2017 March 24

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March 2017
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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

The Health-Care Debacle Was a Failure of Conservatism

"The fact is that the health-care industry, which makes up about a sixth of the American economy, isn’t like the market for apples or iPhones. For a number of reasons (which economists understand pretty well), it is riven with problems. Serious illnesses can be enormously costly to treat; people don’t know when they will get ill; the buyers of health insurance know more about their health than the sellers; and insurers have a strong incentive to avoid providing their product to the sick people who need it the most.

Since the days of Otto von Bismarck, most developed countries have dealt with these problems by setting up a system in which the state provides medical insurance directly, or else mandates and subsidizes the purchase of private insurance, setting strict rules for what sorts of policies can be sold. Obamacare amounts to a hybrid model. It supplements employer-provided insurance, the traditional American way of obtaining health care, with a heavily regulated (and subsidized) individual insurance market and an expanded Medicaid system.

It is far from perfect. But, in combining mandates with subsidies, regulation, and access to a state-administered system for the poverty-stricken and low-paid, it is intellectually coherent. (Many of the problems it has encountered arose because the mandate to purchase insurance hasn’t been effectively enforced, and not enough young and healthy individuals have signed up.) Since it leaves in place the basic structure of private insurance and private provision, Obamacare is also conservative. As is well known, parts of it resemble a proposal that the Heritage Foundation put forward in 1992."

Happy Weekend! Cloudy and 40 degrees in Albany. There is a south breeze at 13 mph. The skies will clear Wednesday around 10 am. Don’t expect much sun until the midpoint of next week but it might get quite nice at that point. 

The sun will set at 7:12 pm with dusk around 7:40 pm, which is one minute and 9 seconds later than yesterday. At sunset, look for cloudy conditions and 42 degrees. There will be a south breeze at 10 mph. Kind of icky but hopefully it will keep the snow melting. 

Tonight will have a chance of rain before 9pm, then a chance of rain or drizzle between 9pm and 3am, then a chance of rain after 3am. Cloudy, with a low of 41 degrees at 6pm. 10 degrees above normal. South wind 5 to 9 mph becoming calm after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible. In 2016, it got down to 35 degrees with periods of rain. The record low of 0 occurred back in 1875.

Waning Crescent Moon tonight with 19% illuminated. The moon will rise around 3:37 am. The New Moon is on Tuesday night with chance of rain expected. The Full “Pink” Moon is on Tuesday, April 11th. The sun will rise at 6:49 am with the first light at 6:21 am, which is one minute and 45 seconds earlier than yesterday. Tonight will have 11 hours and 34 minutes of darkness, a decrease of 2 minutes and 54 seconds over last night.

Not a particularly nice weekend on tap. Saturday, a chance of rain. Cloudy, with a high near 47. Light and variable wind becoming north around 6 mph in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible. Sunday, a chance of freezing rain before 8am, then a chance of rain. Cloudy, with a high near 44. Southeast wind 5 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible. Typical average high for the weekend is 48 degrees. Next weekend the average high will be 50.

In four weeks on April 21 the sun will be setting at 7:44 pm, which is 31 minutes and 58 seconds later then today. By then hopefully lower elevations will start greening up. I hopefully should be on vacation in the North Country at that point. In 2016 on that day, we had rain and temperatures between 76 and 32 degrees. Typically, you have temperatures between 61 and 39 degrees. The record high of 89 degrees was set back in 1923.

It was a fairly quiet Friday at work. Next week will probably be much busier. But then the state budget will be done. I’m still hoping to get up to the Adirondacks during Easter Weekend, and then the week after, head up to the North Country. I do want to wire my truck up in the meantime but I’m hopeful at some point we will get a warm enough weekend to do that. 

Looking ahead, Good Friday is in 3 weeks, Arbor Day is in 5 weeks, Cinco de Mayo is in 6 weeks and Memorial Day Weekend is in 9 weeks. I’m sure black fly season is just around the corner. 

Percentage of NY State Population in MTA Region, 1970-2010

The general rule of thumb is that two out of three New York State residents reside within the Metropolitan Region of the state -- however in recent years their has been a growth in population metropolitan region, while upstate population has stagnated. New York City is the fastest growing part of the state, while the Quarter Pounders (Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland), Long Island (Nassau, Suffolk), and Westchester have seen a slight growth in population. Upstate has seen a small decline each year in population, although it's decline is small compared to the growth in New York City.

Chilly, gray and 31 degrees in Delmar, NY. There is a south breeze at 8 mph. Kind of a chilly walk down to the Park and Ride, especially because I skipped the winter coat in favor of the rain coat, as rain is expected by mid day. 41 degrees by late afternoon. 

 It’s a Friday as we head into our final week of March. Next Saturday is April Fools Day. I’m hoping that this is the last week for the deicers on the road and that next week we will have all rain which will wash away the snow. I’m still hoping to get out camping in mid April once the snow is gone. And that the rain will stop by next weekend so we have reasonable amount of water in the creeks for trout season. 

The sun will set at 7:13 pm with dusk around 7:41 pm, which is one minute and 9 seconds later than yesterday. Today will have 12 hours and 23 minutes of daytime, an increase of 2 minutes and 54 seconds over yesterday.

Tonight will have a chance of rain before 9pm, then a chance of drizzle after 9pm. Cloudy, with a low of 37 degrees at 6am. Eight degrees above normal. South wind 5 to 9 mph becoming calm after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible. In 2016, it got down to 35 degrees with periods of rain. The record low of 0 occurred back in 1875.

Traffic is moving well heading downtown, although a Trooper has somebody pulled over on the expressway southbound. I have my camera but pictures aren’t worthwhile on this rather gray morning. I’m ready for winter to melt away. 

Woke up fairly early this morning, as I went to bed early and wanted to ensure ample time to walk down to the Park and Ride. I tend to go to bed early which means I wake early in the morning. Sometimes I reset my alarm and go back to bed but not this morning. That said, as the coffee wears off I’m starting to feel a bit drowsy. So be it. 

As previously noted, there are 3 weeks until Good Friday when the sun will be setting at 7:37 pm with dusk at 8:06 pm. On that day in 2016, we had sunny skies and temperatures between 58 and 31 degrees. Typically, the high temperature is 58 degrees. We hit a record high of 83 back in 1968.