Sunday, August 30, 2009

Socialised Health-Care Will Undoubtedly Lead to Mediocrity, Shortages and Rationing

I do not believe that Obama is trying to fix the health-care system. I think that Obama's goal is to increase the power, size and scope of the federal government. I believe that Obama wants to make more people dependent on the government. Socializing health care is a means to this end.

Everything that Obama is doing backs up my assertion that Obama's main interest is to increase government control, not to improve health-care. Recent examples of increasing federal control are the bailouts of GM, Chrysler, AIG etc., the stimulus plan, cash for clunkers, the appointment of 36 White House Czars, the cap-and-trade bill, the largest federal budget in U.S. history and more.

If 47 million new people get free health care from Obama's plan, who will treat them if we still have the same number of doctors, hospitals, nurses, clinics and medical laboratories.

If taxes don't go up, the existing doctors, hospitals, nurses and clinics will have to spend less time with each patient. Health-care providers will be forced to treat more patients for the same pay. The quality of care is sure to suffer and the doctors will become overworked. Some doctors will quit and fewer people will be attracted to a medical career.There will be no other option besides rationing. Costly health-care in the last years of life will be be doled out frugally. Some call the bureaucrats that make these tough decisions "death panels". Individuals, families and doctors will have less input on these tough end-of-life decisions while bureaucrats will make the tough decisions for them based on budgetary concerns.

I believe that rugged individualism is what made this country great. I believe that a "pay-as-you go" system will lead to the best doctors, who will make the most money and the most profitable drug companies will produce the best medications. Without successful doctors and drug companies, we can not continue to provide the best health-care and most innovative medications, diagnostic equipment and procedures on the planet. Success in these fields will attract many more people into these fields, thus making health-care more available to everyone.

Health insurance should be priced affordably for individuals as well as for groups. This way health-care will not be handcuffed to your job. Tort reform will reduce the high cost of malpractice insurance for doctors as well as reducing unnecessary defensive medicine designed to cover the doctor's behind, instead of helping the patient. Although all emergency room patients will be seen, regardless of their insurance, every effort must be made to collect unpaid medical bills. Wages should be garnisheed and money transfers to foreign countries like Mexico must be screened for medical debts before being sent to pay medical debts.  People who demand emergency services for ailments other than true emergencies should be treated like people who make false alarms for fire and police emergency services. they should be prosecuted and fined.

Health insurance should only be used for unexpected and expensive treatment. Everyday medical issues should be paid for by the patient directly. Those who can't afford to pay, or those who have chosen to spend their money on other things instead, will be taken care of by generous relatives, church groups, charities, free clinics and charity hospitals. America is the most charitable nation on earth. However, if Obama gets his way, socialized health-care will squeeze private charities, free clinics and family help out of the marketplace.

This is what Obama wants. He has stated many times he wants a single payer government health-care system. This will give the government control over one-sixth of the economy and bureaucrats, not families and doctors, will be making medical choices for us.

Socialised health-care will undoubtedly lead to mediocrity, shortages and rationing, just like Cuba, England and Canada experience. The president is trying so hard to push through a complicated and convoluted plan that will undoubtedly cost taxpayers more money and limit the quality and availability of health-care to the majority of people who are satisfied with their current plan.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Glen Beck Has Courage and Faith Because Of The Depths of His Addictions And Subsequent Recovery

I can relate to Glenn Beck because, like me, he is a recovering alcoholic/addict. He also found his recovery in the fellowship of AA/NA. He also lost everything and hit his bottom. He also came to the realization that only a higher-power could restore him to sanity.

I believe that Beck puts his faith in God above all else due to his alcoholism and his second lease on life that he found in his recovery.

I believe that Beck has the courage and is willing to make sacrifices that few other journalists are capable of.

I believe that Beck is motivated by spiritual principles and not by power, property,and prestige.

I believe Beck is the only journalist who is truly motivated by seeking the truth and making it public. I believe that Beck is acting selflessly in an effort to restore our nation back to the spiritual principles that it was founded upon.

I believe that Beck will be fearless in his relentless pursuit of the truth regardless of the personal consequences. He is willing to lose his power, fortune and fame in the process.

Once you have lost everything due to alcoholism and/or drugs, including your pride, your family, your money and your health, material things and personal happiness become unimportant as compared with your own spiritual growth. At least that is what happened to me. I think it is the same for Beck.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ted Kennedy Lacked Conscience And Courage

For twenty five years I was a practicing alcoholic and drug addict.

Almost every day I drove my car, while drunk, to purchase my drugs. One day on the way to "cop my dope", I hit and severely wounded a stray dog that was in the street. I never saw the dog until it was too late. I kept on driving and the dog probably died.

Ever since that day my greatest fear was that I would hit and kill a person while I was drunk and/or stoned. I knew of someone who was serving a 15 year sentence in prison for accidentally killing someone with his car while he was drunk.

Although I had no compassion for the innocent people in the street who could become a victim of my drunk driving, I did have a horrible fear that I might go to prison as a result of a drunken accident. However, this fear was not strong enough to overcome my strong addictions. I continued to drive drunk and/or high knowing the horrific consequences that I would face if something went wrong. Luckily, I never had another accident. I didn't even get a DUI.

After I got clean and sober ten years ago, I came to the realization that it was still possible for me to have an accident and kill someone while I was driving even though I was sober. But since I wasn't drunk or on drugs, it would not be a crime, it would be an accident and I would not go to prison.

Ted Kennedy took the same chance that I did and unfortunately someone died as a result of his drunken driving. He should have payed the penalty just like I would have if it happened to me.

Only luck and God's will prevented me from killing someone in the same manner Kennedy did. I am forever grateful for that.

It is unconscionable to leave the scene of a potentially fatal accident. However, if I had been in the same situation I truly don't know if I would have had the courage to stay and notify the rescue squad and face potential imprisonment and disgrace.

What we know for sure is that Ted Kennedy lacks conscience and courage for leaving the scene of a fatal accident to avoid facing the consequences. Courage and sacrifice are among the many spiritual principles that I have grown to admire. Ted Kennedy did not possess either.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Life, Liberty, Property and the Pursuit of Health Care

The health-care crisis began when the public was sold on the deception that health-care is a right. It is not. Rights are defined as things that our government can not take away from us, among these are the rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. The government has no obligation to provide you with these things, but we are protected from the government taking them away. Of course there are exceptions like taxes, prisons, capitol punishment and eminent domain, but I will not discuss them here. The point that I am making is that rights are not entitlements.

In my opinion, there are seven reasons why health-care costs have risen so dramatically within our lifetime.

1) Insurance is a financial tool intended to reduce one's risk of unlikely, yet catastrophic events. The entire system becomes skewed when insurance is used for every-day expenses, such as routine doctor's visits, minor injuries and common illnesses. Automobile insurance guards against major losses from the unlikely event of fire, theft or collision. Automobile insurance was never intended to pay for routine maintenance, repairs, tolls and parking fees. Likewise, health insurance was never intended to cover routine check-ups, child birth, coughs, colds, childhood measles, mumps, etc. The fore mentioned heath concerns should be planned for and payed for as they arise. Just as most responsible Americans save for their retirement, responsible Americans need to save for the inevitability of their own medical costs. Just as with retirement, the only way you won't need to plan for these expenses is if you die early.

2) Medical advancements, innovations, procedures, drugs and equipment are available today that were not available 50 years ago. There is no doubt that many of these things save lives that would have been lost 50 years ago, however if we wish to take advantage of the miracles of modern medicine, we must pay for it.

Examples of these lifesaving innovations are kidney dialysis and transplant, open heart surgery, cancer treatments, laser treatments, MRIs, CT scans, etc.

We should be grateful that these miracles of modern medicine are available in today's day and age. John Rockefeller couldn't have attained lifesaving kidney dialysis if he required it in his time, yet this lifesaving treatment is available to everyone in today's America. As far as health-care is concerned, today's poorer Americans have much more health care available to them than wealthy people of days-gone-by.

The money that today's wealthy people spend for expensive drugs and "cutting edge" treatments, pave the way for routine and inexpensive treatments for the future. We need wealthy people to pay the high costs of cutting edge treatment so that some day, it will be within everyone's reach. This can only happen in a free market.

3) Most patients do not pay directly for their own treatment. When the government or an insurance company pays, this limits the options for the doctor and the patient. Often more expensive options are available, while cheaper ones are not.

For example, Medicare payed for my father's physical therapy for 3 months after he suffered a stroke. I estimate that the cost to medicare was $600.00 per week for the PT. After medicare determined that My father was no-longer entitled to physical therapy, I enrolled him in 2 programs that offer him virtually the same therapy, using virtually the same equipment and the same intensive supervision and one-on-one attention, in the same facility, for approximately $70.00 per week.

Another example is that physicians automatically prescribe costly name brand medications for those who's insurance will cover the cost. They often ask about your coverage before deciding whether to prescribe a costly name brand medication or a generic. It the patient was paying directly, the physician would discuss the pros and cons of name-brand versus generic medications and the patient would ultimately decide. This process would undoubtedly bring the price of name-brand drugs down because the drug companies would try to get a bigger market share by being more competitive.

4) The huge role that government plays in health-care (Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs) has crowded out families, churches and private charities from filling these needs. Families, Churches and charities used to provide a safety net for those in need. They did it in a more personal and efficient manner. Centralized bureaucracies are always inefficient and impersonal and leave the those they are trying to help with a feeling of resentment and entitlement, rather than with gratitude, appreciation and a willingness to give back.

5) Defensive medicine costs billions. A large expense in Americas health care system is defending heath care providers from costly litigations, judgments and settlements. Doctors often provide unnecessary testing, medications and procedures, just to "cover their asses" in case something goes awry. When something does go wrong, which is inevitable in any business, huge settlements and judgments are paid out. Health care providers routinely pay huge malpractice insurance premiums to protect themselves from this inevitability.

All medical outcomes are not good ones, regardless of good intentions. When things go wrong, patients and families seek someone to blame and to pay restitution. If the patients were paying for each test, procedure and medication, they would choose the most cost effective procedures and have no one to blame if something was undetected because a costly test was not done.

6) Hospital costs are extremely high because they must provide free emergency services to anyone who shows up at their door, regardless of their ability to pay for services rendered. The cost of uncollected hospital bills is passed on to all of the other paying customers.

I agree that this is the humane thing to do in a society that can afford this, but it turns out that people are taking advantage of this by showing up at ER's for non emergency treatment. This not only clogs up ER's with people who don't belong there, it also increases the cost and availability for true emergency services.

Just like there are penalties for those who commit false alarms for fire and police services, there should be criminal and civil penalties for those who misuse emergency medical services. Also, those who can not pay, should have their wages garnished to pay for their treatments, until they have payed for the emergency services that saved there life or their limbs. Few people will argue that there life or limbs are not worth any price.

This will lead to much less unnecessary use of ERs and this will create the need for more Charity hospitals, free clinics and/or cheaper hospitals that would offer an cheaper alternative for those with financial hardships.. Charitable Americans have always risen to meet such challenges in the past and will meet these challenges in the future by their own free will.

7) "behavioral risks". Health care expenses should be higher for those who practice behaviors that present a risk to one's own health. By some estimates, behavior accounts for one third of health care costs.

The cost of all auto insurance policies is based on the driver's behavior. Motorists with bad driving records, including traffic tickets, accidents, DUIs, and sports car owners are charged substantially higher premiums.

If the government sets the rules regarding health insurance premiums and rationing of limited medical resources, it is likely that the government will dictate personal behavior. They might make certain unhealthy behaviors illegal or certain risky behaviors might deem patients ineligible for certain treatments. This is an infringement on personal freedoms that I strongly oppose.

Once the government takes over, it is likely that the government will regulate the foods that we are allowed to eat, the sports that we are allowed to participate in and even the number of children we are allowed to bear. The government may mandate that we we take certain medications (cholesterol medications, blood pressure medications, psychotropic medications, etc). Smokers may be ineligible for heart surgery.

There are also many risky behaviors that are actually politically correct. I have read studies that assert that homosexual behavior is linked to more disease and a shorter lifespan, than heterosexual married men. Homosexual men are barred from donating blood due to this risk. Women who practice lesbian behavior are more prone to domestic violence, suicide, drug abuse and mental illness than married women.

Of course when the government gets involved, they will skew their regulations to accommodate political correctness which is inherently unfair.

My niece has a knee injury that is exacerbated by dancing. If the government sets more health-care rules, she might be barred from dancing and or working as an aerobics instructor, or face forfeiture of any treatment for related injuries. Although I think that my niece should have enough sense not to dance on bum knee, I think it is her right to make her own choices and live with the consequences and associated expenses.

Of course much government control in the areas that I mentioned already exists. The Government already provides half of our health-care through Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs. If we expand government involvement; regulations, restrictions and loss of freedoms will surely increase.

In my opinion, the government does not belong in the health care business. However, once they get their foot in the door, it is impossible to get them out because people feel a sense of entitlement. When the size and scope of the federal government increases, our individual freedoms, choices and aspirations will decrease. Our constitution guarantees us freedom from the government infringing on our right to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of health care.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Political Dichotomy Of Liberals Vs. Conservatives

A political dichotomy does exist in today's America. However, this dichotomy is not between Republicans and Democrats, it is between conservatives and liberals. There is also a spineless group in the middle called moderates.

Democratic and Republican officials both fit into the same group. Our elected officials are politicians, not political ideologues. Our elected officials from both parties are narcissistic, power hungry POLITICIANS. They are mostly ALL of the same ilk. As the federal government grows in size, scope and power, our elected officials grow increasingly more corrupt. Politicians are hardly guided by political ideology. Politicians deceive and manipulate an unsuspecting public for their own selfishness, empowerment, enrichment and egotistical desires.

Having said that, I do not see many liberals running down to their local military recruiting office to sign up to serve and protect our great nation. They are too busy vandalizing the recruiting offices and harassing our military. Today's voluntary armed forces are made up overwhelmingly of conservatives who believe in a power greater than themselves, a loving God, just like our farmers.

Liberals, on average, donate much less money and time toward charitable giving, yet they insist that "other peoples money" be confiscated in the form of taxes for the charities (social programs) of THEIR choice.

My personal experience has taught me that most farmers work long hours and risk all of their assets every year in order to grow food at a very low price for the rest of us. My experience has shown me that most hardworking farmers in rural America are conservatives. They are a dying breed as their children flee the rural areas and fill our cities where they are free to seek higher education (indoctrination), and the thrills and luxuries of our modern world that modern farming has made possible for the vast majority of the American public.

I have spent several periods of my life as a homeless bum in large cities. I have found that most all of the bums were drug addicts, alcoholics and mentally ill people. I fit into all three categories. Liberals insist on enabling these neerdowells with social programs that help them maintain themselves with food and shelter from the elements, while they commit crimes to support their drug habits.

It was liberals that closed the mental hospitals in order to give mentally ill people their freedom. Now they have the freedom to roam the streets aimlessly and defecate and urinate in the streets and on themselves as they harass ordinary people who have the misfortune of passing by.

It is also true that most people who professionally sing, dance and are professional phonies (actors) are liberals. Also, most indoctrinators (teachers and professors) are liberals. Most sexual deviants (transgender, transsexuals and homosexuals) that I have met are liberals.

A dichotomy exists between spiritual leaders and modern educators, between producers of goods and providers of entertainment, between those who are responsible and those who are irresponsible, between those who fight for our American culture, traditions, values and institutions and who want to tear down our culture, tradition, values and institutions, between rugged individuals and an ever-growing centralized government. The latter groups make us weaker, poorer and less free. The former groups have made America the wealthiest, freest, most benevolently powerful nation that this world has ever seen.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cash For Clunkers

I find that most complex issues can be easily understood when broken down into their basic roots. Such is the case with the new federal program dubbed "Cash For Clunkers".

This federal program pays qualified participants up to $4,500 for their trade in when they purchase a new car that gets better gas mileage. The trade-in (clunker) must have an EPA estimated Miles-per-Gallon that is 4 MPG less than the new car that they purchase. This program also stipulates that that the trade-in must be destroyed and recycled into scrap metal, plastic and glass. None of the used car parts may be sold.

Click on video below to view the destruction of the engine of a "cash for clunkers" trade-in as required by federal regulations.

The stated purpose of this federal program is two-fold. First, to stimulate car sales in a soft market. Second, to improve the gas economy of the average vehicle on the road. However, like most well intentioned federal programs, there are always unintended negative consequences.

When I break down this program to its basics, one thing becomes very clear. This program will reduce the availability of used cars in the marketplace by destroying many usable vehicles rather than reselling them. Although new car sales will be stimulated by this program, there will be less used cars available, thus the price of used cars will increase and the sales of used cars will decrease. This will immediately have a negative economic effect on the used car business, the auto-repair business and the auto-parts business.

Also, poor people and young people who don't have trade-ins or have not established good credit, will now be priced out of the used car market. This program will make used cars unavailable or too pricey for those who would have been able to purchase used cars previously. This program reduces the number of cars on the road, because it destroys used cars rather than reselling them. There is no doubt that this program will make cars unavailable to many Americans.

In addition, some people who previously did not qualify for car loans, may now be eligible because of the huge down-payment provided by the "cash for clunkers" program. Undoubtedly, many of these newly qualified buyers will default on their auto loans, just as many under qualified "sub prime" borrowers defaulted on their housing loans.

Another negative economic consequence would be that many people will be induced to buy new cars now , rather than waiting for their car to wear out. They will be trading in a car that was already paid for and they will now go into debt in order to finance their new car. Although the improved fuel economy will save them between $25 and $100 per month, their new car loan will likely cost them between $300 and $500 per month. Due to their higher expenses, they will cut down on spending in other areas thus having a negative impact on other segments of the economy.

Finally, there are negative environmental consequences when you destroy usable vehicles, even if the glass, metal and plastic are recycled. There is much hazardous waste contained in each and every junk vehicle. This waste includes used motor oil, transmission fluid, grease, brake fluid, anti-freeze, battery acid, explosives contained in airbags, mercury contained in switches and lead. It is costly to recycle or properly dispose of this hazardous waste. It is also impossible to properly dispose of it all. Residues that remain will find their way into landfills along with many other auto parts that can not be recycled. Also, it takes a lot of energy and natural resources to produce a new car, even if some of the materials are recycled. It is much cleaner for our environment to keep an old car in good working order, as opposed to destroying it and building a new one from scratch. The auto plants and their suppliers use lots of energy and raw materials to produce each new car. All of that energy and most of the materials can be saved by stretching the life of the older cars.

Common sense and my personal experience tells me that when economic times are hard, it is best to repair and patch what you have, rather than destroying it and buying a new one. At the very least, our nation will be better off is we fix up our assets during tough economic times. At the very least, we can sell them so someone else can make use of them, rather than destroying them and forcing many people to do without.

It is fundamentally wrong to destroy usable assets. This is true whether it be done at the hands of vandals or at the hands of the federal government under the guise of the "cash for clunkers" program.