Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Other Issues Around The U.S. House Health Care Plan


Nearly everyone concedes that the Democratic Party Health Care Plan simply doesn't address basic reform needs:

First and paramount, is the need for tort reform. This gargantuan issue has been successfully ignored by the trial-lawyer happy Democratic Party and they will continue to do so. But the effects have been recognized for a long time. It's in the Congressional Record. Of course, being in the Congressional Record doesn't make it so, but do your own math. The billions of dollars in added health care cost from jury awards leads to higher malpractice insurance costs which leads to millions of unnecessary tests ordered by physicians to cover their asses so that they don't have to face an award-happy jury.

Second is health maintenance versus damage control. If the Democratic Party feels it is necessary to penalize wealthier Americans for the poor habits of the poor Americans, then it once again has successfully avoided a major problem within our system. Lousy eating habits and smoking/drugs/alcohol... among other things... will chew up a great portion of the Democratic Party damage control plan because there is nothing in the plan to say to people contributing mightily to their own poor health that they have to change or don't look to anyone else to rescue them when their bodies fail. But that might lose the Democratic Party a lot of votes.

Third is the government's own antiquated health advice about eating a high carbohydrate, low fat diet that has led to all sorts of innovative fat and meat substitutes that have created several generations of sick hearts and diabetes-racked bodies. Eat a lot of grains and fruit... loaded with sugars or starch that convert to fat through over-production of insulin... that leads to insulin resistance... that leads to diabetes.
Why do you suppose so many pasta lovers are so fat? The fact that grain-based food is so cheap [corn, wheat, and rice are subsidized by the government] and the government continues to push bad advice makes the government about as bad for our nation's health as drug dealers on the street corners... and affect the poor who can't afford the damage control system more than any other class. This is perhaps the most misunderstood and neglected area of health care and maintenance.

Fourth is the drug industry that is continued to be incentived to produce pills as the solution for governmental and individual stupidity or ignorance. You can hardly blame entrepreneurs for recognizing a money-making opportunity when the government throws one at them. Billions of dollars for costly pills to control problems that wouldn't occur with some good information and personal effort. Sure, our bodies are not perfect and drugs do a lot of good for a lot of people. But there is a lot of misinformation leading to unnecessary poor-health conditions leading to unnecessary consumption of expensive pills.
No, its just so much easier to take away our liberties, over-tax the most productive segment of our population, and create a bureaucracy-laden system that delivers "you can't have it your way health care."

For a slightly different perspective, look here. [h/t Carpe Diem] Yes, and this can only be done if the four points above are addressed. Otherwise, you do what you did and you get what you got.


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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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- O. Henry
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)