Sunday, May 28, 2017

Turning the Tide

How to Turn a Profitable Health Care Crisis into Family Theme Park Fun

For over forty years, We the People have been hard sold many innovative ideas, progressive solutions, economist's pipe dreams, recollections of historical revisionists, statistician's comparative studies, folk wisdom simple solutions, and revolutionary panaceas to make healthcare affordable and accessible for all Americans. Some of these visions attempted to treat the symptoms, while others targeted a cure for rapidly rising, across the board health care costs​. The results have been an attempt​ at holding back a rising tide, our human efforts amount to vanity. Useless, all useless.

Of our own accord or a lack of options, We the People have turned to our most dangerous servant,  government, to formulate the chill pills for our red hot medical bill ills. To date​ government has performed on par with the aforementioned aspiring remedy providers. We have for many decades, witnessed Congress after Congress pass law after law, initiate or abrogate some program or regulation, and revised or rescinded all manners of administrative authorities in the hope of reigning in runaway medical costs. All their efforts have proven futile… every single one.

The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (AKA - Obamacare) was the government's latest, and most sweeping permutation of a one size fits all, command and control health care system for the masses. You just have to vote for it and hope it passes before you can see what’s in the Bill. Oh, look, it’s a bill of the burgeoning, budget busting variety.

So much for “free” healthcare.

After so many years and so many leaders with so many ideologies, philosophies, and let’s not forget, so many "Grandma had to sell her house for the surgery” atrocities, I must question the veracity of those honorable ladies and gentlemen of the late payment State from which they hail (not a typo). I question their sincerity and posit those who bear the responsibility to make life and death choices for the People, are either misdiagnosing the problem in ineptitude or performing malpractice by intent. In spite of all their assurances and claims of concern for the health of average Americans, regardless of all their long speeches detailing the deleterious effect of health care costs on the financial well-being of Mr. and Mrs. Main Street America, I have my doubts about their sincerity. So, should you.

I have to raise an eyebrow at both the sources and the tsunami of campaign contributions slamming and damning our alleged Constitutional Republic which may sway those who fill the seats under our capitol dome to represent the interests of those back home. Super PACs, foreign donors, and "dark/ shadow backtrails" these  "Oh, so concerned" policymakers are looking sleazier than the most notable organized crime bosses of the 1970’s. At least, the Mafia had a Code by which they lived and were executed gangland style. Sure, it was brutal, childishly club-like and violently club-like, but it was a Code, a genuine loyalty to the Boss. Unless you could do better on your own. Say an offer you couldn’t refuse. It was a loyalty set in stone until they made your shoes from concrete, but even then you knew you weren’t coming back. You were headed for a bullet induced heart attack over a generous helping of ziti and Italian sausage. A kind of prelude to your next incarnation, post mortem.

Politicians have no such ethos. They are ethically free and unencumbered by the drudgery of accountability. Their sole responsibility for their terms majority is maintaining and improving their re-electability. Unfortunately, re-electability has damn little to do with the People in the Land of the Fee, health care affordability, or anything else that happens on Main Street. Politicians tend to be more money grubbing, clannish, and self-interested than those old Mafia goons that they put out of business to take up the room in the finest hotels, restaurants, and bars making shady deals and rubbing elbows with the rich and nameless, near, and far. The gangsters loved their mothers and kissed them for luck. The politicians would sell their own mothers for a couple thousand dollars and not…

rely on luck.

Therefore, knowing the nature of the political beast, my eyebrow remain elevated.


Your eyebrow should not remain seated, either.
These very same "I feel your pain" legislators who set national health care policy  (which is a colloquial way of saying “printing checks”) in Washington DC are helplessly addicted to and heavily under the influence of big dollar donor dope. There are relationships between campaign contributions and votes cast in both chambers of Congress. It is as our Fathers would say, “self-evident”. There are also relationships between those who donate and those who vote. These highly valued and equally suspects​ relationships between regulators and the regulated, the big donors and the constituent owners of representation in the Condo of the Free. I see this “to the highest bidder goes my vote” as sapping or undercutting the Principles we claim to honor in our American legends and lore, our history, and our heroes not to mention a couple old documents called The Constitution of the United States of America and The Bill of Rights. This is our biggest national security threat, today. What good is winning a War on Terror, if in the struggle we have already returned to the Reign of Terror.

According to the nonpartisan research group The Center for Responsive Politics, the biggest contributors to political campaigns are from the “Financial, Insurance, and Real Estate” sector, which makes perfect sense when you consider these are by far the biggest beneficiaries of our peculiar national policies. Many within this sector have benefited in ways which in any educated and civilized nation would result in large mobs of citizens storming the capitol to drag their respective representatives into the city streets and unceremoniously shooting them in the back of their heads. Mercifully and regrettably, we don't live in such a nation.

I don't advocate such mob action, but I wouldn't necessarily object too strenuously to it either, as the Right of Revolution is the true final check on government corruption. However, I would prefer we allow the Angels of our Better Nature to prevail. Rather than choosing destruction, let us build a wonderful theme park. A modern Great Wonder of epic proportion where we can bring our entire family and teach our children American​ values, "This is what happens to those who try to reduce a free people to unwitting mercenaries for merchants”, as we usher the kids past the cozy accommodations for the people we entrusted to do what is in our best interests, not theirs.

Such an awesome tourist attraction and patriotic venue would surely draw an international crowd. The idea might spread! Imagine that, a rollback to Republic v1.0, without slavery and sporting universal suffrage from the git-go. That would make me so proud to be an American again.

(Long sigh...)

But... in lieu of this beautiful national treasure, and potential World Heritage Site, we have the politicians blaming pharmaceuticals, defrauders of the system, insurance companies, those nasty HMO's which the politicians created, (LOL!), and finger pointing at each other. The pharmaceuticals, insurance companies, and health care providers in turn blame the politicians, the inefficiencies of bureaucracy, and the demographics of an aging population linked with the costs of high-tech treatments.  

It's all very complex, very confusing, and it's all been so heartbreaking for so long that we've grown numb from the horror...the horror.. Grandma having to sell her house to afford the surgery doesn’t seem so bad anymore. It’s the norm, and that’s pitiful because somewhere in this carnival of hope, fear, worry, and loss we've forgotten the simple, effective tool of Supply and Demand. Do you remember this key economic principle from high school?  

Supply and Demand
the amount of a commodity, product, or service available and the desire of buyers for it, considered as factors regulating its price.
"by the law of supply and demand the cost of health care will plummet"

What brings costs down is competition, regardless of whether we’re talking about widgets, vacuum cleaners, cheese burgers, blog writers, or heart bypass prices are primarily determined by Supply and Demand. Please, keep this in mind as you read this post.

Those who push for the “Single Payer” system, which is to socialized medicine what ”climate change” is to global warming, are advocating the free market system of Supply and Demand. They won't admit to it, but what they are doing is limiting demand by grouping everyone into one giant consumer. That's a backwards solution, although they won't admit that either.  

What we need are more providers. Lots more. I want to see as many healthcare providers, insurers, and equipment manufacturers as there are porn sites on the web, coffee kiosk in Seattle, and hair weave shops in ethnic neighborhoods. I want to see doctors chasing patients like telemarketers hawking magazine subscriptions and Girl Scouts hustling cookies, because it's the Supply side of the Supply and Demand equation that has been over-specialized, rationed, and regulated into rarity.

Doctors are disappearing from private practice into huge “Single Provider” regional medical centers… one stop shopping like Mega Wal-marts of healthcare with the Sotheby's price tags.

Many have taken "Big Pharma" to task for their spiraling/ predatory pricing, but nobody says a word about the massive medical center down the street. However, the Medical Center popularity plays a central role in health care's lack of affordability.

Meanwhile, health care insurance companies are gobbling up competitors in a feeding frenzy to be the one and only… you guessed it… “Single Payer” for the whole healthcare cartel.

I know, it looks like they're working towards a monopoly! Yes, I do understand that monopolies are bad for consumers and lead to price gouging. Of, course, I know that a monopoly is like an aggressive cancer which should be surgically removed, but who is going to hold the scalpel when all our surgeons are working for the cancer?

We need a lot less of these…

and a lot more of these…

Working as General Practitioners in private practice.

We also need a lot less of these…

and at least one of these…

We have the supply all we need is your demand... and maybe a concessions stand.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Between Red and blue

I hope you brought lunch because we've got lot of ground to cover today.

Here between the red and blue, the passion and the patriotism, between the hype and the horror, there are some very good people who are getting slaughtered as collateral damage by all the partisanry. The salt of the fruited plain, blue collar grease stained, working nights under supermarket lights , white collar office temp guy, stay at home mom changing diapers all night, the U-N-I types. That’s you and I,  if I spelled it right. 

Meanwhile, back at the Montana ranch...

There's force and fury, angry pundits bickering on TV, swanky lobbyists looking down from the gallery, pharmaceutical reps have something with your monogram for free. Just set aside ten minutes in private, Senator, for me, I'll make you King of Greece after they pay off the lien.

Now, back to us...

We're standing in line for a Metro bus trying to live a decent life, a job, a home, and maybe a loving wife. Out in a world between terrorist plots and the lay-off knife, your hard work only costs your sacrifice, middle management is about to be downsized, and you're a little lamb among the sheep. Little lamb don't make a peep. The wolves are stacked up about six deep. Through the pasture they creep while the shepherds sleep dreaming of a decent life, a job, a home, and maybe a loving wife. Sleep tight, Here come the wolves...

From the ivory tower in the distance, the banker offers his assistance,  we have to capitalize on our socialist persistence. Celebrate diversity, that's the difference between what you pay for and I get for free. I just have to finance electability, everything else is public property. That's you, not me. Public debt is my prosperity. Eventually, when the bill goes unpaid your kids will curse your name.  We did the crime, they will take the blame. What you said that doesn't seem lawful to me, I have friends who scribble words on a scrap of paper, and that's the law you see. 

Look into my eyes, you're feeling very sleepy. Keep watching MSNBC. The anchor says, Remember to celebrate diversity.  Which seems odd to me, if we're all celebrating diversity, isn’t that uniformity? 

The Senator smiles and whispers, Off the record, it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to me. Just a bumper sticker slogan to keep you occupied while I’m chopping down the Tree of Liberty. Two eighty a cord with free delivery, with a discount because it came from your property. 

You and me are praying “Deliver me!” We’re in an overgrown field looking at abandoned factories spread out as far as the eye can see. But the stock market is flying high on the recovery of the new jobs we’ll never see, except for fast food or the retail industry at minimum wage the new median for people trying to raise a family. The inner city kid walking the street explains, Who cares about jobs that pay nothing? I’m wasting my time filling out applications or calling. The man on the corner showed me I can make ten year's salary if I’m big ballin.

Two weeks later the task force put my career to an end and I got a new vocation sleeping, eating slop in the DOC swine pen for eighteen to twenty-four months minus good time. There is no good time when your warehoused with the dead and dying. After the system destroys what's left of his humanity the Prodigal Son returns to the same neighborhood street. No jobs, no home, no loving wife,  his only work record is prison industries, modern slavery. Here on this street the biggest industry is baby mommas pushing out the next generation of me at $5,000 a shot.

You were born middle class and me poor, but that isn’t problem because now we all poor as the stock market hits a new high score. To war, to war watch those jet fighters soar, Twenty-two million, if you buy a dozen or more. Without bombs exploding television news is a bore. Don't you feel that 
rush of adrenalin when you see the explosion from the vantage of a predator, that God's subtle way of telling you that you're a murderer. 

I heard a songwriter cry, Tax the rich, feed the poor, until there ain’t no poor, no more.” sounds great in words, sucks in practice. Let me show you what happens. The rich take their money and fly away leaving just the middle and poor to pay. Middle is exhausted bit by bit, trying to support the rest of it, until the drop a rung, Hey, we’re all equal, well hallelu! But the poor can’t support the poor, and the rich they all moved. The songwriter is mystified. We’re all screwed!

A caddy hears a muffled voice on the16th fairway where the senator just spent a billion three of our money in pursuit of security, safety, miscellany, and buy everything  Halliburton needs. It’s a free country, nominally. That’s what they keep saying but we keep trading real liberty for the illusion of safety and crafty financial securities.

What did “Ole Ben” say, someone please remind me?

Separate but equal, equally dead as can be. The rich, well they are just arriving in Maui for the week. The songwriters are rich too, but their Econ is weak,

The Bilderbergs keynote speaks, “We don’t kill the sheep, we just sheer him vigorously until they bleed. Don’t fret the medical expenses are on your Uncle Scam and me. Add it up that’s really free, free of medical care, but it will care for me thanks to my posse of cronies.
I work for them, you people work for me. 

Hey did you hear that? O say, can you see? Jose goes to jail, but look above all you see is insulated criminality. Not to mention any names, dear Hillary was purged from suspicion after triple perjury. Hey Barak, the Commerce Clause wasn’t meant be backdoor to everything. You're supposed to use such a general statement sparingly so we can all choose, some you win, some you lose, and that President O, equals free. Not free to be your Tinkertoy economy, built on thin air and pipe dreams. Pump a little, then a little more quantitatively,  and a shit load of stimulus money to your best friends and their buddies.You’re all living in that green economy. They say figures don't lie, but that doesn’t mean they speak the truth categorically. Senator, please. We’ve listened to all the shady characters C-Span could televise consecutively. I don’t need a hearing, or fact finding, or even an inquiry. Now, give me back my Liberty or there will be hell to pay literally. 

The Senator adjourned himself for the week. His P.A. announces, “We’ll be landing in Riyadh around three. Just in time for tea, leave your Bible onboard for your own safety.” The King would like you to enjoy some falconry. It's like the bowling for royalty. It’s for the birds, with no booze or women to see. In the Palace of the Monarchy held up in the arms of a failing democracy, the Minister of Defence carves a stern look on his countenance, “ Did you bring the best deal on the weaponry. We've both made a lot of enemies, the King’s should take priority. 

Shopping at grocery outlet buy one get one free is the deal we can see. Stretching to payday while living Monopoly. Watching our wealth blow up in Basrah, Helmet, and Tripoli. Our sweat becomes the fireworks in night vision green. We're deep in the red and far out of the ivy, and chasing boogeymen through the tall weeds. The paper said it was the fricken’ KGB, so why is everyone looking at me? Constitutionality, the first casualty of a failed democracy, then comes us, that's you and me. I suspect you knew by the mob surrounding us wearing red and blue. That's what you're supposed to do. Now our back is up against the wall. United we stood, divided we (scream fades to silence) 

Saturday, April 22, 2017


Have you ever pulled the cushions off the couch and thrown a blanket over the top to build a fort, a post office, ticket counter, or the general store? For a little while, as long as you could suspend disbelief, those cushions and a blanket were anything you pretended them to be. You invited your brother or sister, maybe your friends to play along, and they did. It was fun for everyone, until someone decided to play the bully who had to have it all. The fort, the post office, ticket counter, and the general store all belonged to the bully. Everyone playing was the bully's property, as well. You weren’t having that, so a fight broke out.

A broken lamp later, your Mom yelled down the stairs, “That’s enough of those silly games! The President is giving the State of the Union address. I can’t think straight with all the bickering going on and I’m trying to suspend disbelief!”