Wednesday, August 27, 2008
What does it really mean to be an American? What is a patriotic American? A few great Americans wrote that "all men are created equal". If they had lived in more enlightened times I am quite sure they would have said "all people are created equal". It has been a long time since Republicans treated all Americans, much less all people, as equals. In the last eight years George W. Bush has treated only those who are rich and friends of his and Dick Cheney's as equals. Conservatives of George W. Bush's ilk lie and obfuscate to meet their own personal agendas. They tell you that you need smaller government because it's not right for government to interfere in your lives. I'll tell you government should be as little involved as absolutely possible. The convince you that really all government is for us to protect you from invading nations, and other than that you should really be on your own; because its best for you that way. Then they'll tell you they can have an abortion, can have sex with who you choose, probably love to have certain kinds of sex and only allowed to marry people that they deem proper. What they really mean when they tell you that you need smaller government is that they feel that rich people like them shouldn't have to help out the poor and sick. They don't care about healthcare reform because they can afford health insurance. They want to make it illegal for you to have an abortion, but then cut programs that would provide aid for you and your child once they're born. In case you were wondering, this is not the American way. It's not what our forefathers fought for. It's not the meaning of their written words. If you study history and historical documents you will find that the people who founded this country were great people and great thinkers. They took risks and committed selfless acts. There are almost no politicians alive today who could stand up to a comparison with those that started this great nation. Our soldiers are patriots. They risk their lives for protecting our great nation. Even in wars that you may consider unjust, from Vietnam through the Iraq war, you can only blame the wars on the politicians, but you must respect and revere what our soldiers offer up to their nation. Our police and firefighters are patriots. They lay it on the line for their fellow country people every day. When you vote you are committing a patriotic act. When you speak out, whether for or against your government, you are committing a patriotic act. Your forefathers created this great nation and thousands of lives have been laid down through the years to protect your rights to say what you have to say. If you look at the politicians who tried to paint dissenters as unpatriotic you will see that they have committed more unpatriotic acts; more acts diametrically opposed to the well and teachings of our forefathers, then anyone else. It is no surprise that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have spent a good part of their administration painting critics of theirs as unpatriotic, because they are perhaps the most unpatriotic leaders of this great nation that we have seen in our own lifetimes. Now, I'm not going to call John McCain unpatriotic. He served his country and he suffered for it. He tried to round on his conscience and cleanly, and was ripped apart by George W. Bush in 2000 because of it. This year, with the Republicans so out of favor, he could've run as the renewed and reinvigorated John McCain who stood for something for many years. He chose not to. To pander to the right wing conservatives he sold his soul, and not to Satan but far worse, to George W. Bush. He has aligned himself with unpatriotic liars who have sullied the great history of our nation. No, I will not call John McCain unpatriotic. However, his campaign and his presidential ambitions have aligned himself with those that are so unpatriotic that it would be a crime against this nation to reward his poor choices by voting him into the White House. I do not know a lot about Barack Obama. I think that's the problem, nobody does. I don't know how he'll react in a crisis or how he'll handle world affecting events, but I do know he hasn't made the poor choices John McCain has. Also in the limited things we do have from Barack Obama we can see a consistency of purpose and compassion throughout the years. I also believe, while they should not have snubbed Hillary who I do believe was qualified to be president, that in choosing Joe Biden he has shown his openness to be guided by experience at his side. Thus, after analyzing our forthcoming election I can only find that the right thing for America and the patriotic thing to do, is to elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden to be president and vice President of the United States later this year.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Hillary Clinton did an amazing job in her speech at the Democratic national convention. She mended fences, praised and pushed Obama , and attacked John McCain. In short, she did everything she was supposed to, and everything the Obama people could have hoped for. So why was Michelle Obama looking so miserable throughout Hillary's speech? Could it be because she looked so presidential? Could it be that she was afraid the audience would be thinking they picked the wrong candidate? Some think Obama has been struggling in the polls because he seems to have lost his direction. He snubbed Hillary for his vice presidential candidate, and could Michelle Obama now be realizing what a terrible mistake that was; failing to create the dream ticket because of his own stubbornness and pride? Joe Biden's a really good guy. Maybe he's qualified to be president, but he sure didn't get many votes when he tried. He's not likely to bring many votes he couldn't get over to Obama. By choosing Biden, after extolling the virtues of going outside the box and not picking a Beltway insider and looking for somebody who didn't have the same old jaded Washington experience, he merely appeared to be caving in to the criticisms that McCain has leveled at him that he somehow escaped when Clinton and Edwards and Biden, et al., leveled them at him themselves. In one fell swoop, choosing Biden over Hillary, but yes, choosing someone like Biden, created the look of a panicky candidate with no firm belief in his own rhetoric. As Hillary said, we need a democrat President...but will we get one in 2008? Stay tuned.
I am sorry that I've been away so long. Many factors influenced that. Partially because I was so disgusted at what's gone on politically in this country in the last several months. Before I start talking about all of that again, and I do believe what's going on is going to impact health care reform, I wanted to remind everybody that this is a healthcare reform blog some going to put as some of my latest writings on healthcare reform that I have just rewritten in my hopefully forthcoming book:
we need to remember that when dealing with healthcare reform, we need to understand that health care is a lot like electricity; in that it is essential and everyone should have access to it. We need to leave as many aspects free market as possible, but at the same time. It needs to be run with a lot of regulations. Not only dealing with safety, as it has up to now, but it's dealing with access and financing as well.
The reasons are many why we need to preserve what's best about the United States healthcare system. The attacks on our system are numerous, but many are specious as well. While obviously something needs to be done about costs, because it is pointed out that we spend the most on healthcare, it is wrongly pointed out that it obviously is not worth it because we don't have the best longevity rates of a modern population. But of course, we are the most modern population, the richest country, and raise our standard of living for the majority of Americans many years before the rest of the modern world Court up. Because of this, in some ways we are more obese and slovenly than the rest of the world. But as our nation comes to grips with this and starts to work on this, the rest of the world is busily trying to catch up. They are consuming more empty calories, more refined sugars and flour and actually see smoking rates rising in their countries. As one of the earlier pioneers of the modern industrialization movement, America also had the good fortune and subsequent burden of utilizing materials and processes that turn out to be dangerous and/or greatly polluting. While some materials, because of our discoveries and other nations discoveries, will be spared from use in other emerging nations now, we are still seeing the cycle of initial over polluting because of emerging industrialization.
As we are ahead of the curve in "rich country" diseases, I believe we will be ahead of the curve in regaining good health. You will see as America's longevity rates increase that many other modern era countries will stagnate or begin to decrease, before making their own U-turn back to health.
It is of the utmost importance that the amazing research and good work that we do here in the United States is not hampered by a bureaucratic, shortsighted government system. This is why we need government controls and oversight, but a free market solution to the healthcare crisis.
Looking at the total amount that America spent on all healthcare in 2007, I am of the belief that we spend enough. The areas that were going to tackle our waste, realignment of insurance, realignment of physician practice, oversight. In general through process improvement techniques and various cost-cutting initiatives, while you might find it tough to take 20% of your family's budget, a large corporation that hasn't been through extensive cost-cutting in the recent past can often remove 10 to 40% of costs without a significant deterioration of functioning. I think it would not be unreasonable to be able to remove 20% of costs out of our healthcare system and then work back in a vigorous inflation rate so that going forward practitioners, suppliers and providers would all find comfortable increases built into the system.
The realignment of physician practices going to be uncomfortable to many. It is going to reek of government controls because it is literally redefining physicians roles in society. However the proof fashion of physician is just not a profession that has gotten out of control with independence and entrepreneurialism. In reality if we look at physicians as healthcare executives, we can conjure whether so many should be independent? You don't meet a lot of independent vice presidents of corporations. Sure some executives become consultants, or they take a new idea and start a Corporation. Doctors can do the same. But the fundamental system of delivering healthcare through independent entrepreneurs encourages waste. These independent physicians are not adding anything in the form of lower pricing, better services or products or new innovations as would happen when the entrepreneurs begin new companies. These practitioners just go out into the fields to do business as usual like everyone else in the medical field and hope to bring in enough patients for them to make ever more money. It would be like if a McDonald's employee left and started another chain of hamburger joints, and created an exact duplicate of McDonald's and charge the exact same prices. Of course, he would be sued for copyright infringement, but more so, if he did not add to the equation by making everything better or cheaper, he would fail because nobody would find a reason to go to him instead. With physicians, it's true that all things being equal you might choose a physician whose a block or two closer to your home, but more likely you will choose one in your health plan, and that's the extent of most people's shopping. We need a certain amount of physicians in this country to take care of everybody so there is room for them to exist. But just like the copycat of McDonald's the majority of these physicians don't add anything by being independent as opposed to hospital paid employees in offices placed throughout the community.
When a physician works for a hospital and is placed in a field office and knows what salary he's going to make then, just like an executive at a Corporation, he knows the only way he's going to get above average raises will be to do a good job, get good results, do well for the customers and do his best to keep costs in line for the Corporation. Therefore, an adequate physician can expect to get raises in line with inflation, a superb physician keeping his eye on all these things we just mentioned can expect to get excellent raises. A physician who does a subpar job would lose his job like any executive of the cooperation, I would not have to wait to be sued by enough people that his license and ability to earn an income would become in jeopardy. This should be a much tighter run ship and a better self policing agency. This will wring out costs from the system and remove stress from the physicians. Those who are most entrepreneurial, whoever better way to do things, a way to save money for the patient, or who can do a better job for the patience, will still rise to the surface and will be able to open their own independent practices. I do not aim to outlaw independent practices. But it will become necessary to charge more, to have a higher co-pay, for those in independent practice. Therefore, only those that add to the value proposition, that do something better than their colleagues, will be able to run a private practice because they will be the only ones will be ever convince people to pay a higher co-pay to come to see them. In one fell swoop we would have cut costs and created a system where only those who can better the system and improve care will be doing the work independently.
Our system is not broken, it simply was designed with no cost controls. The cost controls that are trying to be placed on the system now, especially by government, are ridiculous. They simply arbitrarily decide that they're not going to pay more for something, they don't cut costs a cutting reimbursements on procedures, they trying to turn back the clock by medical providers at the same time that they voted raises for themselves and allow executives to have ever more exorbitant pay packages. The way the government tries to do it is unconscionable. But we do at a cost controls because the costs are out of control. The methods I speak of will bring in controls after creating a more efficient less expensive system, and then we'll build then comfortable increases into the future. Some form of change is coming, over that we can be sure because the system cannot continue to stand the way it is. Forgetting about how much it's pointed out in the rest of the world, we will point out here many times that they were too many people uninsured, too many underinsured and we already pay more than enough for all of it. There it changes that will be less painful and at the same time more beneficial. While you will see many systems offered to control costs by controlling K. our was simply limiting expenditures, you will see that these are not healthcare reform but healthcare reduction and limitation. When I speak of here is reform, and while change is scary, I believe reform will be embraced far more than reduction and limitation as proposed by the government.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Satan Here. LH is on his way back to blogging and he promises some stuff to make it worth the wait for all of you that have been waiting LOL. But seriously folks, or should I say folk, I partially blame myself for the lull as I have been too bored to offer up any discussions to LH. And I understand somethings have gotten in the way of his appearing here but I understand he is back! In the meantime, he was so disappointed in Obama's choice of Joe Biden for his Veep candidate that he felt I should write a bit about it since he felt it was my fault. I did whisper it in Barack's ear, but it was a joke. I thought he would pick Hillary, it was the only logical choice. He picks everything he criticized Hillary for, confirming all the things McCain criticizes him for. Politics as usual...bad politics. More from LH on this soon, as he gave me a strict word count limit. He doesn't seem to trust me. Because of this, you will not hear the one about the 3 Victoria's Secrets Models that were sent to Hell by accident. It was a good one, I tell you, but I do not have the space to tell you. Sorry.