--and to this point laissez faire economics-- medicine has been treated in the executive ranks as just another business: "care" is "product" and the nature of access and the quality of care received responds to financial wherewithal.

With the aid of a small inheritance, I'm self-employed and have insurance premiums covered out of investment revenue, which, of course, is nice, but growth in the premium rate or any compilation of "cost-sharing" add-ons (we are all already "cost-sharing" through premiums) intrudes on the overall allocation of income, potentially threatening basic expenses in other categories (rent, energy, food, transportation, etc.).

Industry executives charged with formulating system-wide architecture to balance the demands of all who have their hands in the works may do so in ways that treat their considerable inventories as productive assets--i.e., means to producing profit without concern for economic effects associated with increased share at the expense of other public and private cost categories.

We're in need of a public health program less reliant on rapacious souls for its design.



Do you get your insurance coverage through your employer? It sounds like your employer might have switched you to a so-called consumer-directed health plan, which has high deductibles, cost-sharing, etc.

Employers do this because, of course, giving you less insurance is cheaper than giving you more insurance.

Mona Lori

I would like to invite you to visit, a community search tool that enables consumers to share and compare prices paid for actual health care services. The site invites consumers to post/share true prices for routine health care services, to expose the true cost of health care services. Both insured and uninsured consumers use to look-up prices, compare what other consumers paid for similar services to determine a fair price for services. I welcome all comments.

Mona Lori

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