Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day of Thanksgiving

Every life as the ebb and flow of a great ocean 
Carries with it the joys and sadness of the human condition. 
Yet through it all we each have the good fortune 
To touch other lives. Friends, family and even strangers 
Cross our paths, and we may never know what gifts we have given them.

In like manner, they touch our lives, adding to our experience, 
Enlarging our world and with love make our place in it better. 
So on this day we gather with friends and relations 
To contemplate the gifts we have been given, and to give in return.

Ever mindful of those who could not be with us 
Those who are missed and those who have gone on before. 
To them we raise our glass 
As our hearts warm in the glow of their remembrance.

No matter how smooth or rocky our path has been, 
On this day, we give thanks for the opportunity to walk it. 
And fill our hearts with hope for the days ahead, 
That they be filled with joy and love and the simple fortune 
Of another day to tread the earth.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Tea Party is Alive and Well in Southwestern PA

No matter what James Carville may think, the Tea Party is alive and well. The Southwestern Pennsylvania Tea Party held an event in Greensburg, Pa on Saturday July 7th. About 1000 patriots filled St. Clair Park in the small Pennsylvania town.

Adam Schaeffer of the CATO Institute extolled the virtues of Pennsylvania's Educational Improvement Tax Credit program. The EITC helps students trapped in failing schools to attend the school that best fits their educational needs. Stressing the need to remove government from our educational system, Mr. Schaeffer discussed his work to expand and develop programs like the EITC that provide money for school choice without government intervention or mandates.

Ben Kinchlow, radio personality and author, delivered the keynote speech. Mr. Kinchlow talked about his youth and involvement in the civil rights movement. He delivered a resounding laugh line when he said he worked long and hard to get black people elected to office, and now he is working to get one out.

Mr. Kinchlow left us with this memorable quote, “When a government becomes powerful it is destructive, extravagant and violent; it is an usurer which takes bread from innocent mouths and deprives honorable men of their substance, for votes with which to perpetuate itself.” Though this could be said of our current government.” The quote is from Cicero about 56 B.C.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Solving the Health Care Problem All by Myself

The obvious solution to the health care problem is self-insurance. The Obama Tax is designed to effect those who are young, healthy, and can afford insurance. Who makes the decision about what someone else can afford, I don't know but that is beside the point. The point is that if one is young and healthy and can afford insurance, then one can probably afford to pay their medical bills, and in fact they probably DO pay them.

The folks running up the tab at emergency rooms are people who are young, healthy and CAN'T afford insurance, but don't yet qualify for medicaid.

If you think about Lasik eye surgery, it is a technique for correcting vision via laser surgery. Lasik is not covered by any insurance, it is an elective surgery. When it first became available, it cost somewhere around $5,000.00 per eye.

Today you can have both eyes done for less than $1,000.00. Why the price drop on a highly skilled high tech procedure? Market forces. Since the customer must pay for this procedure out of their own pocket, they will only pay a certain amount. As more physicians became proficient in the operation (increase in supply) the price went down (to meet demand).

If you study any elective procedure which is in demand, but not covered by insurance, you will find similar cost reductions.

The easiest way to reduce medical costs is to get rid of insurance altogether. The insurance companies won't like it, and I don't for a moment suggest doing that by government fiat, but if everyone was invested in a medical savings account that they had control of, was tax free, and could be used for any health related expenses, not only would everyone have coverage, but they would put downward pricing pressure on the entire health care sector. In addition, since everyone is paying for their own healthcare out of their own pocket as it were, they would tend to take better care of themselves. Everyone would have skin in the game.

For the truly incapable, some system for funding their Health Savings Account could be worked with a tax credit.

This eliminates the whole pre-existing condition argument, since it is your own money you are spending on your healthcare.

Average lifetime medical cost per person is roughly $360,000 according to NIH. If you would contribute $390.00 per month into this account even at a modest 3% return, you would have enough money to cover your lifetime medical costs. That is less than half the cost of an average insurance plan these days.

For those with employer based coverage, employers could either contribute to your HSA or they could just pay you more.