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Hannibal Rising – Lecter Prequel

hannibal risingThomas Harris has achieved what many authors dream of. Not just literary success, although that is certainly a desire, but he created a character that is now internationally recognized the instant the name Hannibal Lecter is said aloud.

I have read the entire series of books, and enjoyed every one of them. The movies are also something to be watched and allow them to induce nightmares. Anthony Hopkins does a serial killer like no one else.

I watched the Prequal again recently, and although it was hated by many critics I have to say it is a nice film. The challenge with it is that it isn’t Anthony Hopkins level acting, but it is very rare to find that quality actor.

The only real issue I ever had with this book was that the reason Hannibal did the creepy things he did were unknown. Sometimes that is better. Knowing why Hannibal is the monster he is almost makes us feel sorry for him at first. When I initially read the book, that was certainly how I felt. Now as I watch this again I don’t think I feel sorry for Hannibal. Maybe it is my age, but I now see that perhaps there is a potential Hannibal in everyone…Perhaps a victim of circumstance. He wasn’t a monster, he was transformed into a monster by life experience.

It makes me want to ensure my children’s life experience forms them to be good people. It makes me think carefully about the decisions I make to impact others. I don’t want to push someone, or influence someone into awakening their inner demon. You never know when someone is one little nudge away from breaking.

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Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program – Fact or Fiction?

When I saw this article (linked below this paragraph), I was not as surprised as most people who follow this sort of news. A number of years ago a friend of mine and I completed a book called The Last World War: Trial By Fission, available on Amazon in eBook, print and audio book formats. It is the fictional story of what we think Iran would do should it get the nuclear weapons they desire.

Iran had secret plans to build five nuclear weapons.

The way we determined how many nuclear weapons they would desire (which was 5, exactly as the article states) was to look at their stated long term, publicly stated strategic objectives. This isn’t a Democrat/Republican thing. I don’t care which party does what with regard to international policy. This was about common sense, some military background and some thought as to how we would achieve their goals.

The answer was clear, they would need a minimum of five nuclear weapons. They would have to place those weapons very specifically. They would also need the world (and specifically) the United States to be in the middle of political chaos.

The level of chaos we put into our work of fiction was extreme, but how much would really be necessary?

Do they have those weapons already, and are merely waiting for the right time to use them?

Should the international community (not the United States unilaterally) get in the middle of it and stop them from acquiring this capability?

We aren’t the ones to answer those questions. However, if you want to know what they would do with those weapons, and what the world might look like on the other side of that attack, you have a reference point. We can pretty close on one count, I can only hope we weren’t as close on the others but I fear we were.

Last World War

The Government and Private Industry “Partnerships” as displayed by Avenger Comics #181

I know, how the hell do I tie together public/private partnerships, or more importantly government control of private industry to a comic book. I don’t have to. The Avengers covered it for us years ago.

DSC02098Avengers #181 came out in 1979. In this comic the government decided that the Avengers had too many members running around trying to save the world and they would have to get by with only seven members. To make matters worse the government was going to decide which seven.

Let’s look at this more closely. The Avengers is a group that was funded by the Stark Family (yes I know they profited by building weapons for governments). They used their profit dollars, which were theirs, and legally earned, to form and fund the Avengers.

The Avengers were a group whose mission was to stop threats to innocent civilians that the government couldn’t stop. Ok, I know they sometimes destroyed cities in the process, but don’t governments do similar types of collateral damage?

What’s my point? In this book a government agent showed up to tell the Avengers they had too many members and they would have to operate with only seven, and the government would decide which seven.

Sound familiar?

DSC02093Hey, private industry, thanks for doing that thing we can’t do, but do it with less. Do it with our rules that make absolutely no sense.

Why should people go out and risk their lives, fortunes, or potential harm in a case when the government wants to dictate the terms?

I remember a case when I lived in Massachusetts where a woman was being mugged on a subway, a good samaritan stepped in to break it up. The attorney general of the state when on TV and said “we don’t like it when people use self help, you should really wait for government people to come help you.”

Ok, interesting concept, but why not help yourself? Why wait for someone else?

Are we really going to centrally control everything all the time? That seems to be the direction, and in some weird way the Avengers appear to have predicted this garbage.

Should we permit the government to start to dictate terms in which people help other people? Ok, I know that hasn’t happened yet, but are we on a slippery slope for this type of thing?

We might be, we are dictating to companies how they do things with massive regulation. We have entire industries that are now being told how to do business, being constrained by various approval cycles, and now there is a push in congress to “mandate” nothing but renewable energies coast to coast at 100%.

Should government be involved in everyone’s personal business? What are those limits? Maybe the Avengers can tell us.

 

Forest of Assassins, Navy SEALs doing the dirty work

If you have heard of the Navy SEALs, but not the original ones dating back to the VietNam Conflict. You really need to read this post.

Stories about the US Navy SEALs are always tales of heroism that seem almost super human. Some of us are waiting for Marvel to announce a new Avenger to fight alongside Hulk in the next movie based on one of these fighting men.

Their non-fictional stories read like some of the best action fiction around, and the fictional stories sometimes find it hard to compete. Forest of Assassins is a “fiction” novel based on some of the real life missions of one of the earliest of the SEALs.

These guys have been involved in missions we

know about, and many more we don’t. Some of these missions we may never be able to know the details. Some of those extend back to Vietnam and include the Gulf of Tonkin incident that the United States used as a reason to enter the war. The events of that night were not all that we have been told…yet. But more about that in a minute.

One of the earliest members of these elite units, who served in Vietnam before the Gulf of Tonkin incident, was a man named Harry Dale. In the mid-1990s Harry was retired and living in Michigan near Dave Forsmark (author of Forest of Assassins). The official story of the Tonkin incident has changed so many times over the years any further government statements on the matter are essentially meaningless. Harry Dale was there that night, and knew what really happened. That incident has been told in the fictional tale based on Harry’s real life events.

Harry was, in addition to being a tough son of a bitch, was a natural storyteller.

His story was so interesting it is work knowing a few of the highlights, including his earliest as well as final mission.

Harry lied about his age in an attempt to get into World War II, but by the time he has completed his training he arrived at his first duty assignment just in time to see the Japanese war criminals hanged.

He was then stationed on a cruiser that would patrol the Whangpoo River near Shanghai, and got a taste of what the real old timers called the best duty the U.S. Military had to offer before he witnessed the surrender of the formerly International City to the Red Chinese. He had the concept that became the book China Bones (available on Amazon).

Harry had to be pushed to give up his most impactful mission. It took time to work it out of him.

It turns out that Harry had run a platoon of SEALs first in the Delta, in the Rung Sat Special Zone, where they did snatch and grab missions of Viet Cong cadres who were terrorizing the countryside. Later, his squad took PT boats north up the coast, knocking out Russian radar stations and other targets–all under the auspices of the “South Vietnamese Navy.”

When the North Vietnamese fired on the U.S. destroyers Maddox and Turner Joy in the infamous Tonkin Gulf Incident, they thought the ships were supporting Harry’s missions. In turn, LBJ had his excuse to escalate American military presence in Vietnam and the war went from Special Forces advisors and counter-insurgency to Big Army.

Big mistake.

Later, Harry was made the captain of the USS Asheville, a prototype patrol gunboat designed to operate in shallow waters- basically to provide fire support for operations like the SEALs were doing. That made him the first “mustang” officer (one who rose from the enlisted ranks) since John Paul Jones to command a U.S. warship in wartime.

But Harry saved his best for last.

His beloved wife Shirley contracted emphysema, a family tendency, and Harry spent most of his time caring for her. After she died, he began answering the kind of phone calls that people of his particular skill set never quite leave behind them.

He would say he was going on a “pension bump,” and that was that. He would disappear for a few months. That was as close as I ever got to knowing what he was up to, but it was obviously in service to his country.

Along the way, Harry got engaged to a woman who also had a winter place in the same mobile home park he did in Florida.

One day he received some very bad news. During a physical for going someplace to do something for the country he loved they found a spot on his lung, and he required immediate surgery.

When he came out of the anesthetic the first thing he said to Dave Forsmark was, “Dave, they gutted me like a fish. The Agent Orange finally got me.”

That made me smile. Harry had started smoking when he was 12, though he quit cold turkey the day Shirley had been diagnosed with her lung disorder.

Later when I told him what he’d said, he protested: “I smoked for almost 50 years; I wouldn’t say that VVA bullshit!”

He had Dave arrange a preacher, and the minute he was home, he married Kathy in a ceremony at his home.

Harry had served his country well, and felt he deserved his pension (bumps and all) and that he had the right to leave it to someone. But one has to be married for a year in order to leave a military pension to a spouse.

Though his doctors held out little hope, and the treatment made him miserable, Harry embarked on an aggressive course of chemotherapy. “I’ve gotta make a year,” he would say. Kathy didn’t really approve, and looked stricken every time he went to the cancer center, but knew better than to argue.

They were married in December, and over the summer, Harry got progressively frailer. Dave sat with him at chemo here and there, and I could see the dapper, upbeat, tough guy was fading. The Navy officer from central casting was now a sick old man; but the spirit that kept him from ringing the bell to call it quits during SEAL training Hell Week was still burning.

When the Michigan weather started to turn, Harry and Kathy headed to Florida. When Dave saw them off, I knew I would never see him again, despite his “See ya’ in the spring, buddy.”

“Sure,” was all Dave could manage.

Dave made a call at Thanksgiving, but Kathy talked to me for a few minutes and said he couldn’t come to the phone, he wasn’t up to it. It was obvious the end was near for this great man.

He only needed another three weeks.

On the morning of their anniversary, Dave got a call from one of Kathy’s sons. “Dave, Mom is too broken up to come to the phone, but she wanted you to be the first call we made. Harry died last night.”

After I recovered, I asked, “Did he make it past midnight?”

He knew what I was asking. “Yes, he did. Almost to dawn. Tough old sonofabitch,” he said admiringly.

As they say in the Navy for a job well done, “Bravo Zulu.”\

The Forest of Assassins gives a fictionalized version of Harry’s time in Vietnam. It is available on Amazon in Kindle, Paperback, and Audio formats.

Season 6 House of Cards – Meh

House_of_Cards_season_6Season 6 of House of Cards is out. Its ok. It was very interesting in the first season as it was new, the style was different and the concept was fresh. It isn’t now.

The acting is ok, but the President seems to have a lot of time to just hang around doing…well nothing really. She also seems to spend a lot of time without Secret Service around.

For the record, I don’t think Presidents, or politicians in high office get ot just snap their fingers and have people killed. They don’t get to shove reporters in front of trains.

The acting, as I said, is ok. But the people tend to spend an enormous amount of time standing very still, displaying perfect posture, and reciting rolls with little to no emotion in their voice.

This used to be a show I wouldn’t miss a new season of. If you missed the final season, or don’t plan on watching you aren’t missing much.

Modern Day Politics – Nothing but Division

Modern politics circa 2018 is no longer about leadership. It is no longer about building a better place, as some politicians claim, at least not in totality. In many ways it is about insulting the other guy until he does exactly as you say.

I can offer 200 examples of politicians calling each other names, or saying “well gee they did it, so why can’t I” but a quick google search can find that.

What I am here to say is that if this nation doesn’t take a collective deep breath, and once and for all start to figure out how to get along, without the name calling, without the screaming and yelling, we are doomed.

Let’s address the elephant in the room. The Supreme Court Nomination of Judge Kavanaugh.

Would I vote to put him on the court? I don’t know, probably not, but not because of these weird and unproven allegations. I have some disagreements with him claiming that getting into Yale is all you need to know about my reasoning. That bothered me in ways I can’t begin to explain.

What I mean is that leadership, especially leadership of a nation should be about bringing people together. We don’t have many people in Washington left that do that sort of thing. We barely have people there who will listen to people, even those they disagree with.

Let me explain this a little differently. There are two types of politicians. If you plop a politician in a room with 100 people 98 of whom agree with them and 2 who don’t the good politicians go over and start trying to convince the other 2 using reasoned discussion to come over to their side. The other kind of politician either start insulting the other 2 or ask security to have them removed.

The reason I know Beto will win in Texas is he is the second kind. Ted Cruz is the first.

The reason I know Pete Sessions will beat out Colin Allred is he listens, Colin likes to smile and wave and flip flop based on who he is talking to.

In short folks, please start to listen to each other’s opinion. If we don’t do that, how can we possibly call ourselves worthy of the role of a world leader.

Are we about to start another World War? A historical guide.

The state of the world in the time leading up to World War 1 was so close to the state of the modern world it should cause nightmares in politicians all over the globe.

World War 2 is a commonly studied conflict that has been the subject of movies, discussions, documentaries, and books. It is said that this conflict set the stage for the modern world.

But what happened to cause that conflict? It can be claimed with a lot of credibility that the signing of the armistice for World War 1 set the stage for Hitler’s rise to power, which ultimately caused that second conflict.

With that in mind, I wanted to understand the cause of World War 1 and what I found held such eerie parallels to the modern world they must be explained.

We all learned in school, on the one day they taught this part of history, that WW1 was started because of the assassination of the Archduke. Let’s face it, had that happened in isolation the nations of the world would not launch into a conflict that would lead to the death of more than 16,000,000 people.

Let’s look at the man who fired those two shots that sent the world into a tailspin.

He was a Bosnian student named Gavrilo Princia. When questioned he said many things, one of which seems relevant to this discussion: “I am an adherent of the radical anarchist idea which aims at destroying the present system through terrorism.”

Let that sink in.

After he fired those shots several world leaders were heard saying (or writing) something eerie. I will pull a direct quote from an German leader (translated to English), “We should go to war now, because its going to happen in the future anyway.”

Sure, so let’s ignore diplomacy, let’s not try to discuss anything, let’s just kill a lot of people.

While many historians have said the war was conceived in Berlin, it was also said that it was born in the Balkans. With that in mind we should understand the Balkan region of the world at that point in time, and the challenges these nations had with regard to getting along with one another. These nations were still ruled by various European Empires, and had been for years.

The modern day Balkan Nations are Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Romania, Servia, Slovenia, and Turkey.

When the assassination happened, the entire region went into what can only be described as national convulsions. Each nation started taking up sides. Mostly these nations had leadership and citizens who agreed which side of the conflict to align themselves with. With one exception, Greece. The people of Greece sided with Serbia, however the Queen of Greece was the only sister of the German Kaiser, and she sided with Austria.

For the most part world leaders could influence their citizens to go whichever way they wanted, that is what leaders do.

The challenge was that many people believed that the people of the Balkans should start to govern themselves, as in elect leaders, rather than being satellite nations of some European Empires who were still being ruled by descendants of the Hapsburgs. There was some thought that these nations should become states in some kind of nation resembling the United States. That would allow them to be self-governing, and if need be throw off some nation who came and wanted to attack and dominate them.

In a letter outlining this by a Liberal party leader of the Romanians it was said, “Out of the hatreds engendered by the domination over the liberty-loving Slavic people by arrogant Teutonic (German) minority grew the assassination at Sarajevo of the Archduke.” In other words, a vocal liberty espousing minority suppressed another group so greatly that group rose up and murdered a world leader.

He went on to warn that the people in the region just wanted a say in their government, and to throw off the dynasties that were happening. One can see dynasties occurring once again. How many families are responsible for multiple Presidents, generations of Senators, Congresspeople, etc. It happens in the United States today, as well as Europe. It was these “high born” groups that the people wanted to overthrow in favor of self government, which worked well when done properly.

The world leadership greatly resembled the stages we have set today. Generational dynasties, all feeling they are entitled to power. Husband and wife teams, father and son…There are examples of this all over the world.

In other words, the world was on a track that closely parallels where we are today from a world leadership and conflict standpoint (we must invade this other nation because of what they might do in the future). These parallels get a little more interesting if we look to the European population (not leadership, the populace) at the time.

There was a very important man by the name of Professor Masaryk who lives from 1850 to 1937. He spent some time and energy prior to World War 1 trying to get the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy to reform their empire into a federal state. That obviously didn’t work, and it was only broken up as a result of the war. After World War 1 he because the first President of Czechoslovakia.

In his attempts at diplomacy he pointed out that Europe had a huge problem at the time. There was a discrepancy between the number of nation states and the number of defined nationalities all over Europe. His tally showed that there were twenty seven nation states, but more than seventy accepted nationalities. Almost all states were a mix, and there was very little assimilation of cultures. Instead there were people trying to force their beliefs and ways of life on other people. He pointed out as an example that there were Romanians in Austria, but there was no Romania. There were even Romanians inside Austria who would openly claim that the Austrian leaders were not “their” leaders, and therefore rules passed, laws, policies, what have you did not apply to them.

If we look at the parallels of the populace of the world at that point in time, we can once again find an eerie parallel to what is going on around the world today.

One must only think, if the leadership of the world had parallels, the people of the world had parallels, and the statements of people had parallels what does that say about us today? Are we going to repeat history? Setting aside the fact that there was a large disagreement involved in World War 1 among Christian nations on how to deal with Muslim immigrants that also lead to some of the fervor and desire of people to be involved in this armed conflict, should we be concerned? Or is it enough to consider that three out of three major reasons for going to war seem exactly the same as what is going on today.

Given that the weapons at our disposal today are more efficient at killing than those available in the early 1900s, which might the next conflict have as a body count? We should consider things carefully before merely wishing to invade because of what might happen if we don’t.

Nuclear Atomic War

Absolute Power – David Baldacci; A POTUS who actually felt some consequences for his actions

I recently reread a long time favorite book of mine called Absolute Power by David Baldacci, which has a movie adaptation of the same name (also a solid movie). I wanted to take a minute to go through this novel, and why I feel it is possibly one of the best debut novels to ever make it to press, and ranks up there on the list of things I’ll read every few years.

Before we dive into the book, yes I know the book and movie share a first act, but then deviate greatly from one another. Part of that is because the book has some very complicated story lines that while complex seem realistic. The challenge is that if you were to adapt all that complex stuff to the screen it would have been a very long movie, so I understand why they made the changes.

As the book opens we see a burglar doing his job and cleaning out a vault at one of the largest, most expensive homes in the Washington DC area. This home is owned by a billionaire who is one of those DC powerbrokers we all hear about on the nightly news (a fictional one).

During the robbery the thief sees a woman killed after she struggled with the current President of the United States (long story as to why, read the book, it is well worth the time). But the scene makes sense. Somehow in the struggle the woman gets the upper hand and POTUS screams for help. Secret Service rushes in the room and shoots the woman in the head.

Now, a thief who sees all of this, knows what happens, and really wants to protect the woman is stuck with a problem. He has no reason to be in that house, who is going to believe him, and honestly, if he comes forward how does he not go to jail being fingered as the one who did it by POTUS. Seriously who will believe a thief more than the President?

After fleeing the scene the thief’s presence is known to the Secret Service but not his identity. So, there is a conundrum. Can he just sneak away, disappear, and let the guy get away with it? How do you do that when you can finger the trigger man? The stress the thief puts himself through leaps off the page, and not even the great Clint Eastwood can make it transition to screen with as much clarity as Mr. Baldacci has crafted in his novel.

The book itself has a subplot that never makes it to screen. It gets into the legal firms that basically are “bandits” running around D.C. Now, when he wrote this Mr. Baldacci was a lawyer near DC so this part of the book rings very true. I also have done a lot of work in and around DC and the number of layers charging to “assist” with government relations is staggering. Basically, they are selling access for an hourly rate of $500/hour and up in today’s dollars. Typically, there is an 80-hour minimum to keep out the riff raff.

Interestingly there is a whole section about lawyers and what they call “security” in their career. It turns out that it is the clients they “control.” Now, how many layers are on retainer for elected officials. That whole concept is in the book for more than a chapter. Basically, having worked there for a long time, this shows that Mr. Baldacci has worked in and around DC for a long time. He knows how it works, and if you ever want to know an accurate description of the functionality of that town, read this book. It is fictional, but dang is it close to the way it is in real life.

So, back to the story. Dead wife, billionaire husband, who is so distraught he hires a hitman to go after “whomever it was.” Think about this. If a normal person’s spouse ended up dead in some strange murder scene I’d have to depend upon the police. But then, billionaires have a different set of rules they live by. We can go on social media and rants that all rules apply equally but let’s be honest, they don’t.

Now, the cops have no leads (I strongly suggest you read the book and see how they pulled that off), the billionaire doesn’t know who to kill, and the President is on TV railing about random violence, even though he is the cause of this one. What is Luther to do?

What would you do?

Let them get away with it?

The stress of the entire situation gets to Luther in ways that are impossible to put into a movie, yet Mr. Baldacci manages to make leap off the page. I really felt for Luther and couldn’t imagine how I would get through the day if it were me.

Enter an ambitious Chief of Staff to POTUS. She sees this entire situation as a way to enhance her power, because who in DC doesn’t look for an easy way to have that happen.

Flash back to Luther who is now so stressed he goes to see a lawyer to look for options. The lawyer suggests witness protection, Luther laughs then vomits.

Back to the White House. They know that a letter opener is missing, and Luther (whose ID is still not known) has it. So, of course, they make the decision to kill him, if only they could find out who he is. Poor Luther now has two sets of people chasing him down.

Now here is where the movie and book really start to depart. Through some herculean efforts the police get onto Luther in a manner that was presented much differently in the film.

The Billionaire is now getting angrier, and impatient, and devising ways to increase his fortune.

Whew, this is a fast paced book.

The police find a way to encircle Luther. Now, because it is a billionaire who knows everything because he can, and the Secret Service everyone who wants to kill Luther knows where he will be and bam, take the shot.

The Billionaire starts to suspect it wasn’t our thief.

Now, I won’t ruin the rest of the book, but I will say something about the last half. Authors tend to write what they know. Stephen King often has an author character in the book who is the hero of sorts. Mr. Baldacci has a lawyer who he desperately wants to be the hero. In fact, wants him to be the hero so much the lawyer can do anything.

He can find out where the evidence is through deductive leaps. He can wrestle an armed Secret Service agent to the ground and live to tell about it. He does all this without really becoming all that stressed, and still chasing down the woman of his dreams.

The lawyer sequences toward the end get a little bit much personally, but this is probably still one of the better novels I have ever read. I enjoyed it greatly, and someday will enjoy it again.

The other interesting thing about authors is they tend to craft a world the way they want it to be. In Mr. Baldacci’s perfect world lawyers are always the hero, but also Presidents pay for their mistakes, and pay for them with more than the end of their career. There are actual consequences for breaking the law. Now if only it were like that in real life.

 

My personal Zodiac killer fear

There are a lot of theories about The Zodiac. Which one is true? I have no idea.

One thing is certain. He was never, and will never be caught. Someday we will figure out who it was, but I’m not sure that will be anytime soon. Out of all the serial killers that have walked the planet he may be the most disturbing.

I don’t mean disturbing because of what he did, that’s crazy enough, I mean it much differently.

This was obviously a really smart guy. Some may say brilliant. He got away with these crimes despite enormous manpower being thrown at stopping him.

I’m not impressed by that, although perhaps I should be (sorry Zodiac if you are alive and reading this).

What I am impressed by is that this is a guy who had a job, probably friends, perhaps a family. He didn’t leave so much as a breath of a hint of a sentence to anyone that let go enough information to have someone in his life figure it out. That is disturbing.

This is a guy who had a house, a job, a car, and obvious capabilities in multiple fields, crypto being just one.

I for one am more disturbed by the fact that he was someone’s coworker. It makes me look at my coworkers just a little differently 😉

How the Affordable Care Act screwed autistic kids, an example

Autism is a disorder, really a neurological condition that is typically diagnosed early in childhood that is characterized by huge difficulties in communication and forming relationships with other people. These challenges are due to the way the people with this condition use language and interpret abstract concepts.

My son is a four year old on the autism spectrum. He sits in the mild side, and has been in treatment for a while to treat his various developmental struggles. He is far from alone in these struggles. The autism spectrum is a wide range of severities of this disorder but it is said that more than 1 in 100 kids (more like 1 in 88) sits on the spectrum and requires some kind of treatment. These treatments can be shockingly costly.

Many of these treatments have been covered by our insurance company as every therapy he has been in was prescribed by a medical professional. He has been to neurologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, all kinds of stuff. The co-pays alone would boggle your mind.

Then we come to today. He goes to one of his two regularly weekly scheduled speech therapy appointments that, until this week has been covered. The health care provider puts in an authorization request for treatment before his appointment (as is their normal procedure), and it is denied. That is strange, why now, why not a week ago?

Something strange is afoot at the Circle K you say?

Wait for it, this gets worse.

It turns out that under the Affordable Care Act they, according to the insurance company, they are required to only cover these types of therapies for “restorative reasons.” What is a restorative reason you ask? They can cover more but it is at their discretion. So, what company would do so if they don’t have to? Well certainly not this one.

Put another way if he had been in an accident and lost the ability to speak they would help, otherwise they won’t. Autistic kids are out of luck I guess, at least to go through a qualified private insurance covered speech therapist.

I was angry for a variety of reasons mostly because this is landing on us with no warning.

So, I asked, what is going on? When did this change?

Oh a letter was sent out 3 days ago? On Friday, and today is Tuesday? Nice, I guess I haven’t gotten or read that yet but ok.

I asked the question, what are these kids supposed to do? Have no shot in life? Medical professionals can prescribe a treatment and unless you can afford the $250-$400/week in cost out of pocket your kid is just out of luck?

No, that isn’t the case, the insurance company representative says. I can appeal (which they told me would in all likelihood be denied but I can do it), or I can go to the local school system department of special education.

So let’s review:

  • Covered last week not covered today
  • Costs of my policy go up year over year
  • Out of pocket just increased by at least $1000/month for a procedure prescribed by a medical professional (and that doesn’t include all the increases in copays elsewhere).
  • Coverage is shifting away from treating those with diagnosed disabilities, sort of.
  • Because of his age he might be covered merely by an already overspent public school system according to the insurance company (the school district disagrees).

Put another way the ACA through some convoluted process just shifted what should be a medical procedure onto the school system?

I guess they wanted the federal deficit numbers to look better for the kids they have to cover through the subsidies? Could that be the case? Surely not…No, they would never forget to tell the whole truth right?

Does that seem like how things are supposed to work?

It appears as though we are playing a shell game of which part of the government goes into debt to do the job it was design to do. Also this brings to mind what qualifications the school system has to do therapeutic treatments that should be done by someone trained specifically for this purpose. Or is the Department of Education just working its way into all aspects of our life so that it never gets cut back and only grows?

Whatever the reason is this monstrously large bill that was supposed to bring down costs is certainly having issues proving its worth beyond some kind of procedure requiring a band aid or the most cursory of treatment.

As an interesting PS to this story. I was on twitter venting about this and got pounded by several people from one of the two major political parties. One statement said, basically, I didn’t get it and that it was all for the “greater good.” Another insane defender of all things done by one party said that, essentially, not that long ago no one got anything.

The “no one got anything” statement is interesting because instead of fixing the problem by making sure everyone gets something we are stripping coverage on an obviously pre-existing condition and blaming corporate greed. I am my wits end with the partisan garbage. We no longer care about solving problems in this country merely about assigning blame. We do this while parents have to figure out how to help the very small children that we are supposed to be doing all of this to help. I will find a way to make sure Emmit gets what he needs, but it sure would be nice to be able to keep the coverage I liked, without that price going up yet again or coverage being reduced even further, but I can I can keep my doctor if I pay for it out of pocket while paying the insurance company to do less with more.

I guess we hoped, and we got change.

Tim Imholt PhD