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Subject: Your healthcare and privacy rss

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I don't think I've seen anyone post about Tim Armstrong's week of trying to modify AOL's 401k contribution schedule to compensate for rising healthcare costs faced by the company. Armstrong started out talking about rising costs from Obamacare, which might have resulted in some HuffPost articles, but not much else. But then it got interesting, when he talked about some specific healthcare expenditures:

Quote:
Two things that happened in 2012. We had two AOL-ers that had distressed babies that were born that we paid a million dollars each to make sure those babies were OK in general. And those are the things that add up into our benefits cost. So when we had the final decision about what benefits to cut because of the increased healthcare costs, we made the decision, and I made the decision, to basically change the 401(k) plan.

I’m not particularly interested in talking about Tim Armstrong*, but more about the amount of our personal healthcare information that ends up in a company’s hands. I have to admit that I did not realize just how much information a company receives if they are self-insured as opposed to fully insured, which is true for most companies with more than 1,000 employers. It is aggregated information, but not entirely. Generally group health plans issue comprehensive reports to self-insured businesses that include “aggregated company expenditures on employee medical tests, treatments, medications, doctor visits, hospitalizations and other categories over a given month or quarter.” They can be broken down by “treatment category - outpatient services, drugs and imaging tests; by disease category — such as the number of employees with psychiatric disorders, cancers or muscular-skeletal disorders; and the aggregate cost for their treatments. Employers may also receive tables that compare spending on brand-name and generic medicines in categories like cholesterol or multiple sclerosis.” And probably most interestingly, the reports often include details on specific high-cost cases.

I am fairly sure those details don’t contain names, but the Forbes article points out that the company has 5,000 employees, so the chances of employees putting together 2+2 to equal 4 was fairly predictable. Which is, of course, exactly what happened. The father of one of the distressed babies got a bunch of emails saying, “Hey, isn’t this you?”

Now apparently, there is supposed to be some level of restriction on who gets access to these reports: “Self-insured businesses contractually agree with their group health plans on the types of employee information that can be shared and the people who may receive the data. Often, a company’s human resources managers are authorized to receive the reports, and they typically receive training on health care data confidentiality requirements.”

Both articles noted that Armstrong’s public statement could theoretically be some kind of HIPAA violation if he was not contractually allowed to see the data directly (and I can’t imagine that they were allowed to make a public announcement about it).

Personally, in these days of NSA monitoring, I find it disturbing that there isn’t more protection of information that really should be private. It’s hard to feel much confidence in its confidentiality after AOL showed just how much value they place on maintaining their employee’s privacy.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danmunro/2014/02/10/did-aol-ceo-...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/11/business/media/revelations...

*Although I do think there is a conversation to be had about why he chose to scapegoat particular families working for AOL and their use of their healthcare benefits, when he had a more palatable target like Obamacare.
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Blaming babies, that has to just piss off everyone, no?
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jmilum wrote:
Blaming babies, that has to just piss off everyone, no?

Well, that was hardly my point, but yes, the fact that Armstrong chose to lever the private details of a dependent who wasn't an AOL employee wasn't really classy.

I hardly have crafted the best OP, but do you or don't you think that employers should get detailed information on particularly expensive healthcare expenditures? Or are you fine with it as a corporate planning mechanism?
 
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she2 wrote:
*Although I do think there is a conversation to be had about why he chose to scapegoat particular families working for AOL and their use of their healthcare benefits, when he had a more palatable target like Obamacare.
Why legitimize the notion of scapegoating anything at all?

(Boy, I had you pegged right as a Republican in that other thread in which you stated your preference that the underlying Republican-agenda reason for school cost-cutting measures in North Carolina not be disclosed by reporters!)

Since privacy was a secondary or tertiary issue surrounding the AOL CEO story, it's understandable that it was far eclipsed by the outrage about the AOL CEO who, almost immediately after scapegoating the health costs of the unnamed babies of his employees and proposing cutbacks in the company's health-care costs, then announces that AOL had just had a significantly profitable year!


> Excerpts from the February 11, 2014 Forbes magazine news story by China Gorman:

The Disconnect Between AOL's Stock And "Distressed Babies"
CEO Tim Armstrong proposed benefit cuts as the online media giant has its most successful year in a decade


As AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has quickly learned, blaming innocent babies for unwelcomed changes to the company's retirement benefits is sure to spawn an uproar.

The executive of the online media giant apologized last weekend and reinstated the benefits after a backlash from employees -- most notably, Deanna Fei, who came forward as the mother of one of the "distressed babies" that Armstrong presumably referred to when he explained why AOL (AOL) had decided to cut benefits. Fei, whose husband is an AOL employee, recounted the absurdity of Armstrong's claim in Slate and countless other media outlets, while gracefully acknowledging that her family's medical expenses had indeed been considerable.

The reaction is perhaps unusual, but not all that surprising: Cutting benefits is certainly not unheard of in corporate America, but not every employee who is victim to such cuts takes to the Internet and television to lambast their employer.

Why did employees react so strongly?

In a word: Dissonance. Not only were Armstrong's remarks insensitive on a personal level, it appeared unjustified on a business level, given the recent performance of AOL's stock. With a one-year return to investors at about 45% and a two-year upward growth trajectory showing no end (until now), AOL hardly appears to be a company in a state of decline.

In fact, in the earnings call that started this debacle, AOL boasted increased year-over-year growth in revenue and adjusted operating income, and a decline in administrative expenses. It's therefore difficult to reconcile "AOL's most successful year in a decade" with a need to cut costs at the expense of employees. So while it was in poor taste to call out particular employees as the reason the rest will suffer reduced benefits, it is in poorer taste to misrepresent realities and intentions....

Great leaders recognize that every word they publicly utter either builds or breaks trust with their employees. Great CEOs will authentically speak about the state of the business and foster the belief among employees that cuts made at their expense will only be a matter of last resort. Even the vaunted Fortune 100 Best Companies To Work For cut benefits and go through layoffs, but why these decisions are taken, and how they are communicated yield very different results.

AOL's CEO got nailed by employees, and rightfully so. When CEOs make lame excuses for their decisions, they breed a low-trust culture of lameness....

____________________________________________



So, She2, would you like the opportunity to publicly demonstrate that you now eschew the unethical notion of scapegoating by retracting your aforementioned words above?


Now, as to the secondary/teriary matter of privacy, as your Forbes article made clear, it's not entirely clear whether the AOL CEO broke the rules/laws in referring to the unnamed "distressed babies" of his unnamed employees. In my non-legal-educated opinion, he certainly broke the spirit of the rules/laws. Since the employees had identified themselves as the apparent ones that the CEO had referred to, there are too many nuanced legal issues here that aren't so clear cut.

I believe the two AOL families should be seeking legal counsel in light of these developments because the CEO's comments did cause them needless emotional distress and harm.

I also believe that the AOL Board of Directors ought to be considering getting themselves a new CEO as well. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong would have to go a long way to redeem himself after this public-relations fiasco. But based on what I've read of late, I'm not entirely sure he feels he needs to do anything more of substance to rehabilitate his public corporate image.

In fact, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong appears to be something of a lost cause based on his just-discovered track record on blaming pregnant women for cutting into corporate profits.



> Excerpts from the February 11, 2014 news story by Robin Marty of the Women's Rights Cause on Care2.com:

AOL Chief Has a History of Blaming Pregnant Women for Cutting Into Profits

AOL had significant earnings in the fourth quarter of 2013, but chose, despite that fact, to find ways to cut employee benefits. The new proposal —— to not provide 401(k) matches to employees until the end of the year in order to not accidentally give contributions to anyone who leaves for a different company —— didn’t cause much controversy.

What did was AOL CEO Tim Armstrong’s reasoning for the cut: High risk pregnancies and subsequent births were a drain on the insurance pool...

Blaming the babies didn’t sit well with many, especially not one of the women who gave birth to one child, whom she said barely survived a one month early birth. “I take issue with how he reduced my daughter to a ‘distressed baby; who cost the company too much money,” wrote Deanna Fei, wife of one AOL employee, in Slate. “How he blamed the saving of her life for his decision to scale back employee benefits. How he exposed the most searing experience of our lives, one that my husband and I still struggle to discuss with anyone but each other, for no other purpose than an absurd justification for corporate cost-cutting.”

Fei added, “Let’s set aside the fact that Armstrong—who took home $12 million in pay in 2012—felt the need to announce a cut in employee benefits on the very day that he touted the best quarterly earnings in years. For me and my husband—who have been genuinely grateful for AOL’s benefits, which are actually quite generous—the hardest thing to bear has been the whiff of judgment in Armstrong’s statement, as if we selfishly gobbled up an obscenely large slice of the collective health care pie.”

Armstrong has responded to the controversy by reversing the 401(k) policy. He’s also reached out to Fei, who said she has accepted his apology which she characterized as “heartfelt.” Perhaps Armstrong did feel genuinely bad about singling out pregnant women for somehow being a drag on the health of his company, but it appears this wasn’t the first time he discriminated against one.

According to Gawker, when Armstrong was with Google in 2005, he was sued for allegedly discriminating against a pregnant employee, whom he first demoted then fired because she said she couldn’t travel for a few weeks due to her condition of being pregnant with quadruplets. “He demoted [Christina] Elwell the same month that she lost two of her unborn children. He told colleagues she was moved to operations because she could not travel, he called her an ‘HR nightmare; and said he no longer wanted her in the New York office, and eventually fired her over the phone. To inform her about the demotion, ‘Armstrong showed Elwell an organizational chart from which Elwell’s position had been deleted.’”

The lawsuit was dismissed due to a rule in the contract stating all disagreements must go through arbitration, but the case shows a disturbing history of a man that sees pregnancy and birth as an economic drain on businesses that must either be avoided or compensated for by employees through some other means.

It is because of employers like this that we need to continue to focus on passing more laws prohibiting discrimination against pregnant people in the workplace, such as the one that just passed in New York City. It’s also why, no matter how much better insurance coverage becomes under Obamacare, we need to work towards real insurance reform that disassociates our health insurance from our employment. When employers see a rising expense, regardless of its necessity, they are going to cut somewhere else to try to keep a large profit intact. Our health, and the health of our families, should never come at the expense of other employee benefits.

“Distressed babies” should never be able to be used as an excuse to roll back employee assistance.


 
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she2 wrote:
I hardly have crafted the best OP, but do you or don't you think that employers should get detailed information on particularly expensive healthcare expenditures? Or are you fine with it as a corporate planning mechanism?
I'm fine with employers that have self funded plans having access to that information, as it is one of the reasons large employers choose the self funded route. But it should be compartmentalized, i.e my supervisor doesn't need to know about my health claims.
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Wow, James. Yeah, I don't think you know much about me. I'm just not interested in an outrage thread about Armstrong. It's trite and boring and what every news outlet is doing.

I do think that people obtain healthcare for just such situations, so Armstrong making an issue of two people is just a smokescreen. But really, don't we all know that already? It's just dull.

Aren't you more outraged about if you (or your dependent) happen to have a major healthcare incident that it is detailed to your employer who may be less than scrupulous about keeping that information private? I am.



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jmilum wrote:
she2 wrote:
I hardly have crafted the best OP, but do you or don't you think that employers should get detailed information on particularly expensive healthcare expenditures? Or are you fine with it as a corporate planning mechanism?
I'm fine with employers that have self funded plans having access to that information, as it is one of the reasons large employers choose the self funded route. But it should be compartmentalized, i.e my supervisor doesn't need to know about my health claims.

I'm dense (as always), but they choose self-insured for that reason? I thought it was because they pay per claim as opposed to a set premium in the fully insured regime. And some real tax benefits.
 
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she2 wrote:
laugh (directed to James) Wow. Yeah, I don't think you know much about me. I'm just not interested in an outrage thread about Armstrong. It's trite and boring and what every news outlet is doing.
And yet, we learned that you as a Republican would advise businesses to blame Obamacare as a seemingly justifiable pretext to cut employee medical-insurance benefits, regardless of the fact that they've just had a significantly profitable year or decade!


she2 wrote:
I do think that people obtain healthcare for just such situations, so Armstrong making an issue of two people is just a smokescreen. But really, don't we all know that already? It's just dull.
As the last article I cited clarified, AOL CEO Armstrong has had a history of scapegoating pregnant women. I'm now beginning to wonder how many like-minded CEOs and businesses are out there who have done likewise. For all we, AOL CEO Armstrong might be representative of a larger issue that could be ubiquitous -- prevalent everywhere.


she2 wrote:
Aren't you more outraged about if you (or your dependent) happen to have a major healthcare incident that it is detailed to your employer who may be less than scrupulous about keeping that information private? I am.
I could well imagine a good corporate citizen company using such information to benefit the employee by secretly/anonymously or acknowledgingly helping him/her meet any out-of-pocket expenses not covered by the insurance.

Unfortunately, since the good corporate citizen company who might go that far to help one of its employees is probably moreso the exception these days rather than the rule, we have to err on the side of protecting employees' private medical information (unless he/she chooses for exceptional cases in which certain info could be revealed to his/her company for a specific reason).


Well, She2, although I gave ya an opportunity to retract your prior post's wrongheaded statement that condoned the unethical notion of unjustifiably scapegoating things for false reasons, you declined it. Therefore, I shall henceforth be reading your posts with a more skeptical eye than ever before.



 
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Blaming Obamacare was his safe play...PR wise...all the cool kids are doing it. I expressed no opinion on whether I agree with that or not.
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she2 wrote:
I'm dense (as always), but they choose self-insured for that reason? I thought it was because they pay per claim as opposed to a set premium in the fully insured regime. And some real tax benefits.
It's one of the reasons, not the reason. Since the self insured employers have access to all the data, they can tailor a plan that fits their workforce better, read cheaper, than the off-the-shelf plans that non self-insured employers get.
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jmilum wrote:
she2 wrote:
I'm dense (as always), but they choose self-insured for that reason? I thought it was because they pay per claim as opposed to a set premium in the fully insured regime. And some real tax benefits.
It's one of the reasons, not the reason. Since the self insured employers have access to all the data, they can tailor a plan that fits their workforce better, read cheaper, than the off-the-shelf plans that non self-insured employers get.

True, but do you think they really need details on particularly large expenditures? How do they tailor a plan based on 2/5000 distressed babies? They'd just be speculating on how to lower costs. I tend to think it doesn't much inform them over the more aggregate summaries they get. If they are going to choose to keep doing this, then I think they should have better rules about who has access and much stiffer penalties for violating it. By them, I mean HIPAA.

(see James, I'm advocating for regulation...me, the ninja Republican...who knew)
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she2 wrote:
jmilum wrote:
Blaming babies, that has to just piss off everyone, no?

Well, that was hardly my point, but yes, the fact that Armstrong chose to lever the private details of a dependent who wasn't an AOL employee wasn't really classy.

I hardly have crafted the best OP, but do you or don't you think that employers should get detailed information on particularly expensive healthcare expenditures? Or are you fine with it as a corporate planning mechanism?

The bare bones is, in a self-funded healthcare program your employer is the customer, not you. They get the bill so they have access to your information. You may not like it, but not giving them access to something they're paying for doesn't seem a viable alternative.
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she2 wrote:
Blaming Obamacare was his safe play...PR wise... all the cool kids are doing it.
"Cool kids", my patoot! How telling that you consider all those American businesses as "the cool kids" who don't have any legitimate business reason to cut medical-insurance benefits but are doing so anyway while wrongheadedly scapegoating Obamacare!!

What a lame excuse for enabling the scapegoating of any type!


she2 wrote:
I expressed no opinion on whether I agree with that or not.
On the contrary, since you consider the "cool kids" to be those American businesses who lie when scapegoating Obamacare for their cutting of employees' medical-insurance benefits and since you didn't even venture to be accountably forthcoming in your response, then you've already signaled that you don't disagree with those "cool kid" American business scapegoating Obamacare as the supposed reason for their cutting of employee medical-insurance benefits.

Me myself, I consider those American businesses who lie when scapegoating Obamacare for their cutting of employees' medical-insurance benefits as the bad kids, the bullies, and the bad apples.


Now, although I'd already given you the opportunity to retract your prior statements, if you still wish to correct anything that you perceive as a misperception about yourself, feel free to be more accountably forthcoming in the future with clear, concise, and unambiguous responses that leave no doubt as to what you're about on the issues under discussion.

 
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Shadrach wrote:
she2 wrote:
jmilum wrote:
Blaming babies, that has to just piss off everyone, no?

Well, that was hardly my point, but yes, the fact that Armstrong chose to lever the private details of a dependent who wasn't an AOL employee wasn't really classy.

I hardly have crafted the best OP, but do you or don't you think that employers should get detailed information on particularly expensive healthcare expenditures? Or are you fine with it as a corporate planning mechanism?

The bare bones is, in a self-funded healthcare program your employer is the customer, not you. They get the bill so they have access to your information. You may not like it, but not giving them access to something they're paying for doesn't seem a viable alternative.

True, but I guess the ones I've dealt with have been administered through a third-party, so the info isn't going directly to an employee. I do think they could lock access down better than they appear to be doing if Armstrong was free to blab about it in public.
 
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she2 wrote:
Shadrach wrote:
she2 wrote:
jmilum wrote:
Blaming babies, that has to just piss off everyone, no?

Well, that was hardly my point, but yes, the fact that Armstrong chose to lever the private details of a dependent who wasn't an AOL employee wasn't really classy.

I hardly have crafted the best OP, but do you or don't you think that employers should get detailed information on particularly expensive healthcare expenditures? Or are you fine with it as a corporate planning mechanism?

The bare bones is, in a self-funded healthcare program your employer is the customer, not you. They get the bill so they have access to your information. You may not like it, but not giving them access to something they're paying for doesn't seem a viable alternative.

True, but I guess the ones I've dealt with have been administered through a third-party, so the info isn't going directly to an employee. I do think they could lock access down better than they appear to be doing if Armstrong was free to blab about it in public.

No, I don't think you understand. The financial information is the COMPANY's business, since they're paying the bills. They deserve full access to the financials. The company does not need to know or have access to your test results(and I don't believe they do at this point PSU itself insured to so I know a bit about it. they're trying to bargain for access to our medical records in the next contract... fat chance), but it doesn't take much deduction when you have bills for a baby, bills for a baby's operations, bills for a baby's laundry list of meds et al coming in at a go.
 
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Shadrach wrote:
she2 wrote:
Shadrach wrote:
she2 wrote:
jmilum wrote:
Blaming babies, that has to just piss off everyone, no?

Well, that was hardly my point, but yes, the fact that Armstrong chose to lever the private details of a dependent who wasn't an AOL employee wasn't really classy.

I hardly have crafted the best OP, but do you or don't you think that employers should get detailed information on particularly expensive healthcare expenditures? Or are you fine with it as a corporate planning mechanism?

The bare bones is, in a self-funded healthcare program your employer is the customer, not you. They get the bill so they have access to your information. You may not like it, but not giving them access to something they're paying for doesn't seem a viable alternative.

True, but I guess the ones I've dealt with have been administered through a third-party, so the info isn't going directly to an employee. I do think they could lock access down better than they appear to be doing if Armstrong was free to blab about it in public.

No, I don't think you understand. The financial information is the COMPANY's business, since they're paying the bills. They deserve full access to the financials. The company does not need to know or have access to your test results(and I don't believe they do at this point PSU itself insured to so I know a bit about it. they're trying to bargain for access to our medical records in the next contract... fat chance), but it doesn't take much deduction when you have bills for a baby, bills for a baby's operations, bills for a baby's laundry list of meds et al coming in at a go.

Fair enough. I'm not exactly an insurance expert. I'm going to disagree a bit that they need a heightened level of detail about very specific and very few incidents that happened to be expensive.

So what do you think about more restriction on access to certain employees making decisions (it is at least contractually restricted from what I was reading) or that there ought to be severe penalties for violating those restrictions. It seems pretty clear cut that there was a violation here.
 
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I'm thinking the exec's examples were actually a blunder. I never attribute to malignancy what simple stupidity can cover. He may have been on a budgetary committee that got these numbers; the two plot points of expense made good speech material and he just didn't think through the *human* angle on it.

Of course if he wasn't supposed to have access to the numbers then the company stepped in it and he should pay the price.

Who should have access the the financial numbers? The people paying the bills and the people working the budget. Those people need to have access for functional reasons. No one else needs access.
 
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Shadrach wrote:
I'm thinking the exec's examples were actually a blunder. I never attribute to malignancy what simple stupidity can cover. He may have been on a budgetary committee that got these numbers; the two plot points of expense made good speech material and he just didn't think through the *human* angle on it.

Of course if he wasn't supposed to have access to the numbers then the company stepped in it and he should pay the price.

Who should have access the the financial numbers? The people paying the bills and the people working the budget. Those people need to have access for functional reasons. No one else needs access.

Agreed, although I think he's dimwit if he didn't think through what would happen or at least vet it through counsel. I think he may have a reaction: "OMG, it cost WHAT for TWO distressed babies? Outrageous!" and then just been arrogant and impulsive by not clearing his remarks. I'm sure his legal office was doing a godzilla facepalm after this. I mean the guy is a bit impulsive based on past behavior.
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Shadrach wrote:
I'm thinking the exec's examples were actually a blunder. I never attribute to malignancy what simple stupidity can cover.
Oops! You apparently didn't read that news story that details AOL CEO Armstrong's notariety in having a track history of blaming pregnant women for profit declines that goes back to 2005 when he was at Google.

 
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she2 wrote:
Shadrach wrote:
I'm thinking the exec's examples were actually a blunder. I never attribute to malignancy what simple stupidity can cover. He may have been on a budgetary committee that got these numbers; the two plot points of expense made good speech material and he just didn't think through the *human* angle on it.

Of course if he wasn't supposed to have access to the numbers then the company stepped in it and he should pay the price.

Who should have access the the financial numbers? The people paying the bills and the people working the budget. Those people need to have access for functional reasons. No one else needs access.

Agreed, although I think he's dimwit if he didn't think through what would happen or at least vet it through counsel. I think he may have a reaction: "OMG, it cost WHAT for TWO distressed babies? Outrageous!" and then just been arrogant and impulsive by not clearing his remarks. I'm sure his legal office was doing a godzilla facepalm after this. I mean the guy is a bit impulsive based on past behavior.
Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! And to think that I already provided you with the news story earlier in this thread that details AOL CEO Armstrong's notariety in having already had such a repugnant track history of scapegoating pregnant women for his companies' profit falls! And that scapegoating history of his goes back 9 years to when he was at Google!

Sheesh! Talk about Republican apologism of American business malpractices at its very worst!

 
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I'll never forget the time when I argued that trade with China was the best weapon that the US has to create domestic change for Chinese workers, and James accused me of owning a lot stock in companies that do business in China, and insisted that I divulge my portfolio before continuing the thread.

Ahh...Good times.

Darilian
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Per HIPAA, health info should only go to those that require it and only the minimum details that they need for their job. And talking about individual cases in public without permission is not allowed. Not sure if he will get any fines or sanctions, but he appears to deserve them.
 
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Darilian wrote:
I'll never forget the time when I argued that trade with China was the best weapon that the US has to create domestic change for Chinese workers, and James accused me of owning a lot stock in companies that do business in China, and insisted that I divulge my portfolio before continuing the thread.
Actually, Darilian, it was *your reluctance* to be forthcoming that provoked my outrage. After all, what would have you have lost by showing that your opinion had been offered with no impurity of motive?

So, yeah, you didn't exactly avoid the appearance of covering up something.
 
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Lynette
United States
Richland
Washington
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Yep, I am a girl Scientist. Come for the breasts; Stay for the brains!
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For as long as I shall live I will testify to love; I'll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough.
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ShreveportLAGamer wrote:

Darilian wrote:
I'll never forget the time when I argued that trade with China was the best weapon that the US has to create domestic change for Chinese workers, and James accused me of owning a lot stock in companies that do business in China, and insisted that I divulge my portfolio before continuing the thread.
Actually, Darilian, it was *your reluctance* to be forthcoming that provoked my outrage. After all, what would have you have lost by showing that your opinion had been offered with no impurity of motive?

So, yeah, you didn't exactly avoid the appearance of covering up something.

Ironically in the thread about "privacy" you make absurd demands implying that strangers on the internet OWE YOU some kind of life transparency.

Showing yet again James why so many people are frustrated by trying to converse in any manner with you on almost any topic.

This is a fun and interesting place to hang out and chat about complex topics. But I don't owe anybody here ANY personal information about my life. What I share I share freely but nobody gets to make demands that I share more and ANY wildly thrown out suppositions, especially when framed as silly accusations of some kind, are not going to illicit anything but shake from me.

I strongly suspect I am not alone in that being my reaction to attempts to bully me on just about any topic in here. Even ones I might be willing talk in depth about if approached differently.

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James King
United States
North Central Louisiana / No Longer A Resident of the Shreveport/Bossier City Area
Louisiana
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Meerkat wrote:
ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
Darilian wrote:
I'll never forget the time when I argued that trade with China was the best weapon that the US has to create domestic change for Chinese workers, and James accused me of owning a lot stock in companies that do business in China, and insisted that I divulge my portfolio before continuing the thread.
Actually, Darilian, it was *your reluctance* to be forthcoming that provoked my outrage. After all, what would have you have lost by showing that your opinion had been offered with no impurity of motive?

So, yeah, you didn't exactly avoid the appearance of covering up something.
Ironically in the thread about "privacy" you make absurd demands implying that strangers on the internet OWE YOU some kind of life transparency.
No, I said that anybody involved in a debate should be accountable for what they're saying and own up to where exactly they stand on an issue without ambiguity. Since political affiliation does after all tend to color one's beliefs about many of these these issues, a poster should most definitely consider being forthright in volunteering his/her exact political affiliation without obfuscation if/when asked for it by somebody who's trying to understand where he/she is coming from.

By the same token, in my opinion, it's all the more preferrable for the asker of that info to volunteer his/her own affiliation (if it's not already commonly known).


Meerkat wrote:
Showing yet again James why so many people are frustrated by trying to converse in any manner with you on almost any topic.
That's also as disingenuous a defense of propaganda and partisan talking points masquerading as personal opinion as they come. But then again, you have been known to try to defend the indefensible despite the presence of objective fact to the contrary.

Clearly, if one had formed an opinion about something, he/she should be willing to back up that opinion with something of more substance than merely wishful thinking or obfuscation. Otherwise, he/she willfully risks being percieved as either not having an informed opinion or may be suspect of trying dispense propaganda under the guise of supposed personal opinion.

Take the originator of this thread who had the audacity to suggest that companies like AOL should resort to scapegoating Obamacare without any solid business-reason basis whatever for doing so. This is the same poster who in another thread expressed dissatisfaction that the press had reported that her North Carolina legislature had made cost-cutting measures in order to send back much, if not all, of that financial responsibility to the counties, part of the Republican agenda there. her casual remark to that effect lent itself only one credible interpretation: that the public should not have been informed that that cost-cutting fulfilled part of the Republican agenda there.

Do you *honestly* think that either of her positions is defensible on their respective merits? (Mind you, I did say *honestly* ahd *on their respective merits*.)

In both cases, she was unable to forthrightly offer a lucid, credible, and unambiguous response to my questions as to why she would advocate such wrongheaded policies. Nor did she even want to forthrightly own up to where she was coming from politically as well.


Meerkat wrote:
This is a fun and interesting place to hang out and chat about complex topics. But I don't owe anybody here ANY personal information about my life.
False issue. I never asked for "personal information" anyway. But in this RSP (Religion, Sex & Politics) chat forum, there are appropriate times for posters to publicly affirm what their religion, sex, sexual orientation, and political affiliation and background are, especialy if they're making some unconventional assertions, because it offers a context from which they're offering subjective anecdotal evidence or arguments.


Meerkat wrote:
What I share, I share freely but nobody gets to make demands that I share more and ANY wildly thrown out suppositions, especially when framed as silly accusations of some kind, are not going to illicit anything but shake from me.
Well, shake your head all ya want, but more than likely, if/when I've challenged ya about anything in the past, it's because you've already left me shaking my head in incredulous amazement of your audacity, disingenuousness, and/or wrongheadedness for asserting something that was demonstrably false, erroneous, or just pure hogwash.

If you're unable to support your point of view or counterpoints with any substance behind them other than wishful thinking or wishful history for that matter, I'll understand if you don't respond to my posts. That's right, you need not respond at all to my posts, especially not with silly excuses, ad-hominem attacks, or would-be face-saving Style-Over-Substance arguments.

Moreover, in my opinion, you certainly have no business preaching to others that which you either don't practice yourself or fail to live up to.


Meerkat wrote:
I strongly suspect I am not alone in that being my reaction to attempts to bully me on just about any topic in here. Even ones I might be willing talk in depth about if approached differently.
Please be advised that I'm no longer amenable or receptive to any further disingenuous sour-grapes attempts of yours to scapegoat me for your own inability to hold you own in a debate or discussion of a topic because of the lack of merit of your arguments. For the record, I'm not responsible for the factual integrity (or lack thereof) of your arguments; whether or not they have solid evidenciary support; or whether or not there are any gaping holes in the logic you advance.

Henceforth, you really should consider not responding to any posts of mine whatsoever because I'm not going to be responding to any of your own unless I perceive a glaring frailty or falsity of whatever you're asserting or alleging about a subject matter that's something I can objectively weigh in with a counterpoint with uncontestable fact to support it and disprove your assertion outright.

Of course, if you choose to respond to my own posts, be prepared to debate the issues on their merits and be prepared with supporting your counterpoints with arguments of substance.


 
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