Experiment Concluded

The United States of America has always been a work in progress, a  grand experiment. Now, the experiment has concluded. Human nature being what it is, the citizenry of this nation have succumbed to the siren call of socialism. In reaction to poor leadership, worse leadership was installed, all by the common vote, all above board. It will be told in history books of the future that this year, 2010, was the one in which tyranny sunk its fangs into the victim, injected its socialist infection, and thereby terminated the best hope for freedom loving souls of the world.

The disease is touted as the cure, healthcare for all as a way to stave off bankruptcy. Only fools believe this. Spending a trillion borrowed dollars, destroying the private efforts of millions, and strangling the future innovation through monstrous regulation will do nothing to improve the economics of the country. At the same time, it will not provide quality healthcare. It will do the opposite as too many places around the world have seen. Consider that in Spain, many medical equipment suppliers wait more than 300 days for payment, sometimes as long as 500 days, and the single-payer system is billions in the hole. The same can be said for Britain, France, and so on. But not in America! This time it will work! This time we’ll get it right! And the dolts and morons chant and cheer: Huzzah to the chief!

Every future healthcare decision will be decided by a blind committee, by some abstractly constructed algorithm. Just as in my novel, Universal Coverage, the body politic will dominate every aspect of future medical endeavors. Citizen will be pitched against citizen as the zero-sum game of the socialist construct spreads through the system. The stain of contempt between once amiable parties will surface where it is least expected. Every act of a medical person will be questioned as a political move in favor of one person over another. Bitterness will be the common bond of a miserable population.

It won’t stop with health care. The socialist march, the tyrannical beast, will scratch and claw until it consumes the energy industry, the remainder of the manufacturing sector, and what pieces of the transportation business it does not already dominate. This animal is never satisfied. After it has consumed the entire wealth of the nation it will turn on itself as it has in every political subdivision around the world.

Thus ends the American Experiment, with a sigh and moan, a plea for the common good. It is a self-imposed failure, the preference of humans for the yoke of predicable mediocrity instead of the magnificent potential of freedom.

God help us all.

Published in: on March 19, 2010 at 11:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Universal Coverage or not?

Here is an excerpt from my novel, Universal Coverage. Think about it while Congress throws the Constitution out the window and your freedom in the trash.

The phone rang. He stared past it at the framed stock certificate on the wall. Something happened between the time his father received his dividends and this day. Smith never envisioned he would face disaster without a penny saved or a dollar in reserve. Nor had he expected to lack the gasoline to go wherever he wanted. The idea that whatever he needed might not be at hand was an absolute impossibility.

This was not the future he’d anticipated nor the one he’d been promised. He wasn’t supposed to be giving a little to get a little. He was supposed to have on demand care without ever seeing the bill. That’s what Universal Coverage meant. That’s what he voted for. That’s what twelve percent of his pay bought.

Without a doubt, it paid for financial security. He wasn’t flush with cash, but nor was he in danger of losing his house, his vehicles, or anything else. He hadn’t so much as seen a bill for any of Timmy’s checkups. But what it did not buy was the timely installation of his son’s pacemaker, something he wanted more than anything else.

He picked up the phone. “Hello?”

“It’s me, Ralph. My cell must have dropped our call. Did you come up with something good for my girl?”

“No,” Smith answered.

“No? Oh, okay. I got it. You need some time. No worries. I won’t say anything to her now. I’ll wait until I hear from you. That way I can sell it to her as a special surprise. How does that sound?”

It sounded pathetic to Smith, who conjured up a witty retort but let it fade inside his growing shame.

“Have a good weekend,” he said, hanging up.

The only person who deserved the money was the doctor who implanted Timmy’s pacemaker. Anyone else was nothing more than a parasite taking something for nothing. Smith was ready to part with any of his worldly possessions, and if he had to mortgage his soul to make Timmy well, he’d do that, too. Either way, he’d be damned if he peddled his wife’s baubles for better odds against the sharks who ran the Universal Coverage pool.

Published in: on March 17, 2010 at 12:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On Growing Up…

One of the current US President’s proposals is that insurance companies be mandated to carry the children of their assured to the age of 26. That’s right, if mommie and daddie have health insurance through their employer, well, that insurance company must carry the kiddies all the way until they’re 26. Hmmmm…. 26.

Let’s see, you can vote at 18. You can drink alcoholic beverages at 21. But, this president would have mommie and daddie’s insurance company carry your sorry self on the policy until you’re 26. Wow, now that’s a stab at maturity, at responsibility, at being your own person.

I look back at my own father who at 26 already had three children, a mortgage, and a business to run, all of which he paid for without his daddie or mommie’s help. He wasn’t alone either. A whole generation figured out how to support themselves, pay the bills, and yes, get healthcare, too.

Maybe my parents were just lucky. Or maybe they didn’t have the sundry necessities that many younger people today simply must have. For example: They have to have their own television in their own rooms since that electronic box replaces the mother’s breast from the earliest of days. They have to have a computer, preferably two: a laptop to tote about and look smart, and a desktop for home. By the way an internet connection also has to be had, high speed by the way. Then there’s the cellphone. Must stay in touch with pals, mommie and daddie, and not ingore the desperate plea: WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENS. LIKE, OH MY GOD, WHAT DO I DO? The cell phone plan has to be unlimited minutes and text messages, too. Very important they don’t get out of touch. Then there’s the iPod or other music player and all those songs that just have to be heard constantly when they’re not texting, chatting, or mucking about otherwise. A car or at a minimum some form of transportation complete with fuel, insurance, and maintenance paid for by mommie and daddie. Then there’s the fashions, clothes being an actual necessity of human life, but this generation needs the latest and greatest.

That’s the short list. And if you have a pencil and paper handy, maybe a calculator to help out, add up the cost. It’ll buy one Cadillac insurance plan that’s for sure. But the little kiddies won’t be cool. They won’t be “in.” They’ll be out. And out is where they belong. Out of the house, out in the world, out WORKING to support themselves, instead of whining for something else for free.

GROW UP. At 26 if you can’t or won’t buy your own health insurance, you’re a LOSER. And someone from CHINA or INDIA will be your master. Enjoy the party before the lights go out.

If you have the guts, read my novel Universal Coverage. It’ll show you a possible reality that’s headed our way at the speed of unrestrained deficit spending.

Published in: on February 25, 2010 at 11:45 am  Comments (1)  
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Unhappy Healthcare

Aruba enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean, summed up by the motto, “One Happy Island.” Tourists and natives alike enjoy the virtually unlimited sunshine and wide beaches, not to mention the fine restaurants, fantastic Carnival celebrations, and action packed water sports.

However, many Arubans are less than pleased with their single-payer health care system known by the initials AZV. A payroll tax funds AZV, which disburses payments to care providers. While every citizen is eligible for coverage, many do not utilize the benefits. In effect, they pay twice: once in the taxes assessed on their wages, and again through cash payments to providers or in premiums for supplemental insurance policies.

But why would someone pay extra when they are supposed to have coverage under AZV?

Long waits are one of the biggest factors. One fellow, Paul, answered, “My son had a respiratory problem. How long was I supposed to wait?” His son was not able to see a specialist without first consulting a primary care physician. This delay, which could have been a week or longer, was unacceptable. Paul took his son to nearby Venezuela where he was seen by a doctor within a few hours of stepping off the plane. Thanks to a private medical insurance policy Paul maintains in Venezuela for just such emergencies, the cost was minimal. As for the care, he couldn’t be happier. The doctor personally called several times to see how the boy was doing as well as to inquire about the effectiveness of prescribed medications.

Similarly, Donato was unhappy with substandard treatment of various skin lesions. For several years, his doctor in Aruba told him he had nothing to worry about. Finally, at his brother’s behest, he visited a specialist in Colombia who informed him that a dozen growths needed to be removed immediately. Although confident in the Colombian doctor’s diagnosis, Donato sought an independent second opinion in that country to be sure. He had one the next day and it concurred with the first. His surgery took place before the week was over. Now he flies to Colombia every year for checkups. The most expensive part is the airfare, but Donato doesn’t mind. He makes a vacation of the trip, taking his wife and children who also see doctors for regular checkups while he visits his dermatologist. “If you let it go,” Donato says, “this is the kind of thing can be very bad.”

There are doctors in Aruba who operate strictly private practices. They do not accept AZV payments, which are considerably lower than fees charged to patients outside the system. One doctor said, “My practice does not operate on sunshine. There are bills to pay, supplies to purchase, and my time is worth something more than the [AZV] board budgets.” These practitioners take some of the pressure off the public clinics, but they are also operating at full capacity. “I want to give them my best,” the same doctor reflected. “That means I can see only so many people each day.”

Hence, Roberto also goes to Colombia for treatment of a chronic nerve condition. He would prefer to avoid the extra expense and get the full value of his tax payments to AZV. Nonetheless, he simply can’t get the care he needs nor the medicine required to control his pain. “AZV takes too long and sometimes my private doctor can’t see me,” he says. “So when I have a flare up, I get on the plane.”

Direct cash payment may have something to do with the quick response times of these physicians in other countries. Paul (mentioned above) commented, “I know the doctor in Venezuela charged me more to look at my son than he earned seeing his regular patients all day. Still, it is affordable to me.”

The Arubans who travel off-island for healthcare generally describe their experiences in glowing terms. They speak of the doctors as caring, honest, and sincere. They frequently mention that the cost of treatment is affordable, although last minute airfares sometimes break the budget as in Roberto’s case.

When asked their opinion on healthcare reform in the United States, they shake their heads and shrug. “Maybe see what we have here and think about what you’re doing,” Roberto comments, adding, “Learn Spanish in case it doesn’t go so good.”

Published in: on January 28, 2010 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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