Good news Friday…Springsteen.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band have long been a favorite…last night I got to see them perform – and wow did they perform – at the JMA Dome in Syracuse.

The energy this 74 year old rocker has is amazing…of the 17 musicians on the stage, he was the only one that never took a break. Bruce is going through what a lot of us are – confronting mortality, watching friends pass, grieving and trying to push through….and in his music shares both his pain while treasuring the memories.

Oh, and there’s a shipload of flat out great rock & roll, incredible interactions with the audience (gave his harmonica to a 10 year old who was playing along with him), and Nils Lofgren on guitar is phenomenal – as is Little Stevie..

If you ever get the chance, you gotta see Bruce and the Band…here’s the tour info.

What does this mean for you?

Bring joy to your life.


What’s driving inflation?

There’s increasing evidence that higher corporate profits are driving inflation.

From the Hill:

Adjusted profits after taxes hit a record high of $2.8 trillion, beating the record of $2.7 trillion in the third quarter of 2022. Profits increased 3.9 percent on the quarter, above expectations of around 3.3 percent. [emphasis added]

This news preceded today’s announcement that inflation ticked up 0.4% in March, a number higher than expected. Annualized the rate is 3.5%, higher than wanted but much lower than this time last year.

Consumer goods prices have gone up much more than other goods and services, with prices for packaged foods and drinks noticeably higher.

So…corporate profits AND consumable prices are increasing, with both higher than expected.

The good news is wages are still trending higher than inflation, despite the profiteering of big corporations. 

What does this mean for you?

Wages are up – which means consumers are holding their own, but increases will affect WC premiums and indemnity expenses.





Good news…Friday!

First, it’s…Friday – reason enough to celebrate!

Second, the baseball season opened this week…although my beloved White Sox lost to Detroit, the Sox had very good pitching and defense. Yeah, they won’t be good this year but at least they’ll catch the ball…

Third, women’s NCAA hoops has been really fun. Watching Caitlin Clark – wow. That plus how much she inspires girls is making for the best championship in forever.

Fourth, the US economy is doing very well, with new data showing production increased more last month than previously reported, AND

business and household income jumped almost 5% in the last quarter of 2023 while core inflation dropped…

From Barron’s

Finally, in another win for consumers the Biden Administration’s effort to force a cap of $8 on late fees for credit card payments is making progress. That would be a big help for those who miss a deadline…the AVERAGE late fee is $30.

From Accountable USA

CFPB identified late fees as “the most significant fee assessed to cardholders in both dollar amount and frequency” and a major contributor to the more than $1 trillion in outstanding credit card debt in 2022.

What does this mean for you?

Things are getting better. Well, not including the White Sox’ chances of a winning season…



Checking in on Medicaid…41 states have expanded Medicaid, and by dribs and drabs some of the holdouts are moving to do the same.

Georgia may well be the next state to follow suit; a court recently ruled in favor of the Peach State’s approach.

Medicaid is one of those rare programs that delivers way more than it costs – economic impact is strongly positive, beneficiaries are much more likely to be healthy enough to work, clinical outcomes improve…

Oh, and uncompensated care costs drop – a LOT…so health systems and hospitals have less incentive to hoover dollars out of employers’ pockets.

Infrastructure investment – Billions of dollars will be invested to  improve infrastructure in places that need it most. From WaPo:

Earlier this week the White House unveiled $3.3 billion in federal grants to remove or retrofit highways that separate minority neighborhoods in many cities from jobs, entertainment centers, hospitals and other services.

In one of my adopted hometowns – Syracuse – the process is well underway. This rights a wrong done decades ago when politicians steamrolled poor folks in poor neighborhoods to build highways to suburbs.

Employment and long-term care

Yes, healthcare worker staffing is a big issue...the good news is much of the potential shortfall can be addressed by immigrants. 

Longterm care is particularly affected…three out of ten workers in long term care are adult immigrants.

What does this mean for you?

More opportunities, improved health, and more healthcare workers = a better place to live and work and raise a family.


It’s a stutter.

I had a bad stutter for years,

From mid-seventh grade up thru high school I struggled mightily to get the words out, to avoid humiliation, laughter, scorn and – worst of all – pity.

As a formerly eloquent speaker and school play actor I had no idea what happened, why, how to fix it, and whether I’d ever be able to stand up in front of people and just…say   my   name.

It came and went for years after high school…I have a very painful recollection of  stuttering badly while giving a talk about exercise physiology during graduate school, watching the group suffer along with me.

Over the years I forced myself into situations again and again as I tried to overcome stuttering…for reasons unknown my stutter eventually faded into a distant if very painful memory.

I relate this because I am appalled by the media’s laziness, stupidity, crassness, and total lack of empathy all on full display when discussing President Biden’s occasional word stumbles. He’s not going thru dementia, nor does he have Alzheimer’s, and he’s not suffering the after-effects of a stroke.

Nope, he’s got a stutter.

Unlike me, the President has not fully conquered his stutter, yet he puts himself out there every day, knowing all too well he’s going to be laughed at, mocked, and demeaned because he stutters.

The meme-makers, mockers and insulters are pathetic indeed, seeking to drag down a person because of a sometimes-disabling condition, to use Biden’s condition to make them feel better about themselves, to get a cheap laugh from equally-pathetic barroom morons.

As for the media, I am furious with TV anchors, pundits, reporters, and editors for failing to address this consistently, fairly and completely. No, these superficial “personalities” would much rather parrot the “he’s old, see he can’t finish a sentence, mixes up his words, mumbles at times, and veers off track…” idiocy.

Well, you idiots masquerading as media those are ALL STRATEGIES STUTTERERS USE TO TRY TO GET THE WORDS OUT.

Mumbling hides stutters.

Mixing up words happens when you are desperately trying to find a word to use instead of the word that’s stuck in your throat.

Not finishing a sentence is because you can’t get the last words out without stuttering.

Going off track – same..

What does this mean for you?

How would you feel if you stuttered? Couldn’t communicate verbally? Got laughed at for something you can’t control?

I thought so.    So don’t be a jerk.



Good news Friday – Crime is down!

If it bleeds…it leads.

That’s the mantra driving local news reporting, one that really distorts what’s ACTUALLY happening – which is in most cities crime has dropped – a lot. That includes violent crime.

According to the highly-regarded Council on Criminal Justice,

  • The number of homicides in the 30 study cities was 9% lower in the first half of 2023 than in the first half of 2022.
  • Robberies, burglaries and larcenies all decreased in the first half of 2023 compared to the first half of 2022.
  • Levels of nearly all offenses are lower, or barely changed in the first half of 2023 compared with the same period in 2022.

Notably, murder rates peaked 3+ years ago, under the previous administration and have dropped by half since then.

The one area where volumes have increased is in car theft…mostly due to big problems with Kias and Hyundai thefts which are up 1,000% since 2020. …it has gotten so bad police departments in multiple cities are giving away steering wheel locks to Kia and Hyundai owners…

In Milwaukee more than half of car thefts were Kias or Hyundais.

What does this mean for you?

Tell the fear mongers to stuff it.

And put a steering wheel lock on your Kia/Hyundai.



Since the Supreme Court overturned the right to abortion, almost 60,000 women had rape-caused pregnancies – and live in states where they cannot get an abortion.

From the American Medical Association’s research:

In the 14 states that implemented total abortion bans following the Dobbs decision, we estimated that 519 981 completed rapes were associated with 64 565 pregnancies during the 4 to 18 months that bans were in effect (Table 2). Of these, an estimated 5586 rape-related pregnancies (9%) occurred in states with rape exceptions, and 58 979 (91%) in states with no exception, with 26 313 (45%) in Texas.

Notably, even in states that allegedly allow exceptions for rape or incest – e.g. Idaho – the AMA found NO abortions have occurred.


60,000 girls, teens, and women who were raped will have live or dead babies.

The psychological damage will be devastating for them, their loved ones, and their babies.

Make no mistake, the burden will fall on the least fortunate of us...almost everyone subscribed to MCM has healthcare; you and your daughters/wives can travel to states that allow abortion.

The vast majority of victims live in states that have crappy Medicaid coverage, so many/most won’t have coverage for/access to pre-natal care, ob/gyn services, labor and delivery, and infant/pediatric health.

Not to mention mental health.

The shameless hypocrisy of the “protect life” crowd in these states is overwhelming... forcing rape victims to have babies and not providing the women or the babies with healthcare is just…unthinkable.

The cost – in terms of destroyed lives and unfunded/uncovered healthcare expenses – is immeasurable.

What does this mean for you?






Dumbest law of the month…#2

Okay, this isn’t a law, rather a school board ruling.

But it is so amazingly, blindingly, completely stupid that it beggars belief.

Last June the duly-elected Escambia County School Board  banned 8 dictionaries and encyclopedias because they…wait for it…contain depictions or descriptions of sexual conduct.

Who knows if these vile, disgusting, immoral books contained anything problematic…but under Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, one parent – yup, just one – can force a school to pull a book from its shelves and conduct a lengthy review to ascertain if it is – according to some made-up criteria – inappropriate for that school.

So, let’s see…what could qualify?

  • A parent kissing their spouse?
  • Reproduction by an earthworm?
  • A trout laying eggs?
  • A medical textbook describing intercourse?

Those are all “sexual conduct…

That’s not the worst of it. Under Florida’s law, ANY parent could force a school too pull ANY book – which could include…the Biblewhich does reference various activities that could be construed as “sexual conduct”.

What does this mean for you?

Don’t let your kids go to Escambia County schools.




What should happen in workers’ comp – but probably won’t

I’ve finally figured out that what I think should happen often doesn’t.

So, here’s my take on the 5 things that SHOULD happen in worker’s comp this year but likely won’t.

  1. We won’t hear more caterwauling about “rising medical costs”.
    Ha. The latest NCCI research indicates execs still don’t understand what’s really happening with medical costs – despite NCCI’s diligent efforts to educate same.
  2. Work comp execs will embrace innovation.
    I wrote about this three years ago here. Basically,

    1. execs got to be execs by avoiding anything remotely risky.
    2. The industry is making billions in profits so why try anything new.
    3. Frequency and premium rates are declining, so why try something for a declining business?
    4. And worker’s comp is mandatory in 48 states, so they’ll have to buy it from someone.
  3. Buyers will stop asking about/measuring/caring about medical “savings”.
    I’ve written about this a gazillion times…here’s one example. The net – it’s really easy to show a reduction below list price – we Americans have been trained to do just that.
    Even when it makes zero sense…follow the link to get why there’s a horrendously ugly sport jacket here…

    Oh, And, this industry is pretty lazy.
  4. The industry will wake up to human-caused global warming. 
    Ha. Nice to see that some pundits have finally raised this as an issue – but jeez people it’s 2024, and we’ve KNOWN we are boiling the planet for decades. Nope, there will be minor moves, with little public discussion among or by work comp execs.
    Great question.
  5. The industry will seriously embrace behavioral health, take major steps to understand this as a disability driver, and seek out meaningful solutions.
    Sure, some have – and kudos to them for doing so – And kudos to good friend, colleague, and mentor Bill Zachry, David Vittoria of Carisk, Dr Les Kertay, and others who have been leading the charge.
    But let’s get real folks…disability is as much- if not more – mental/emotional/
    psychological as physical, yet far too many payers don’t want to accept that blindingly obvious truth, scared of “owning the psych”.”
    You already own it.

    (Carisk is an HSA client)



Good news Friday…

The best possible news hit the wires yesterday – there won’t be a government shutdown next week.

The House – in a bipartisan vote – passed a continuing resolution (aka CR) to keep current funding levels in place till early March, giving the House and Senate time to negotiate on 12 individual spending bills.

The really good news is this passage:

  • was bipartisan, with 207 Democrats and 107 Republicans joining together to pass the CR
  • did not result in a move to oust current House Speaker Mike Johnson (R LA) (a similar bill cost then-speaker Kevin McCarthy R CA the Speakership)

While it is way too early to celebrate a new era of bipartisanship and congratulate the radicals on both ends of the spectrum for their maturity, and

…it is mind-blowing that we now celebrate a near-government shutdown as “good” news, 

Given recent history this does count as good news.

What does this mean for you?

That said, we cannot continue governing like this.  Thoughtful, principled compromise must return to Washington.