Monday, September 21, 2009

A Discussion of Health Care

Most of the people talking about Health Care have had nothing but company provided Health Insurance. I however, have experienced the entire spectrum and now exist on Medicare/Medicaid. Prior to 1968 I was, for the most part, covered by my Parent’s Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance. Between 1968 and 1984, I worked for General Tire in Akron, Ohio, and had wonderful health insurance. In 1968 once I met personal medical expenditures ($100 @ individual or $300 @ family) I was reimbursed 100% for any further costs. When I left in 1984 to work in California, I don’t remember if the limits had changed, but the reimbursement was changed to 80%. I had just recovered from a major shoulder operation; I was 37 years old and in great physical shape.

While I was in California, from 1984 until 2000, I worked for three different companies and had a couple of choices but the best for the money was always the HMO, Kaiser Permanente. I found out that you had to be careful about which Doctors treat you. I found some really good ones but I also seemed to be lucky enough to usually get the ones that wanted the large bonuses available to those doctors who could save the company money. When I left California I had gained 100 pounds and therefore developed Sleep Apnea (diagnosed when I was almost dead according to the ENT that initiated my testing); I had been treated for depression during this time when the depression was caused by lack of sleep; I had type II diabetes, which had not been diagnosed, I had a skin infection that they treated as a rash (I still have this but not as bad due to the diabetes). I also had a ruptured disc in my back that had been misdiagnosed as a sprain for six months and a punctured eardrum from having a tube put in my ear that has never healed. I had been diagnosed has having bronchitis two times when I actually had pneumonia and had been treated for an ulcer when I had GIRD (never had X-rays).

When I came back to Ohio in 2000, I was sick (Pneumonia again) but had no insurance at all. I went to the Free Clinic in Akron and was checked for Diabetes; for Pneumonia; and Gird. In Columbus, Ohio I finally got insurance though the State of Ohio and it was good, but I became disabled because of all the health problems along with a knee that had been operated upon twice that got diagnosed (when I had the State Insurance) as having Degenerative Joint Disease and recommended for knee replacement. That was in 2006 just before my being certified as unable to work by State of Ohio Doctors and released (I had until 2009 to get better and return to the same post I had held, but I got worse instead).

I was not qualified for Medicare at that time, so I was placed on Medicaid. I could not afford the Spenddown each month to receive Medicaid Benefits because it was set at everything I made over $420 @ month (which was wrong I found out later). Since my rent alone was $500 @ month, I applied and got accepted to a waiver part of Medicaid that offered more benefits for a lot less and eventually I qualified for Medicare and now that is my primary insurance with Medicaid as my secondary.

Since I am married and my wife is not on Medicare or Medicaid, I had to provide for her. We found Doctor’s, in both Columbus & Akron, Ohio) that charge based on the ability to pay and we pay $20.00 per visit for her. I carry a $127.00 per month major medical policy for Emergency Hospitalization and we purchase her medications at $4.00 a month each for five prescriptions.

I gave all of this background to show you I have been under all types (including none) Health care. I found out about some facts that many people do not know because it is not information freely given. One fact is that since the Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement is something like 67% of the billing, most hospitals and doctors pad their bills (for all patients) and if you tender them 75% of your bill (when you have no insurance) in one payment they will consider the bill paid in full. That’s because everyone’s bill is padded because the Hospitals, Doctors and Technicians do not know what your insurance (if you have it) will actually pay and they actually get more when you pay them 75% of the bill in one payment. Therefore, when Politicians suggest cutting reimbursements, yes, the will save that money but the providers will either pass the difference on to the patient or stop taking Medicare/Medicaid patients. This affects the President’s pledge that you can keep your same doctor because no one knows if your doctor will take the reduced reimbursements (for either Medicare or Medicaid). If the cost is passed on, people will either have to pay higher co-payments or States will discontinue what they cannot afford. So either the patient pays more out of pocket (another promise that Barack Obama cannot make) or the patient has to opt for the Government plan which is the Left Wing radicals’ hidden agenda to move to a single payer plan.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stop the Corruption

I watched the Glenn Beck 9/12 program Saturday, September 12th and I agree that he hit the nail on the head about the biggest problem in our government; corruption. I feel that this corruption is being facilitated by the greed of Congress for money and power along with obfuscation and manipulation of actual legislation. In order to help remove this corruption from Washington, DC, we must implement the following changes as soon as possible:

First, we need to install real election reforms that limit the money that can be spent on all Federal campaigns and eliminate the “coffers” of individual candidates. Each candidate is to have the same resources as any other and must adhere to spending limits. Also, I really don’t see the validity of the “Two Party” system anymore. Since there are so many small, independent parties, we need to lump all Independents into one “party” and run a primary to select one independent candidate for each office just as we elect one from the Democrats and Republicans. Campaign monies need to be provided and regulated by the Treasury department and funded by taxpayer dollars only, no more “Hard” or “Soft” monies. No individual or group political commercials should be allowed to be broadcast during defined, election periods. This is not squashing freedom of speech any more than not allowing political posters within polling areas. The details need to be determined by a nation-wide, non-partisan vote to be reviewed prior to every Presidential election; every four years.

Second, since all election funds will be supplied by taxpayers and have spending limits, there will be no reason for allowing Lobbying of any kind in any area of our government; Congressional, Judicial and Executive. There should be punishments defined and enforced for both Government Employees and Lobbyists since it should be considered bribery.

Third, there needs to be term limits applied to the House and the Senate just as there is for the president. Also, their whole compensation and benefit packages need reforming. I realize that the idea was to compensate good people enough to attract and keep them in the government but it has, unfortunately, attracted too many corrupt people interested in accumulating wealth and power. Why should people accumulate fortunes in Government service when their “Bosses” are mired in low wages, suffer reduced or lost benefits and are more limited in their pension or SSA qualifications and payments? The position of “Speaker of the House” needs to be a single term limit, period. Otherwise this position needs to be voted by the people not the house majority party. This is too powerful a position to be appointed through politics.

Fourth, there needs to be moral statutes to which our Government officials should be held accountable. This should also apply to all presidential appointees.

Fifth, there will be no presidentially appointed “Czars”... The president can appoint as many individuals as he deems fit to be special advisors but the appointment of advisors that wield power is unconstitutional. Therefore, all advisors should be required to pass Senatorial scrutiny and investigation.

Sixth there needs to be extensive bill reform. Since, by the Constitution, all laws must originate in the House, no outside entity, such as the Apollo organization should be allowed to contribute to any bill let alone author them. The bills should be required to be written at a third grade level (I learned this in management classes). There can be no earmarks…these should be separate bills so nothing can be hidden in a bill and it can stand on its own merit. It needs to be restricted to a small number of pages and also to a small number of amendments (which would also be limited to a 3rd grade language level and number of pages; again, introduce new bills instead). All bills and amendments must be available for viewing and printing online for at least 10 working days prior to any discussion. This site must be available to the general public so people can read and submit their views and wishes to their representatives.

There are many more changes required, but I feel that these should be the first areas addressed and I feel that implementing these changes would do a lot to limiting corruption in our government. I left out change I believe need to be made to the Supreme Court but this area must be scrutinized as well but I would defer to the Judges, Lawyers and Constitutional Watch Dogs for guidance in this arena.