Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back to the 2010 Budget - Department of Health and Human Services

Here's the link to the part of the budget specific to Health and Human Services. It's only 4 pages so I think it's worth a read.


But if you can't bring yourself to read 4 pages, here are the highlights provided on page 1.
Funding Highlights:
• Accelerates the adoption of health information technology and utilization of electronic health
• Expands research comparing the effectiveness of medical treatments to give patients and
physicians better information on what works best.
• Invests over $6 billion for cancer research at the National Institutes of Health as part of the
Administration’s multi-year commitment to double cancer research funding.
• Strengthens the Indian health system with sustained investments in health care services for
American Indians and Alaska Natives to address persistent health disparities and foster healthy
Indian communities.
• Invests $330 million to increase the number of doctors, nurses, and dentists practicing in areas
of the country experiencing shortages of health professionals.
• Supports families by providing additional funding for affordable, high-quality child care,
expanding Early Head Start and Head Start, and creating the Nurse Home Visitation program
to support first-time mothers.
• Strengthens the Medicare program by encouraging high quality and efficient care, and improving
program integrity.
• Invests over $1 billion for Food and Drug Administration food safety efforts to increase and
improve inspections, domestic surveillance, laboratory capacity and domestic response to
prevent and control food borne illness.

First of all, I don't support government funded research of diseases. People don't need to be compelled to give to research, they will do it as they see a need. I highly encourage private efforts to raise funds for research. Look at how successful St. Jude's is at raising money for research and treatment of kids with cancer. But I shouldn't jump on this one since it's unpopular to oppose government funding of diseases.

Here's what the highlights don't tell you but the website does. The budget establishes a reserve fund of $630 Billion over the next 10 years to "finance fundamental reform of our health care system that will bring down costs and expand coverage." If you think $630 Billion over 10 years is enough to provide universal health care, you're crazy. It will cost more than that a year most likely. And that creates health care rationing. Ask Canada or England or any other country with it. It might not be too bad for routine care, but what are you going to do if you get a life threatening disease or a pain causing condition or need a knee or hip replacement. Do you want the government telling you when you can get it taken care of? How would you like to have to live with pain unnecessarily for years before it gets treated? The older you are the further down on the list you go because you're expendable. How's that for a violation of your civil rights?

Pharmacy's have already started a solution to the problem with their generic drug programs thanks to the leading of the oh so evil Walmart. And I thought Walmart only hurt people. Now for doctors and hospitals to follow suit. Actually in essence they do. If you go to a hospital most if not all of them will offer you a self pay discount to pay up front if you don't have insurance, which is equal to or greater than the discount provided by membership to an insurance network. (The discounts very by negotiated rates with various insurance providers). If you don't choose this option and you go through the emergency room, they will set up a payment plan. Many doctors will also negotiate with you if you ask them.

Do you want to know what's driving up the cost of health care other than uncompensated care? I'm going to tell you whether you want to or not. Insurance companies have become the middle man between patients and providers. They are not non profit companies. They are for profit. So now two entities are trying to make a profit from providing you a service. Since you are the only one paying money, who do you think is paying for the profit to the insurance company and the doctor? You are, or your company is. The insurance company has to pay people to process and pay your claims and the doctors and facilities have to pay people to file claims to insurance companies including Medicare and Medicaid offered by the supposed cost saving government. What if patients and providers got together to eliminate the middle man for routine care? You wouldn't have to pay insurance premiums which you could now save to pay cash for your health care. Providers would now be competing for your business on price and quality of care. Perhaps they could create their own premium based care where you pay them $X/month and they agree to see you and treat you as needed. They could tailor levels of care/cost to your age, family history, or desires.

Step two is encourage health savings though health savings accounts like are available now. I hate to use the term "mandate," but this would be an acceptable alternative in my mind. Only rather than losing any unspent money, it should be able to roll over to the next year in an effort to save for additional unexpected medical emergencies that can arise in our lifetime that may fall outside of routine care. If a balance gets to a point where it exceeds a certain cushion amount, a person can take that money out tax free for educational use, or be rolled over to a 401k or traditional IRA. (This is working under the assumption that the Fair Tax isn't implemented)

This may not be a perfect plan but it's a start and it's a better and more cost effective alternative to government run health care.

Here's a reminder/plea for you to write your congressmen and let them know what you think about the budget. I believe they are supposed to vote on it later this week. Email them, Call them!!! Do it now!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

So You Think England is What America Should Be...

Have you heard or seen the speech given by Daniel Hannan to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown? Check it out. He was on Sean Hannity tonight and had a discussion about their oh so wonderful health care system that so many Americans seem to think is the ideal. Basically he said with their health care system the patients lose, the doctors lose, and the taxpayers lose. He experiences it first hand. By the way, he apparently supported President Obama's candidacy. Check out his speech.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The House Passes a 90% Tax Rate...Are You Concerned Yet?

Check out the following Time article.

Thursday after little debate the House passed a bill which would impose a 90% tax rate not only on the AIG bonuses that everyone is furious about, but on the majority of bonuses paid from the beginning of the year on bonuses to all employees making more than $250,000 a year working for companies that received more than $5 billion in TAR money.

Do any of you have a problem with this? What's to stop them from just imposing the same rate on every other company that didn't receive TARP money? What do you think would happen? Are you thinking that since you don't make $250,000 you don't care?

The article goes on to say that it will likely be modified in the senate to 70% on bonuses of $50,000 or more to companies that received $100 million. So this potentially broadens the number of people they will get but lowers the tax rate. I don't really know which is worse.

Here's my first problem. Everyone is so focused on these bonuses and how outrageous they are. Where is the outrage at congress for passing these bailouts to begin with that didn't exclude the bonuses. Where is the outrage that they didn't bother to read the whole bill before voting on it? Now that the country is on the hook for this money against the will of at least half of the people, maybe more, don't we need AIG and all these other companies that got TARP money to make money so they can "pay us back?" Or do we expect them to turn things around with executives and people that are worthless? What's to keep the people with the ability and know how to turn things around from going to another company that will pay them for their talent? You can't expect them to work for free. You wouldn't.

Of course the people that are part of the problem in these companies should be let go, but do you know which ones they are? I surely don't.

Are you concerned at all that congress would pass a 90% or 70% tax rate? Both sides of the aisle are on board with this. Are you? Are you aware that people that make over $250,000 a year generally employ other people through purchasing more services that they don't want to do themselves. They help keep those of us making anywhere from $15,000-$100,000 or more employed. Do you care? What happens to our salaries if theirs suddenly get sucked up in taxes? Do you think they'll stop paying for those services that they used to pay for? I do. But what do I know? I'm just a dog.

Are you upset? Do you care? And if you don't care, my question is Why Not? Do you think we should keep throwing good money after bad?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The New Budget!!! - EPA

Ok so I had to make a correction because while the budget passed for the rest of 2009 with a load of earmarks, all of my links and my comments relate to the 2010 budget being proposed. So there's still time for all of you to get pissed off and write your Representatives and Senators. In case you're curious though, here's how your Senators voted. You can also find the language of the bill. http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00096
And here's how your Representatives voted. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll086.xml
Now you know who to hassle.


I find the words "A New Era of Responsibility" to be sad because it doesn't mean personal responsibility as was touted in the campaign.

For the purposes of this post I will focus on the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency. Check it out here.


In short a 34% increase in the budget over the 2009 enacted level. REALLY 34% INCREASE!!! How is that responsible? I'd like you to pay special attention to the 2nd page of that section that discusses the enactment of cap and trade in an effort to "reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Before you jump on how terrible our air is how polluted this country is, I want you to get on a plane and go to Brazil. I say Brazil because I have been there. I'm guessing China and India will work too and just about anywhere in South America. Then tell me just how terribly dirty and disgusting our country is.

Cap and trade is the sneaky way of raising your taxes by increasing the costs to companies. But we learned in economics 101 that corporations don't pay taxes, people do. The ultimate end customer pays taxes. So your electric bill goes up because the cost of electricity goes up. You have 2 choices pay more or turn off the heat or air conditioner. I'm sure they'll love just how much money they get from us in the south. Don't worry the oil companies are evil too so they can't leave them out of the equation so those of you that don't ride your bicycle everywhere will get hit too.

Don't worry those are just 2 ways your monthly expenses will go up. I'm sure there are more. After all they have to pay for that 34% budget increase somehow, along with the deficit.

I'm tempted to start a petition for Texas to secede from the union. We've got plenty of land so anyone holding US citizenship will be welcome to relocate here if they wish.

The EPA part of the budget is just scratching the surface. Check it out. Get informed. I'll take a look at other parts to come. Write and call your Senators and Representatives to keep this from going though. This is bad for all of us regardless of what party you support if there's even one in Washington that you support anymore.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Political Parties - Constitution

Ok I'm going to break from my lecturing on contacting your representatives and caring about the economy and national debt and get back to reviewing the various political parties. Today I'm going to discuss the Constitution Party. Here's why this party is interesting to me. Politicians have to swear to uphold the constitution, so it seems to me that all politicians should be constitutionalists, but as we all know, that is not the case. What we do know, is that all parties have a few issues that they perceive are the most important and the Constitution party is no exception.

On the home page they list their 7 principles.
Seven Principles of the Constitution Party are:
1. Life: For all human beings, from conception to natural death;
2. Liberty: Freedom of conscience and actions for the self-governed individual;
3. Family: One husband and one wife with their children as divinely instituted;
4. Property: Each individual's right to own and steward personal property without government burden;
5. Constitution: and Bill of Rights interpreted according to the actual intent of the Founding Fathers;
6. States' Rights: Everything not specifically delegated by the Constitution to the federal government, nor prohibited by the Constitution to the states, is reserved to the states or to the people;
7. American Sovereignty: American government committed to the protection of the borders, trade, and common defense of Americans, and not entangled in foreign alliances.

What I will say about the list is that I think that focusing on a couple of them (Ok I'll say it, 1 & 3) distract from the common good of people in our nation. It really doesn't matter if I agree with them or not, fighting over these issues distract from the importance of the other 5. Many people will say that 2 contradicts what they say about 1 & 3 and so they may want to rethink their approach or their focus on 1 & 3, unless they want to give up the importance of liberty, which is what this nation was founded on.

The full platform can be found here and I will discuss some of them in more detail.
As always feel free to ask me my opinion on any that I don't call out here.

Bring Government Back Home
"Over time, the limitations of federal government power imposed by the Constitution have been substantially eroded. Preservation of constitutional government requires a restoration of the balance of authority between the federal government and the States as provided in the Constitution, itself, and as intended and construed by those who framed and ratified that document"

"We pledge to be faithful to this constitutional requirement and to work methodically to restore to the States and to the people their rightful control over legislative, judicial, executive, and regulatory functions which are not Constitutionally delegated to the federal government.We stand opposed to any regionalization of governments, at any level, which results in removal of decision-making powers from the people or those directly elected by the people."

I Lola for president, do completely agree with this. The representatives in the federal government have gotten so power hungry, on every side of the aisle, that average people feel powerless to do anything about it. Yeah you can go vote and you can contact your representatives, but the reality is they can ignore you if they feel like it. That said get out and vote and write your representatives and encourage your family and friends to do the same. If you elect me, I will work to fight this nonsensical abuse of power.

Cost of Big Government
"A legitimate and primary purpose of civil government is to safeguard the God-given rights of its citizens; namely, life, liberty, and property. Only those duties, functions, and programs specifically assigned to the federal government by the Constitution should be funded. We call upon Congress and the President to stop all federal expenditures which are not specifically authorized by the U. S. Constitution, and to restore to the states those powers, programs, and sources of revenue that the federal government has usurped."
"We call for the systematic reduction of the federal debt through, but not limited to, the elimination of further borrowing and the elimination of unconstitutional programs and agencies.
We call upon the President to use his Constitutional veto power to stop irresponsible and unconstitutional appropriations, and use his Constitutional authority to refuse to spend any money appropriated by Congress for unconstitutional programs or in excess of Constitutionally imposed tax revenue."

"The debt could be more rapidly eliminated if certain lands and other assets currently held by the federal government were sold, and the proceeds applied to the debt. This policy should be employed, and funds from the sale of all such assets should be specifically applied to debt reduction."

I don't really have anything to add to this other than the sale of certain federal assets being applied to the debt is a fabulous idea. Too bad that takes away power/control in their minds, so the likelihood of that happening....pretty slim in this puppy's opinion. But I support it completely.

Health Care and Government
"The Constitution Party opposes the governmentalization and bureaucratization of American medicine. Government regulation and subsidy constitutes a threat to both the quality and availability of patient-oriented health care and treatment."

"Hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers should be accountable to patients - not to politicians, insurance bureaucrats, or HMO Administrators."

"If the supply of medical care is controlled by the federal government, then officers of that government will determine which demand is satisfied. The result will be the rationing of services, higher costs, poorer results - and the power of life and death transferred from caring physicians to unaccountable political overseers."

Don't kid yourselves, this is a fact. If you're deemed too old or you're not considered a "national hero," you'll be bumped down on the list for something you need that is in demand. You want to be able to make your own health care choices not depend on the government to make them for you. They can't do it as well as you can.

This is where I'm going to stop as these get long, but I encourage you to take a closer look at their platform. But these 3 are a start that would get this country on the right track. My theory is some of the issues will be a little hard for some of you to take since we have been brainwashed to drift further and further from the constitution. I even stated my concerns with the focus. So even people that consider themselves conservative might find themselves disagreeing with some of the stated positions. Whether you agree completely or not, it is a fact that elected officials are supposed to swear to uphold the Constitution and the fact is they haven't been for years and years and years. Long before many of you were born.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Does Anyone Care About Fiscal Responsibility?


"WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will break a campaign pledge and sign a budget bill laden with millions in lawmakers' pet projects, administration officials said.

Administration budget chief Peter Orszag and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel both downplayed the $410 billion spending bill and signaled Obama would hold his nose and sign it. Orszag said: "We want to just move on. Let's get this bill done, get it into law and move forward.
Said Emanuel: "That's last year's business."

The House last week passed the measure that would keep the government running through Sept. 30, when the federal budget year ends. Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group, identified almost 8,600 specially sponsored projects totaling $7.7 billion; Democrats say the number is $3.8 billion...."

Go to the link for the full article.

Go here for published details on the budget. http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/

Here's what I'm noticing. Obama is blaming Bush for the economy and the inherited deficit etc. etc. etc. because so many of you are eating that up with your hatred for Bush. I don't care what your feelings are about Bush, but are you all really buying the mantra that spending even more money than Bush is a good solution to cut the deficit? Do you really think that increasing the taxes of only the rich is really going to pay for the deficit and cover the increased spending?

These "evil rich people" provide jobs for you and me. And if they don't provide jobs they are probably rich enough to figure out how ride out the administration and not pay taxes for the next 4 years by not selling their investments to realize capital gains. Let's not forget the stock market keeps dropping on a daily basis, that they will probably realize capital losses and if they do pay income taxes, their losses might counter act any income taxes they would have paid.

If you care one iota about fiscal responsibility and the government not going haywire with your tax dollars, tell your representatives and senators. They need to know where you stand. Regardless of what side of the aisle they are on. They have all been guilty of porky spending and they ALL need to know you care. Write them!!! Call them!!! NOW!!!



A word to those of you that said Clinton did it so I trust Obama. Clinton cut the military to virtually nothing and the world trade center was first bombed during his administration and then crashed into right after he left office. Obama may be talking about reducing troops in Iraq but he's talking about increasing the presence in Afghanistan. So that's not going to realize a lot of savings. Plus with all he's proposing to do, he'll replace spending in Iraq and Afghanistan with spending here. But you seem to be OK with that.

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