The joys of open enrollment, staying happy by staying focused, the deer with the velvet antlers, pitch man under fire, and the lawsuit of the day.
1) OPEN SEASON
You can tell we’re in the season of health care hell for people who have work-based health care plans. MPR’s Elizabeth Stawicki profiled the new rules on flex plans, those accounts that let you stash some tax-free money away to pay for out-of-pocket expenses. The biggest change is you soon won’t be able to put as much away as you once were able to. The U.S. needs the tax money, apparently. But Stawicki’s story, perhaps unwittingly, provided another aspect of the problem with health care being linked to one’s job. One of the people featured in her story wouldn’t give her last name because she was afraid she’d lose her job if her boss found out she was talking about how the new rules will affect her.
It’s “open-enrollment” season. Over at WCCO, Jason DeRusha found out that the vast majority of people don’t pay much attention to their health care options:
All of this, of course, is a bureaucracy, one the government uses to change your behavior. The Star Tribune this morning, for example, reports that Minnesota is trying to discourage mothers-to-be not to induce labor, by making the pain of paperwork more unbearable than waiting a bit more longer.
The model for the national health care law is Massachusetts, which passed a plan four years ago. PBS Newshour last evening took a look at how it’s turned out. What it hasn’t done is controlled spiraling health care costs. “It wasn’t supposed to,” its architect said.
What’s happening with your health insurance?
2) HAPPY TALK
Harvard scientists say people whose minds wander — even to pleasant things — aren’t as happy as people who stay focused on a task.
More science: A new study found that in classrooms where boys and girls line up separately — and even in settings where teachers say things like, “Good morning boys and girls” — children express more stereotypes about gender and even discriminate when deciding who to play with.
3) THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A MAN IN VELVET, EVEN IF IT’S A DEER
A Hutchinson man shot a buck earlier this month. That’s not much of a big deal. This one had entirely velvet antlers. That’s a big deal. It’s a rare condition caused by a lack of testosterone, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Oh, deer: Where do you have the biggest chance of hitting a deer with your car? Goodhue County.
4) PITCH MAN UNDER FIRE
Fargo police selected the North Dakota State University football coach to be the voice behind public service announcements in a traffic safety campaign. They said they didn’t know he’s been cited by police 18 times since 2003, including ten speeding tickets.
5) LAWSUIT OF THE DAY
A man in New York is suing his golf partner for not yelling “fore” when he hit an errant shot. Things we don’t understand: (a) Why a golfer isn’t watching his partner’s shot and would need to hear “fore” and (b) Why a golfer isn’t standing behind the golfer’s line to the green? Golfers? Isn’t “fore” usually yelled for the benefit of golfers who are playing other holes? The New York Supreme Court is hearing the case today.
Bonus: On the field with the oldest marching band. (NPR)
Two Democratic pollsters suggested on Sunday that President Obama could serve the country best by forgoing a run at re-election. Should President Obama limit himself to a single term?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: A look at President Obama’s efforts to give the economy a boost.
Second hour: In his new book, the best-selling author of “the Great Santini” and “Prince of Tides” pays homage to the literature that transformed his life.
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Experts answer questions about open enrollment for Medicare and all its complicated programs.
Second hour: An NPR “Intelligence Squared” debate on the question: “Is Afghanistan a Lost Cause?” Debaters are Peter Bergen, Max Boot, Matthew Hoh and Nir Rosen.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Rethinking nursing.
Second hour: Ted Koppel talks about what he calls “the death of real news.”
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – An effort to convince chefs at resorts in the Brainerd Lakes area to use more locally-grown produce has had mixed success. The project attempted to streamline the ordering of produce through a national website, Local Dirt. MPR’s Nancy Lebens will talk to farmers and chefs.