Thursday, March 26, 2009


I am somewhat speechless lately. I spewed the contents of my brain and it is slowly being refilled. I am also flabergasted by what I learn is going on, but not reported on. I want to point out one danger that is easy to fall into, but imperative that we don't.


It is easy to be distracted by a particular issue that is being touted by politicians and the media. For instance, the AIG bonuses that are being paid with seemingly taxpayer money. It is easy to grab hold of an issue that is being pushed my many outlets, but this distracts from the balance that we all must have.

We must address the popular issues, while at the same time addressing issues that are being taken through the back door, under the radar.

We must not take the words of our leaders and ignore their actions. We are being lied to everyday and we accept it because we do not evaluate the ACTIONS behind the words. Our leaders must be held accountable by every person in a non-violent and respectful way.

House bill 875 seeks to regulate "food production facilities". The rub here is that this has the potential to limit what people do, in their own gardens, on their own land. With bailouts going on, are you aware of this?

Our leaders seem to think that Universal Health care is necessary to bring down health care costs and increase availability to everyone. They think throwing money at the problem, rather than addressing the cause of the high costs, is the solution. Look at the socialized health care systems across the globe. With bailouts going on, are you aware of this?

Cap and Trade. Our leaders are pushing legislation that will tax all carbon emissions above a certain level. This will either push energy costs up, or increase our taxes so that the government can subsidize the energy companies. I think treating our environment with love and care is a great priority, but THE SCIENCE IS NOT SETTLED. Science, based on false assumptions must be challenged by everyone. With bailouts going on, are you aware of this?

With many liberal-leaning newspapers failing across the country. Legislators have proposed rules that would allow these entities to run as a non-profit. The whole idea behind non-profits is that they are not taxed because they do not support various political parties/organizations. Should we benefit those seeking to take away our freedom? With bailouts going on, are you aware of this?

Speaking of bonuses to people with taxpayer money. Should the government have the power to target specific citizens and take from them because they want to? Does two wrongs make a right? There are dangerous and un-precendented moves going on RIGHT NOW, and we must be aware and get involved.

Don't be distracted by the agendas of our politicians and media outlets. Create your own agenda, with balance, and learn about what is really going on. Entitlements create dependency. Business is not the enemy. Money is not the enemy. We are being told that the only way to fix our problems is to give more power to our leaders, giving away our freedom. The entire world looks to the USA as an example of freedom and wealth, it seems wrong to me that we are seeking to become more like the rest of the world. We must defend our constitution and our founding pricniples.

Have you contacted your elected leaders lately?


  1. You brought up universal health care and I just wanted to comment. Here goes...
    I have a big problem with private insurance companies. They provide excellent benefits--if you are a healthy, non smoking, "no-risk" person. You speak of "targeting specific people" in a non-related paragraph of your post. The government is not the only guilty party here. Private insurance companies target sick people. Period. They can charge "health risk" patients whatever they want, and many can't afford it.
    Again, I use my family as an example. We have two cases of diabetes in my family. My dad and our Uncle Dale. My dad cannot be insured. He is self-employed, he has diabetes and he has had a heart attack. He is a huge liabilty to any insurance company and from a business perspective, I understand that. My dad has to buy his drugs and insulin from Canada in order to afford them. One of his heart meds costs $200.00 per month. I also don't think he is getting the preventative care he needs in order to prevent another heart attack because he can't afford that up front without insurance.
    Aunt Ronda works a job in Rulo simply to cover her and Dale's monthly insurance payment. She has given me hard numbers on what they pay to the insurance company every month and I wanted to cry. This is blatent targeting of a certain type of people. Sometimes, people can't help getting sick. Why should they have to pay for it?
    Medicare: How will the elderly pay for medical expenses without some kind of aid from the government? No private insurance company is going to affordably cover them as they are all "health risks" simply due to age and often not given proper insurance coverage due to "prior or existing conditions."
    Do we simply forget about the sick and elderly because we do not want the government to tax us? Do we deny them one of the fundamental rights given in the constitution: life?

    Just some of my thoughts...


  2. Laura,

    Great comments and they highlight the real problems. We probably disagree on how to deal with the problems, but I don't believe we have to deny life at the cost of liberty. Here are a few bullet points to think about...Let's continue this discussion.

    - I have seen estimates that 25% of health care costs go to paper-work and office duties to deal with all the reporting that the government requires. Because of government regulations, the cost is higher than it could be.

    - Doctor John Muney in NY recently started a program where he would charge $79 per month for unlimitted office visits. The State accused him of running an insurance business and required him to change his fee structure. The state requires him to filter the money through their hands.,2933,508990,00.html
    This doctor saw an opportunity to lower the costs fo healthcare dramatically. Imagine paying $1000 per year for all the care his office can provide. He has said that this would be a good plan for him and his patients, but the state won't let him do it...they lose control.

    - I am guilty here. When we had Abigail last year, we saw the hospital bill for around $9000 a few months later. We simply gave the hospital our insruance information and they took care of the rest. We only paid a couple hundred dollars. However, when I examined the bill, I realized it was laden with all the "standard" charges that the hosital uses when someone has a baby. Half of the stuff on the bill was wrong. There were services charged for that we never received, but it is "standard" practice. The insurance companies don't have the resources to look into all these claims, and "why should I care, because I didn't have to pay for it?" The costs of healthcare are inflated because of these practices as well. Insurance companies charge large amounts because they pay out large amounts. They do not dictate the charges that they receive. So while they are involved, can they really be blamed?

    - Anything that drives up the cost of healthcare, will drive up the cost of insurance for that care. If the free market is allowed to work, health care providers will compete with each other and prices will come down.

    - Drugs from Canada is a great example of the free market. They produce the same exact thing, give it a different name and voila!, we have cheaper drugs. Our drug companies inflate their prices by a huge percent just to cover all the lawsuits that come with the side affects from those drugs. I am radical, but I believe that God has given us natural ingredients on the earth that will do the same things as drugs, people just aren't aware of them because there is no money in it. The idea that we must have drugs to be healthy, therefore subsidizing their production with my tax dollars forces me to go against my principles.

    - Finally, look into the health care programs in other socialized countries...Canada and the UK. For non-emergency care, patients sometimes wait years, not weeks for a procedure. The state decides what procedures should be done, not the patients. The best doctors are in America because they can make money here, rather than abide by the state rules on salary. People come from other countries to America so they can have procedures done in a timely fashion.

    I think the real debate should be around, what is truly causing the high cost of healthcare. If that is what frames the argument, socializes medicine wouldn't be the solution. Throwing money at the problem is not the answer.

    I hope this was somewhat clear. This is a great debate.

  3. Andrew,

    In response:

    Part of the stimulus package includes setting up a national healthcare database, which would eliminate much of the paperwork and disorganization within the healthcare field. This would allow doctors and pharmacists, nurses and aides access to all kinds of valuable information that would not only make the health care system more efficient and effective, but it would eliminate many of the mistakes added to insurance claims.
    I am skeptical that allowing the free market to thrive would drastically reduce paperwork. Insurance companies themselves require plenty of that in order to process claims, and we pay for it there too. However, even if reducing paperwork did cut health care by 25%, these companies would pass the savings on to their corporate policy holders and healthy paying customers, NOT to those who truly and desperately need it. Insuring those people would continue to be a huge liability to the business, no matter the amount of paperwork that is added or subtracted.
    The problem with buying drugs from Canada is that they don't simply change the name of the drug and suddenly make it cheap. Matt pointed out to me that Canadian drugs are often made with different ingredients altogether, which can greatly increase the risk of a fatal drug interaction with other precriptions. It may be cheap, but you don't really know what you are getting.
    My personal philosophy is to put as few drugs in my body as possible, even with such things as Tylenol. I'd just rather let my body deal with a headache on its own way. But there are some times when it is absolutely necessary. (Like when I woke up after having my wisdom teeth pulled!) Research and development for drugs is not cheap, unfortunately. But when I do have to take something, I am glad to know that I know what's in the drug, that's been researched and tested, and that I won't be causing any harmful interactions in my body that I am not aware of. I will gladly pay for this peace of mind.

    I have already added way more than i meant to. Thanks for your debate!


  4. Laura,

    Yes. Part of the stimulus package is MEANT to cut costs within healthcare, whether it will actually do that remains to be seen. I believe it requires the same amount of speculation in saying that this stimulus will work, as opposed to reducing spending and taxes and letting the markets determine what will work. This is where history shows us what works; and we can see real examples across the globe that when healthcare is nationalized, the level of care for everyone goes down and the quality of care is greatly decreased. The sentiment is good and noble, but the solution is doing more harm than good.

    The mentality behind stimulating healthcare with large sums of taxpayer money and debt continues to attack the symptoms of the problem, not the problem. Our liberal/progressive leaders say "we need to reduce the costs of healthcare" (EVERYONE agrees on this point), but their solution is not to reduce the costs of healthcare, it is to reduce the price that people pay. This requires higher taxes for everyone, more government power and less patient choice. Throwing money at the problem is not the solution.

    If the real cost of healthcare were to go down, meaning what Doctors actually charged, then insurance costs would go down and more people could afford it. Or, in the best case scenario, healthcare would be competitive enough that most people would not require insurance, except to perhaps cover really big problems and emergencies. People have simply become reliant on insurance and the abuse of that system is natural. Next time you are at the Doctor, tell them you don't have insurance and watch how they work with you on prices. Things are greatly different when they know you are paying.

    Our government is seeking more power. Their motives may be good and well, but what happens when they have that power and their motives don't align with yours and mine any longer? The current solutions will only create dependence and will not truly reduce the cost of healthcare.

  5. Andrew, you argue that if healthcare costs were lowered, then insurance prices too would fall. That seems logical enough and to an extent is true, however, part of the upward pressure on healthcare costs is the direct result of insurance companies and their policies. I'll get back to that point later.
    I agree with you on several of the reasons you mention for higher prices: administrative bloat and excessive regulation. I would like to add a few more. 1)Pharmaceutical/Medical Device companies. While they do put millions into R&D (much of it subsidized by the government, I might add), they then attempt to bar access to the new formulas under intellectual property laws. To an extent, this is fair, given their significant investment. Letting the free market do its job would not work, because there are barriers to access -- caused by intellectual property laws and such-- which prevent competitors from entering the market, creating a generic and thus lowering prices. It takes years before generics are made and cutting edge research is available to individuals with chronic diseases. Even if insurance companies lowered their premiums as the result of lower healthcare costs, as you mention, I don't think this would enable, as Laura mentions, undesirable individuals to obtain healthcare and fair and reasonable prices. After all, the insurance companies operate for profit, and they aren't going to provide coverage to individuals who will no doubt require large payouts. I think we agree that in a developed, modern, wealthy country, everyone should have access to healthcare. The other reason costs are so high is due our litigious society. Doctor's must raise prices to cover their malpractice insurance. That could be effectively lowered if courts would enact more stringent pleading requirements.

  6. Ways to lower prices: deny healthcare to obese individuals (unless of course they pay their own way). Seriously, if you won't take care of yourself than neither should taxpayers. Another reason prices are high -Excessive care/overtreatment: reviving your 80 year old grandma multiple times instead of allowing nature to takes it course; and parents who take their kid to the doctor every time they have a cold.

    I forgot to mention, I do not disagree with you that universal healthcare is an ominous plan, at least in its current incarnation. That being said, there are flaws to relying solely on the free market (High demand = high prices) to regulate the industry, namely because many individuals would be barred from access.

  7. Sam, I see what you are saying. A point of mine that cannot be stressed enough is that if people got out of the way of the doctors, there would be no need for insurance. People would simply pay for the care when they needed it. See my comment above on Dr. John Muney from NY. He is trying to lower costs, but the state won't let him.

    If he had his way, which would cause other doctors to follow suit (because they would have to compete), healthcare costs across the board would go down. Insurance should be exactly that, insurance, something there "just in case". Rather, we rely on insurance in a way that was not intended from the beginning. We don't get car insurance because we know we will get in a wreck, we get it "just in case".

    You are right that insurance companies cause an upward pressure on the costs of healthcare. One of my exampels above was that when Abigail was born, we simply passed the cost to the insurance company. It could have any charge the doctors wanted on their, we don't check, insurance companies don't check. So prices are higher.

    Litigation is a good point too. I saw a study that showed doctors who spent more time with each patient were far less likely to be sued due to malpractice. I would leave it up to the doctors to foot their own bills here. When they realize how they can stop the lawsuits, they will do everything they can to save the money required for them.

    Good stuff.

  8. I just read an article on the NYC doctor. Very interesting. The fact that I live here and hadn't heard about this story goes to your point in a previous post about selective media. I finally found an article in the NY Post. It says they made him raise his co-pay to $33 (he originally had a $10 co-pay/visit), which apparently puts him in compliance. But, at the end of the day, the patients are still paying the flat fee, plus the higher co-pay so I'm not sure how paying the additional $23 makes it any less "insurance" since the plan operates in the same way. The State claims it is insurance because he is covering "unplanned events". Because my boss is gone and I have no work, and because I'm bored and a nerd I went to our library to find a treatise that defines insurance. My firm does primarily director's and officers insurance coverage/litigation, which is different from medical insurance, but close enough. Anyway, Appleman on Insurance says insurance must meet these five conditions: 1)there must be insurable interest; 2) thre must be an insured event (loss);3) insurer assumes risk for loss; 4) insurer assumes risk as part of scheme to distribute actual losses among large group; 5) Insured pays premium. I can see where in some ways this doctor's plan does resemble insurance (but who cares!), however, he is not insuring ALL risk, as a regular insurance policy might. Only covering those health events which he can address in his office. He does not compensate his patients monetarily for their loss, it is simply an exchange of services. Furthermore, there is the concept of fortuitous loss, which basically says that an insurer cannot be expected to cover a loss "that is reasonably certain or expected to occur within the policy period". You could argue that this doctor fully intended and expected his patient to seek his services for routine medical care and the like, even if strep throat is "unplanned". I'm interested to see how this plays out in court.

  9. Sam,

    Good stuff. You have shed even more light on this topic. I would hope that the state would recognize the good he is doing win over their desire for control, but it doesn't seem that way. Hopefully cases like this are brought into more light when Universal Healthcare starts being shoved through the congress.