I guess you might say April showers bring May Flowers. Or at least a lot of mud. Temperatures will moderate next week but for the most part be somewhat cool for early April with lots of rain – maybe two inches totalled up by the end of the week. 

Weather Summary
Today. Mostly Sunny and 55 degrees , 7:23 sunset.
Tonight. Partly Cloudy and 31 degrees , 6:31 sunrise.
Monday. Partly Sunny and 59 degrees ,, 7:24 sunset.
Monday Night. Chance of Rain then Rain and 42 degrees , , 6:30 sunrise.
Tuesday. Rain and 50 degrees , 7:25 sunset.
Tuesday Night. Chance of Rain and 39 degrees , 6:28 sunrise.
Wednesday. Mostly Sunny and 58 degrees ,, 7:26 sunset.
Wednesday Night. Mostly Cloudy and 39 degrees ,, 6:26 sunrise.
Thursday. Rain is likely and 53 degrees ,, 7:27 sunset.
Thursday Night. Rain is likely and 42 degrees , , 6:25 sunrise.
Friday. Chance of Rain and 52 degrees , , 7:28 sunset.
Friday Night. Chance of Showers and 38 degrees ,, 6:23 sunrise.
Saturday. Chance of Showers and 52 degrees , 7:30 sunset.

Good morning! Happy Sunday. Next week is Palm Sunday. Partly cloudy and 43 degrees in Delmar. Rapidly clearing. There is a west-northwest breeze at 7 mph. That breeze is making current wind chill is 33 but that won’t last. 

Today will become sunny, with a high of 57 degrees at 4pm. Three degrees above normal. Northwest wind 7 to 13 mph. Once the sun comes out it should be a nice day. A year ago, we had mostly cloudy skies and a high of 53 degrees. The record high of 77 was set in 2010. 8 inches of snow fell back in 1924.

The sun will set at 7:23 pm with dusk around 7:51 pm, which is one minute and 8 seconds later than yesterday. Today will have 12 hours and 49 minutes of daytime, an increase of 2 minutes and 51 seconds over yesterday. 

Maybe next week I can go to the park after work, assuming it’s not raining. It’s going to be very wet next week, with one to inches of rain expected by the end of the week. That should aggressively tackle the mountain snows and create lots of mud and flooding. Probably ridiculously high stream flows for trout fishing but he’ll next weekend I’ll give it a shot. 

Tonight will be partly cloudy, with a low of 33 degrees at 4am. Two degrees below normal. Northwest wind 5 to 9 mph becoming calm after midnight. In 2016, it got down to 24 degrees with periods of snow. The record low of 16 occurred back in 1954.

This morning after breakfast, I think I’m going to go for a stroll at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center because I don’t want to deal with the snow slop at Thatcher Park. I also am on call for work so I expect sometime later to go in. I don’t have my fishing license yet and it’s going to be too bright for good fishing. Some point today I may also run into the city to buy wire so I can figure out the size hole I need to drill through the grommet to run the new wire to the truck cap. 

As previously noted, next Sunday is Palm Sunday when the sun will be setting at 7:31 pm with dusk at 8:00 pm. On that day in 2016, we had mostly cloudy skies and temperatures between 46 and 27 degrees. Typically, the high temperature is 55 degrees. We hit a record high of 77 back in 1991.

One of the reason that the Republican’s got such head wind on the repeal Obamacare idea, was that Democrats never had a proposal to build onto Affordable Healthcare Act and make it better. Any law – indeed any idea – has weaknesses that are exposed over time, and it is necessary to adjust plans to make them better over time.

The Affordable Care Act is great if you are poor and are living on the edge of poverty, but it does little to help middle class families or small business who don’t already have group insurance. I suggest greater subsidies and mandatory enrollment to overcome these problems:

1) Not enough subsidies for purchasing health insurance for small businesses and middle class families.

Health insurance should be affordable for everybody – and as inexpensive as possible to individual consumer. I think subsidies should be provided for anybody making under $250,000 a year that will make healthcare an inexpensive proposition – no more then $30-$50 for the individual and $50-$100 for the family each month. Even for middle class families, budgets are tight, and subsidy levels for insurance should make it possible for even middle class families to afford insurance.

Small businesses with fewer then 50 full-time should be able to pay for health insurance with a fully refundable tax credit. Even if a business made no profit, the government would pay the business to offer insurance. This would mean that providing health insurance to employees would be a free proposition to business, and there would be no excuse not to provide insurance to employees.

Both are expensive propositions. But health care is important, and we need to make sure everybody can afford health care, even if they are middle class or own a small business. In a country that produces nearly $20 trillion in economic value each year, we can afford to devote a couple hundred billion more to ensure people can afford the care they need.

2) The government should enroll everybody into a health insurance plan, even if they don’t sign up for insurance.

Right now, everybody has to sign up for an health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act. But some people forgo this insurance, because they either can’t afford it in their budget, or don’t believe it’s necessary. Not having insurance puts those people at a lot of risk from sickness or injury, and can lead to financial catastrophe. I believe the government should automatically enroll people into an insurance plan.

Anybody who files taxes or visits a medical facility would be checked by the government to see if they had an acceptable Affordable Care Act plan. If they didn’t have a plan, the government would automatically enroll them into a Silver-level Affordable Care Act plan offered by a randomly selected insurer. The person would be then sent an insurance card, a statement of benefits, and a monthly bill for their coverage. If a person didn’t pay the the monthly bill, the insurer would be empowered to automatically deduct it from their wages or withdraw funds from their bank account.

Obviously, most people would prefer to choose their plan. This would be a lower cost option for individuals, then having the insurer get a court order to withdraw money from a workers’ wages. Most people who didn’t sign up for insurance immediately or pay their bills, quickly would choose to do so, to make sure they maximize their take home pay.

By automatically enrolling everyone, we would ensure nobody lacks coverage, and ensure even people who don’t want to sign up or participate are in the pool, paying their fair share. Should non-enrollees have a medical emergency, hospitals will know definitively that their patient has coverage, and that they will be reimbursed for their illness.

At Least the Affordable Care Act is Getting People Insured…

The numbers don’t lie. People, especially in states that did the Medicaid Expansion, have seen dramatic growth in coverage. We’ve made Universal Healthcare the law of the land. This means when people get sick or injured, they don’t have to fear bankruptcy or complete financial ruin — even if some of the plans offered on the marketplace aren’t as comprehensive as they should be.

Uninsured Rate, 2008-2015

2013 Minus 2016 Percentage Without Health Insurance

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But with increased subsidies and automatic enrollment, we can do better. Nobody should be left without health insurance.

Why Not Single Payer Healthcare?

There are many ways we can ensure universal health care. While not single payer, our universal health care system is providing financial protection and well being for most Americans. The Affordable Care Act got thousands of Americans the financial protection of health insurance, and ensures people will get the care they need to be healthy. I think it’s a system we can work with, especially if we increase subsidies to small businesses and middle class families, to ensure it is affordable.

Globally, only a fraction of Universal Healthcare Systems are single payer. But the important thing is they are making health care affordable for all.

Universal Healthcare, Year Implemented

Shown above:
1) Single Payer – Government pays all health care expenses (green)
2) Two-tier – Basic government healthcare system (e.g. Medicare in Canada) (yellow)
3) Insurance Mandate – Government requires all citizens to purchase insurance (blue)