Monday, August 17, 2009
Daniel J. Summers
I've been asked by some, regarding my last post, what my solution is for the problems that plague our current health care system. I was also accused of being too verbose - so, here is my solution, minus the qualifications that tend to make my explanations longer. So, no griping about sweeping generalizations - just ask for clarification. :) Without further ado, I present Dr. Daniel's Prescription for Health Care Reform.
With the number of people who are in this country legally, we cannot support those who are not. This extends to emergency care as well, because if we leave that open, we'll just have illegals using the ER for their everyday health care. Raises the stakes a little, but we can't afford to fix everyone “for free.” Additionally, insurers must verify citizenship for their standard policyholders. They are still free to obtain health care at their own expense.
End HMO/PPO Discounts
This is the #1 thing that drives the cost of health care for the uninsured. To get what they need, providers have artificially inflated their charges; so, when they apply the HMO/PPO discounts, they get what they wanted to begin with. Make these post-markup, post-discount prices the standard prices, and health care becomes much more affordable, even for the self-insured (AKA uninsured).
Choose Your Own Coverage
There is no reason that a single male should buy a policy that, by law, must cover OB/GYN services. People should have the ability to select only the coverage they need, and companies should have the right to sell it to them. Don't want prescriptions covered? Don't buy the coverage - buy the $10 90-day supply from Wal-Mart instead. This will let premiums be lower for people who only desire catastrophic coverage, and would bring health insurance more in line with homeowner and auto insurance.
Just the Total, Please
There is absolutely no reason that someone should receive 4 bills for one visit. However, go to the ER, and you'll likely end up with a hospital bill, a doctor's group bill, a radiology bill, and maybe even a laboratory bill. Funnel all billing through one of these; the hospital or doctor's office is the one I would pick. This will make it easy to get estimates and totals for the consumer, and I'm sure that, given this requirement, these organizations could come up with an efficient way to make it happen pretty quickly. I see this as a parallel to the standard “Nutrition Facts” labels on food - one bill from one place, with no hidden charges.
There you have it. Take four of these and call me in the morning if pain persists.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Daniel J. Summers
Today's Albuquerque Journal (website) had a couple of front-page stories that caught my eye. First, the one full of good news was titled "Others' Message to Illegal Immigrants: Leave!" The Journal doesn't put their stories online to link to, so I'll quote enough of it to give you the idea…
States surrounding New Mexico have recently passed laws aimed at cutting off illegal immigrants from social services and jobs.
The goal? To drive them away.
In Oklahoma, where a set of laws known as the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act took effect Nov. 1, Latino churches have reported losing up to 20 percent of their members and Tulsa County alone estimates a population exodus of 25,000 people, mostly foreign born.
Sounds like that's a law that has actually done what it set out to do! And kudos to the Journal reporter, Leslie Linthicum, for including that oft-excluded qualifier illegal when describing the people being targeted by the legislation. (That wasn't the case through the entire article, but it was refreshing to see it.)
The instructive article was the one beside it entitled “Fast Track: Critics Say Rising Rail Runner Tab Slows Road Work.” The Rail Runner is pretty cool - I've ridden it with our Cub Scout pack. It's a light rail passenger train that goes from about 20 miles south of Albuquerque to about 15 miles north of Albuquerque, but will eventually extend to Santa Fe. It's been in operation just over a year.
The article had a lot of information about how it (and lots of highway improvements) came about, through legislation passed in 2003 called Governor Richardson's Investment Partnership (GRIP). The initial estimates for the Rail Runner was $90.2 million, but the current expected total cost is $420 million (plus $50 million in escrow, to address “issues” that may arise). This in and of itself has some folks upset. However, the way the GRIP legislation was written, funding can be shifted amongst the several projects - and, because the Rail Runner has such high visibility, money has been diverted from highway improvements to the Rail Runner.
The instructive part, to me, is the cost balloon. Whether the Richardson administration willfully underestimated the cost, or whether it has simply grown due to unanticipated costs, I don't know. It's probably some of both, and it's not really important to the lesson I think we can learn. As an example - New Mexico did not even apply for federal funding of the Santa Fe leg of the Rail Runner. Why?
Rail Runner officials last summer cited problems with grant program rules and the limited federal funds available as reasons for not applying for the money.
And the state was working on a fast track.
A legislative analysis from 2005 stated that the process of applying for federal funds could have delayed the second phase for up to several years - beyond the December 2008 deadline the Richardson administration had set.
“The project needs to be proposed and there are a lot of requirements necessary,” [Federal Transit Administration spokesman Paul] Grasso said. “There's an environmental review that has to be done; there's a cost effectiveness standard that has to be met. There are all kinds of things that have to be worked out in advance.”
Any government entitlement program costs more than originally estimated - every single one. It will take longer and cost more than the original estimate every time. So, when you hear politicians (especially now during campaign season) pitching their programs, remember that. $400 million today is probably $3 billion once implemented.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Daniel J. Summers
Up to this point, I have not commented on the current “immigration reform bill” that is being pushed in Congress. I am quite disappointed that our President is pushing this - I would much rather see him attacking Social Security with the vigor with which he has now seemed to find. One of the problems I've had with the Republican leadership, and this President in particular, is that they are not using the resources at their disposal to educate the electorate. They assume that the nation is “split down the middle,” and they respond to the chest-pounding from the left with chest-pounding on the right, without explaining facts or educating the American people.
There are big problems with the current bill, that legitimizes illegals and basically allows them to “jump the line” on immigrating to this country. There are a lot of side effects that come with this invasion that most people don't even know about. In Nashville, the police have discovered a Hispanic prostitution ring going on in residential areas. In cities across the country, illegal alien drunk drivers are killing Americans quite frequently. Some say that driving after drinking is part of the Mexican culture. They are also much more lax in their attitudes on the age of sexual consent.
I can't imagine any Americans wanting this to become a part of our culture. However, none of the current legislation does anything to discuss assimilation. Rather than encourage learning English, we are actually translating government documents into all kinds of languages! How much money are we wasting on that? Gov. Schwarzenegger (R-CA) took some heat for suggesting that Mexican immigrants turn off Spanish-language television stations and watch English-language stations instead. (Of course, he isn't an immigrant who decided to learn English… Oh wait - he is!)
But something I saw today just takes the cake. It's a report by the Center for New Community entitled “Indecent Proposals: Top 10 Most Offensive Quotes.” (I only link to it so you know I'm not making this up; also, it has footnotes where the source of each quote is found. I don't want to reproduce those here.) The entire mindset of this article is wrong - most of the people they quote do not hold “anti-immigrant” views, just “anti-illegal immigrant” views. It would be like saying that a British entertainer who talks about “lighting up a fag” is anti-gay. (In Britain, “fag” is a slang term for a cigarette.) But I digress… Suffice it to say, I'm not going to address the “anti-immigrant” label every time they apply it.
This is like shooting fish in a barrel…
“This nation desperately needs informed, reasoned debate on this issue,” said Rev. David Ostendorf, executive director of the Center for New Community. "The anti-immigrant groups and their supporters are clearly not interested in helping our nation move forward - all anyone has to do is turn on the radio to hear that these groups' values do not represent the values shared by the vast majority of Americans."
Turn on the radio? Isn't it talk radio that is completely responsible for the death of the first incarnation of the immigration reform bill? These folks are not the brightest bulbs in the pack, that's for certain.
WARNING: Graphic, offensive and otherwise inappropriate language follows:
Strangely enough, regular readers will know that I don't post graphic or inappropriate language, but I will be able to quote these in their entirety. It may be offensive to liberals, but in my exhaustive search through the Constitution, I haven't been able to find a right against being offended. On we go…
1. “We need the National Guard to clean out all our cities and round them up… They have no problem slitting your throat and taking your money or selling drugs to your kids or raping your daughters, and they are evil people.”
- Chris Simcox, co-founder of the Minuteman Project and president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. As quoted in the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report magazine, Summer 2005.
It may be difficult to hear, and even more difficult to accept, but the links above address these very issues. Not all illegal immigrants do these things - but, deporting all illegal aliens would eliminate these as well, and then, maybe the law-abiding would-be immigrants could, you know, obey the law and emigrate legally.
2. “Mexican men have a reputation for leering and worse at little girls, which shouldn't surprise us, since sex with children is socially acceptable in Mexico.”
- Brenda Walker, California anti-immigrant leader and publisher. From VDARE.com article titled “Top Ten Reasons Why the US Should Not Marry Mexico,” January 1, 2007.
Again, addressed above, by someone who grew up there.
3. “My message to them is, not in two weeks, not in two months, not in two years, never! We must be clear that we will not surrender America and we will not turn the United States over to the invaders from south of the border.”
- Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), at the March for America, Washington, DC, June 18, 2007.
I'm guessing the “offensive” part of this is the “invaders” term. What else would you call a large-scale illegal incursion into a foreign country? La Raza is an organization dedicated to reclaiming the land “stolen” from Mexico (land gained through the Spanish-American War). Nothing offensive here - just the facts.
4. “I don't care if Mexicans pile up against that fence… just run a couple of taco trucks up and down the line…”
- Neal Boortz, anti-immigrant talk radio host on WSB-AM in Atlanta on June 18, 2007.
How is this offensive? Is this any different from the people who set up water stations in the desert so the illegal aliens don't die on the journey? And, tacos! Food that Mexicans are used to! I'm so offended - not.
5. “Terrorists are also walking in unopposed; our southwestern border is littered with Arabic papers and Islamic prayer rugs.”
- Jim Gilchrist, founder of Minutemen Project. From a press release announcing the forthcoming publication of a new book co-authored with Jerome R. Corsi, February 2006.
I don't know why this is offensive to these folks - terrorist bombs don't discriminate between legal and illegal status. In fact, this is one of the facts that motivates those who want the border closed. In this day and age, having an open door into this country, with sympathetic liberals aiding those coming across the border, and the Mexican government publishing comic books detailing how to sneak into this country - terrorists see an easy way into the country. They can just be part of the invasion!
6. "The brown toxic cloud strangling Los Angeles never lifts and grows thicker with every immigrant added. One can't help appreciate the streets of Paris will soon become the streets of LA. However, Paris' streets erupted while LA's shall sink into a Third World quagmire much like Bombay or Calcutta, India. When you import that much crime, illiteracy, multiple languages and disease - Americans pick up stakes and move away."
- Frosty Wooldridge, anti-immigrant author and activist. Summarizing an address by a KABC-AM talk radio host to the Federation for American Immigration Reform director's meeting, Fall 2005.
How is this any different than what happened with the inner cities back in the 60's and 70's? Undesirable element in, everyone who can gets out. Rather than an offensive ant-immigrant statement, this looks to me like insightful analysis.
7. “What we'll do is randomly pick one night every week where we will kill whoever crosses the border...step over there and you die. You get to decide whether it's your lucky night or not. I think that would be more fun.”
- Brian James, anti-immigrant talk radio host with KFYI-AM in Phoenix. Suggesting a solution to the immigration problem in Arizona while filling in for the regular host, March 2006.
The death penalty is a little harsh - but this is an understandable reaction, borne of frustration over our governments lack of ability or desire to control the border itself.
8. “Shoot him.”
- Phil Valentine, anti-immigration talk radio host, WWTN in Nashville. Advising Border Patrol agents to shoot undocumented immigrants during an anti-immigrant rally in Franklin, Tennessee, April 27, 2006.
Brevity is the soul of wit. But, we know from history that if Border Patrol agents shoot someone, even if that person shot at them first, they get thrown in the slammer.
9. “;We've got to make it in this country so (immigrants) can't exist here...We've got to rattle their teeth and put their feet to the fire!”
- Terry Anderson, anti-immigrant talk radio host with KRLA in Los Angeles. Speaking at a “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” anti-immigrant rally organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, April 22, 2007.
This one is just poor. Notice the “(immigrants)” in the quote - that means they substituted that word for what was actually said (more than likely “they”). Again, we're not against immigrants - just do it right. Don't try to jump line. If you love this country, why would you make your first act here violating our laws? Or is it just appealing since we don't actually enforce our laws?
10. “Our enemies are bloodied and beaten. We cannot relent. Our boot is on their throat and we must have the willingness to crush their ‘throat’ so that we can put our enemy down for good. The sovereignty of our nation and the future of our culture and civilization is at stake. The United States is a beacon of salvation unto the rest of the world. Our freedoms, our culture is mans salvation. If we perish, man perishes.”
- Joseph Turner, Save Our State (S.O.S), now a staff member with the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Message sent to Save Our State supporters on October 7, 2006.
Well, they may have actually found one that's “out there.” However, the “sovereignty of our nation and the future of our culture and civilization is at stake” part is tough to argue. The illegal immigrants, as a whole, are interested in nothing here but our money, and how far it goes in their home country. They care nothing for our culture, our laws, our traditions, or our history.
Unless I've missed something, these “Indecent Proposals” would actually make pretty good legislation.