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Health Insurance Competition is Healthy

October 20, 2009

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Let us take a look at several definitions of the word competition.  Now there are other definitions to the word but these are very interesting:

  1. The struggle among organisms, both of the same and of different species, for food, space, and other vital requirements.
  2. The act of competing, as for profit or a prize.
  3. A test of skill or ability; a contest.
  4. The process by which the activity or presence of one substance interferes with or suppresses the activity of another substance with similar affinities

Have you ever gone to purchase something where there was only one supplier or just a few?  Usually prices are much higher than they should be and service is shoddy at best.   I had this experience recently.  My family and I were at a Yankee game at new Yankee Stadium over the summer.  My son Ethan got thirsty for a drink on this hot July day.   I asked him what he would like to drink and he said, “ummm…I would like a bottled water Daddy”.  So, I motioned to the water vendor who was walking the stands and he came to our row.  He passed the water across the row and screamed across…..”that will be $6″.   I thought, my goodness $6.  I could get 2 cases or 48 bottles of  water at Walmart for that amount.  But with no competition, they can charge essentially what they want, coupled with the highest the public would be willing to pay and bear.

On the flip side, have you ever gone to purchase something where there were many vendors competing for your services?  Usually the battle is on and prices are…well…competitive, sometimes very, and the extra’s are on full display because that is what separates the great suppliers from the pack.  There are many examples of this from cars to computers, to office supply products, to just about anything and everything you can conceive.  Competition exists in all corners of our marketplace and has since the beginnings of Capitalism.  It is the very engine that drives growth, creativity, newness, better prices, better services, and so much more that we all have come to enjoy throughout our lives.

Yet, in today’s health insurance environment this is just not the case.  Mysteriously competition is non-existent.  Depending on the statein which you live, there are only a handful to 6 health insurers providing services.   Some insurers are in multiple states, this is true, but a resident of one state can not purchase a plan through an insurer in an another state.  There are over 1,000 health insurance providers nationwide yet there are only 6 that offer services in California, 2 in Alabama, etc, etc.  How many offer services in your state? It does not make sense and it has grossly inflated healthcare costs.

You know and have experienced the benefits of competition in your lifetime.  Imagine applying the law of competition to healthcare insurance.  Costs would come down and service would go up.  Creativity would become unleashed.  Reread the various definitions of competition listed above and apply them to this issue.  You will see that this is one very critical, very fundamental cornerstone that needs to be applied to this conversation.  The cost benefits would be massive and would go a long way towards the end we are looking to achieve.  Is it everything that needs to be done?  No.  But a very very significant piece.

Strangely, though the current Administration and Congress are against this principle and are in fact trying to go the other way with this reform; to a single payer system- eliminating ALL competition.  Listen HERE to one of President Obama’s right hand men David Axelrod talk about how they don’t believe competition is real reform, like they believe the single payer system is.

The truth is, we know what happens when there is only one game in town and we are forced to use those services and we also know what happens when there is great competition for our dollars in a specific market space.  What do we believe will happen to costs and service and creativity in this proposed environment by this administration?    We need to know and believe that we know the truth and stick to the truth so as not to be made the fool in the end.

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American Healthcare: The Best in the World

October 6, 2009

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Today will be the first of several posts regarding the American Healthcare system; attempting to break it down into detail.  Some of the topics of conversation over the coming days will be (in no order):

  1. Tort reform vs. defensive medicine
  2. Larger Risk pools with like-minded companies
  3. Cross-state competition- free market based
  4. Greater Transparency
  5. Skin in the game vs. co-pay system
  6. How many Americans really cant get insurance?
  7. Is Healthcare a right?
  8. How do our doctors really feel about Universal Government Backed Healthcare?

So, with these topics ahead of us, lets just recognize the 1 key truth of this matter before we get started.  America has the best Healthcare system in the world, bar none. How can I say this?  Easy.  People from other countries, all over the world, come to America to get procedures done.  Someone in India, the U.K, Canada has a need for open heart surgery- where do they go?  If they have the money, they come here to the good ole U.S.A.  Why?  When it comes to your health you get the best money can buy.  Its obviously not in their countries.  Because if it were they would stay there.

OK, how else can I say that America has the best  Healthcare system in the world?  Students from all of the worlds corners come here to the U.S. not only to learn at our prestigious universities, but also to practice here.  How many of your doctors are foreign?  Exactly!   If their homeland’s healthcare system’s were top-notch, they would stay right there.

Here is what a prominent M.D. had to say about this topic: “It’s the best in the world if you have decent insurance, and among the best even if you don’t.  Nobody is denied care in America.  Show up in the emergency room uninsured or undocumented, having just wrapped yourself around a light pole while operating a motorcycle drunk and exercising your constitutional right not to wear a helmet, and you’re in line for a million bucks of state-of-the-art free care paid for by the shrinking number of citizens still paying taxes.”

So nothing is perfect, including our system of Healthcare.  This is true.  None of this is to say that we couldn’t improve upon it, or make it better.  Sure we can.  There are many ways and many great ideas.  Over the next week we are going to discuss some of them.  But why tear down the whole system and change it if it’s the best in the world…the envy of the world?

So I ask you: Should we completely tear down the American Healthcare System and redo it or leave it as is and improve upon it?

Americans now view being a member of Congress as the least respected job one can hold!

October 5, 2009

congress

According to the latest Rasmussen Report, just 16% of Americans give Congress a good or excellent rating.  53% of Americans are saying Congress is doing a poor job.   Some might think this is a partisan viewpoint, but the statistics show differently.  Only 23% of Democratic voters say Congress is doing a good or excellent job.

Only 19% of all voters say Congress has passed anything that will significantly improve the quality of life in America.   Sixty-six percent of voters nationwide say they are at least somewhat angry about the current policies of the federal government.   Only 14% say the ideological balance of Congress is about right.  35% believe most members of Congress are corrupt.   67% of the American people lack confidence that Congress knows what it is doing when it comes to the economy. Only 15% even believe that members of this Congress have any interest in helping the American people. And worse yet….only 30% of us believe that America will even be competitive with the rest of the world come the end of this century.   This disturbing and shocking report can be read HERE.

What does not make sense to me is that “we the people” elected these folks.  What is even more confusing is that “we the people” have re-elected many of these folks term in and term out for the last 20-30+ years.  Why is that?  Why do these people who are viewed as corrupt, out of touch, selfish, in it for themselves, & power hungry keep getting re-elected? That seems to be insane.

Albert Einstein was well…a genius.  His definition of insanity was to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. Well Albert, you were correct.  That is insane.  And we have acted insane now for many many years with regards to the way we have voted for this Congress.  But now it’s time to be let out of the asylum – to make different choices – and to regain our sanity.  Different choice making breeds different results.

So I ask you: With so much on the line now for us and our kids…

The Larger Issue

October 2, 2009

Abe

Abraham Lincoln never let the world forget that the Civil War involved an AN EVEN LARGER ISSUE.  This he stated most movingly in dedicating the military cemetery at Gettysburg: “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain–that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom–and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Some of us have parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents that went off to some war to defend freedom for Americans and others around the world.  Some of these family members never made it home from the freedom fight.  Some of us are able to share freedom’s message through our work or workplace, through our religious affiliation and expression, or through some other method or vehicle.

One thing we all have in common is that we are all born Americans.  We are all blessed to have been granted the priviledge  of being born here in the United States of America.  A land where many who have gone before us sacrificed it all.  They gave up everything; their wealth, their families, their work, their lives just so America can become.  And it did become.  America became.  It became the land of the free and the home of the brave.  The one shining place in a dark oppressed world.  A world we are insulated from, to a degree, and yet a world that wants to destroy the very fabric of what America stands for.  A world at battle over the very concept of a free nation…under God…that is of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Abraham Lincoln knew this.  Despite the fact that freedom here in the U.S. was already attained almost 100 years prior to his taking office as the nations 16th president, he understood the larger issue.  And so he spoke these words: “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain–that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom–and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

I am here to tell you this battle for freedom has not ceased.  It just looks and feels differently today.  Tyranny and oppression can happen with words and propaganda.  Shots don’t have to be fired.  Bombs don’t have to get set off.  Planes don’t have to fly overhead.  Physical wars don’t need to take place for a battle to be waged…and won.  We need to heed Abraham Lincoln’s warning- that WE HERE highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vein.  We need to again take up the banner of freedom and protect and preserve it so it shall not perish from the earth.

So I ask you: Do you have a role to play?  What role do you play, blessed to be born as an American, in this constant battle to remain a free nation, under God- that is of the people, by the people, and for the people?  Do you have a role?


Should we trust Baxter with the Swine Flu Vaccine?

September 30, 2009

Baxter

Today is part 2 of the Swine Flu discussion.  Now that Swine Flu is upon us (regardless of how it got here) the U.S. government and WHO (World Health Organization) has contracted with Baxter Pharmaceutical, based in Illinois ironically, to create, develop, test, and distribute the vaccinations for this disease.  OK, that seems straightforward enough.  Makes sense.  We need a vaccine to defend ourselves verse this terrible strain of the flu and who else is going to make it besides one of Big Pharma?  OK, I get it.

Do you remember the H5N1 Flu virus from a couple of years ago?  That was the Avian Bird Flu.  Do you remember the big scare surrounding that flu virus strain; sort of felt like what we are experiencing today with the Swine Flu before it fizzled out.  Guess which large pharmaceutical company was awarded the vaccine contract for that projected pandemic?  If you guessed Baxter then you are correct.  Still no big deal, right?  OK, let’s dig a bit deeper.

Did you know that vaccines contaminated with the deadly live H5N1 avian flu virus were distributed to 18 countries just last December by a lab at an Austrian branch of….. Baxter Pharmaceutical?  If you weren’t sure what you just read, let me rephrase that line.  The vaccines to combat the deadly Avian Bird Flu were sent contaminated with the actual virus to 18 countries just last December by the same company who is creating and preparing to inject millions of us to protect against the current Swine Flu pandemic.  How did they find out the vaccines were contaminated before anyone would have died?  Good question.  Folks tested the received vaccine batches on live ferrets in the Czech Republic before sending them out to be injected into humans.  All the ferrets died because they were contaminated with the Avian Flu by the very thing, the vaccine, that was supposed to protect them from it.   Thank goodness for the thorough people in the Czech Republic!  This was reported by multiple International sources including the  Times of India.

Czech newspapers immediately questioned whether the events were part of a conspiracy to deliberately provoke a pandemic, following up on accusations already made by health officials in other countries.

Since the probability of mixing a live virus biological weapon with vaccine material by accident is virtually impossible, this leaves no other explanation than that the contamination was a deliberate attempt to weaponize the H5N1 virus to its most potent extreme and distribute it via conventional flu vaccines to the population who would then infect others to a devastating degree as the disease went airborne.

The fact that Baxter mixed the deadly H5N1 virus with a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses is the smoking gun. The H5N1 virus on its own has killed hundreds of people, but it is less airborne and more restricted in the ease with which it can spread. However, when combined with seasonal flu viruses, which as everyone knows are super-airborne and easily spread, the effect is a potent, super-airborne, super deadly biological weapon.  Read more about this HERE.

Oh, one last thing I need to mention about Baxter that I almost forgot.  Baxter filed for the patent to create and distribute the vaccine for the Swine Flu……ONE FULL YEAR before the first known case even occurred. What???  Yes, it is true.  Read the story HERE.   Preposterous?  Scary?  Out of a horror flick?  All of the above!  Big Pharma also has LEGAL IMMUNITY over these vaccinations and their potential side effects, including death of course, thanks to President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services, signing it into existence around July 19, 2009- just a few months ahead of this projected outbreak.  You can read about that HERE.

So I ask you: Should we trust Baxter with our lives and the lives of our families and friends with this Swine Flu Vaccine?  Leave your comments.

Is Martial Law Headed to the U.S?

September 29, 2009

swine

Yes, you read the title correctly.  Are you afraid by this concept?  Well, you should be!  Take a look at this shocking Youtube video HERE of an interview done with Judge Napolitano on Fox News recently.  The state of Massachusetts has passed a law in both of their chambers which is currently awaiting its signing into law by their Governor, Deval Patrick that allows himself, Deval Patrick or any future Governor the right to declare Martial Law due to medical type emergencies, including the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus.  This law gives the Governor sweeping powers, lets public health officials mandate vaccinations, and with law enforcement & medical personnel, enter our private residences and businesses without warrants, quarantine non-compliers, and impose a $1,000 per day fine and/or imprisonment up to 30 days at their discretion. Read the contents of the already passed bill HERE.

It also authorizes the following:

  • closures and evacuations to decontaminate residences, buildings or facilities;
  • the destruction of suspect materials;
  • restricting or prohibiting public gatherings;
  • public health authorities to use or supervise private health care facilities and requires private health personnel to provide appropriate services, including vaccinating state residents;
  • “the arrest without warrant (of anyone believed to have) violated an order for isolation or quarantine…;”
  • control over “ingress (and) egress” from public areas and human traffic within them;
  • enforcement measures for the safe disposal of “infectious waste and human remains;”
  • control over all medical supplies as well as other measures needed to respond to the emergency;
  • the use of state police for enforcement;
  • control over “routes of transportation and over materials and facilities including but not limited to communication devices, carriers, public utilities, fuels, food, clothing, and shelter;” and
  • public health officials to “institute appropriate civil proceedings against (properties) to be destroyed in accordance with the existing laws and rules of the courts of this Commonwealth or any such rules that may be developed by the courts for use during the emergency;” acquired properties may “be disposed of by destruction as the court may direct.”

Could  Massachusetts be a trial balloon for what federal authorities plan everywhere as the fall flu season approaches, to be followed by hyped reports of nationwide Swine Flu outbreaks, perhaps caused by the vaccines intended to prevent them?  Could an outbreak (caused by nature or on purpose) lead to a national Martial Law imposed on this country, thereby stripping us of more and more freedoms until the power hungry are so powerful we have lost this country?  Your thoughts?

Venezuela Seeking Uranium With Iran’s Help?

September 28, 2009

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Venezuela seeking Uranium (Think Nuclear) with Iran’s help.  This is the headline we wake up to today.  The article, which can be read HERE, shares that Iran is helping Venezuela detect Uranium deposits in their land.  By the way, initial evaluations suggest that the deposits are significant.   The timing of the release of this story by the Venezuelan government is interesting.  It happened on the same day that world leaders were criticizing the Islamic Republic of Iran for the revelation of Iran having a secret Uranium Enrichment Plant that could be used to build an Atomic Bomb.

“We could have important reserves of uranium,” Venezuela Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz told reporters upon arrival on Venezuela’s Margarita Island for a weekend Africa-South America summit. He added that efforts to certify the reserves could begin within the next three years.

OK, so we now know that Iran has at least 2 facilities by which they can enrich Uranium for the purposes of making atomic weapons.  We also know that Venezuela has discovered significant amounts of Uranium within its own country.  We know that Iran and Venezuela are allies- earlier this month they jointly announced a deal for Venezuela to export 20,000 barrels of gasoline daily to Iran, giving them a cushion in case the West carries out their threats of fuel sanctions over Iran’s Nuclear Facilities.

One last thing we should know: On this past June 28th, the Venezuelan dictator Chavez said publicly ” his government was strengthening their military because the U.S. is a threat to his country“.     So, naturally, they signed an arms deal with Russia worth $4.4 billion to “protect” their country.  You can read the story HERE.

So I ask you: Do we here in the U.S. and our allies around the world face an existential threat in the likes of Iran, Venezuela, and such (don’t forget the rest of their allies- North Korea, Russia, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc) or is this just media propaganda- nothing to worry about or fret over?  Leave your comments.