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Archive for economy

Healthcare and the Economy

Another illustration for Centennial Review. Two excellent articles written by both an economist and a doctor.

http://www.ccu.edu/centennial/review/oct12/

First, this illustration hit close to home. Many of you know my long and extended medical history. I was born with an agressive auto-immune disease which still sends me to the hospital 2-3 times a year. The past month has been especially trying and there is some talk for additional surgery. So when it came time to needed some artistic “inspiration” for this illustration, I had plenty.

(Not to bore you with personal details, but I have made a cute little video that talks a bit about my story on YouTube. If you want more, go here:

http://youtu.be/9nnCIWCpQ-s)

So many times, Democrats are confounded as to why I would be opposed to Obamacare, or the poorly titled “Health Care Affordability Act.” Wouldn’t it benefit somebody like me the most? I haven’t read the bill, but any law that takes over 2700 pages to write scares the heck out of me. That’s too much legislation and bureaucracy for governmental abuse, not to mention trying to keep track of everything in order to remain compliant.

Yes, the old system was broken. The biggest issue was pre-existing conditions. When you have an entire industry denying a certain group of people their product because of how they were born (as it were in my case), you have a problem. I don’t know how to resolve the issue, honestly. I understand that in the long run, I’m a liability to the company and they have to pay for my care by taking premiums from somebody else’s. Perhaps there is some good with Obamacare in addressing this issue.

Which brings me to the next point. Prices were way too inflated with the old system. Having been in the system all my life, there are a few reasons why this could be.


A) Hospitals treat and then bill and you never know what you are going to get until three months down the road, when you are still recovering and they are demanding payment from some doctor who looked at your chart in another room and sends you a $200 review bill. It’s really aggrevating when you get 15 of them from the same hospital. It’s like free money. Look at the chart, bill the patient, pay for your golf trip. It has happened to me frequently, in some hospitals more than others. I’ve tried calling to contest the bill and this practice, and the receptionist promptly sent me to collections.

You want to reduce costs? Require an upfront cost to the patient or their family and have them sign off before being allowed to proceed with any procedure or treatment (emergencies excepted, of course). Let the patient decide whether they want the doctor from the third floor looking at their chart.

Disclose upfront all of your costs for standard procedures such as bone setting, colonoscopies, xrays, etc. Let the patient then go to the hospital with the best combination of rates and service. This will drive costs down. Competition always does.

B) Cut frivolous and false malpractice lawsuits.  Anybody can file a suit for whatever contrived reason. Often they are settled out of court, even if the doctor is sure of his innocense, just because it’s cheaper than taking it to court and winning! I have an idea. Let whomever brings forth a lawsuit do so knowing that if they lose, they have to pay the doctor’s and hospital’s court and lawyer costs. This will kill the incentive for fake lawsuits. This will lower malpractice insurance dramatically, which the doctor and hospital can then pass on to the patient.


The problem with Obamacare is that neither A nor B can really be found in those 2700 pages. Simple fixes we can implement right away that will start to lower overall costs. Why aren’t they there?

American has the shortest waiting time of any industrialized nation. Those countries that have national health care have wait times that are 5 times or greater. For a country that is as large as ours, imagine how long those wait times will end up being. This could be the difference between life and death for me. I might have to outsource my healthcare overseas, like everything else the government meddles in.

Obamacare also promises rationing. Obama himself even said Granny should take the pain pill once she hits a certain age. For somebody who is a perfect candidate as an individual who should allow natural selection to finally do me in, you can see why I’m not jumping up and down for joy.

Obamacare is now the law of the land. I’m hoping that because we are Americans, that somehow things will be different. Maybe we will still have the greatest healthcare in five years from now. In which case, I hope to still be around to entertain you with my latest cartoons.

The Bain of the Political Season

It is absolutely frustrating having to listen to the droning back and forth between the Romney camp and the Obama camp about his time at Bain Capital. Really?  Have politics denigrated to the point where we are arguing over stupid dates of when somebody left their job ten years ago? I am really trying hard to figure out how this is relevant to saving our country.

I understand the arguments. The Obama camp has accused Romney of a felony for saying he left the company at one date, but then kept working. Typical leftist smear, and even after Romney has come out on CNN to disprove all of Obama’s accusations, the media is continuing to run with the story.

Shame on Obama for this kind of smear politics! But double shame on Romney for getting himself dragged into it. I get it, at some point you have to stand up and say, look, I’m being completely misrepresented here. But come on, this argument has been going on for far too long, can we start talking about issues again? If I were Romney, there are so many other positives about his record that I would parade instead.

The biggest argument Democrats are propping is that Bain shipped jobs overseas while Romney ran Bain. Conservatives countered by saying this occurred after he left in 1999. But aren’t they both missing the point? What about all of the American jobs that Bain DID create? This record is overwhelmingly positive.

And so what if jobs got shipped overseas? Is that not a reflection of just how difficult it has become to hire American help? Between the overinflated union salaries, the herculean hoops and regulations, and the heavy tax burden, it’s becoming harder and harder to keep jobs in America. Certain city governments in America promise to audit all business owners and make their lives an accounting nightmare. And that’s just at the city level. Keeping track of all the different stupid taxes at all the different levels has become a headache. You’ve got property taxes (which are much higher for commercial than residential space), usage taxes (if you don’t know what usage taxes are, look it up, it is one of the most cumbersome and burdensome taxes out there), sales tax, income tax, taxes for hiring an employee, taxes for making certain products, taxes for using certain products, taxes for small animals that live in the area, and on and on it goes!

Then we have all of the regulations, for some industries, so many, that failure to adhere is a certainty. And we are surrounded by people more than willing to enforce these burdens through litigation, penalties and fines. As a result, most businesses simply will cease to exist if they DIDN’T outsource, at least at some level.

It amazes me on how completely ignorant of business most of these Democrat talking heads are. If they’d ever been in charge of a large and successful organization, they would know that the head does not make a lot of the intermediary decisions. These belong to the managers underneath him, and even smaller decisions belong to the managers underneath them. If the head were to micromanage every decision, he would never sleep, eventually burn out and the company would collapse. Thus, chances are high that if in fact overseas hiring did occur during Romney’s tenure at Bain, he probably was not even aware it.

And even if he was, it says to me, more than anything, that he’s a good business person. It shows me that he is willing to take whatever steps are necessary to keep his businesses alive. I would question his judgment if he chose NOT to send certain jobs overseas, ESPECIALLY if the end result was the loss of a business. Which provides jobs for the American people: A business that has had to outsource some of its labor, or a business that no longer exists? It also says to me that Romney must personally know of all of the legal headaches to keeping a job in America, and thus he would know exactly how to fix those issues in order to attract businesses back to America! Right now, I’d much rather have a shrewd manager in our oval office than the economics ignoramus we currently have.

I don’t remember where I saw this, perhaps it was an Obama ad, but basically somebody mentioned that while Romney was at Bain, he made a 15 million dollar profit, therefore, he is not fit to serve as president. I was floored when I heard this. Are you serious? That’s exactly why he SHOULD be president! This demonstrates success. Do we not want success leading us? It demonstrates an understanding of how to manage money. In our financial crisis we are in, doesn’t it make sense that the most perfect person to get us out of this mess is somebody who knows how to do it?

But what angered me more than the fact that they were saying this is that they are gambling on Americans finding the ability to make a profit to somehow be repulsive. Have we really gotten to this point in America, where success is vilified and making a profit is immoral, perhaps even felonious? We have an entire political party that thinks that this is how to get elected, and to me, that is a sad, sad thing.

I don’t normally leave such long blog entries, but this election cycle has me unnerved. While we keep on focusing on stupid minutia such as when Romney left Bain, the real issues that are at the heart of our American existence continue to be ignored.

As our economy spins out of control, the persistent argument I hear from Obama lovers is “Obama saved us from going into Depression! Can you imagine how bad it would be if he HADN’T done the things he did?” As a rational person, I’m really trying to make sense of this statement. Not being an Obama fan, I truly wonder if these people actually believe what they are saying.

Obama takes office at 7% unemployment. It’s now close to 10%. The housing market has tanked since the passage of the stimulus bills. Commodity prices have soared. And Tim Geitner tells David Gregory that if Obama hadn’t stepped in, unemployment would easily be 15%, as if he has some sort of magic powers to know these kinds of things.

In my mind I started thinking about the logic. Suppose I had a skin rash. A doctor prescribes a cream. When I start using it, the rash worsens. As a rational person, what would I assume? That the cream is working, and that if I hadn’t used it I might be far worse? No, we would immediately get rid of that cream and find something else. So the question is, why doesn’t the same logic apply to Obama and the economy?

Thus is the thinking behind this cartoon.

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