Wednesday, September 30, 2009

GOP Lies in Healthcare

E-mail to Congress:

EIN News says, "The Lie Machine. GOP operatives are running a secret campaign to kill health care reform, and it's based on Karl Rove's old playbook. (".

Looking at the name of the reference source, I had some suspicions. I then checked "", and found what I had suspected. It is a leftist/socialist Internet rag filled with innuendo, name-calling and a complete absence of factual information. It is in the same category as the "National Enquirer", which we see at the checkout counters of supermarkets.

These people have a constitutional right to print whatever opinions they wish. The publication will appeal to the emotionalism of a segment of the population. Those of us who are less guided by emotion and more inclined to an analytical approach, have an obligation to keep the society on a logical track.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Distortions in Healthcare Proposals

Carol is an e-mail correspondent, with whom I have had semi-continuous contact. She has sent me a letter, on which I am commenting below.

Good morning, Carol.

I have read the letter from Citizens for Real Health Care Reform and a Public Option, which you sent me. I have attached a copy for other recipients of this e-mail.

The letter starts with an attempt to create a favorable emotional aspect to the " cause" by bringing in the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy. If you think about it, you may see that the intent is for you to embrace Public Healthcare, because Ted Kennedy did, and you respect his opinion. There is no room for private analysis of facts.

It goes on to say, "Myths, distortions, and bald-faced lies about President Obama's proposed health care reform have been cynically promoted by the insurance industry". This is a generally emotional statement. Perhaps we will see later in the letter some supporting facts.

The next paragraph says that millions of dollars in special interest advertising and the 24-hour news cycle have threatened reform efforts. Are there no millions of dollars spent in supporting government healthcare?

The letter asks you to submit a letter to the editor of your local newspaper today to make sure your neighbors know the cost-reducing FACTS about health care reform and the public option. If I were going to write such a letter, I would not be able to include the "cost-reducing facts". It doesn't say what they are in the "Citizens letter" to you.

Comments on the Wall Street Journal's poll:

1.) Stopping Health Care for the Elderly. This is not a true or false situation. Complete government control of health care allows government to do whatever it wishes. If it wishes to eliminate health care to the elderly, it can do so. If it wishes to double healthcare for the elderly, it can do that too. If you are not now elderly, you will eventually be. Do you want government to control your life destiny?

2.) Public Option. The letter says 54% of those polled FALSELY believe that health care reform would lead to a "government takeover of the health care system.". Who judges that this is a false belief? There are too many generalities in the statements. Healthcare reform as presently proposed by the Administration and in the House bills primarily include a government takeover of the healthcare system. However, reform does not necessarily mean that one condition. Other changes to the healthcare system would be desirable. As said in 1.) above, most people see that health care reform, as presently defined, would lead to a government takeover.

3.) Illegal Immigrants. The poll says 55% of Americans FALSELY believe President Obama's plan would extend health insurance coverage to illegal immigrants. Who says it's false? Here we have a play on words and timing. The Obama Administration has clearly indicated its policy to legalize all presently illegal immigrants in the US. As this may take place, the public is not deceived into recognizing that there will be no illegal immigrants in future. This will indirectly supply healthcare to immigrants who are now illegal but may not be illegal in the future.

The letter goes on to say again that you should submit a letter to the editor of your local newspaper now and make sure your neighbors know the choice-expanding FACTS about health care reform and the public option. It will be impossible to present all the facts of the healthcare situation related to reform and the public option. Even if you were able to do so, the newspaper editor and your neighbors would very likely be unable to come to a logical conclusion on action to be taken. Public decisions are mostly made from an emotional point of view supported by one or two perceived facts. That perception can easily be faulty, which is why our government was originally established as a Republic, wherein designated individuals have the responsibility to investigate issues, which the public has neither the time nor inclination to do.

The letter says the insurance industry lobby and political operatives who are subverting the truth want to erode support for the comprehensive reform we need to fix America's broken health care system. This is likely partially true. The converse is likely partially true, in that supporters want to subvert the truth in order to "support the comprehensive reform we need to fix America's broken health care system". One must question the backgrounds and motivations of every individual or group that takes a position on an issue. In support of their position, facts or likely outcomes are many times distorted through rationalization. A friend of mine, who works with the religious aspects of jail inmates, reports that more than 90% of the inmates claim they are innocent and victims of misguided justice. Justice can occasionally go wrong, but 90%?

The letter says that polls still show most Americans support President Obama's health care reform plan and the public option once they know the real truth. As I have before, real truth is a matter of perception combined with analysis. I suspect that if most Americans support Pres. Obama's Health Care Reform Plan, they do so on the basis of supporting Pres. Obama as a personality involving his charisma and his superb oratory skills. This is combined with his routinely repeated message of hope and progress, which is bound to appeal to every human being.

The letter asks you to submit your letter to the Editor. This is the third time they ask you to do this. Note that it does not say what specifics you should cover in your letter to the editor. It implies that they have given you enough emotional support, so that your "letter to the editor" will start with your support for the Obama Health Plan and follow with an emotional outburst of derogatory comments relating to the opposition. This would include mentioning "the powerful insurance industry crush efforts to reform health care in the past. We can't let them get away with it again". The letter then asks you for the fourth time to be sure to write such letter to the Editor.

Carol, since you are a researcher with analytical skills, I am sure my above suggestions to look into details may not be necessary. However, based on our previous communications, I suspect that your emotional approach clouds your technical capabilities and performance.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pre-Existing Conditions

E-mail to Congress:
The health insurance companies have gotten a bad rap on the matter of "pre-existing conditions". With the almost universal complaint that health insurance companies do not cover pre-existing conditions, there seems to be no general understanding of what a pre-existing condition is and its relationship to insurance in general.

However, WikiAnswers has defined the situation as follows, "Medical insurance works the same way other insurances do- that medical insurance is to protect yourself in case something bad happens. You need to have coverage in place before something bad happens. An analogy is that just like you can't buy auto insurance after an accident to cover the cost of the accident, medical insurance only covers issues that arise unexpectedly after coverage has begun."

Notice the logic involved. However when healthcare is discussed, all manifestations of emotion related to anecdotal situations become involved. None of that really makes sense from a financial point of view.

Diabetics have a shorter life span than nondiabetics. Should life insurance companies not consider that a diabetic will have a shorter time to pay his insurance premiums and therefore pay less over his lifespan than a non-diabetic? If so, does that not penalize non-diabetics?

Assume another case, where a person has been smoking two packs of cigarettes for 30 years. He is now wheezing, has a slight pain in his chest and plans to see a doctor for the first time next week. However today, he is at my office applying for medical insurance. He has no pre-existing condition and presumably is not required to give me a record of his smoking activities. Must I insure him on the basis that I can't ask any questions or have him examined now by a medical doctor?

Take another example outside of the medical field. Let's say I have had five collision accidents in the past two years. My insurance company wants to drop me as a bad risk. Are they not entitled to do so? Let's also say that they have dropped me and I am now applying for insurance to a new company. Are they not entitled to know about my driving history and accident record? These are pre-existing conditions and by the same emotional atmosphere applied to health insurance, I should not be denied insurance by the new automotive insurance company.

It is obvious that denying insurance companies the right to consider pre-existing conditions is ridiculous. It's not only bad for the insurance companies. It's bad for more responsible members of society. It's also bad for the leeches in that it encourages them to not accept personal responsibility for their own actions. Collectively, it's bad for society.

May I strongly suggest that in any healthcare insurance legislation that you may consider, you do not make it mandatory for insurance companies to ignore pre-existing conditions.

Business Cooperation with the Obama Administration

E-mail to Congress:
EIN News says, "U.S. Health Care Overhaul Divides Business and Its Traditional GOP Allies. Business is parting from its traditional allies in the Republican Party on health care as companies and big corporate lobbyists lend tentative support to a congressional overhaul that conservative lawmakers staunchly oppose. The rift mirrors a similar divide on other issues, including immigration and climate change, where many companies have backed legislative action that Republican lawmakers oppose. (".

This is bad news for "liberty". If we take this at face value, business has decided to play ball with the Obama Administration. It is difficult to conceive why business trusts Obama Administration, but apparently it does. Business apparently does not realize that complete government control can mean the eventual demise of private business.

I have no particular objection to the business community deserting the Republican Party on healthcare issues and other matters. The Republicans have in general shown their inability to comprehend anything of significance. Fortunately, we have a Congress, which is hopefully more independent and with greater ability to predicting outcomes of power than is the business community. Please do your best to maintain a non-dictatorship.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pres. Obama's Government-Run Healthcare

From Michael Connelly - Retired attorney, Constitutional Law Instructor
Carrollton, Texas

Well, I have done it! I have read the entire text of proposed House Bill 3200: The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009. I studied it with particular emphasis from my area of expertise, constitutional law. I was frankly concerned that parts of the proposed law that were being discussed might be unconstitutional. What I found was far worse than what I had heard or expected.

To begin with, much of what has been said about the law and its implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media are saying. The law does provide for rationing of health care, particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services, and probably forced participation in abortions by members of the medical profession.

The Bill will also eventually force private insurance companies out of business and put everyone into a government run system. All decisions about personal health care will ultimately be made by federal bureaucrats and most of them will not be health care professionals. Hospital admissions, payments to physicians, and allocations of necessary medical devices will be strictly controlled.

However, as scary as all of that it, it just scratches the surface. In fact, I have concluded that this legislation really has no intention of providing affordable health care choices. Instead it is a convenient cover for the most massive transfer of power to the Executive Branch of government that has ever occurred, or even been contemplated. If this law or a similar one is adopted, major portions of the Constitution of the United States will effectively have been destroyed.

The first thing to go will be the masterfully crafted balance of power between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the U.S. Government. The Congress will be transferring to the Obama Administration authority in a number of different areas over the lives of the American people and the businesses they own. The irony is that the Congress doesn't have any authority to legislate in most of those areas to begin with. I defy anyone to read the text of the U.S. Constitution and find any authority granted to the members of Congress to regulate health care.

This legislation also provides for access by the appointees of the Obama administration of all of your personal healthcare information, your personal financial information, and the information of your employer, physician, and hospital. All of this is a direct violation of the specific provisions of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution protecting against unreasonable searches and seizures. You can also forget about the right to privacy. That will have been legislated into oblivion regardless of what the 3rd and 4th Amendments may provide.

If you decide not to have healthcare insurance or if you have private insurance that is not deemed "acceptable" to the "Health Choices Administrator" appointed by Obama there will be a tax imposed on you. It is called a "tax" instead of a fine because of the intent to avoid application of the due process clause of the 5th Amendment. However, that doesn't work because since there is nothing in the law that allows you to contest or appeal the imposition of the tax, it is definitely depriving someone of property without the "due process of law.

So, there are three of those pesky amendments that the far left hate so much out the original ten in the Bill of Rights that are effectively nullified by this law. It doesn't stop there though. The 9th Amendment that provides: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people;" The 10th Amendment states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are preserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Under the provisions of this piece of Congressional handiwork neither the people nor the states are going to have any rights or powers at all in many areas that once were theirs to control.

I could write many more pages about this legislation, but I think you get the idea. This is not about health care; it is about seizing power and limiting rights. Article 6 of the Constitution requires the members of both houses of Congress to "be bound by oath or affirmation" to support the Constitution. If I was a member of Congress I would not be able to vote for this legislation or anything like it without feeling I was violating that sacred oath or affirmation. If I voted for it anyway I would hope the American people would hold me accountable.

For those who might doubt the nature of this threat I suggest they consult the source.

Here is a link to the Constitution:

And another to the Bill of Rights:

There you can see exactly what we are about to have taken from us.

Michael Connelly
Retired attorney,
Constitutional Law Instructor
Carrollton, Texas

Sen. Cornyn's Comments On Baucus Health-Care Proposal

Here is what Sen. Cornyn had to say concerning the Baucus health-care proposal. I am advising Sen. Cornyn that he is "right on the money" and will have my vote in the next election. I am also suggesting to Sen. Cornyn that he take the necessary steps to consolidate with other fiscally responsible Senators, whether they be Democrats or Republicans, in defeating the Baucus proposal, HR 3200, and anything similar.


"Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
     There is bipartisan recognition that our health care system needs reform. Health care costs have more than doubled for American families over the last decade.
     Seniors are counting on Medicare - but that program is underfunded by more than three times the national debt. Medicaid imposes huge costs on state taxpayers and delivers poor outcomes to patients.
     Our current government health care programs are riddled with nearly $90 billion a year in waste, fraud, and abuse.
     Fear of lawsuits encourages defensive medicine - which increases America's health care bills by up to 9 percent every year.
     And millions of Americans lack health insurance.
     We agree on the need to fix the system - and so we should focus on common-sense solutions that we can all support:
          Making private coverage affordable to more people;
          Realigning incentives for providers to focus on value instead of volume;
          Creating incentives for patients to live healthier lives;
          And cutting waste, fraud, and abuse in our current entitlement programs.

     These areas of agreement should be the foundation of a bipartisan approach. Instead, a more partisan proposal is before us today. This proposal would make many of our current problems worse.

     Here are my fundamental concerns:

Continues Washington's Spending Spree
     This proposal would increase government spending by $1.6 trillion over 10 years. The $856 billion price tag is misleading. When you start the clock in 2013 - the first full year of implementation - the spending goes way up. The American people are tired of government spending - and Washington continues to ignore their voices.

Increases the Costs of Private Insurance
     Several studies have shown that middle class families will see higher premiums because of the new taxes in this proposal. Premiums in the individual market would go up by 10%, according to one study. Small group insurance premiums would jump by up to 15% in Ohio - and up to 25% in California - according to another study.

Takes Money Out of Medicare
     This proposal takes $409 billion out of the Medicare program - which is underfunded by $38 trillion. Any "savings" found in Medicare should be dedicated to making that program solvent.
     This proposal also cuts $125 billion out of Medicare Advantage - which would break President Obama's promise that Americans can keep the health plans they have.

Expands Medicaid
     Medicaid already imposes huge costs on state taxpayers - and crowds out education, law enforcement, etc.
     The Texas Health and Human Service Commission estimates that this proposal would:
          Increase Texas Medicaid costs by more than $20 billion over 10 years;
          Expand the number of Texans on Medicaid by 2.5 million people.
          Medicaid delivers poorer health outcomes than private insurance - and costs more than $30 billion a year in waste, fraud, and abuse.

New Taxes on Families and Businesses
     This proposal includes nearly $350 billion in new taxes - not including the individual and employer mandates. Raising taxes is not the way to create jobs.
     For individuals and families:
          The proposal imposes a new tax on those who do not abide by the individual mandate. This new tax is as much as $950 per year for an individual - and $3,800 per family.
          The White House says this isn't really a tax - but if it's not a tax, than why is the IRS empowered to collect it?
    For businesses:
          The employer "free rider" provision is a huge burden.
          One grocery chain in Texas estimates that this provision would cost them $10 million in new taxes.
          Most economists agree that employer mandates have the effect of reducing wages and crippling job growth. When you put all the taxes and mandates together, the total bill over the next 20 years is more than $2 trillion - according to the Senate Budget Committee.

Defers the Tough Choices
     This proposal only includes a one-year fix for physicians' payments under the Medicare program. The cost of future fixes is not included. This proposal outsources the future of our seniors health care to an unelected government board. This board could reduce access to medical care with very limited Congressional review.

Not Serious About Tort Reform
    On medical liability reform, this proposal includes only a "Sense of the Senate" resolution. And that resolution is only a suggestion to states that they consider taking action.
    There is no enforceable language on tort reform in the proposal.

     With respect, Mr. Chairman, this proposal has major flaws. I plan to offer several amendments that will address some of those flaws. But I should be honest: this proposal taxes too much and grows government too much - and I am not optimistic that a few amendments will be able to change that."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Carol on Healthcare Insurance

This is part of my ongoing e-mail conversation with Marxist Carol. In this issue, she is ostensibly addressing healthcare insurance, but as you will note below she deviates considerably from the subject. My comments are in italics. This is what Carol has to say,

Well, I have no intention of turning the world upside down but am smart enough to know that if a problem exists on a wide scale, it needs to be addressed. As such, a high activity level is present here to help out.

I presume you are referring to healthcare insurance. On a more general scale, I agree that we should address problems large and small, with priority given to large problems. However, addressing problems is a societal function, which can involve individuals, families, local communities, municipalities, states, and very finally the federal government I also like to t think that is the proper order in which to consider resolution of problems. In my home will judgment, this is not the time for the federal government to consider resolving what it considers to be a healthcare insurance problem. If the federal government is uncertain or even has a reasonable respect for the rights of individuals, it might ask questions and make suggestions.

I have been on many government private industry committees tasked with writing legislation on such subjects as alternative energy, the failure of the missile defense system (budgetary input), climate change, clean air, clean water, endangered species...and have also testified before Congress on some of the preceding subjects.

Congratulations for your assistance to the federal government on your activities. You imply that private industries were part of the committees in which you operated. If you will think about it, the presence of those private industries was in a subservient capacity. That is, they were either looking for money in the form of grants or reduced government restrictions on activities. Therefore, the general tone of each meeting was that you and your government associates were in a power position, which tended to create in your minds a superior attitude that you had the answers and could impose those answers at your will. This is the usual psychological development of those in power.

As to it being hard to get an education, yes, it is. Never did I receive one penny of support for my higher education from the family. It was all paid for initially by myself and, later, by scholarships.
Due to an early divorce in my family, work for pay started at age 7
(because I needed money for school, a bike, clothing, entertainment, etc).
As a Civil Rights worker and later involved in helping to stamp out
discrimination, many personal experiences created involvement at the national level. The redistribution of wealth was an effect; new
opportunities were the cause.

Thank you, Carol for the background information. We are all persons with opinions based upon our previous experience and observing others. I can easily see now where you have obtained your Marxist philosophy. Your background is very similar to that of Pres. Obama. I presume from the early divorce that you were raised by a single parent, probably your mother. Such system is always an economic hardship, and the single parent mother indirectly contributes to development of a feminist mentality antagonistic to normal male components of the real world. The absence of a father deprives a child of fatherly advice and economic stability. Double parents (male and female) have been effective in family developments for thousands of years. As we have recently deviated from the system, we have created for ourselves many social problems and I suspect you may be one of the victims.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Carol says, "But---"

This is a continuation of my e-mail conversation with Marxist Carol. My remarks are in italics. Carol starts off this series with:

Preventative health care is what we all strive for.

This is a personal, not government, responsibility.

Regular check-ups can go a long way towards that goal.

There is some question about this. TV just gave a report that it is not cost-effective. This is likely under present conditions where a number of unnecessary tests are performed in order to protect doctors and the medical profession in general from unreasonable lawsuits.

If you have not had an accident, emergency room care usually means some condition has become intolerable, which is more difficult to treat.

If the condition is intolerable, the patient has allowed it to become so.

Once treated, the patient is on his/her own again. Some treatments require follow-up or a maintenance program. For whatever reason, lack of insurance prevents those people from getting appropriate care. And, no, emergency room treatment saves lives but it may not restore health.

Maintaining or restoring personal health is a personal responsibility. It is not the function of government.

Does emotion bother you? I cannot write every sentence without feeling anything about this subject; especially, since I have worked in the health care industry. In life-threatening situations, most people do not worry about personal liberties. Emergency health care exists for just that purpose...emergencies.

No. Emotion is a good motivator, but it has to be controlled. The key word here is "abuse". Do not abuse in motion beyond the need for reasonable action. I agree that emergency healthcare exist for emergencies, but as I have said before from personal experience, no one is denied "emergency", even if it is a simple headache.

There is much more to health care than emergencies. The personal liberties part comes in when people have the time to make choices. Many just don't have the money.

Correct. Health care is a personal responsibility. Emergency room care should be reserved for accidents. No one has ever been denied emergency care, because of money.

I do not have the power to force anyone to accept anything, except for myself.

Great! Maintain that philosophy. You will have a better life in accepting personal responsibility. You can also offer help to those who are apparently unable to handle personal and financial problems in our complex society. You have no right to transgress on their personal choices.

Even if you are tired of the number, 45,000,000, whatever it truly is, a whole lot of people in this country do not have access to any health care on a regular basis.

False. People have access to health care by their own personal treatment, reference to the Internet for technical advice and available medical books, help from family members. Emergency rooms are always available for emergencies. The cities have free medical clinics. The only questionable and accessibility is for those who live in the remote areas without the companionship and support of family members. Those persons are usually very reliable their own personal treatment capabilities.

Neither one of us falls into this category, I can only imagine what it must feel like to have chronicconditions, that may not be life-threatening, but that the people are stuck trying to cure themselves. Yes, I am aware of the religious cults that reject health care. I have also assisted in treating these same believers when an emergency arose (only as a student, however).

Everybody has a chronic condition. It might be a weak left knee, a left shoulder ache, susceptibility to diverticulitis attacks, or a multitude of other things. The patient should try to fix them himself by local treatment or modification of lifestyle. If that is unsuccessful and no money is available, he should go to the free clinic for help. Chronic conditions are usually not life-threatening, and if reasonable attempts to cure are unsuccessful, one should learn to live with the chronic problem. Many times chronic conditions cure themselves, through the use of self curing mechanisms, which are part of the human body's structure.

Since the outcry for reform of the health care industry is a long-standing problem, at least a majority of the millions have spoken for reform. It is certainly not my position to say that reform is not needed.

Millions of people want health care reform, because it will remove them from responsibility of their own health care and because they anticipate that it will be free or at least significantly lower cost than what is now available. However, systems can be improved, and the health care system is no exception. We should address and correct problems within that system one of the time.
As to dropping seriously ill people, it happens. I have not experienced the lying about pre-existing conditions on the application to be the primary reason for being dropped. No, it is not supposed to happen.

Pres. Obama did his best to demonize the healthcare insurance people in a previous speech, by using gallstones and acne as excuses for health care insurance people denying treatment on more serious illnesses. I have shown separately that this is false. No one has brought to my attention a case where an insurance company has dropped a patient from healthcare insurance payments, without justification. The chances are that such cases essentially do not exist, because opportunistic lawyers would be all over the insurance companies like fleas on a dog.

Regarding the Public Option, I cannot anticipate nor speculate on how it will run and whether it will close the doors of private insurance companies. Based on the enormous size of most insurance companies, it does not seem possible that they would be run over by a Public Option program. Nor does it seem likely that the 85% insured would jump ship and go for the Public Option, especially if their employers were paying part of their coverage.

I have explained previously how unfair competition by a government insurance company can put private insurance companies out of business. You seem to have gotten part of that message. The size of a private insurance company has nothing to do with its continued existence in the face of unreasonable competition. AIG, Enron, and General Motors are examples of very large companies that have gone out of business because of their inability to compete through a combination of competition and their own ineptitude. My previous employer is paying part of my healthcare coverage. However, if a government insurance company offers better service at lower out-of-pocket cost, I would jump ship. Those who would not do so would be strong standers on principle or generally unknowledgeable. They would be few, and at least few enough to be unable to support the existence of the private health insurance industry.

Maybe the competition will motivate the private insurance companies to clean up the fraud and waste, which is helping to cause health care costs to rise exponentially.

Competition is generally good for the public, which is why we have anti-monopoly laws. However excessive competition, which drives all but one supplier out of business can be a monopoly creator. Again, watch the keyword "abuse". Market pressure on private insurance companies will usually aid in reducing fraud and waste. Government intervention should only be involved when it is obviously necessary. Government abuse will close the private industry. The cost of health care is rising exponentially, because of public demand for service. This is a normal market response, and the healthcare industry should not be criticized for supplying what the public wants. This is a large-scale temporary fad, which will eventually correct itself as individuals recognize some of the stupidities of their actions. However, you can be sure that intervention by government with a government health insurance program, will tend to stabilize the high cost demands.

Alan Greenspan went to College with my first cousin. Did you not know the Federal Reserve is a private corporation? Didn't you know how it came to be in 1913 and that Woodrow Wilson apologized for selling out his country? Did you know that today HR1207 passed, which authorized the investigation of how the interest money collected in the Federal Reserve is dispersed? View "The Creature of Jekyl Island" for the history.

Do not be confused by historical accounts. Remember that historians write about a historical situation from their own personal point of view, meaning they have at least a portion of their agenda in the writing. If you don't believe this, look at how some of the public school history books are now being written. The Federal Reserve is no more a private corporation than is the Lubbock Independent School District (LISD). No matter what the historians or current analysts may say, if it looks like a duck and acts like a duck, it's a duck.

DOE is really part of the government. My position is that if you ask the government to bail you out of your failed business decisions, then you have to expect some input from the government on what might have gone wrong and how to fix it. Also, I see no problem with the Union being represented on the Board of GM. First of all, the workers may have some suggestions for improving the line operations since they work there every day; and, second, lack of communication exacerbates problems between the union and management. No, I have never been in a union...always in management.
Yes. If you ask anybody for a bailout, you are expected to give up some of your independence; usually part of the profit or control of the operation. Government should not be bailing out anybody, and nobody would be asking government for bailouts, if they know the request is futile. Workers and government being part of company operations has its precedents. It appeared in Tito's Yugoslavia in the late 50s and early 60s. I have first-hand experience with it. Notice that the country of Yugoslavia no longer exists. It was unable to sustain this worker-government control. Obviously workers and management must be in communication with each other. This is rather routinely done these days. Government need have no part in this.

False Claims in Healthcare

This was an e-mail to Carol:

Congratulations for your taking personal responsibility for paying your bills. Most Marxists believe that government would have this responsibility or see to it that there are no bills.

With respect to your attachment, this is the opinion of People for the American Way, in the same way that Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck give their opinions. You have to be careful of opinions, and you can do that by inspecting relative data and the background of those giving the opinions.

Most people do not lie intentionally. They tend to distort the facts in order to support a previously held position.

There is a nice article by Scott Harrington, in the Monday, September 14, 2009 issue of the Wall Street Journal on page A15. Harrington cites that in a speech Pres. Obama referred to an Illinois man who "lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy, because his insurer found he hadn't reported gallstones that that he didn't even know about". The implication here is that the Illinois man lost his life because he didn't have health insurance. However, his sister later reported that the patient received a prescribed stem cell transplant within the desired 3 to 4 week window of opportunity from one of the most renowned doctors in the world on the specific routine, and that the procedure was extremely successful, and that it extended the patient's life nearly 3 1/2 years.

In the President's second example, he cited a Texas woman about to get a double mastectomy when her insurance company canceled her policy because she forgot to declare a case of acne, and that by the time she had her insurance reinstated her breast cancer more than doubled in size. The implication here is that the insurance company canceled coverage for required medical treatment, because of an unrelated condition. The woman later testified that the dermatologist had described her skin condition as precancerous. She also failed to disclose an earlier problem with an irregular heartbeat and had underreported her weight on the application. Irregular heartbeat and obesity are serious impediments to successful treatment. She could have taken the personal responsibility of reducing her weight, with the likelihood that her heartbeat would become more regular. Instead, she chose to be deceptive in her application.

Michelle Obama on Healthcare

I just heard on television Michelle Obama's heart wringing story concerning a previous situation wherein one of her daughters had required aid at an emergency room.

It is said that Michelle Obama is a Harvard trained lawyer. Harvard trained lawyers are innately astute and trained in such manner as to be able to choose situation reports and references to support their position.

In her TV presentation, Michelle likely with intention, tended to confuse healthcare availability with healthcare insurance. In her presentation, she mentioned that without healthcare insurance, the family would have been destitute after payment of the emergency room fees. There are a couple things wrong with this. First, the healthcare would have been provided, with or without insurance. If no insurance was available, the recipient (Michelle) would have been expected to pay the fee. If Michelle had been unable to pay at the time, the necessity of payment would have been postponed or possibly canceled. I have heard of no case where a hospital or clinic operator of an emergency room has forced a client into financial destitution.

Michelle also did not mention that the University of Chicago Medical Center hired her part-time in 2002

to run "programs for community relations, neighborhood outreach, volunteer recruitment, staff diversity, and minority contracting."

In 2005, the hospital raised her salary from $120,000 to $317,000. The increase was made at the same time that Barack Obama had just become a US Senator, after which he immediately requested a $1 million earmark for the medical center. Michelle has now resigned from that position, and the hospital says the position will remain unfilled (unnecessary?). This information is available on the top right hand corner of Page 17 of the New York Post of January 24th, 2009, with a short column entitled "Replacing Michelle" in the National Review.

It is not clear to me just when our daughter required emergency room treatment. It may have been a time before her appointment by the University of Chicago Medical Center, but after her appointment, she certainly would have been able to pay that back bill without healthcare insurance.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More from Carol

This is an ongoing discussion with Carol. It originated as a healthcare discussion, but tends to deviate somewhat into a more general political discussion. My comments are in italics.


Well, yes, for example, Clark Air Base was closed and the volcano did erupt. But, I wouldn't blow it off as a "project," as many lives and planes...were saved. Cushy is not the right word to explain this type of work.

In business terms, it was a "project". A cushy job has a high resistance to being fired, a high salary, and little absolute responsibility for results. I don't know whether your job was cushy or not.

Wall Street, read greed, originated the sub-prime market crisis; the
government's lack of regulatory prowess at that point in time,
influenced those decisions. It was like the S&L crisis in the 80s; same reason; same type of administration "believing" the market will police itself. Not where there's serious money to be made. Temporary profitsmay never come ahead of destroying the economy. Under the previous administration, the same executives that contributed to the crash were financially rewarded. I hope you don't hold those travesties on an equal footing with the average union worker. However, our whole economic base has changed with most manufacturing companies relocating in foreign
 areas, with tax breaks, where the environmental laws and pay scales are less "challenging." The buck always stops at the top. Your statement about government controllers is unclear. Whom do you mean and what role did they play?

I generally agree with all you say here. Don't chastise greed too much. It is a motivator to progress. Government has a regulatory responsibility to control the excess, and it has shown itself to be very poor in this respect. No. The average union worker does not have the same control for his financial remuneration as corporate executives. He must do this through his union bosses, but his motivation is the same. It is human nature and an innate fundamental of capitalism. I don't remember what I said about government controllers, but it is the same as regulatory agencies. It's the same people who we have agreed have not done their job in the past, and will likely not doing well in the future.

Who is most of us that don't believe what President Obama says and writes?

Look at Glenn Beck and Huckabee on TV and listen to "talk radio".

Any person has to prove themselves untrustworthy, mostly by
actions. What has he done (or said) to garner that type of distrust?

He and Congress have put us into horrible debt. He has done the preliminary part of taking over private enterprise in banking and automotive manufacturer. He is now striving hard to take over private enterprise in healthcare insurance.

The majority of Americans elected him; the majority of Americans want health care reform to fix a very broken system.

The majority of Americans elected him for several reasons. He is an excellent speaker. His speeches give hope and promise to the masses for the new Shangri-La. People generally like fairy stories and many believe them. The previous administration was a bust. Bush did a few good things but most of what he did was foolish. Congress was equally inept. Many whites had guilty consciences for previous persecution of blacks in which to make restitution. Young whites generally wish to show their open-mindedness by favoring blackness. The total time was right for a black president, and Obama is it. Americans don't want health care reform. They want free stuff and many still believe Pres. Obama will give it to them.

If you analyze your comments thus far, there is an underlying...."government is bad; business is good." Hmmm, not always in my experience. And, no I don't know what my future opinions will be, but it will be based on actions taken by the government.

Yes. Business is generally good. It has provided for our superior standard of living. Plenty of food. Good housing. Nice automobiles to travel in. Money for comfortable living in retirement. And, a bunch of other things. Think about it. Government is generally restrictive. It tends to invade areas where restriction is not necessary, and it does not do a good job in areas where restriction is necessary. It does not provide transportation, food, housing, etc. It is not supposed to. Its function is to oversee so that businesses can run smoothly to supply the various goods and services.

Wow, the fundamental difference between private and public money is socialism?

I believe you may have missed the point here. Perhaps an example will explain it. If I have $10 and wish to contribute it to my church, that is my use of private money. If I have the same $10 and government says that they will now collect it so that it will be a part of paying off the national debt, welfare subsistence, health care for all, or whatever, my $10 then becomes public money. That is, I am forced to give it to the government. I have no choice in the matter of giving it, nor do I have a choice in how it is spent. That is socialism

Public money is being dispersed, including the bail-outs, as
economic survival money. I would much rather see Bob get funded than AIG executives. At least Bob will make a public impact for the good of all.

Economic survival money for whom? I have had no part in the collapse of anything, why should my money be confiscated to help the incompetent or the abusive? Neither Bob nor AIG are entitled to my money confiscated by government and distributed to them.

Your comment is laced with cynicism.

No. I am not a cynic. I am a pragmatist. I clearly understand what is going on. Who is suckering who. How it is being done. And, how people are brainwashed into being dupes.

As to government employees not agreeing on its disposition, the parameters of the grant preclude their opinions. And, since we write grants, we know the difference between foundation and public money.

Writing grants for public money is somewhat like stealing the gold teeth of the dead. It's there. Why not take it?

Political suicide=cutting off social security payments.

You confuse me on this one.

Unfortunately, some major insurance companies have gotten a lot of publicity lately for NOT paying in accordance with their contracts and for dropping the seriously ill. If these reports were not based in fact, I would expect the insurance companies to provide counter-arguments.
What happens? The spokespersons for the insurance companies cannot be reached for comment.My grandfather and his oldest son...eventually his oldest grandson, own Webster Insurance Agency, so the mechanisms were in our family to observe. The way the insurance business works is that risk is spread among all premium holders, not a single holder with a pre-existing condition as you imply. Many insurance holders rarely use their insurance, which helps pay for those that do.

Insurance companies must abide by the terms of their contracts and can be forced to do so by appropriately placed lawsuits. There are plenty of lawyers around who can force insurance companies to pay according to contract and also be granted damages by juries. I'm also quite familiar with the way insurance companies work. It is a pool operation to distribute the risk among a number of clients. The insurance companies profit is a fee for running the pool.

The analogy between Australia and New Zealand was drawn because you mentioned the US is headed for socialized medicine. It isn't, because the major insurance companies playing 95% of their role under health care reform are private. In Australia and New Zealand medicine is socialized.

The US is headed for socialized medicine, equivalent to Australia and New Zealand, with your support.

Individuals are not under an edict to take advantage of the choices
offered; but, technically, small businesses are.
In Australia and New Zealand, there is no way to pay for services. BTW,
I worked in both countries and paid their taxes. So, they were not
stupid in not sending a bill. In addition, I had health insurance from
an American company, which would have covered most of the expenses should a bill have been sent to the company. And, no, it did not make me feel like a leech. Do I detect some bitterness in your responses? Do you really understand that all situations have a multiplicity of variables that especially you, as a PhD, are required to analyze before drawing conclusions?

You did not receive the bill for your treatment in Australia, because the cost was paid by Australian citizens  and you as  a taxpayer . Perhaps you feel comfortable in letting Australian citizens pay part of your bill. I see people in the supermarkets buying exotic foods on food stamps, with apparently no remorse for having had other American citizens pay the cost of the food stamps. I'm not bitter about anything. I just said it's unfair for people to take an unreasonable advantage of others. I routinely look at all sides of the situation. Sometimes I miss something.

Well, having majored in pre-med and still having a lot of friends in the profession, they are not as unaware as you think. Most that I personally know understand quite a bit about the political process and how to handle their finances. Of course, there are exceptions. There is a great deal of deviousness in the political and financial arena that have ooled many sophisticated people. But, this deviousness is eventually discovered and becomes a learning experience.

This was a nice statement to which I generally agree.

You left the subsidies out of your discussion for small businesses.
Already, small businesses with employees deduct taxes, worker's comp., etc, so the idea of supporting (if you can afford it) a pool for the public option is miles ahead of taxing every American worker to support the system. Those business people without employees that pay for private insurance currently do not want to pay twice. Companies that currently offer health benefits probably don't have any employees that reject that option and pay high rates for private insurance. What is your suggestion?

There should be no government subsidies for small or large businesses. Business should be able to stand on its own feet of offering a satisfactory product or service for free which the consumer finds acceptable. When taxation is a completely different matter. Private companies owned by individuals. Corporations are owned by stockholders, who are individuals. In both cases, government taxes first the organization and then again taxes the owners of the organization. Does that double taxation seem reasonable to you? I have just you a separate e-mail explaining that in my nephew's company, he has many people who reject the offer of paying $35 every two weeks for health insurance. Based on their salaries they can well afford it. I suppose it is your opinion that my nephew should be paying the $35 as well as the much larger portion that he is already eating. This is not to say that I look with disdain upon those not willing to pay the $35. It should be their choice of freedom.

The President left the door open for viable solutions. If
you have one, contact your congressman/woman, and pass it on.
The number of private insurance holders that may leave their insurance companies for the Public Option would probably cause the present private insurance company to be more competitive rather closing its doors.
That's what usually happens when the private companies' monopoly is challenged.

Yes, I have some proposed solutions. Avoid establishing a Public Option. A Public Option will aid in propelling the US into its continued headlong spiral into complete socialism. Socialism/Communism establishes a public mindset of "gimme", with little incentive to take personal responsibility toward growth and development. Primary examples of recent failures were the USSR, Tito's Yugoslavia, the Laotian massacre, etc. I contact my Representative and Senators with suggestions almost daily. Use of a Public Option will cause private insurance companies to be more competitive, until competition becomes so extreme that they leave the business to only one remaining company, Government Health Insurance. At that point, Government Health Insurance has eliminated all competition, and will do whatever it wishes with respect to service and how it collects its operational funds.


More from Carol on Healthcare

My comments are in italics.

Carol starts by saying, "I could open it [my blog]. Since it is important to me that you and Bob both get
the facts, I will respond.
The guarantee of insurance for all is offered not mandated.

True. The Public Option will be competitive with existing private healthcare insurance companies. Will it always remain so? Or will Government apply so much economic pressure against private insurance companies, as to drive them out of business. The temporary answer lies in your basic trust of government. The final answer lies in the factual developments of the future.

There will
be individuals without coverage because they choose not to be insured.
This works until you need health care, unless you are well off.

There are two types of individuals who do not have health care. The first type includes an individual financially well-off, who prefers to pay for his health care out-of-pocket, as needed. The second type includes an individual unable to purchase health care when he needs it. We call these people wards of the state and have a welfare system to handle their problems in a humanitarian way. More simply put, they can go to any hospital or clinic emergency room and ask for any appropriate life sustaining measures needed.

For those in business with employees, the choices are existing private
insurance, public option, or subsidies. If none of the above, a
contribution to the health care pool is required. Remember, subsidies
allow even the least successful in business to offer coverage. This is
set up to ensure employees have access to health insurance benefits.

Let us always be sure to stick to our terms and not mix them up. Businesses do not have nor need healthcare. Many offer health care benefits to their employees but not healthcare per se. The benefits come in the form of insurance, which decreases the cost to the employee for any medical treatment. Some employers do not offer health care insurance. Employees have an option of not working for that company, or they can decide that there are other advantages in working there and handle the financial aspects of their own healthcare needs privately. Present Public Option considerations include a mandate that an employer must supply healthcare insurance to its employees. Not doing so would involve a severe financial penalty. I see no reference anywhere to a subsidy for such a company. All mention of subsidies that I have seen involve healthcare insurance directly to individuals. This is a form of welfare, which is justifiable in some instances.

To not have benefits offered in the work place may force employees to skip
preventative care and require emergency care, sometimes financed by the
rest of us. Or, worse yet, if everyone in the family is without
insurance, you can imagine what would happen in case of an accident,
diagnosis of a serious disease, complicated pregnancy, etc. Remember, I
came out of the health care community (UCLA) from the children's cancer
ward at UCLA Med Center. You probably don't want to know the price paid
by some parents that couldn't access care due to lack of funds/insurance
coverage. In our country there are limitations on the concept of "free"
health care.

Don't get emotional on me. Presenting anecdotal information to support a point is always subject to question. With millions of healthcare situations taking place, it will always be possible to find some cases of injustice. However, go back to what I said previously. A family in an automobile accident will be picked up by an Emergency Medical Vehicle and taken to the nearest hospital, where they will be given immediate life support and other necessary medical treatment to return them to society. The bill may be high, but if the family is unable to pay it, it will be paid by the public at large. This is a functioning of our already established socialistic system. We could speculate on other such situations, but they will result in the same fact that no one is denied life-saving health care. There could be some economic improvements in the system, and I don't believe anybody is objecting to that.

Personal liberties don't have anything to do with health care. If you
really need professional health care, it is not a choice. Someone will
step to the plate and treat you, and someone else may have to pay for
it. The subsidies are in Part 2 of H.R. 3200 (passed), Employer
Responsibilities, Subtitle C, Section 431. There is also pertinent
information in Subtitle B, Sec. 421. The Senate is working on a dynamic
document; thus, it is difficult to keep up to date with the fluidity of
changes. Possibly you have access to this document; I could not find it,
so I can't answer the questions regarding subsidies in the Senate version.
In my career and in the educational process, speculation counted for
little or nothing. We prove our data or wash out. We never
discussed the results of our personal actions as it wasn't relevant to
whatever project we were working on. We are talking pre-med and quantum
Everything we did research on was highly structured and
mathematically/statistically provable within definitive parameters, e.g.
correlation coefficients.

Personal liberties have everything to do with health care. If you force me to quit smoking in order to improve my health for what you perceive is my benefit, you are transgressing on my personal liberties in contrast to the requirements of the U.S. Constitution. All present healthcare discussion involves that in one form or another. All persons will need professional healthcare some time in their lives. We are not talking about denying the availability of such healthcare. We are claiming that each person should have the right to pursue such healthcare or not. Do not let all the trees in the House bills confuse you. Look at the forest as a whole. Is it going to do more good than bad? Look at the very broad picture and do not be afraid to speculate on what unbridled power in Government can do to your personal life. Look at the history of those who have lived under totalitarian governments. Many persons are still alive. Try some Hungarians who lived under the despotism of the USSR.

I don't know what you are saying about public opinion and the public
option. I would never refer to public opinion in relation to the
description of the public option, as public opinion can be and is
manipulated. The simple statement of what the public option is suffices.

Few things can stand alone as sufficient unto themselves. A simple statement explaining the Public Option is that it is a government health insurance program, which will provide benefits to individual subscribers, who will pay a fee for those benefits. The benefits would include little or no financial payment by the subscriber for any performed medical service. There would be potential changes in the details of the program. For example, a modification already being discussed is the Trigger Option, which delays instituting the Public Option, until such time as Government feels it is appropriate. As you say, Public Opinion can be and is manipulated, but it is still an important consideration. With a Democratic Government and even with the Republic Government which we have, government's obligation is to listen to the people and take into consideration their desires and needs, rather than acting unilaterally. Kingdoms, dictatorships, and oligarchic governments have no obligation to consider Public Opinion.

President Obama is taking the history of the insurance companies'
collective performance, noted the rising costs, the unfair practices,
the outrageous salaries for CEOs, the spending of insurance premiums to
lobby Congress... If regulations exist to eliminate these problems, they
are certainly not being applied, nor is the insurance industry doing
much to police itself.

Most persons will agree that the practices of private healthcare insurance companies could and should be improved. It is also true that government is not now applying regulations for such improvement. I claim that they exist but that application by law enforcement is sorely lacking. If I am wrong, and inappropriate regulation does not now exist, Congress should address that point. However, this does not automatically require a complete upset of the whole system. Problems should be corrected when they exist. Correction need not destroy a properly functioning part of the system.

I see no evidence of government arranging to have monopolistic control
over insurance. Private companies continue on as before. Massive
insurance plans are in place and won't go anywhere. They will probably
be more fair in application of their treatment and costs after the
reform bill passes.

For evidence of government wanting monopolistic control over health care insurance, consider (speculate) what can happen if a Public Option is included in any healthcare bill provided by Congress and signed by the President. You said private companies will continue on as before, but you ignore the fact that government can and likely will destroy private companies within a few years. Look also at what government has recently done toward monopolistic control of banks and automotive production. Monopolistic control of these services and industries has already started.

It is nearly 3am; I'm hanging it up for the night. Hopefully, I can find
the time to continue later.

Friday, September 11, 2009

More Health Care from Carol

I had previously sent a response to Carol concerning our e-mail conversations on healthcare. She has now responded. I have broken down her responses into sentences and paragraphs, to which I then commented in italics, as shown below.
Carol starts.

Your response is very well thought out. The reason for the mandate is
the guarantee offered by President Obama of insurance for all.

Some don't want health insurance. A mandate forces them to take it and is an infraction of their personal liberties.

If some portion of the American population is still without insurance, then part
of the reform is a failure.

It would only be a failure in the judgment of some. It would be a victory in the eyes of those preferring personal liberties over health care.

It is unlikely any small business will not
accept the subsidies offered in lieu of paying a penalty.

Please quote me the part where subsidies to small business exist in the proposal. Please describe the nature of the subsidies, including the amount, how long they would exist, and what must be done in return for accepting a subsidy.

You know how professional researchers are, especially those that
suffered to get a PhD, we can't deal with speculation.

Good scientific PhDers always speculate on what the results of their actions are likely to be.

Based on the
percentages, (approximately 5), the Public Option could probably never
attain monopoly status.

If you are referring to public opinion, it has nothing to do with the Public Option attaining monopoly status. The Public Option is an incipient monopoly on its generation. It will only achieve full monopoly status after it has forced private insurance companies out of business, at the whim of government leaders.

The idea is the competition forces a clean up of
existing insurance companies' acts and ultimately makes them more

It is not necessary to have a Public Option to "clean up existing insurance companies acts". We have plenty of antitrust laws and unfair trade practice acts, which can be applied to the group. Competition among individual insurance companies will lead to better benefits and rates, through more efficient operations.

Survival is a great motivator.


Nowhere did I read that the government has been granted unlimited power.
Is this an interpretation of something specifically stated in the health
reform package?

Not an interpretation. No person or group can ever grant government unlimited power. Government can always take unlimited power, whenever it wishes. It controls the Military, Judicial and Justice Department. However in this case, we are talking about government arranging to have monopolistic control over insurance, by temporarily allowing private companies to exist. Will there ever be a disallowance? Who will have the power to resist it, if there is a disallowance?

My job wasn't cushy; it was hard. I had to submit scientific positions
to the President on such matters as whether or not to close Clark Air
Base due to the volatility of Mt. Pinatubu.

Sounds like a good project. I presume you came to a satisfactory conclusion.

Yes, private industry CAN handle pensions and health insurance, which is
precisely why many Americans are in a financial crisis today. Profits
come way before benefits.

I believe you have again painted with too broad a brush. Many Americans are in financial crisis today, but there are many reasons. At the encouragement of government, some persons have purchased homes, without the ability to make subsequent mortgage payments. Some persons have lost their health care and pension benefits, because of financial atrocities within the companies, and which government controllers chose to ignore. Others lost their healthcare benefits through collapse of companies caused by abusive demands of unions for higher wages, pensions, and healthcare benefits, which led to the companies' competitive collapse. Profits will always come before benefits. Profits are a reason for being. Benefits are part of the cost structure to make a profit.

No, I only know what President Obama says and
what he writes.

If you choose to believe what Pres. Obama now says and writes, that is your prerogative. Many of us do not. Even if what Pres. Obama says and writes is now true today, will he have the same opinion tomorrow or next year? If you give him the power to change his mind unilaterally, he will likely do it.

If I oppose a position, there has never been any
reluctance on my part to become active in the subject area. Grants
coexist with private foundation money. They both have their place;
especially the large Federal grants that may fund one or more of Bob's
pyrolysis and plasma arc assist systems.

Private grants come from individuals and organizations which supply money for projects and which they believe need initial support. Investment bankers do the same thing but on a more restrictive basis. In both those cases, the money is private and its disposition consistent with the owner's desires. In the case of government grants, the source of the money is taxpayer or public, however you may want to designate it. But, however you define it, most of the persons supplying the money usually do not agree with its disposition. This is a fundamental difference between capitalism and socialism.

As to Social Security, I was
born in the 30s and was close to the depression-era horror stories,
particularly among seniors. We receive social security and appreciate
having it.

I also much appreciate receiving monthly social security payments. I am guessing that although I paid initially into the Social Security program during the years I was working and drawing a salary, I may be withdrawing more than I put into it. If that is true, I have a certain remorse, but most humans can rationalize about anything. I don't feel that I'm entitled to it. It's just that it's nice to receive it, because it's free stuff. I also recognize that in accepting it, I am becoming more dependent on government, which makes me somewhat uneasy. At Government's whim, it can cut off my supply at any time, without any recourse by me.

We, the insured, are putting up with, sometimes minor irritants from the
insurance company. Most of these irritants can be eliminated by reading
our policies and pointing out the coverage. However, the dropping of the
seriously ill or the denial of coverage due to preexisting conditions
could potentially happen to either one of us.

Insurance companies follow the rule of contract law in the preparation of their contracts with individuals and groups for healthcare services. They cannot drop the seriously ill from coverage, unless it is allowable under the contract which a person has accepted at inception for payment of a certain fee. I recently had a friend who suffered from breast cancer. Her insurance company paid out several hundred thousand dollars for many years of disease control, although my friend's initial premium was very small. Also look at the detail for "pre-existing conditions". Let's say that I have smoked for many years and now have lung cancer. This is a rather incurable disease but the medical profession continues to work on it, and they offer various treatments at high cost. Would you expect that I should be able to walk into an insurance company, lay $1000 on the line for premium, and demand that they cover all of my future medical expenses?

Whether or not the health
reform directly affects us or not remains to be seen. But the reform is
not specifically directed at us. It is directed at the non-and
underinsured. I have no problem with that. No one should suffer and/or
die because they can't afford to get medical help.

You can be sure that health care reform will directly affect you. It is specifically directed to the general public, of which you are part. It includes you, all insured, non-insured, and underinsured. I have a problem with mandating insurance on those who wish to be non-insured. No one suffers because medical help is unavailable to them. The whole conversation is on medical insurance, not medical help or healthcare. I or any other human being can walk into an emergency room at a hospital and request treatment. It is now illegal to deny healthcare to any person who requests it. This includes illegal immigrants.

I majored in pre-med
(neurosurgery) and saw a LOT of this situation...more than you know. I
have also lived in Australia and New Zealand.

We are considering what the law is now in the US. It doesn't concern Australia and New Zealand.

What President Obama is
proposing is not socialized medicine.

It's not important what you call Pres. Obama's proposal. In fact it is rather difficult to determine exactly what he is proposing, even after I heard his speech two nights ago, at which time it was said that he planned to be specific. Many changes to our health care system would likely be justifiable and helpful. However, beware of mandates were you MUST abide by a government edict, even though it infringes on your personal liberties as defined by the Constitution.

I used the socialized medicine in
both countries; in fact, my life was saved when I was diagnosed with
peritonitis in Australia. The socialized medicine doctors didn't charge
me a penny, although I was an American citizen. Well, I can't complain
about the quality of treatment!

That's fine. I would expect the Australians to try to save your life for humanitarian reasons. They were a little stupid in not charging you. It was your health problem, which they fixed, and presumably for which you could afford to pay. The actual cost of your healthcare was borne by Australian citizens. Nice to get free stuff, but doesn't that make you feel a little like a leech?

I stand with the 450,000 doctors supporting health care reform.

Your numbers might be right or they might be wrong. Whether it's 45 or 450,000, doctors are primarily well-trained mechanics to work on the human body. They are not well-trained in financial and political matters. Some others of us are also not well-trained in financial and political matters, but we have paid attention and self educated ourselves through the years. The doctors you speak about are still practicing medicine. They don't have time to understand the ramification of finance and politics. Most of them are so busy seeing patients to make money that they don't even do their own billing. Of the 450,000, we can likely say "they know not what they do".


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Public Option and Related

Reader Carol responded to one of my previous writings. The following is a subsequent exchange of comments.

Carol: I appreciate your thoughts and would like to respond. As to the
Salary-Bonus Packages, I agree totally.
As to the first part, I hope you will accept my comments. I listened to
President Obama's speech to Congress this evening and read his original
health care reform package. The Public Option is available to the
uninsured (about 5% of the population). It is not available to insured
Americans. Thus, it is not a choice. For those businesses that don't
offer insurance benefits to their employees, they have the choice of
traditional insurance plans or the Public Option. If they still can't
afford to provide benefits, subsidies are available.

Art: I am not sure that what you say here is the way it was presented. I don't accuse anybody, including the the President, of lying. Businesses who do not offer health insurance to their employees have the two options you mention; offer a traditional private insurance plan or a Public Option to their employees. Note that this is a mandate without an option to not offer anything. Pres. Obama said last night that if such companies take that third option of not offering anything, they will be required by Government to pay a penalty. It is difficult to conceive of paying a penalty and simultaneously receiving a subsidy. Note that nothing is mentioned about employees still having the option of purchasing their own private insurance or a Public Option, if such would be available. The net effect of the Government Plan is this would be another mandate on business, which increases costs and makes them less competitive in the worldwide market.

Carol: You then said, "The
government healthcare insurance company would ultimately be able to
drive private insurance companies out of business. This would leave the
consumer without any option..." This is an assumption, and this is
precisely how readers are led to "believe" in things that are not there,
nor are they intended to be there.

Art: I now have private health insurance (Aetna). If I hear that Public Option Government Insurance is available at better benefits and lower personal cost, I will cancel my private insurance (I will then be uninsured and qualify for Public Option), and apply for Public Option. A large number of economically savvy citizens, who now have private insurance, will do the same. True; this is all speculation, but we all try to predict the reactions to any actions we take. With insufficient customers, private insurance companies must go out of business. This leaves Public Option (Government) as a monopoly in health insurance. Monopolies always do what is in their best interest, usually to the disadvantage of the customer.

Carol: I know nothing of the trigger option,
as it must be an "add-on" to the original plan. Without understanding
it, I could not offer any comment. President Obama didn't mention it in
his speech. He did offer an open-door policy to proposals that would
improve the Health Care Reform Plan, without detracting from the basic
policy of providing an opportunity for insurance to all American

Art: The Trigger Option is a recent addition based on the thought that if the public is adamantly opposed to a Public Option mandate, an alternative would be to replace it with a Trigger Option. This would allow Government to judge whether private insurance companies were offering satisfactory services at the established prices. Note that the decision of whether private insurance is performing satisfactorily would be made by a governmental interpretation of "satisfaction". We might (speculation) then be right back to the original mandated Public Option (Government monopoly).

Carol: President Obama repeatedly said that government does not want
to control health insurance, nor does his reform package address that
thought. This is also an assumption.

Art: That may be true for now, but if Government Leaders are granted unlimited power, are you sure that they will not take advantage of it for their own benefit at some future date? This is a projection possibility, rather than an assumption of fact.

Carol: Having worked on the research side
of governmental operations, it has not been my experience that this type
of administration is concerned with taking over private industry. It is
concerned with regulating certain industries to prevent what we are
currently going through economically and to provide services not easily FEMA, Government Grants, the National Guard and the
military, Social Security, Medicare, etc..

Art: Congratulations for your research work in government. Based on your verbal context here, I'm sure it was well done. However, are you sure of what the boss already has in mind as an agenda, compared to what he is willing to reveal? Are you willing to depart from the scene, when factual developments demonstrate positions to which you are opposed? There may be a circumstance where you may be legally bound to continue your work and operate in a new context, even though you oppose it. More than likely in the initial stages, you will adapt to new circumstances in order to retain a usually cushy position.
I'm afraid in your list of services "not easily privatized", you have been a bit too generous in granting power to government. The military is intended to protect us from foreign physical aggression. The National Guard is intended to maintain legal order in the face of riots or general civilian destruction. FEMA is intended to supply human services in the face of disastrous natural events; e.g. hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, etc.. The Constitution and I grant those powers to the Federal Government. Conversely, Government operations in Grants, Social Security, and Medicare should not exist. Government should not be allowed to confiscate the assets of any individual or group for subsequent redistribution of wealth. Private industry can well afford to handle pension plans, health care (including health insurance) without any competition or interference by Government. In some cases, where there is an obvious abuse of practice from a monopolistic point of view, it is government's obligation to level the playing field by prosecution under antitrust laws and other existing fair business regulations.
For a little better perspective on where I am coming from, this is what I have had to say after listening to Pres. Obama's speech to Congress last evening:
"Pres. Obama gave a wonderful speech on health care this evening! His plan was not significantly different than what we already had heard, but it was logical and addressed the emotional needs of people toward their fellow man by use of anecdotal material.
I was much satisfied with the value of the plan, even though it is socialistic in nature and generally in contrast to what I normally believe as an advocate for pursuit of opportunity and advancement.
My main problem still exists. I have an innate distrust of government and Pres. Obama specifically. I admit that, in this life, it is necessary to place trust in other people on many of our daily operations, but I tend to shy away from granting complete trust and power to those who could do me harm without any opportunity for my self protection.
It is government's responsibility to protect me as a citizen from foreign aggressors. I cede to government my trust in that area, because I have no alternative. Conversely, I have had the ability to control my own healthcare by good judgment, physical ability, and financial means. Therefore I have no motivation to voluntarily trust government to control my health. To do so would be to forgo my God-given responsibilities and my Constitutional liberties."

Carol: Although I don't know you, I welcome discourse on the facts. Assumptions
are always debatable; I am too busy helping Bob get his company off the
ground to engage in debates, with absolutely no offense intended.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Presidential Obama's Speech on Health Care

Pres. Obama gave a wonderful speech on health care this evening! His plan was not significantly different than what we already had heard, but it was logical and addressed the emotional needs of people toward their fellow man by use of anecdotal material.
I was much satisfied with the value of the plan, even though it is socialistic in nature and generally in contrast to what I normally believe as an advocate for pursuit of opportunity and advancement.
My main problem still exists. I have an innate distrust of government and Pres. Obama specifically. I admit that, in this life, it is necessary to place trust in other people on many of our daily operations, but I tend to shy away from granting complete trust and power to those who could do me harm without any opportunity for my self protection.
It is government's responsibility to protect me as a citizen from foreign aggressors. I cede to government my trust in that area, because I have no alternative. Conversely, I have had the ability to control my own healthcare by good judgment, physical ability, and financial means. Therefore I have no motivation to voluntarily trust government to control my health. To do so would be to forgo my God-given responsibilities and my Constitutional liberties.

Health-Care Reformers Versus a Reading Public

Senator Cornyn,
Very nice article, "Do Health Care Reformers Fear A Reading Public?", which you co-authored with Benjamin E. Sasse and was posted on Forbes.
However I disagree with you and Pres. Obama on a major point. Healthcare reform is not absolutely necessary. A few changes could be made to improve the system, and that is always true of any operation. But, if we start with the idea of reform, we will have major changes, the consequences of which most will be not predictable.
Secondly, you raise a whole series of questions. Questions only arise when things are going wrong. Generally, each question applies to a particular problem. Let's concentrate on fixing the problems (without major reform), rather than on the questions themselves.
You have a powerful position in the Senate. Go to it! Check with the Blue Dogs. Perhaps they will help.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Rep. Neugebauer's Position on Health Care

I read your September 7th Roundup, which was devoted mostly to healthcare.
While I agree with most of what you say, I believe you are missing the main point. It seems very clear to me that there is very divided opinion among the population on the need for health care reform. When something is not clearly desired or advantageous, there should be no effort to pursue it. Conversely, projects which have a majority of support, should be pursued providing there is no apparent down the road disadvantage. This does not mean that it automatically becomes a problem for Congress. State and local governments can many times solve problems easier than the federal government.
Some examples of desirable problems to work on are:
1.) Tax reduction. This would result in smaller government, which is already bloated. It would encourage development of small and large business with increased employment.
2.) Enforcement of antitrust laws. This would eliminate exorbitant bonuses and salaries of corporate and government executives. This would establish in the mind of the general public a greater confidence in the fairness of business and government and encourage private development.
Some examples of problems to avoid are:
1.) Abortion. Emotional feelings are extremely strong on both sides of the question. Government is denied right by the First Constitutional Amendment to instigate controls,
2.) Stem cell research. There is strong public opposition to this on religious grounds. Any technological developments are not apparently unfavorable to society, but that is no reason for government to give its financial support, especially in these times of great debt and public opposition.
In general, choose carefully the subjects on which legislation should be considered. Operate similarly to the Supreme Court, which denies hearing many cases offered to them. In addition, start to concentrate on eliminating old legislation, rather than developing new legislation. This will lead to greater personal freedoms and better financial development for the country.
A good time to start is now, with the elimination of healthcare reform. As changes may be desirable, those changes can be made by municipal and state governments. I see no need for Congress to intervene at this time. You said, "It's not too late for us to create better solutions that will allow more accessible, affordable, quality health care for all Americans". All Americans do not desire what may be your definition of "accessible, affordable, quality health care". From my point of view we already have it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Public Options

Let us be clear about what a public option really means.
As the Administration originally presented the idea, it involves a choice of insurance suppliers. A consumer would have the option of using a private healthcare insurance company, as they now operate, or a government healthcare insurance company, to be established. The consuming public is mostly jaundiced to the idea, because they can see that while there may be a semblance of competition in the beginning, the government healthcare insurance company would ultimately be able to drive private insurance companies out of business. This would leave the consumer without any option. Not only would he be forced to do business with the government insurance company, because there would be none other, but he would also be forced to use a government insurance company, whether he wanted insurance or not, because that was part of the original bill proposal.
We now have from the Administration and presumably with the support of the House, a tricky maneuver in which a "Trigger Option" replaces the "Public Option". The trigger option portion of the legislation would say that there would be no government health insurance company established, unless private insurance companies are not offering appropriate insurance. Who is to say whether private insurance companies are offering appropriate insurance? Government will make that decision and since it wants complete control of healthcare, it is bound to find private companies are ineffective. The government will then set up its government insurance company, and we will be right back to the original, wherein private insurance companies will be driven out of business and government will have complete control of all healthcare.