Second Controversial Therapy Ban in S. Fl; Alternative To Traditional Insurance; Pachinko

Jan 12, 2018

On Tuesday, Broward County became the latest municipality to ban conversion therapy for kids. The ban passed in a unanimous vote.

The controversial therapy, designed to psychologically change a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation, has proved to be harmful to kids and teens. Broward County follows the lead of Palm Beach County, which was the first in the state to pass the ban.

Tony Lima, head of SAVE, an advocacy group for LGBTQ people, joined the program to discuss what transpired at the Broward commission meeting on Tuesday.

“The Broward commission showed true leadership,” Lima said. “We were able to send a strong message.”

Several counties in South Florida have yet to ban conversion therapy.

Last October, Miami-Dade County rejected the ban, citing the parents’ right to help children deal with their sexuality.

Traditional Insurance Alternative

Insurance costs are increasing for consumers and employers. While some people can’t risk going uninsured, others are looking for alternatives to standard insurance practices.

Such an alternative can be reference pricing.

WLRN’s Sammy Mack has reported on reference pricing. She joined us in the program to explain more about it and its future in the healthcare industry.

Traditional health insurance companies negotiate prices with doctors and hospital systems behind closed doors. The terms of their negotiations are kept secret and employers buying insurance are forced to accept the negotiated price of the insurance plans.

Reference pricing is more transparent because prices are based on Medicare as the benchmark, with a 30 percent markup. Medicare, a federal program, makes its  prices open to the public. The 30 percent markup is added to entice doctors to accept the insurance. Reference insurance plans offer great transparency and can save companies money.

However, reference pricing creates a billing problem for those who have it. It can put the consumer at risk of pricing discrepancies.

Since there is no insurance network or contracts with providers that assure they will accept payments from the insurance, consumers are subject to unexpected fees and charges, especially during an emergency situation.

The upside is that reference insurance plans offer legal services as part of their packages in case hospitals or doctors add unnecessary charges.

More Than A Game

Pachinko is a popular Japanese game, similar to an upright pinball machine, where the user plays sitting in front of it. The arcade game is used for recreation, but mostly  for gambling purposes. The game is heavily associated with the Korean Japanese community in Japan,  and is considered low class and almost criminal. 

"Pachinko" is also the name of Min Jin Lee’s bestselling novel chronicling the Korean diaspora since the late 1980’s. The book follows  four generations of a Korean family in their journey from Korea to Japan. It is a novel about the discrimination Korean Japanese people experience, exploring the lack of opportunities for this ethnic community and the negative view Japanese people have of foreigners, mainly other Asian people.

Jin Lee worked on the book for over 20 years. She moved to Japan and began to rewrite the book after interacting with Korean Japanese citizens and  learning about their struggle living in Japan.

“it was very hard for me,” Jin Lee said about her interactions with this community. “I couldn’t understand.”

Throughout the writing process, Jin Lee questioned her decision to write "Pachinko." She experienced financial problems and failure to write other successful books. However, the reception to "Pachinko" has been extremely favorable and the book has been nominated for the National Book Award.

“I’m so surprised,” she said. “I can’t believe how many people are reading this book.”

Min Jin Lee spoke about "Pachinko" at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach Thursday evening.