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(Slate)   Mother of distressed AOL baby has something to say to the CEO   (slate.com) divider line 274
    More: Cool, CEO, pre-eclampsia, federal benefits, premature birth  
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17000 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Feb 2014 at 3:32 PM (21 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-02-09 04:03:07 PM

cman: snocone: Remember when it was the gangsters that said "This is not personal, it is just business." BANG BANG

Meet the New Gangsters.

I wouldnt call them gangsters

He made a decision void of emotion. It was pure logic. Why did he do it that way? Most likely it is because there is too much of a disconnect between the CEO and his employees. AOL is a big company so it is very hard to get on a first name basis with your employees.

If what happened to the baby happened to someone who was on the board, someone who the CEO interacted with, then he would have that emotional aspect to his decision, and that could have changed his mind.


More likely the man is a sociopath at best, psychopath at worst. Why we let the most vile among us rule is beyond me. Its sad to me that the acquisition of wealth seems to have become the sole focus of human endeavors.

Science? Sure if it makes money. Dignity? Sure, if you have money. etc, etc.
 
2014-02-09 04:04:55 PM

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: gar1013: Fun fact: many companies actually pay the cost of your insurance claims out of their own pocket.

Companies can either take on the risk themselves or they can pay another company to take on the risk. That's what insurance is - risk management. They chose to take a risk by choosing to pay out on insurance hoping that the cost would be less than if they paid another company to take on the risk, saving them money. It sounds like that gamble didn't pay off. Sorry that their gamble didn't work out for them, but that's not a reason to cut back on benefits.

Armstrong can go fark himsefl.


While I don't agree with his reasoning, your logic is flawed.

If you think you're going to spend a certain amount on benefits, and then you spend more, why wouldn't you cut back? If it was YOUR money and you overspent one month, next month you trim the fat a bit.

They are supposed to be managing the company's finances with the same care as their own.

The cut is perfectly logical, but the messaging is wrong, and the math probably doesn't work out as a wash either.

This is coming from someone who has gotten farked on the benefits and compensation side of things for a few years in a row. Don't worry - once the job market improves, you'll see the pendulum swinging in the other direction.
 
2014-02-09 04:05:02 PM

Occam's Disposable Razor: Make no mistake, insurance of every kind exists to fark you. They don't turn a profit by paying out more than they take in.


I'm told that, via the magic of investments and interest rates, they could.
 
2014-02-09 04:05:11 PM

gar1013: Occam's Disposable Razor: Make no mistake, insurance of every kind exists to fark you. They don't turn a profit by paying out more than they take in.

You know what you call an insurance company that pays out more than it takes in?

Insolvent. Unable to pay claims.

Do you want to buy insurance, and then not have the company be able to make good on a claim?

The only type of insurance that doesn't face this risk is insurance from the government...and if you knew anything about the federal flood insurance program or the FHA, you'd know that they're both screwed up.


Yeah, a well run private insurance company like AIG can cover its losses just fine, as opposed by the fark-ups in the government - that had to come up with $85 billion to bail AIG out - huh?
 
2014-02-09 04:06:04 PM

The Dog Ate My Homework: This just in: A lot of really wealthy people are sociopaths.


In the prophetic words of Dickens, as adapted for film:

First Collector: At this festive time of year, Mr. Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute.
Ebenezer: Are there no prisons?
First Collector: Plenty of prisons.
Ebenezer: And the union workhouses - are they still in operation?
First Collector: They are. I wish I could say they were not.
Ebenezer: Oh, from what you said at first I was afraid that something had happened to stop them in their useful course. I'm very glad to hear it.
First Collector: I don't think you quite understand us, sir. A few of us are endeavoring to buy the poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth.
Ebenezer: Why?
First Collector: Because it is at Christmastime that want is most keenly felt, and abundance rejoices. Now what can I put you down for?
Ebenezer: Huh! Nothing!
Second Collector: You wish to be anonymous?
Ebenezer: [firmly, but calmly] I wish to be left alone. Since you ask me what I wish sir, that is my answer. I help to support the establishments I have named; those who are badly off must go there.
First Collector: Many can't go there.
Second Collector: And some would rather die.
Later that week Ebenezer apologized for "offending anyone" and restated that his considerable compensation was on paper and approved by the board for years before being called into question.
 
2014-02-09 04:07:27 PM
What the f*ck screwed up insurance did this company have?

My daughter was 9 weeks early. My wife spent two weeks in the hospital prior to the emergency C-section, and 9 weeks premature was scary as Hells, at 1lb 14oz at birth. She was in the NICU for two months, and my wife spent another two weeks in the hospital as well. We had a Blue Cross plan that never batted an eye, and even hooked us up with home health aids when she finally came home, along with the oxygen and the rest of the goodies the hospital wanted us to have on hand, just in case.

My employer was NOT on the scale of AOL--even today. The Iron Horse Entertainment Group is big for our area--four clubs, a ticket office that gives Ticketmaster a run for its money at least for shows in Western Mass, and two restaurants in the clubs--but it's not exactly a multi-million dollar sort of operation, and the employee pool is easily less than 100 folks for those who qualify for insurance in company. My wife's eclampsia and our daughter's extended stay at Bay State probably didn't make the folks at Blue Cross thrilled, but somehow we didn't see rises in our insurance costs. Yes, my wife and daughter's hospital bills were easily into the $750K range, and a bit more, and with our co-pay, it was $250 out of my pocket. Plus the loss of sleep, the worry, the gas in trips to Springfield while working and trying to see that the house was geared up for our daughter's homecoming, and the additional worry of getting paternity leave for when she came home.

If a small company like IHEG didn't have to drop its insurance or raise rates, or cut benefits, what kind of bullsh*t is this excuse? Really? Just admit: we don't like to cover people, so screwum, and screw their retirement, and screw all these folks, and I'mma blame anyone for the loss of revenue that we've been seeing because our organization is losing out to a lot of other folks, and I can't just admit that we haven't stayed competitive.

cman
--That wasn't a decision based in logic. It was a decision based on bullsh*t, unless AOL somehow managed to find an insurance provider that ONLY had AOL employees as their clients. It was a decision that was made to indeed boost profits, but he's just reaching for excuses at this point to justify it. He's just trying to spin, "Hey, if we don't do something fast, I may not make my quarterly bonus, because for damn sure my stocks ain't riding high nowadays..."
 
2014-02-09 04:07:43 PM

gar1013: Mitch Taylor's Bro: gar1013: Fun fact: many companies actually pay the cost of your insurance claims out of their own pocket.

That insurance company you speak of? It processes claims but your employer may be the one footing the bill.

It's called self-insurance.

/the more you know
//works for a company that self insures

What's the benefit of doing that?

Cheaper for the company.

If you have enough capital, why pay to use the capital of the insurance company.


So that a couple of "distressed babies" don't put the hurt on your bottom line?
 
2014-02-09 04:07:48 PM
I hope this story is a lesson for all those whiny-assed people who complain about Obamacare on the grounds that, because they're in their twenties and healthy there is no need for them to have insurance coverage so why should they pay premiums to help some old fark with lung cancer or a gay with AIDS.  Remember, you can never count that your happy, uneventful life will continue and when you begin to rack up medical bills mandatory healthcare coverage will instantly become a blessing rather than an anchor around your neck.
 
2014-02-09 04:08:19 PM

GizmoToy: cman: How in the blue hell is AOL still making money?

They're primarily a media company, now.  They own The Huffington Post, Moviefone, Engadget, Patch, Stylelist, TechCrunch, MapQuest and Cambio among others.  As a small clue, the article mentions the author's husband is an editor with AOL.

Their current business model bears little resemblance to the business that made them a household name.


In this case, her husband is the Executive Business Editor at Huffington Post. As in he's in the second cluster of their masthead. As in he runs a big chunk of the biggest name in AOL's content portfolio.

As in Tim Armstrong farked up unbelievably royal. Executive editor position isn't C-level, EiC, or managing editor, but it's the next rung or two down. It would have looked bad if Armstrong said this and the people in question were analysts, or associate editors, or designers, or any people in content production but near the bottom of the pyramid. This is Armstrong pulling a giant farking boner if this gets any significant traction.

Basically it's like the new CEO of Microsoft just said he cut benefits because a senior vice president of Skype had a sick infant.
 
2014-02-09 04:08:32 PM

ciberido: Occam's Disposable Razor: Make no mistake, insurance of every kind exists to fark you. They don't turn a profit by paying out more than they take in.

I'm told that, via the magic of investments and interest rates, they could.


Very true. I doubt these altruistic endeavors operating on such thin margins are common though.
 
2014-02-09 04:10:21 PM
Conundrum: Your business is no longer expanding, so your bonus size is determined by how much you can cut.

Solution: Cut your employee 401K, and take home a nice percent for yourself. And:

1) Blame Obamacare. When that doesn't work,
2) Blame a couple of premies.
 
2014-02-09 04:12:29 PM

netringer: gar1013: Occam's Disposable Razor: Make no mistake, insurance of every kind exists to fark you. They don't turn a profit by paying out more than they take in.

You know what you call an insurance company that pays out more than it takes in?

Insolvent. Unable to pay claims.

Do you want to buy insurance, and then not have the company be able to make good on a claim?

The only type of insurance that doesn't face this risk is insurance from the government...and if you knew anything about the federal flood insurance program or the FHA, you'd know that they're both screwed up.

Yeah, a well run private insurance company like AIG can cover its losses just fine, as opposed by the fark-ups in the government - that had to come up with $85 billion to bail AIG out - huh?


What typically happens is that the state department of insurance comes in, seizes the company, and appoints a receiver.

So yeah, if they were NY domiciled, then point the finger at the NY DOI. They could have come in at any time out a stop to things.
 
2014-02-09 04:13:25 PM
What I'm saying is Peter Goodman is high up enough at Huffington post that if he was dropped from his position "for cause" (and not simply shuffled around, taking a better offer somewhere else, the usual dance high-level editors do), completely apart from this Tim Armstrong thing, it would be a minor but noteworthy change in media circles. He's high up enough that if he got fired for a specific fark-up, my peers in the industry would hear about it. And this has become bad enough that if he got fired in the next year for  not a specific fark-up, it would basically be Armstrong's head.
 
2014-02-09 04:14:18 PM
You people disgust me. AOL's coasters are not even slightly good. They have a hole right in the middle, the condensation leaks right through and then you get water marks.

/lousy coasters
//just sayin'
 
2014-02-09 04:14:34 PM

Mitch Taylor's Bro: gar1013: Mitch Taylor's Bro: gar1013: Fun fact: many companies actually pay the cost of your insurance claims out of their own pocket.

That insurance company you speak of? It processes claims but your employer may be the one footing the bill.

It's called self-insurance.

/the more you know
//works for a company that self insures

What's the benefit of doing that?

Cheaper for the company.

If you have enough capital, why pay to use the capital of the insurance company.

So that a couple of "distressed babies" don't put the hurt on your bottom line?


Seriously?

Walk through what happens in the other scenario: health insurance company pays out additional claims, they raise rates. Company portion of your health insurance either goes up, or they pass it along to the employees.
 
2014-02-09 04:15:26 PM
Willful violations of HIPAA carry prison time.
 
2014-02-09 04:15:32 PM
So...  should I wish for AOL to die a painful death, or for it to continue paying her insurance premium? Because I'm willing either way.
 
2014-02-09 04:15:41 PM

Mercutio74: gar1013: Fun fact: many companies actually pay the cost of your insurance claims out of their own pocket.

That insurance company you speak of? It processes claims but your employer may be the one footing the bill.

It's called self-insurance.

/the more you know
//works for a company that self insures

I believe the term you're looking for is "gambling".  I can't imagine that even AOL has a large enough risk pool to make this feasible.


Maybe, maybe not. I don't know their particulars, just that this is a practice that exists, and is used to justify all sorts of things.
 
2014-02-09 04:15:45 PM

DeaH: Conundrum: Your business is no longer expanding, so your bonus size is determined by how much you can cut.

Solution: Cut your employee 401K, and take home a nice percent for yourself. And:

1) Blame Obamacare. When that doesn't work,
2) Blame a couple of premies.

3) Whatever you do, don't blame your own greed or $12 million salary.

FTFY
 
2014-02-09 04:16:02 PM

cman: How in the blue hell is AOL still making money?


I had no idea it was still a thing.

Now, the question of whether we should keep barely viable preemies such as this one alive...because we can...should be, I think, open to discussion. It's far too early to call this one a win as the kid in the photos might have moderate to severe deficits only time will reveal. Frankly, for every "normal" kid born this early, there's probably another five who die, and three who are disabled in one way or another.

I speak as a father whose second child died in a miscarriage caused at five months gestation from my wife's burst appendix. I'm sad we lost the kid, but glad I didn't have to make the call...even with Canada's "free" healthcare...when the odds of an outcome that doesn't involve pain, institutionalization and an early death are so high.

But as for the douchebag CEO:

You agreed to pay.
You set up the plan.
Actuaries did the math to make the plan, presumably, untaxing on your revenues. And now you're biatching because people who bought in have suffered a medical tragedy?

Shut your farking greedy cakehole and pay, you mendacious coont. Count yourself lucky you aren't skullfarked in an uprising of the 99%

I also hope you have a crippling stroke and die alone and in your own shiat, unable to dial 911, but I wouldn't want to seem vindictive or anything.
 
2014-02-09 04:16:19 PM

gar1013: Seriously?

Walk through what happens in the other scenario: health insurance company pays out additional claims, they raise rates. Company portion of your health insurance either goes up, or they pass it along to the employees.


Assuming you're running the company as a human being who recognizes that other human beings work for you and you're not one of the computers in the Star Trek episode "A Taste of Armageddon," you deal with the former choice or apply the latter in a more subtle way that doesn't involve advertising a direct case of "This baby almost died and it's really expensive, so I cut their benefits."
 
2014-02-09 04:16:48 PM
Christ, what an A-OL.

/Surprised I'm the first.
//Unless I'm not.
 
2014-02-09 04:18:27 PM

Snarfangel: So...  should I wish for AOL to die a painful death, or for it to continue paying her insurance premium? Because I'm willing either way.


The latter. But wishing for Tim Armstrong to die a painful death would be a compromise?
 
2014-02-09 04:19:05 PM

Yogimus: Mitch Taylor's Bro: This. Armstrong made $12 million in 2012. He could've paid $2 million out of his own pocket and barely felt it. How would that payout hurt the company's bottom line?

If I pay 1 million for your broken baby, I better get to stick a dick in you.


This may be the most terrible thing I ever LOL'd at
 
2014-02-09 04:20:13 PM

Prey4reign: I hope this story is a lesson for all those whiny-assed people who complain about Obamacare on the grounds that, because they're in their twenties and healthy there is no need for them to have insurance coverage so why should they pay premiums to help some old fark with lung cancer or a gay with AIDS.  Remember, you can never count that your happy, uneventful life will continue and when you begin to rack up medical bills mandatory healthcare coverage will instantly become a blessing rather than an anchor around your neck.


Unfortunately, the statistics favor the whiny-assed twenty-somethings. Very few of them will experience the kind of huge health care crisis that will make them glad they have insurance. And they're still young enough to think they know everything.
 
2014-02-09 04:22:00 PM

cman: How in the blue hell is AOL still making money?


By diversifying, buying popular web sites and selling advertising through them. e.g Huffington Post
 
2014-02-09 04:22:34 PM

gar1013: Occam's Disposable Razor: Make no mistake, insurance of every kind exists to fark you. They don't turn a profit by paying out more than they take in.

You know what you call an insurance company that pays out more than it takes in?

Insolvent. Unable to pay claims.

Do you want to buy insurance, and then not have the company be able to make good on a claim?

The only type of insurance that doesn't face this risk is insurance from the government...and if you knew anything about the federal flood insurance program or the FHA, you'd know that they're both screwed up.


Wrong. Insurance companies can be profitable with combined ratios over 100% due to investment income. Insurance companies exist in essence to take your premium, invest it and hold off on paying claims as long as they can
 
2014-02-09 04:22:50 PM

Bloody William: What I'm saying is Peter Goodman is high up enough at Huffington post that if he was dropped from his position "for cause" (and not simply shuffled around, taking a better offer somewhere else, the usual dance high-level editors do), completely apart from this Tim Armstrong thing, it would be a minor but noteworthy change in media circles. He's high up enough that if he got fired for a specific fark-up, my peers in the industry would hear about it. And this has become bad enough that if he got fired in the next year for  not a specific fark-up, it would basically be Armstrong's head.


Things are gonna get interesting at AOL, I'm thinking.
 
2014-02-09 04:24:07 PM

cman: How in the blue hell is AOL still making money?


They own Huffington Post, Fark's best friend.
 
2014-02-09 04:24:31 PM
I actually read TFA and I don't get what she "said" to the CEO. It was more of an account of what she and her family went through.

That being said, FEDUCIARY DUTY. If you don't like it, behead a few CEOs. Otherwise STFU.
 
2014-02-09 04:24:35 PM

gar1013: Mitch Taylor's Bro: gar1013: Mitch Taylor's Bro: gar1013: Fun fact: many companies actually pay the cost of your insurance claims out of their own pocket.

That insurance company you speak of? It processes claims but your employer may be the one footing the bill.

It's called self-insurance.

/the more you know
//works for a company that self insures

What's the benefit of doing that?

Cheaper for the company.

If you have enough capital, why pay to use the capital of the insurance company.

So that a couple of "distressed babies" don't put the hurt on your bottom line?

Seriously?

Walk through what happens in the other scenario: health insurance company pays out additional claims, they raise rates. Company portion of your health insurance either goes up, or they pass it along to the employees.


Exactly, then Armstrong says, "Hey, health care costs are going up, so we're cutting back." Employees grumble, maybe an article gets written about it in the business section if an editor actually goes through AOL's earnings report, but nothing of this scale get publicized.
 
2014-02-09 04:24:35 PM

Prey4reign: Add Armstrong to the whiny 1%.

Good to hear that this "distressed baby" made it and will likely grow up, gradually losing any signs she was born premature.  At least, if my track record is anything to go on, she can.  .  I was born just a little under three pounds, blue as a smurf, with all sorts of complications that kept me in the neonatal ICU for a month and a half before my mother was allowed to touch me.  Thirty years on, I'm a healthy six-foot-tall weighing 175 pounds.  I maintain a physically active lifestyle and am on my way in the professional career of my choice.


I'm also glad to hear she seems to be doing well.  She looks adorable.
 
2014-02-09 04:24:36 PM
What a selfish koont. She makes an emotional argument and doesn't see the big picture. The community as a whole is more important than the individual, especially a defective one who would have been eliminated out of the gene pool without special care. Because of her, the AOL executives won't be able to buy bigger boats this summer.
 
2014-02-09 04:25:09 PM
This is the guy that fired the guy on a company conference call last year in front of 1000 coworkers.


http://finance.yahoo.com/news/listen-to-aol-ceo-tim-armstrong-fire-a -p atch-employee-in-front-of-1-000-coworkers-140600015.html
 
2014-02-09 04:25:38 PM
Even if AOL is self insured, and they likely are - AFAIK, they will buy an umbrella policy to cover them if they get more than some limit, say $25 million in claims in the year.

Besides what the ACA does change is that insurance can no longer have a cap, that could have been $1 million leaving this family bankrupt when the baby's bills exceeded the $1 million. There is a well-known less than middle-aged podcaster who suddenly had a stroke at dinner and had the cost of his medical care exceed the $1 million maximum.

Besides Armstrong needs to remember that the death panels were supposed to be for the elderly, not newborns.
 
2014-02-09 04:26:51 PM
Health care costs go up 30% a year.  You think this is about some CEO being an asshole?  Wake up
 
2014-02-09 04:27:22 PM
August 2013: AOL CEO Tim Armstrong fires an employee live on a conference call.
January 2014: AOE CEO Tim Armstrong blames benefit cuts on two sick infants during a conference call.

Maybe this guy should rethink doing conference calls. Actually, no, maybe this guy needs to do  more conference calls.
 
2014-02-09 04:28:05 PM
When my second son was born he was premature and spent a bit over two weeks in the hospital, with an incubator, breathing support,feeding tube and all the rest. (Norfolk Sentara was awesome.) He's completely healthy today.

Because he was adopted, his bill was picked by Medi-cal. I have no idea what it cost since I never saw a bill for so much as a dime. I also didn't spend a single second fighting an insurance company about denying care.

Remember folks, government single payer health care is evil socialism. Don't let what happened to me and my son happen to the rest of the US.
 
2014-02-09 04:29:16 PM
If the cost of health is such a burden on companies as this stupid example illustrates, then I have to wonder why they're not lobbying HARD to introduce true universal health care, paid through income taxes.
 
2014-02-09 04:31:27 PM

Old Smokie: Health care costs go up 30% a year.  You think this is about some CEO being an asshole?  Wake up


Actually, what I think that most folks here think is that the CEO IS an asshat, and that the excuses for why he's an being forced to be an asshat are just his being modest for his natural talent. The fiduciary reasons are dubious at best, and he's looking to excuse his actions, by invoking "the market" when it comes down to a guy who seems to like to screw with folks to pad his own pockets, and shed any sort of blame for his innate dickishness.
 
2014-02-09 04:32:32 PM

drxym: If the cost of health is such a burden on companies as this stupid example illustrates, then I have to wonder why they're not lobbying HARD to introduce true universal health care, paid through income taxes.


Sure, that sounds like a great solution at first. But then you realize it's the first step on a slippery slope to CEOs making $12M a year  paying income taxes.
 
2014-02-09 04:34:25 PM
I had to skim after she described her daughter's skin at birth. I wouldn't wish any of that on my worst enemy.
 
2014-02-09 04:34:46 PM
Where's the point between miscarriage and premature birth? I'm left thinking "you had a miscarriage, but thanks to a firehose of money we managed to make it a baby".

Hey, at least this stimulated the economy.
 
2014-02-09 04:36:53 PM
Deanna Fei makes the perpetual Libtard fatal error in her reasoning: that AOL exists for her benefit.

Sorry, toots. You wanna whine, start your own company and cut the cord of dependency on others.
 
2014-02-09 04:37:10 PM
I thought they used all the old AOL CDs as cheap armor plate on some crap tanks the US exported to Paraguay. Maybe I misread the article.
 
2014-02-09 04:38:01 PM

wildcardjack: Where's the point between miscarriage and premature birth? I'm left thinking "you had a miscarriage, but thanks to a firehose of money we managed to make it a baby".

Hey, at least this stimulated the economy.


Somewhere around 24 weeks.
 
2014-02-09 04:38:45 PM
This isn't even the politics tab and Obamacare isn't in the headline. What's with all the trolls?
 
2014-02-09 04:39:00 PM

austin_millbarge: cman: How in the blue hell is AOL still making money?

The same way Fox News does... off old people who don't know any better.



Must be a ton of old people out there watching Fox News. You must think old is 30+...
 
2014-02-09 04:40:09 PM

cman: snocone: Remember when it was the gangsters that said "This is not personal, it is just business." BANG BANG

Meet the New Gangsters.

I wouldnt call them gangsters

He made a decision void of emotion. It was pure logic.


That's how decisions should be made. No one gains when we are weighed down with appeals to pathos and the whaarble of emotional parents screaming "won't someone think of the children!"
 
2014-02-09 04:44:39 PM

b3x: we were told at work that our health costs were going up, and coverage was going down (thanks obama care!) because my company is 95% women, and women go to the doctor too much. I work at a women's health facility. Kind of funny, isn't it?


It is kinda funny, especially because it's bullshiat.

In 2014, insurers will no longer be able to charge women higher premiums than they charge men
 
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