Would living in a McMansion make a rogue Botox injector even worse?

A New Jersey woman was asked to stop injecting people with Botox

The board received information that Koval “offered to engage in or engaged in” injecting people with Botox in her home. Koval admitted that she had administered Botox to individuals in New Jersey, according to the order dated April 3.

…and the article includes two pieces of information about her home. I’ll first cite the final paragraph of the story…

Property records show Koval and her husband paid nearly $2 million for their Franklin Lakes home in 2005.

…and here is the headline for the story:

Stop injecting people with Botox in your McMansion, state tells woman

I think most people would find it disturbing for someone to be performing medical procedures out of their home without a license. But, is the reader’s opinion of this woman even worse when her home is labeled a McMansion? It isn’t just an expensive suburban home – it is a McMansion, a term that is almost never used to refer to something good.

Perhaps this could lead to a new McMansion horror storyline

First Medicare patient was in Naperville

Edward Hospital in Naperville will on July 20 celebrate the first Medicare patient in American history:

A Chicago Tribune reporter informed 68-year-old Avery she would be the first citizen to have her bills paid under the then-new program. Her amused reply, “Oh boy! Now I can go to New York and get on the television program ‘I’ve Got A Secret.'”

It was no secret when Avery signed her Medicare forms in her hospital bed on July 1, 1966, the day the program went into effect for nearly 20 million Americans age 65 or older. In addition to front-page coverage in the Tribune, an Associated Press photographer snapped Avery’s picture, which made its way across the country and into numerous other newspapers and publications…

“Edward Hospital, birthplace of Medicare” is how Carlson wryly refers to the event. Carlson is the one who chose Avery for her distinction.

“The reason I was given the right to choose was that I was a member of the communications staff at the national Blue Cross Association,” Carlson said. He and the head of communications at the U.S. Social Security Administration coordinated Avery’s form-signing and photo opportunity.

Although Naperville was still a small town at the time – under 10,000 residents – this illustrates how social networks can help push small communities into the spotlight. Even large bureaucratic programs have to start somewhere and a personal connection between the Blue Cross Association and the Social Security Administration made this possible.

The article says the hospital will dedicate a plaque and hold a small ceremony to make the anniversary. Is this the best way to mark social welfare programs? How many people will know that the plaque exists and view it? The United States regularly crafts memorials for particular people, whether notable leaders (like the proposed Eisenhower memorial in Washington D.C.) or collections of soldiers, but doesn’t mark government programs as well. A memorial to the New Deal? The Monroe Doctrine? The Interstate Act? All of these were incredibly consequential yet it is more difficult to envision where and how these should be marked.

Xmas gifts: America has socialized mortgages, free market health care

The preface to Shaky Ground: The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants includes this fascinating section:

The big banks have at least superficially paid back the money the government gave them; General Motors and Chrysler are out of bankruptcy; but Fannie and Freddie are still in conservatorship. Even more significant, most of the mortgage market in this country is now supported by government agencies, more so that it was before the financial crisis. The former governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, told me this: “Most countries have socialized health care and a free market for mortgages. You in the United States do exactly the opposite.”

Americans of all political stripes have long supported the idea that residents deserve to own a home. This is reflected in government policy, as Bethany McLean argues, where politicians suggest they want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of the mortgage business yet let them become a more and more integral part of the process.

It would be interesting to know how the money poured into the GSEs might be used elsewhere to support other things Americans like to have.

Is not taking a health care subsidy from the government an effective form of protesting?

At least a few Americans are refusing to take government subsidies for healthcare when they are eligible:

Her sentiment is unusual, but brokers say they do hear from clients who are eligible for subsidies – which are based on household income and not assets – but want no part of them. Health officials have been boasting that 6.6 million people have enrolled in health coverage through state or federal marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act, but in sharp contrast stands a small group of Americans who say they want nothing to do with the plans, even if they would save money. Their reasons vary: Some are protesting Obamacare, while others simply feel it’s unethical to accept taxpayer dollars to pay for health insurance.

“It’s almost a philosophical or political statement,” says Gerry Wedig, a professor at the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School.

For Brewer, buying a plan on her own would mean she would not have enough to pay for housing, she says, so she chose not to be insured this year and will have to pay a penalty in her 2016 tax filing that is likely to be 2 percent of her income. She has no dependents, is healthy, does not use prescriptions and says she has been careful about her health choices, not overusing medical care…

Complicating the ethical question is that some people who qualify for subsidies based on their income could afford to pay their own way. “There is no question that we are enrolling people through these programs who would otherwise be considered middle-class or even affluent,” says Ed Haislmaier, a senior research fellow for health policy studies at the right-leaning Heritage Foundation think tank. “We are seeing people with enrollment in these programs that have significant assets, but for whatever reason – usually a temporary reason – fall below the income line.”

This sounds like an interesting form of protest. How many people turn down free money? Would the same people not take other tax breaks? While I understand the interest in standing on principle, I would want to ask two further questions: (1) how would anyone know that you are taking this stand (would these people go around boasting about their principled stands or encourage media attention?) and (2) is this an effective method for bringing about desired social change. It seems like this sort of stand might not go very far…

Wording matters: more Americans oppose and support Obamacare than support and oppose the Affordable Care Act

This is a good example of how wording questions differently can lead to different results: support of Obamacare versus the Affordable Care Act.

More Americans oppose the health care law when you call it Obamacare—46% of Americans oppose the health care law when it carries Obama’s name, while just 37% oppose the Affordable Care Act.

When dubbed Obamacare, however, the law has more supporters: 29% of those polled in a new CNBC poll said they supported Obamacare; just 22% of those polled said they supported the Affordable Care Act.

CNBC asked half of its poll respondents about the Affordable Care Act and half of them about Obamacare.

There are a couple of possible explanations here: some people react more negatively or positive to Obama while others might be unclear what exactly the Affordable Care Act is.

Given these results, it makes President Obama’s decision to fully own the Obamacare title as opposed to using a more neutral title. While he might feel the legislation is a signature part of his presidency, its attachment to him rather than having a more bland bureaucratic name might be hurting its cause.