Total Pageviews

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Here I go Again


I thought I could turn the page and move on, but this health care issue is still at center stage, and my side doesn't want to defend the Affordable Care Act as much as the opposition wants to destroy it.

It's almost like defending the indefensible because most Americans have health care, and they worry about how we are going to insure 30 million more people, without jacking up their premiums. It's a legitimate worry and the government, regardless of the party, doesn't have a stellar record that instills trust.

The basic idea of consumers paying more for their own coverage to control costs is fundamental in both parties but the Republican plan doesn't expand coverage, so it leaves the market open for free loaders.

Fareed Zakaria, one of my favorite journalists and authors, said what I've been saying all along, “the markets work imperfectly in this realm." He quoted some studies conducted by the pharmaceutical company Novartis and McKinsey and Company showing a difference among countries with regard to a health- care efficiency.

For example: Smoking rates in France are much higher so the French population has a higher rate of lung disease. The French system is able to treat the disease a lot more efficiently and spends eight times less on treatments per person than we do. Another example is Britain, which handles diabetes far more effectively than the United States while spending less than half of what we do. The British System is five times more productive in managing diabetes than the United States.

The United States does better, battling breast cancer because of early screening and easy access to advance treatment, making us one of the most effective places to treat this disease.

What is common in the three examples? You guessed it, a systematic approach that gives all health -care provider's providers incentive to focus on early detection and cost effective treatments, and that makes wellness the goal.

Name me one politician or political party who would tell their constituents the absolute truth? By the truth, I mean, that they must accept the fact that these consumers will never be expert enough to know what product is best. Choosing between hundreds of policies may be a great free market idea, but it's unrealistic. Imagine any politician telling their constituents that they can lower their healthcare premiums by eating less, quit smoking and eating less junk food and seeking preventive care. For more you can read Fareed's article.

I read another interesting article by Donna Dubinsky, businesswoman who played an integral role in the development of personal digital assistants (PDAs) serving as CEO of Palm, Inc. and co-founding Handspring with Jeff Hawkins in 1995. I wish that she would have given the oral arguments before the Supreme Court.

Donna, after the fact, would have answered Justice Samuel Alito argument that most uninsured people either do not want to pay for insurance or cannot afford it, a lot better than the government did.. He said anyone can get health insurance.

Donna Dubinsky said if you're not employed, and you want to purchase insurance in the private market you cannot unilaterally to do so. An insurer  does not have to accept you as a customer. And quite often they do not. Insurance companies prefer group plans because it spreads the risk. Can you blame them? The individual plan is a lot of work, a higher risk, and produces little revenue.

The Government Accountability Office found that on average, 19% of the applicants nationwide are denied. One-quarter of insurers denied more than 40% of the applicants they considered. The reasons were not limited to deadly illnesses. You can expect to be denied if you have asthma, if you take just about any prescription medicine, or if you are more than 15% overweight. Expect to be denied if your doctor has recommended any procedure for you.

The Supreme Court successfully framed what can now be considered the limited conditions of the commerce clause in the constitution.

Donna Dubinsky thinks the government failed in its response because(1) health-care is a service or product that everyone must have at some point in their lives (2) the market for that service does not function if it can turn away buyers.

You might ask, how about burial services? Good question,it passes the first test, but fails on the second because  no seller of those services will turn your away.

Why couldn’t Congress pass a law requiring insurance companies to accept all applications? That obviously would fail because only sick people would seek insurance-because healthy people would wait until they got ill, knowing health Insurance was guaranteed.

The only answer for now is the Affordable Health Care Act because it expands the pool and spreads the risk.


Mike said...

Don't be caught flat- footed, check to see if computer is free of the nation wide computer virus that will hit

The Affordable Health Care Act can't inoculate you from that virus..:-)

Sugar Magnolia said...

Well, at least the Republicans will never be accused now of formulating and passing the largest tax increase in American history. ;)

And, yeah, I checked for the virus, I went to
I'm green, how about you?

Mike said...

Oh,I would have to be hospitalized if the Republicans PASSED a tax increase..:-)

I'm glad you got the relief color of  green.

Legion said...

Green too.

Mike what if the Rep. passed something that is not called a tax, but ends up costing everyone more? And no I'm not talking about the AHC,just all the silly social bills the house sends to the senate.

Mike said...

That's great Legion,I hope everyone gets a green so we can win another round against the hackers.

The senate has become one great big grave yard where the house bills go to die.It's been that way for a while...Good point on the social bills.

Edith Ann said...

I'm green!

I'm not talking politics today! I've already had a phone call to remove something I posted and I'm maxed out on crap.

Gosh, I wish it was November 7,2012...

Mike said...


Tighten that seatbelt EA,it's not even Labor Day yet..:-)..Tell them what I used to tell them at the VA;you have the right to write a blog and state your views...

Green is good.

Edith Ann said...

No, it was a FB post. They said they were offended, so I took it down, but dang! And it was someone close to me, so I removed it, but I also did it with the "But I am only doing it becasue you asked, and I will be looking for some other anti-GOP stuff to post!" And I am looking for just the right thing to post.

Anyway, I'm saying good night all now!

Mike said...

I hope you got enough sleep last night but if it's any consolation, you did the right thing because we know friends/family trumps politics.

I can understand your frustration because I'm yearning for the old GOP not this Tea Party 2.0 version...I read about the debate between Lt. General Dewhurst (establish GOP) and Solicitor General Ted Cruz (Tea Party) this weekend. They are two peas in a pod but the GOP needs to take their party back and vote for David Dewhurst...Why? "“In response to questions from attendees, Cruz said he hoped to see U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder impeached and opposed the law that prohibits tax-exempt churches from endorsing candidates from the pulpit.
When asked about whether he viewed “Sharia Law” as a problem in the United States, Cruz said “Sharia law is an enormous problem.”

We have enough kooks in Washington.

Our governor just made it official (sort of) by saying Texas will not partake in two key elements of the Affordable Health Care Act..Why the sort of? He is thinking Romney will win and the GOP will take over the senate making his moves in line with a repeal of Obamacare...We'll see how many GOP will hold that stance if the election goes the other way...The governors won't be up for reelection until 2014 but the medical industry wants to get paid...Who will win?

dale said...

I really want the "old" GOP back too. The Establishment Rino Dewhurst and T-Party Cruz, have a lot to talk about. Both are little more than LBJv3. Don't you just love the Dew's "attack ad" on Cruz? Cruz represented "Chinese interests". Duh, and the I-69 will bring chinese jobs to America. Lead on Dew.

And now, EA, you are listening to the Republikant's? So you do not want to hurt their feelings? Let me see, which political party holds a complete lock on every state office but a few judgeships? Hint, it isn't the demokats. You ds are starting to sound like the 90s republikants.

Mike said...

We might want different sets of ol' Republicans... I want the ones that believed in Global Warming, the EPA, and believed that revenues were an important part of the equation of good fiscal policies.... I want a little more Heritage Foundation and a whole lot less of the Cato Institute. Oh, I still won't vote for them but the party leaders wouldn't have to go as far to find some common ground...:-)

So what I'm hearing from you is that the Democrats didn't have anything to do with Texas being near last in education, and the fact that we have refused the new common science standard, won’t help matters...Thank goodness for Mississippi.....You heard it from Dale folks, you can't blame the Democrats for Texas being DEAD LAST in health care.

What happens if you totally dominate the state's politics and you don't produce? Ask the national Democrats; they ruled for 40 years.

dale said...

Dale doesn't blame the Ds for allowing Texas to be near dead last. (Except you may recall it was Good Ol democrat governors Mark White and Ann Richards who started the bad ol testing program. And if we give the D governors credit for starting all of this destructive testing, we can also give our Ds credit for eliminating local control of the education process.) Nope the Rs could have known better and drastically cut the state education agency appartatus. But, give an R a little power, and it goes to the Establishment's head.

What happens when you dominate? May I answer? "Real" Republicans start to ask questions of the Rinos. Then the Rino's get mad and start calling childish names. And then, liberty minded Republicans start taking back our Party. Does that answer your question?

Mike said...

I don't always understand Dale in the third person “Dale doesn't blame the Ds for allowing Texas to be near dead last in education and then you immediately proceed to blame the Dems..:-)

Like I always say, I don't pay that much attention to state politics but I just can't believe that the republicans would place the blame on governors from 17 to 25 years ago. It just seems like someone in the Clements, Bush or Perry administration what have stepped up to the plate.. After all, when a sports team starts going in a slump, they make lineup changes, if a product remains on the shelf, the store quits buying it and last but not least, republicans can't whine about Obama blaming Bush, although true, from only four years ago, if you are going to dig deep back 17 to 25 years ago to put blame on the Dems.

This is what I found in wiki:

"Richards also sought to decentralize control over education policy to districts and individual campuses; she instituted "site-based management" to this end."

White sought to improve education, transportation, water resources, law enforcement, and taxes to lure new industry to Texas. Education was an essential factor for White. When he took office, Texas was ranked as one of the lowest performing states for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) also in teachers' salaries. After taking office, White immediately appointed a committee on Public Education, called a special session of the legislature in 1984, and worked with lawmakers to pass the Educational Opportunity Act (EOA). Through White's work, Texas saw the desired results. SAT scores increased by twelve points, Texas first graders improved in statewide tests and teacher salaries increased by $5,000.

"By focusing on education, White was able to make Texas a "state of the future" with regard to its most important resource, its children. Through his diligent work as Governor of Texas, many of the problems of the present and future were alleviated. However, four years later, White was defeated by Clements, who opted for a second, nonconsecutive term. Some believe that the wildly unpopular "no-pass, no-play" policies of the White administration, which prohibited any high school student athletes from participating in varsity sports if they were failing any single element of their overall class load, sealed the doom of a second term."

I asked a rhetorical question Dale and I gave the answer. When you have complete domination, it becomes ripe for group think and gives less reason to listen to the opposition to try and come up with some sort of compromise.

dale said...

Mike, perhaps my recall is not as good as I hoped. But I was pretty darn close... and Mark White can take credit for the start of state wide tests and ultimately spending an entire year "teaching the test."

I followed your link..

Then I googled it to include Mark White Educational Opportunities Act Texas governor. Which brought me to: This was a 2010 interview with Bill Hobby regarding the 1984 Act. Here is where I can stand on recollection and fact of Mark White's testing plan (of the bill) and how it ultimately impacted local districts ability to teach to the students... instead of our "students taught to the test".

The Texas Tribune...
"House Bill 72, the education reform bill, was historic legislation. But in some respects it didn’t move the ball very far. In the end, Texas still had the shortest school year of all the states, and our students spent fewer hours in class than students in other states.

But that bill set statewide standards — uniform testing in the third, sixth, and twelfth grades. It tested teachers and beefed up teacher education. “No Pass, No Play” set academic requirements for students who wanted to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities.

Remarkably, most of the reforms initiated in House Bill 72 persist to this day. The teacher test was never repeated, but the statewide student tests are a hallmark of Texas education. They also served as the model for President George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” federal legislation."

Fact: Teachers teach to the state test.

Fact: If you spend 5 minutes a day/class teaching to the test, you have lost 5 minutes teaching algebra, the impact of the Nepolianic Wars, the cause behind the Chinese Communist Revolution of the 40's.

FAct: when a teacher is structured to a "perceived" state academic requirement's need, the students loose the opportunity for the teacher to teach someone that is useful for that classroom or individual student.

So Mike, you are correct, when we check and discuss FACTS, we all learn something. After checking my recollection, I am not that dumb after all.

Next challenge?

Mike said...

I am not arguing whether Mark White instituted a good or bad educational system but you overlooked the part about the "Texas saw the desired results. SAT scores increased by twelve points, Texas first graders improved in statewide tests and teacher salaries increased by $5,000."

But be is as it may;my main point being: the Republicans had 25 years to change the policy because they certainly weren't bound by it and is it certainly not the reason we near last today....The budgets cuts in order not to raise property taxes is a one of the main reasons and the high drop out rate but again if you are going to brag about TOTAL DOMINATION you have to produce results or else it's meaningless.

dale said...

Once you said I am consistent. Here it is... I give no praise to a Republican majority. They were told to cut the size of government... and they grew it. They were told to cut taxes... and they incresed spending and issued more debt. They were told to create better universities and they increased tuition, piled debt upon the students and built monuments to themselves and their supporters. If I am praising my Republican's domination, perhaps it is false accolaids I mean to share.

And upon which fiscal alter and which generation in the future have your Democrats heaped their debt upon? Perhaps it is time for a third party, for this generation has eyes yet they see not. They have ears and hear not. They make promises and neither do they come through.

Mike said...

I prefer to correct the imperfections of my party from within Andy it's the totality that counts for me..The debt on future generation remains to be seen.

You have followed politics,so you should know that political parties never cut government.

born2Bme said...

Hate to revisit this so long after it was written, but something just occured to me, or maybe I missed the discussion somewhere.
Republicans want to repeal ACA, which would take away the pre-existing coverage for children. They want to, or have already, defined life as starting at conception.
Does this mean that any child born with any kind of medical problem won't be covered under their non-plan because it would be considered a pre-existing condition before birth?
But then again, if life starts at conception, then they are covered from conception? Hmmmmm......

Mike said...

To today's GOP a woman is pre existing condition.
Look at the legislation they are or trying to pass.