Monday, November 12, 2018

Single Payer?


I think that many of our problems with the cost of medicine date back to the 80’s and 90’s when state by state we passed laws requiring emergency rooms to admit all that came in without telling the ER’s how they would pay for this.  We truly have universal coverage because of these laws, and it is the most expensive type possible.  Prior to forcing hospitals to use creative accounting, ($40 aspirin), they just added a margin to their cost and charged like any other ethical retailer.  Now the system is to charge as much as possible depending on the patient and their coverage.  This philosophy has now spread to the entire medical industry and spurred the development of many well paying professions in the “managing benefits” industry and buying medical accounts receivables.  Keeping  track of the many insurance plans and how they differ in their payments also keeps many employed.  The growth of employment in medicine has been boosted way beyond reasonable with all these people making a living without ever seeing a patient.

In an effort to keep their jobs, these non-practitioners have orchestrated a huge fear campaign.  They cite  huge additional costs for ‘single payer’ when they don’t even define what it is covering, and ignoring the money currently being spent that would no longer be spent.  Until it is designed we can’t possibly know what the cost will be.  They also trash the “Canadian System” for long wait times.  Well, Canada has a different system for each province and some are better than others.  The long wait times usually refer to elective procedures.  The folks I’ve talked to in both Ontario and Quebec wouldn’t change their system for anything.  The phoniest objection I’ve heard is fear about a government bureaucrat making decisions for you.  I think a non-profit government bureaucrat would make more favorable decisions about my care than the current ‘for profit’ insurance company bureaucrat would.

I think it’s obvious to all that reform is needed.  We need to communicate with each other to get it right.  Both the fights for Social Security and Medicare were contentious, but civility lead to the compromises we have now: government provides the base protection, and the individual provides the extras:   By setting a payment schedule, similar to  Medicare,  and then paying the providers 100% of the schedule amount if the provider bills for that amount, and then reducing  the payment to the provider by the same percentage that the provider charges over the scheduled amount.  This would allow the providers to charge what they want while allowing the patient to keep their doctor, if they can afford him/her.  It also leaves open business for our health insurance companies with “gap”  or “advantage” insurance similar to Medicare.

With the health insurance industry and the pharmaceuticals leading the country in political donations we are unlikely to see any changes. 

Unsolvable problems highten emotions


I don’t think our Founding Fathers would be pleased with our present version of democracy.  How did we get to a point where we are voting against people instead of for them?  The use of fear and anger has led many to abandon reason and embrace emotion.  Somehow we have people that believe the impossible intentions of others are somehow achievable.  Single unsolvable issues have blinded us to other issues that are solvable.  Abortion,  guns and tax cuts in particular increase the emotional level.  Why isn’t it obvious that abortion isn’t going to go away if it is made illegal?  It will just cause the death of more women due to unsanitary conditions and fuller jails.  I really want to know how the guns are going to be taken away!  Who is going to go door to door asking for guns?  Would we really want to hire someone crazy enough to do the job?  And then: how do you know you’ve got them all?  The tax cutters seem to be the worst.  Don’t they realize that cutting one tax just causes another to go up?  Not only do they want to cut taxes but they then want to say we don’t have the money to carry out essential programs.  Divide and conquer is the strategy of the day. Hypocrisy is the tactic.  To hell with unite and prosper.  We have an inability to see that even bad people can do good things; even Hitler made the trains run on time. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Single issue madness


I don’t think our Founding Fathers would be pleased with our present version of democracy.  How did we get to a point where we are voting against people instead of for them?  The use of fear and anger has led many to abandon reason and embrace emotion.  Somehow we have people that believe the impossible intentions of others are somehow achievable.  Single unsolvable issues have blinded us to other issues that are solvable.  Abortion,  guns and tax cuts in particular increase the emotional level.  Why isn’t it obvious that abortion isn’t going to go away if it is made illegal?  It will just cause the death of more women due to unsanitary conditions and fuller jails.  I really want to know how the guns are going to be taken away!  Who is going to go door to door asking for guns?  Would we really want to hire someone crazy enough to do the job?  And then: how do you know you’ve got them all?  The tax cutters seem to be the worst.  Don’t they realize that cutting one tax just causes another to go up?  Not only do they want to cut taxes but they then want to say we don’t have the money to carry out essential programs.  Divide and conquer is the strategy of the day. Hypocrisy is the tactic.  To hell with unite and prosper.  We have an inability to see that even bad people can do good things; even Hitler made the trains run on time. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Power Corrupts


Watching the Kavanaugh hearing we can see that power corrupts.  Understand that I am a Nobody.  The  only power I can wield is my vote because I don’t have the funds necessary to buy (the ear of) congressmen.  How did we get to this point.  We all point to others as the reason the country is in such a mess but we need to see how both sides have taken the route of wanting more power rather than what is best for the country.  If we want more power than a single vote, we have to send money to special interest groups, including the political parties.   The special interest groups I belong to, (AARP & Boat US) both get a substantial amount of their revenue from insurance sales making them insurance lobbyists as well.   As an insurance executive I was asked to make a payroll deduction to the Company Political Action Committee.  The slide in my career coincided with my refusal to do this.  I didn’t like the idea of the foreign owners of our holding company looking at the use of these funds and the folks in control were anxious to impress these foreigners.   With the ability of special interest groups to finance unlimited campaigns without disclosing the source of the funds is it any wonder that the largest PAC’s are screwing the country the most.

   When we see Democrats championing getting government out of our lives and Republicans voting to increase the deficit to record levels it can be only because of a desire to hang on the power they already have.  Instead of railing against George Soros and the Koch brothers we have to realize we are acting just like them when we send money to politicians we can’t vote for.  We need to learn that talk about the opposition includes many lies, and we should learn to listen from the horse’s mouth rather than the hatemonger’s interpretation  of what the horse said.  The current situation only benefits those on the campaign gravy train.  They are the only ones able to correct the situation.

 Democracy is designed to give the power to the people.  By letting anyone  contribute to any political contest, we allow power to reside with those with the funds and not the voters.   This new method of carpet-bagging can only be stopped with a Constitutional Amendment.  I would suggest:

  Notwithstanding the First Amendment, efforts to influence elections to public office in the United States and its’ subdivisions shall be limited to those who are able to vote in said election.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Proud to be a Deplorable?


I keep wondering what happened to the Party of: family values, free trade & markets, cutting taxes,  and fiscal responsibility?  Why have they turned into a band of people proud to be deplorables?  Could it be that the Democrats have alienated a bunch of old white people that have only known black people  through Amos and Andy as a child?  I know, as an old white man, that I still have many racist sayings in my head that I never equated with racism as a child.  Should one of these slip out inadvertently at any minute, I would be instantly branded as a racist pig.  While ignorance is the root of the problem, our hatefulness amplifies people into believing that they are what we tell them they are.  Can we please start complaining about ideas instead of people?

Natering Nabobs of Negativism


It’s obvious to me that Mr. Agnew’s  “Nattering Nabobs of Negativism”  have taken over our National dialogue with their divide and conquer tactics.  I, and I believe many others,  don’t fit into the tidy  “Red-Blue, Conservative-Liberal, Democrat-Republican” labels.  I have never met any of these people that we are told are trying to bring this country down.   From my personal experience, this divide in our nation is a largely made up affair, leaving us with one really important divide: Negative People or Positive People.  As happiness is a trait of positive people, in the hope of helping people increase their happiness, I have listed twenty traits of positive people in the hope that we can reduce the hatred our leaders are spawning.   In no special order, Positive People:

1. Don’t look to blame others for mistakes, they seek to understand them so they  can be prevented from happening again.

2. Realize that people make mistakes and that doesn’t make them a bad person.

3.  Realize that arguments are lost as soon as name calling begins.

4. Criticize ideas and not people.

5. Admit to their mistakes as soon as they are aware of them and try to fix things.

6. Realize they are dependent on many others for their continued existence.

7. Work on fulfilling dreams, either their own or others.

8. Are aware that others will disagree with them and can be good people.

9. Seek revenge only by living the best life they can..

10. Hold integrity as an important trait.

11. Don’t tell others what to believe, or how to behave.

12. Know that the hate mongers have agendas that don’t include all of us.

13. Live in the present and for the future, not in the past.

14. Realize that prosperity comes from unifying:  E Pluribus Unum, Out of Many--One!

15. Know what they don’t know and aren’t afraid to admit it.

16. Know that the gift of a smile costs nothing and is returned.

17. Know that “an eye for an eye” leaves everyone blind.

18. Know that war’s winners didn’t win anything, they just lost less.

19. Realize that bad people sometimes do good things and good people sometimes do bad things.

20. Know that power shared is power gained.

 

Monday, April 30, 2018

Media makes things worse.


When the state of our political discourse appears to be “Your guy is more corrupt than our guy”,  I can’t help but wonder how we got this way.  I believe the “Media” in all its’ forms have caused much of our angst.  The effort to capture readers with their attendant profits has lead to; misleading headlines, opinions appearing as news items (often on the front page),  pictures that don’t have to do with the action being cited, (usually unflattering), as well as making the impossible seem a realistic goal (taking away guns or eliminating abortion).  One of the worst things the media does is to name the deranged shooters that continue to crop up.  We have no need to know their names and the only result that comes from publishing the names is to glorify the idiot that picks up a gun because he can’t get attention any other way.  I can’t help but wonder how many mass shootings wouldn’t have occurred if the shooter knew they would only be referred to as negative adjectives.  Putting dates on photos, as well as statements as to whether or not they have been altered would also do a lot to let us know what is fake and what is not.  Fear and anger lead to hate and all three leave reason in the dust.  I can only hope the media will take some responsibility to tamp down the hate that permeates our society.