Archive for the ‘Blogfinger opinion’ Category

Effective communication. Internet photo

Effective communication. Internet photo

“Social media tugs the private into the public sphere with an almost irresistible force. Be followed, be friended — or be forgotten. This imperative creates a great deal of tension and unhappiness. Most people, much of the time, have a need to be quiet and still, and feel disinclined to raise their voice. Yet they sense that if they do not, they risk being seen as losers. Device anxiety, that restless tug to the little screen, is a reflection of a spreading inability to live without 140-character public affirmation. When the device is dead, so are you.”

Roger Cohen, a NY Times columnist, said this as part of an article* called “An Old Man in Prague” about a Czech who saved the lives of Jewish children before the Second World War.  That man  is now over 100 years old, but his deeds were never recognized before because he never spoke about them.

We have been writing about communication in a digital age. Social media has many features that people, especially the young, enjoy and even become hooked on. The messaging is often trivial and may be compromising the ability of people to communicate  in a more meaningful way.

Mr. Cohen takes the pulse of human beings who feel pressured to join the flood of voices on the internet. This quote is beautifully expressed.

On Blogfinger, our readers hesitate to say much in comments, but I guess they feel safer when talking to “friends” on Facebook. But, those social networks should be used with great caution for many reasons.

Any comments?  We offer more privacy on BF  than you could experience on Facebook.

—Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

BLOSSOM DEARIE   (Here’s a message that would be best communicated by a hand-written note or, even better, in person.)

*  Link to An Old Man in Prague:    NYT link

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Asbury Park.  October, 2014.  Blogfinger photo.  ©

Asbury Park. October 2, 2014. Blogfinger photo. ©

Blogfinger has a long history of reporting a variety of worrisome issues in the Grove, but frequently,  no matter what we  (BF and our commenters) say about our concerns,  our opinions seem to fall on deaf ears.

The problem is that “we the people” seem to have power only when our elected officials pay attention to us, and that is how things should work . Unfortunately, on Blogfinger, no elected officials participate in our discussions. Why?  You can guess why, but that is the bottom line. You can go to the Township Committee meetings and say things for 5 minutes, but you won’t make an impact unless you go in force, and that rarely occurs.

Citizen activism is the only answer, and we saw that work when a group of Broadway flood citizen activists pushed the Township. And now a group of Wesley Lake activists are making things happen on that front.   We can’t depend on groups such as the Chamber of Commerce or the Home Groaners Association to run with the ball on things that worry us.

All of us are concerned about crime.  The other day, a police officer in Asbury was stabbed. That town has serious crime problems, and we in OG need to be watchful regarding that situation. We must stick to our “guns” in continuing the locking of the two Wesley Lake bridges.    Soon it will be winter, and our streets will be darker at night, and our population will be smaller.

We have previously called for a resurrection of the Neighborhood Watch in town, but the NTPD, a superb police force, doesn’t seem to be enthused about that method of crime fighting, but we think it has great potential to help protect us and our properties.   Perhaps we need a group of citizen activists to start their own neighborhood watch program and do it right with signs  (see above), foot patrols, effective email/phone lists, and educational programs–including pushing for better lighting and cameras all over town. Such a group can urge the NTPD to help them.     Don’t forget that the OG Citizen Patrol was started by a citizen activist and cooperates with the police.

Here is a link to our Neighborhood Watch post in April, 2012 which discusses the problems NW has in the Grove.    BF on NW

Anybody that starts a citizen activist group can count on publicity @Blogfinger.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor.



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Steve Valk.   Photo by Paul Goldfinger ©  Ocean Grove, NJ

Steve Valk. Main Avenue in Ocean Grove, NJ, August, 2014.  Photo by Paul Goldfinger © Ocean Grove, NJ

Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger

We interviewed Steve Valk last year in Ocean Grove  and we discussed his fascinating work in Germany with a new field called  “social choreography.”  He is an innovator and a social scientist who is interested  in how our communities can function in order to help people live better lives.  His ideas have  culminated in some tangible results.

Here is a link to our 2013 article about Steve:    Steve Valk 2013 BF article

Last year our conversation was about his concepts, but this time we met at the Bean to talk about Ocean Grove. I have long been interested in how this fascinating small town actually works:  its evolving demographics, its institutions, and its progress or lack thereof.   What are the dynamics that propel those who live here and how they relate to each other, their history, and to their town?

Steve has a unique perspective, having summered in OG for over 40 years and now  looking at it from the vantage point of living in another country. He can see the town through a special prism that might interest those of us who wonder about this place that we call home. It’s such a small space and it has some unique properties that make it a fascinating case study.  Valk is a thinker who is seriously considering studying Ocean Grove towards a Ph.D thesis.

He  is the Director of the Institute of Social Choreography in Frankfurt.  His most recent project there has been to create a residence for those who have no place to stay, where urban bee keeping is done.  Those who live there, even for short periods, are engaged in the business of bee keeping. It is a startlingly creative idea to keep the homeless sheltered and productive.

For our Ocean Grove discussion,  Steve had to first go back and talk about his history in the Grove.  He needed to do that to establish a baseline for our current topic.    As a boy, he was impressed by the relationship back in the ’70’s and ’80’s between the Grove and Asbury Park.  Many Grovers, although mainstreaming the religious life, would seek variety in Asbury where they could hear major New York dance bands in the Paramount Theatre and where they could go to Mrs. J’s, a sort of biker club near the Stone Pony, where rock was heard.  He says that Grovers needed that Asbury link, and that sister city mismatch  was attractive to home buyers who liked both sides of the coin.

Back in the Grove, he had young friends to hang with, and even though the town was in a state of “decrepitude”   (NY Times)   in the ’80s–into the /90’s, all the “good stuff” was still happening: the beach, the Great Auditorium, the religious life, the music, and the eateries such as the Sampler and the Grand Atlantic  where “half the town ate.” (Although both those places eventually closed, so that was  a blow.)

Valk also began to notice the appearance of gays in  town  and he was impressed that there was no discrimination against them and that they brought life to the community.  He says that the “transition” which occurred in the late ’80’s into the ’90’s was “a serious change for good.”

Soon he worked himself up to the present time where he now finds Ocean Grove to be “functioning very well.”  He recognizes  the changes that continue to occur but he sees a dynamic process that merits analysis.  Valk  finds that the town consists of “multiple separate resonating vertically integrated layers” including, for example, the Methodist community, the lifeguard/firemen , the merchants, the retirees, the part-time young families, the singles, the gays, etc.  He says that there are “activists” at each level who create motion vertically,  and “that ‘s what makes the town work.”

He has high praise for the Jersey Shore Arts Center where he walked in one day, not expecting much based on the outside appearance , but inside he loved the space and the “excellent arts community—-a collective project for the people.”   He wondered why the Camp Meeting Association was not supportive of that Center.

He admires Blogfinger because he sees us crossing the vertical barriers and examining those components  in our articles, augmented  by the music and photography.  He believes that such enhanced vertical integration, such as he also saw at the Arts Center, will make the town better.

Steve Valk feels the same way about the Camp Meeting Association which has its core mission, but it also crosses vertically.  Steve thinks that the townspeople tend to underestimate the religious life here.  Valk  goes to Sunday services—he comes from an old OG religious family.  He says that if outsiders were to listen to some of these visiting preachers, they would hear “great orators  with radical ideas.”    For example, the speaker last week has an extraordinary congregation consisting of over 700 addicts that he helps.

Regarding  the Ocean Grove gay community, he is a strong advocate for that group.   I think he sees Europe as being more open to the gays than in America.  Germany, like many European nations, is more socialistic , and there is more money available for programs focusing on social improvements.

He says that there are techniques that could be used in OG to promote better relations between the various groups in our town, some of which are quite insular. The town would improve more  if the  groups were communicating better.

He left on Saturday to attend an NFL pre-season game  (he’s a Pittsburgh fan) and to visit his friends in the art world.  Then it’s back to Frankfurt.

We’ll definitely see Steve again in the Grove.  He loves to bike all over, crisscrossing from  here to Asbury Park.  We asked him to reflect some more on his views about Ocean Grove and to consider sending those ideas to us for posting on BF.


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July 3, 2014 issue. Note the first paragraph. Click to enlarge.

July 3, 2014 issue. Note the first paragraph. Click to enlarge.



July 10, 2014 edition

July 10, 2014 edition


In last week’s July 3 Coaster, they said unequivocally that the CMA wants to take over the JSAC property and that is because the JSAC had violated a prior lease agreement.  (see the first paragraph above.)   However, in that Coaster article they did not interview anyone from the CMA. They based their facts on what the JSAC officials had to say and on what a letter said from the CMA lawyer to Herb Herbst at the JSAC.

Since then, the COO of the Camp Meeting, JP Gradone, has refuted the truth of those allegations, and we posted that denial a few days ago on Blogfinger. Gradone contacted the Coaster and requested that they publish a clarification, which appeared in a headline article in today’s edition (July 10, 2014)

We spoke to JP Gradone last evening. He stood firm on what he said two days ago: i.e., the CMA has no intent to take over the JSAC property and they did not accuse the JSAC of violating an agreement. He said that the lawyer for the CMA had gone overboard when he made those assertions in his letter to JSAC and that no one from the CMA had seen the letter before it went out. H e also said that the CMA board had not even discussed having an interest in the old Neptune High school.

Gradone said that the CMA lawyer was supposed to be sending a letter to the JSAC to clarify  “loose ends” regarding real estate issues.  He said that the CMA does not even  have a land lease agreement with the JSAC.

So it appears that the new facts of life in this situation are what the CMA says they are. Perhaps Herb Herbst and his lawyer should have talked personally to the CMA before flying off the handle.  On the other side, the CMA was slow in providing their point of view after this story first surfaced.


Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger


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The ugliest rear end in Ocean Grove.  Blogfinger photo October 17, 2013. ©

The Park View Inn:   The ugliest rear end in Ocean Grove. Blogfinger photo October 17, 2013. ©

These supports will surely inspire confidence in the neighbors who are expecting the place to collapse on itself.

These front supports will surely inspire confidence in the neighbors who expect that this Seaview Avenue joint will soon collapse on itself or vanish in a firestorm.    As Bettie Davis once said, “What a dump!” Blogfinger photo 10/17/13 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger        Let’s review what was going on 8 months ago, and let’s compare that story with  what happened to the Sampler: just click on the link below—by Charles Layton.  Note that the mountain of debris has been removed from behind the Park View.  There is  new wood framing holding up that rear porch.  The front has not changed.


Latest (June 23, 2014) rear view of the Park View. Pull up a Margherita and a lounge and watch the bottles float by on Wesley Lake.  ©

Latest (June 23, 2014)  still ugly rear end view of the Park View. Pull up a Margarita and a lounge and watch the bottles float by on Wesley Lake. ©

October, 2013:   While Neptune Township tries to figure out what to do with the progressively deteriorating Park View Inn, the neighbors of that abandoned Seaview Avenue hotel remain concerned about the stability of the structure. The owner, Marshall Koplitz, has eluded attempts to punish him for his failures to comply with court orders. In 2011 he agreed to turn the structure into a 31 room hotel, but he never followed the schedule which had been imposed on him.  This past summer he declared bankruptcy.  Meanwhile, the Township has been concerned with the structural integrity of the place, and the owner has recently been forced to shore up the front end, while taking down the back porches before they fall down.

Currently, thanks to the demolition of the first and second floor rear porches, there is a small mountain of debris in back, creating an extra ugly turn of events for our Wesley Lake skyline. One wonders how they will get that mess out since Lake Avenue is closed off.  They will need a small army of Sherpas to climb up and drag it all out the narrow alley on the side.   Either that, or bring a barge in from the Atlantic Ocean.

A fire sprinkler system was installed about six months ago, but it seems like a feeble solution to a risky situation that calls for a total demolition to provide fire safety for the neighbors. It’s hard to imagine that sprinkler system would control a conflagration originating in that aging wooden firetrap.

The Park View Inn is the poster building for derelict houses in the Grove. As we know from experience, we can pontificate all we want about such properties, and we have done so endlessly on Blogfinger regarding this one and others, but in the end, not much gets done when owner’s rights clash with the public good.

Meanwhile, the Park View Inn  just sits there and decomposes, like some sort of beached whale, and nobody at the mother ship in Neptune  seems to have a plan to get rid of the carcass.

The town fathers and mother should review the history of the Sampler Inn. They will find that this is deja vu all over again, and in that story, the Township finally decided to demolish the building themselves due in large part to an unrelenting campaign by Grovers.  As with the Park View now, the same owner declared bankruptcy then.

The owner of the Ocean Plaza and the Ocean View hotels (on Ocean Pathway) is Marshall Koplitz, the owner of the Park View Inn.    Blogfinger photo ©

The owner of the Ocean Plaza and the Ocean View hotels (on Ocean Pathway) is Marshall Koplitz, the owner of the Park View Inn. Blogfinger photo ©

You can read about it in Charles Layton’s 2012  Blogfinger article  (link to the “Battle of the Sampler Inn”    The story of the death of the Sampler Inn )


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May 2, 2014.  Blogfinger photo

Ocean Grove entrance. Welcome to town.   May 2, 2014. Blogfinger photo. click image to enlarge

By Paul Goldfinger, MD, FACC

I guess you have all noticed that the pinking of May has begun again in Ocean Grove, and Meridian Health is once again bombarding us with an in-your-face month-long campaign of covering our town with pink bows, banners, fliers and even a stripe down the middle of the road. It’s as if the bubonic plaque is on its way to New Jersey.  In my February article on Blogfinger  ( The Mammography mess–a controversy  ) I expressed my opinion that this campaign is overblown.

The pink painting is all about promoting mammography as an early detection method for breast cancer screening in women over age 40.  Even if we agree that this is a noble cause, to assault our senses for an entire month with it is way out of proportion to its importance. If you read my article linked above, you will find that this subject is highly controversial  and not nearly as neatly defined as this pink campaign would have you believe.

Putting bows on the poles is unsightly and a violation of town ordinances.  Why should the pink people be able to do it, but no one else  can?  And what’s to stop every disease- fighting organization to ask for the same privileges here?  Maybe next month we can paint the town blue for cyanotic disorders.  Or let’s have a yellow July for liver disease.  Why is this health issue getting the attention that none other gets, and it is not even the cancer, but it is the test that is the headliner?  What is really behind all this noise?

In the poorest neighborhoods of Asbury Park there are no pink ribbons.  BF photo May 2, 2014

In the poorest neighborhoods of Asbury Park there are no pink ribbons. BF photo May 2, 2014

Is there really an epidemic of stupid women out there who don’t know about mammography?  Are there really many women who want mammography but are too poor to get it done?  Well, maybe there are some, but this pinkifying of Ocean Grove is way out of proportion and should not be allowed.

We have a beautiful town which should not be marred by all this pink painting, exhorting and clamoring.   The pink people can do their fund raising in a calm, quiet and distinguished way  like  other groups  (e.g. American Cancer, American Heart and thousands of other such organizations.)

Pink ribbons and signs in front of JSUMC. May 2, 2014. It's the only place on Corlies Ave. that has pink paraphernalia.  BF photo

Pink ribbons and signs in front of JSUMC. May 2, 2014. It’s the only place on Corlies Ave. that has pink paraphernalia. BF photo

I think Jersey Shore should just paint their hospital pink and leave it at that.

Rich Amole put on his Google glasses and took a peek into the future to wee what the Grove will look like if the pink-o-rama continues to next year.

Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff,  put on his Google glasses and took a peek into the future to see what the Grove will look like if the pink-o-rama continues to next year. Click on photo to enlarge.     ©


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An OG complainer at an HOA meeting.  Let's give him a hand.   Blogfinger photo

An OG complainer at an HOA meeting. Give Jack a hand.   Blogfinger photo,  undated.   ©

Last night Grover Ken Buckley went before the Neptune Township Committee to complain about the failure of the Township to solve the problem of derelict houses.  We used to write articles all the time on Blogfinger complaining about those DH’s, but all those articles accomplished was to raise awareness. We went to court to hear Neptune’s lawyers file impotent  complaints against landlords  and we went to meetings of the OGHOA which appointed a derelict houses committee.

The derelict committee complained and they created a fine  website   (derelictbuildings.net) which frames the issues nicely including quotes from the law and pictures of rotting buildings, but no new ideas were found.  Their  website has posted nothing since last July, and the HOA’s website is currently suspended.

Ken Buckley should be commended for shining a bright light again on this matter, but in the end, he has no new ideas either.  Yet he  has singled out the citizens of Ocean Grove because they complain without having solutions.

But there are no strings attached to the First Amendment, and so, citizens of Ocean Grove, complain all you want, even if you are clueless as to how to solve the derelict housing problem.  Blogfinger is open for business.

–Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger


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IMG_4121 - Version 2

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor  @Blogfinger

The irony of the headline quote could actually be hilarious except for the fact that our crime wave is a serious matter.  We have been covering this story since postings on  Jan 12 and 13 when we received comments from 26 Ocean Grovers reporting crimes and expressing anger and fear.  Yet none of our elected officials responded on Blogfinger to our readers.  This web site offers a public forum, but the Township and the Police Commissioner will not participate in our discussions.  However, they will say things in an article in today’s  Coaster,* because no one can answer them back at that venue.

One of our citizens made a formal request for crime stats 12 days ago when he contacted Mr. Michael Bascom, the Neptune Township Commissioner of Police, who promised to get back to him.   That has yet to occur.

Today, in the Coaster, we find quotes from those parties and others who would rather talk to a reporter than to the people. Most of their remarks sound like an  attempt to blame Ocean Grovers for the failure to solve this crime wave.

Mr. Bascom said  (from the Coaster) …”residents should be mindful not to provide criminals with opportunities to commit crimes.”

He said, “These are crimes of opportunity with many residences having open windows, unlocked doors, and no lights on. If people just take simple protective measures and report suspicious activities it could make a big dent and possibly help us catch the perpetrators. When they enter a house it is sometimes as easy as opening a door and walking in.”

Anne Horan of the OGHOA  said  “she would like to see the Neighborhood Watches get into action, especially in the winter when the population in Ocean Grove drops, and that she would like residents to be more wary of what is going on around them. People need to make sure they keep their lights on and keep an eye out for what’s going on around them.”

This is pathetic.  The OGHOA has done absolutely nothing about this problem and now the President is asking for help from Neighborhood Watch, another feeble and nearly invisible OG crime-fighting organization.  Maybe the N. Watchers  should become a subcommittee of the OGHOA.

In addition, why didn’t any of these officials say that many of the burglarized homes were locked and that sometimes people were at home when the break-ins occurred?

Randy Bishop, another Committeeman who has been silent, did make a comment to the Coaster.  He said “Residents should heed the warning of police and secure their properties.”     Is this the most enthusiasm he can muster up on behalf of the citizens ?

Police Chief Hunt  said that he has a greater police presence in the Grove. He stated that he is using marked and unmarked vehicles as well as undercover police. You can read his  and others’ full comments via the Coaster link below.*

Coaster link

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Internet image

Read the comments below to appreciate that this is a significant problem.  Internet photo

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

December 27, 2013.  Ocean Grove:      Yesterday we received an email from a neighbor on Mt. Hermon Way near Firemen’s Park.  She said :

“A burglar has been breaking into houses around here.xxxxxx, on Christmas day, someone else, apparently, on Main Ave., Today, I heard second hand that xxxxxx had someone look in their living room window a few days ago. Someone’s on the prowl.”  She suggested that I check out the situation.

I replied that we are not investigative reporters on Blogfinger, and those people need to report these events to the police.  I did however put out a note of caution in our “Wassup” section, although I had no detailed information on the matters at hand.  Later she emailed again to say that those people did report the events to the police.

Then today we heard from another neighbor, John Higley, who said,  “Regarding prowlers, I was arriving home on Mt. Hermon Way Thursday night and passed a Neptune PD car heading west on Main Ave, with a white light array on top that could illuminate Metlife Stadium. As I parked and was opening the front door it drove down Mt Hermon with the light of a thousand suns filling the street. Not a bad deterrent. “

Then later today, I get a call from another neighbor, this time one on the south side of Main, across from the park. she tells me that there was a break-in at 108 Heck, where a burglar entered the basement. And then she tells me of another break-in near there on Main, and yet another on Broadway.  Her comment was “There’s been a rash of burglaries.”

Evidently the police have been advised about all of these incidents. She wondered why they didn’t use the reverse 911 technique to alert everyone.  She called Committeeman Randy Bishop who lives in the Grove. He said he hadn’t heard about it, but he would look into the matter.

I find the whole thing disconcerting and even bizarre. If there have been such episodes in a particular neighborhood, and if the police were notified, shouldn’t they have an officer come into the neighborhood, knocking on doors and alerting the folks who live there?   Why didn’t that happen?  And, for that matter, why hasn’t the entire town been notified of such a threat?   This time of year we have many empty houses, and anything that can help prevent such crimes should be implemented.  This includes all home owners lighting their properties while they are away.

And, if I may be mildly critical of my neighbors, if they were experiencing prowlers, shouldn’t they have sent emails and/or phone calls and/or knocks on the door to everyone within 2 blocks of their houses?   I suggest that each neighborhood create an email/phone list to be shared with all neighbors. We need to do a better job of looking our for each other.

As far as Neighborhood Watch is concerned, that is a joke.  Who’s watching?   It should be abolished, because it is a sham.    Even the NTPD  Neighborhood Watch  reports just petty crimes.  It seems that those crime reports are censored to shield us from more serious occurrences.

Am I wrong?  What do you think?

EDITOR’S NOTE: At 4:20 pm on Friday a reverse 911 call was placed to residents from the NTPD which said that “there have been several incidences of burglary and theft in the vicinity of Ocean Grove.”   It was suggested that all residents lock doors and windows  and to secure valuable items.  The caller said that the police “strongly urge basic crime-prevention techniques and report all suspicious activity to the NYPD at 732 988 8000 or call 911 in an emergency situation. ” —PG

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The Governor spoke at the Police Memorial Service 5/21/13. But he did not visit our damaged boardwalk.

The Governor spoke at the Police Memorial Service 5/21/13. But he did not visit our damaged boardwalk or make himself available to the press to discuss our funding issues.  Blogfinger photo.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

For nearly a year we have been hearing that the “Governor’s office” is working behind the scenes to get us some sort of funding to rebuild the Ocean Grove boardwalk.  His surrogates in the state legislature have told us that in person and so has the Camp Meeting Association.

But those reassurances strain credulity because he has come to the Jersey Shore to visit our neighbors on many occasions but he has never come to the site of our demolished boardwalk to speak to the citizens about our problems with FEMA.

Now an outsider at the Weekly Standard has raised the specter of anti-Christian bias on the part of FEMA, an idea that has already been considered on Blogfinger and at the Star Ledger.  If there is even the possibility of bias, shouldn’t Christie be addressing it publicly?   And maybe FEMA is being harsh towards us partly because of the gay rights issues that have been controversial in the Grove—issues that perhaps the Governor considers toxic.  After all, he has waffled on the subject of gay marriage.

Maybe he is afraid to even talk about such things for fear that it might tarnish him politically as a presidential candidate.  Maybe he sees the issues as  lose-lose propositions, and perhaps politics are his main consideration at times like this, to the detriment of our citizens.

The Governor has a reputation of being outspoken and courageous; to be willing to swim against the current. But in Ocean Grove, where it has been obvious that we the people of this town are experiencing some sort of FEMA discrimination, Christie has been missing in action.

So maybe our small population isn’t worth sticking his neck out for, but shouldn’t  great leaders step forward on principle without worrying about votes? If he had gone public standing behind Ocean Grove, then maybe FEMA might have been a little more sympathetic.

Ocean Grove will soon experience a turning point in our struggle.  Representatives of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association will soon be meeting in Washington for a final appeal to FEMA .

Perhaps it is time for Gov. Christie  personally to tell us something about our situation and step forward and publicly show his support.  And Governor, please bring Congressman Chris Smith with you.  Most of us haven’t heard of him or seen him in the Grove, and he also supposedly is behind our efforts.

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By Paul Goldfinger, MD, FACC

Our emphasis on Blogfinger regarding Obamacare has been to focus on how quality of healthcare will be affected. Since we haven’t yet seen how the new system will actually work on patients, we will discover some significant issues emerging later, and I am worried that we will not like the results as far as quality is concerned.

Recently the conversation has been mostly about insurance, but the health insurance issue has a profound connection to quality. Under Obamacare, everyone who acquires an ACA approved insurance policy will have healthcare subject to all the rules, regulations and stipulations of those policies.

Their quality of care will depend on what is allowed under their plans, and that will be enforced by the willingness of the payers to pay. So, for the system to work, most everyone needs to have an ACA approved policy. And those policies will be defined by thousands of rules and regulations which will change every aspect of healthcare and will, by necessity, be very bottom-line oriented.

As we inch along the road to the new system, we gradually learn more about it, but by the time we learn the latest news, such as the cancellation of millions of policies, it is already a fait accompli. In plain English, as we hear over and over, you can’t put the toothpaste back into the tube.

The latest aspect of the ACA that has emerged is the realization that there will be winners and losers.  Some have used the R word, i.e. redistribution of wealth. No one can deny that, because the poorer and the sicker will be given expensive insurance for no cost or low cost.  There will be stipends for those who make less than 400% above the poverty line.   And to help raise the money for this program, there will be 1/2 trillion dollars more in taxes and higher cost premiums and deductibles for most of those who already have insurance. All this will become more obvious as the business community is forced into the program.

Wealth is usually described as having money and possessions, but that is not all that is being redistributed.  The part I am focusing on is the way that healthcare, which 80% of Americans have “enjoyed” and which includes everything that makes quality care possible, will be compromised to some extent.  And that is a sort of wealth redistribution as well.

Without a doubt we will have rationing in various forms, difficulty seeing the doctor of your choice, trouble getting care at the hospital of your choice, shortages of all sorts of medical providers, trouble getting physician appointments, inability to get tests done efficiently, deterioration of doctor-patient relationships, and compromise of  the ability of your doctor to treat you the way he wants.  Low fees will drive the best physicians to create boutique practices or become hospital employees or to leave medicine altogether.

Will there be good things to come out of all this?  Yes there will, and many people will accept the “redistribution of wealth,”  but did they really have to destroy the existing system to achieve those good things?  Healthcare is about 20% of our economy.  Was Obamacare the best way to fix our existing system? And will quality care decline as numbers insured get bigger?

What do you think?

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