Category: Health and Wellness

To Vaccinate? Or Not to Vaccinate? It’s a Big Deal.

These things always seem to start simply enough. I was driving to Shreveport one frosty November morning about five years ago to give a speech and spend a couple of days educating folks on health insurance compliance. Just north of Alexandria, I stopped at my favorite barbecue place for lunch. As I was getting out of the car, my back brushed the seat, and I got a pain in my side –a really strong, kind of burning pain. Very unpleasant!

“Getting old is just DELIGHTFUL!” I remember thinking to myself.

Over the next few days, the burning sensation got more painful and started to spread across the middle of my back and around my sides toward my chest. I kept looking in the mirror, expecting to see something, but there was nothing. By the time I got home, it hurt a LOT! What the heck was going on? Read more

Category: ACA and Policy, Cost of Healthcare, Government Programs, Health Insurance

Turning 26 Is Like Landing on an Alien Planet

It’s the eve of your 26th birthday, you must take your first steps into this alien world alone. For 25 years, you’ve lived in safety on the Mother Ship, er, your parents’ health insurance plan. PPOs, HMOs, cost shares and deductibles weren’t even on your radar.

What should you (or your kid who is turning 26) do? Healthcare Economist Mike Bertaut explains your options. Read more

Category: Health and Wellness

What Does Success Against COVID-19 Look Like?

I love to travel. As I’ve gotten older, I’m getting more and more interested in how people in other countries live today and how they cope with life, and I’m less concerned with seeing their old buildings and monuments. It’s the people and their cultures that are starting to get my attention when I go someplace new.

In the era of COVID-19 we are in now, I haven’t done ANY traveling. I don’t think I’ve been more than 30 miles from my house since March 5, when I was in New Orleans at a conference. I’m lying low. But, I am reading a lot about other countries, other lands and other ways of doing things, especially countries that were just as devastated by the first outbreaks of COVID-19 back in March and April as we were here in the U.S. Read more

Category: Health and Wellness

The Time for Skepticism is Over. COVID-19 Is a Real Threat.

I get it, I really do.

Science, as the media reports it, which affects what we hear, see and read, can be inconsistent. Just in my lifetime, the simple hen’s egg has gone from being considered an important part of everyone’s diet, to being considered really, really bad for your diet, then to not so bad and now, back to being considered an important, healthy source of protein again. It’s like “science” can’t make up its mind. So, I get it. It’s confusing to know which reports are “correct.” Read more

Category: Health Insurance

Guest Blog | Blue Cross’ Commitment to Service Across the State

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mike is out this week, and he’s given the Straight Talk floor to another Mike – Michael Tipton, that is. Michael is president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and head of Community Relations. This week, he’s sharing details on the great work he and his team are leading at Blue Cross. 

Hello, Straight Talkers! I’m delighted to be a guest blogger for Mike this week to share news about Blue Cross’ and its Foundation’s responses to COVID-19, particularly related to grant making and charitable investments.

Read more

Category: Health and Wellness

Five Weeks to Fix It | Phase 3, Anyone?

We recently published a Straight Talk piece about what Phase 2 reopening looked like in Louisiana and how we could possibly move to Phase 3 by the first week in July …  IF we stayed on the same COVID-19 trajectory, with lower rates of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths. We were all looking forward to a Phase 3 re-opening so that our businesses could get back to operating, more folks could start going back to work, and the state’s economy could start humming again.

Not to be, I’m afraid. Read more