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So Dear Flaco,

You have a dear fellow employee at your place of business.  I seem to remember that she has health insurance, right?  And, some time ago, she became sick and went to the doctor’s office.  There, the doc determined that she needed a shot of some kind and administered said shot.  Right?

And then she got sick?

Which caused her to undergo a hospital stay that ended up costing her ~9 grand.

Right?  Am I close?

And you seem to think that this is an unfair burden to be placed upon this woman/girl so early in life.  That somehow, this run of bad luck could somehow destroy her or set her far enough back that she may never recover?

So now, some questions.

  1. Has she disputed the bills with both the hospital AND the insurance company?
  2. Is she taking full advantage of both HSA and FSA accounts?
  3. Given that she has disputed the bills and lost, has she gone to the hospital to work out a payment plan?
  4. Has she investigated local, state or federal aid packages that may ALREADY be available?
  5. Are their local charities that she may apply for?
  6. Does she have family that can help her out?

If she has gone through all of that work and is still staring at 9 grand, do you really think that it’s unfair for her to have to pay for that?  Why?  If it’s unfair that she should have to pay for that, why is it fair that I have to pay for that?

Love,

-pino

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Dear Flaco,

There are two things that are disingenuous about the abortion debate that focuses on a woman’s right to decide what to do or what not to do to her own body.

1.  That it is her body.

2. That it is strictly a choice.

See, I have found when I discuss this subject with people and they are trying to defend a pro-choice position, they are arguing in a manner that suggests that before they obtained the data and studied it carefeull and THEN arrived at a decision, they went about it in exactly the opposite way.  That is, they decided on what their position was and are now trying to go back and manufacture arguments that would support that conclusion.

I see this all the time in the

They are trying to control my reproduction organs

or

This is my body, I’ll do with it as I please.

You see, I have had trouble with these arguments in the past because, in the end, I kinda agree with them.  That is, I don’t think that someone should control the reproductive organs of a woman; or a man for that matte, but we’ll stick to the gals for now.  In that vein, I don’t think that you or I or the government should be able to tell a woman when to or when not to get pregnant.  Further, I don’t think that woman should be told in which manner and with whom they should get pregnant.  In short, the decisions regarding their “reproductive organs” should be their own.

Second is the concept that “my body is my body”.  Again, I agree with this concept.  I think that I should be allowed to smoke, or not.  Drink or not, too much or none at all.  McDonald’s hamburger?  Gimme 3!  Spinach–None for me thanks.  No one disagrees, this is your body, do with it what you want.  Go for it!

The rub, or course, is what happens when you make those decisions, you know, using or not your reproductive organs, and the whole “it’s my body” thing.  At that point, we leave behind the pre-existing assumptions andf enter into a whole new realm of new assumptions.  You see, we are now dealing with another human life.  And THAT life brings with it the benefit of her own rights.  In fact, the very same rights that the woman holding that life is claiming.  You see, life begins at the moment of inception.  It is at that time, that our Creator, the Great Architect of the Universe, sets in motion the the growth of a child.  Within mere moments, a heart beat is present, fingers and toes form and the brain begins to form.  And when that life is brought into being, we have an individual.  And that individual is worthy of her rights.

So, in the last several months, I have seen why I have been at odds with myself over this.  Why I have at the same time sided with the choicers who claim rights to their body and at the same time side with the lifers that claim each life is entitled to their own rights.  And it is this; that no one is forcing a woman to or not to enter into a situation whereby life would be the logical result.  The government is not mandating that a woman have children.  Further, the government is not mandating that a woman can NOT have children.  It is, in the end, only mandating that when she chooses to bring that child into existence that she not kill it.

And so we come to the part of the story where we show that pro-choice really means less choice.

NYTimes via TCIC

Paragraphs rendered.

Ms. Beyel, a 32-year-old with wavy brown hair and a purple T-shirt, stood outside the clinic, which offers abortion, birth control and pregnancy tests, one day this week and beamed a smile at an approaching woman. “Miss?” Ms. Beyel said, her smile widening. “I just want you to know that there are alternatives.”

Sometimes they try to persuade women to enter a run-down white R.V., parked across the street from a White Castle around the corner, where they offer free ultrasounds.

Shatih Tyner, 15, was steps away from entering the clinic with her boyfriend when Ms. Beyel stopped them on the sidewalk and persuaded Ms. Tyner to have an ultrasound.

After emerging from the R.V., Ms. Tyner decided against an abortion.

“It changed my mind, the sonogram, because I’ve seen my baby and I want to keep it,” she said on her way back to the subway.

Here we have someone, any someone, standing outside of a clinic that offers abortions and is advocating for another, step back this may hurt–another CHOICE!.  Crazy bitch!  And volunteers reveal that when women are shown a picture of their baby it’s a powerful revalation.  That woman may decide to CHOSE, to keep their baby.

For more fun, see this strategy that our pro-choice{?} use to advance their cause:

Abortion rights proponents leapt into action, fearing that too-real images of unborn fetuses might cost them popular support. After pressure from pro-choicers, G.E. pulled the TV ads, pulled testimonials from its website, and began marketing the technology solely for medical purposes. Several states banned the use of ultrasound for “nonmedical” purposes, including New York, where then–Attorney General Eliot Spitzer subpoenaed 34 anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers for “practicing medicine without a license” because they used the technology.

Whole article here.

Dude, in the end, life is about-well, it’s about life.  And we can’t just go and let people snuff out life.  And you know that.

Love,

pino

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Dear Flaco,

So, now that Obama has managed to Socialize the auto industry, the bank industry and the insurance industry he is going after the health care industry.  If you listen to him, or to the news, which is really just the White House Public Relations division, you hear that our nation’s health care industry is broken.  That we pay too much and receive not enough.  In fact, I think if you listen long enough or careful enough you will eventually hear the evidence.

The United States has the highest health care costs and we rank 37th in quality.

And it kinda ends there. As if no further proof is needed or required.  We pay the most.  And we suck.  End of debate.

So, the answer is, or has to be, that the government is required to step ion and fix the problem.  Heck, not even that, we’re supposed to believe that the government is required to take on the problem.  In short, becaue we feel some how that the state of the industry is in such disarray, we are left with NO other option but to let the government step in and run the place.

All of this is weighty and tough stuff.  No one thinks that health insurance or medical care should be taken lightly.  So, let’s go through the process, shall we, at how Obama arrives at his conclusion:

  1. Wow.  We pay the most!
  2. Hmmm, but we don’t RANK 1st.
  3. Determine valid metrics to identify real goals and measures.
  4. Validate statistics.
  5. Study the industry.
  6. Identify strengths and weaknesses.
  7. Conduct process analysis to identify possible solutions.
  8. Matrix solutions with costs and risks.
  9. Create a list of ranked solutions.
  10. Work down that list.
  11. Realize that no solution can work; farm out the responsibility to the government.

How does THAT work?  How is it, that given the critical nature of this whole conversation, almost zero work has been done?  Why do we simply read an excerpt from some source that we don’t investigate, ignore ALL other real life steps and just skip ahead to government must assume responsibility for this situation.

I challeneg you to begin to break this down like you would in the business world.  In a “health care world”, what is it that we expect?  How would we measure that?  How do we think that should be delivered?  What are we trying to attain?

Before you tell me that the only fix is government, you should at least tell me what’s broken and why.

Love,

-pino

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Dear Flaco,

All things have value.  A baseball card, a hammer.  Minutes on a cell phone.  Your time, my time.  And the weird one; money.  Money has value.  It can be bought, sold and even invested so as to make more of it.  And when there is more of it then there used to be, we say that we are creating wealth.  When there is less of it than there used to be, pay attention here Obama lover, we say that we are destroying wealth.dollar

Now, if you can, just for a second, pretend that we stopped building stuff.  Doing stuff.  Making things.  Changing them from what they are now to what they could be.  That is, we just trade money for things that already are.  We have zero wealth growth.  All the money that was is the money that is.  And that, my skinny friend, is no good.  What we like better is for the pool of money to grow.  We want there to be MORE of it than there used to be.  This is a good thing and is what we mean when we say the economy is growing.

So, check it out.  There are people who are kinda bad with money; me.  And then there are people who are good with money; my wife.  And then there are people who are good at BUILDING money; yea ol’ entrepreneur.  This is the guy that takes random stuff that cost him $x and turns it into something that he can sell for $x+y dollars.  When y is large enough for him continue sacrificing time and risk, he will continue to generate y.  And when y is either small or negative, our hero will decide to shutter his shop and go back to work.  So, through natural selection, the strong vibrant businesses will succeed.  And the better the business, the better that success signa, will be—he will have made more money.

cobblerThe government.  Now the government does 1 of 2 things.  It either takes money and spends it, often foolishly.  Or, or, and this may be the worst of the two, it tries to make money by setting up it’s own shop.  But when it does this, it legislates it’s own competition out the door.  There is no competition, so there can be no y signals to let us know if the government is doing a good or bad job.

So, one the one hand, we have people who have more y than other people; because the are good at growing y.  And then we have the government who either wastes y or prevents other people from having the shot at presenting more y than Uncle Sam.

Now, here is why we wanna reduce taxes on the rich:

  1. If we tax the amount of y enough, at some point the shop keeper will tip.  What’s left after taxes is not worth the risk of opening his business.  And so he closes.  Or, doesn’t open to begin with.
  2. If the shop keeper is able to make y as a function of x, then by reducing his supply of money, he isn’t able to make the amount of y he should have.
    1. If you can make 10% profit and have 1000 bucks, you end with $1,100.  But if good ‘ol Unc’ takes 300 first, you only start with $700.  You now make $770.  So the State cost the state 30 dollars.
  3. The more you give to the government, the more the government wastes.  Either by foolish spending.  Or worse, by destroying the value by trying to go into business itself.

So you see my foolish foolish friend, this has NOTHING to do with setting up a system where by the rich just continue to exploit the poor.  You libtards may think that’s how it works because that’s how it looks, or perhaps more accurately, that’s how it feels.

jordanWhen you are down by 1 with 2.3 seconds left, you give the ball to Jordan everytime.  EVERY single time.  Why?  Because he has demonstrated that he knows how to make shots.  I, on the other had, demonstrated very early on that I don’t know how to make shots.  The same is true about money.

Does it suck that there are Jordans out there when it comes to making money and we are’nt one of ’em?  Maybe-sure.  But by trying to “level the playing field” we just jack it all up instead.

Love,

-pino

p.s. by the way, even when it’s Jordan making all the points, the rest of the team still gets a ring.  And so it is here in America.  Only in America can it be said that the poorest among us have cell phones, dvd players and air conditioning.

But hey, if I suck at basketball, so should you!

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Dear Flaco,

So, I need to letcha in on a little secret.  As a conservative, it’s not my goal to make the rich richer or keep the poor poorer.  I don’t think it’s okay to ignore those in need, ignore those who require help.  I really really wanna make the world a better place for as many people as possible.  And really, that means that I want the world to be better for more people tomorrow than it was for people yesterday.

In short:  You haven’t cornered the market on touchy feely, needs of the people, make the world a better place.

However, you and I do differ in one key  quality:  I don’t think that you can change natural law.  You, on the other hand, do.  Imagine my folly, when announcing that I would love to fly–like Superman-I learned that gravity was not subject to toggling “off”.

Back to health care, just for a second try to stay with me here.  Let’s use our favorite topic of all time–beer.  Good ‘ol faithful beer.  So, here is something that we love like and feel that we really kinda need want.  With me still?  Okay okay, sorry.  Go grab a beer.  I’ll wait.

Come one….you don’t need a glass!  Just get back over here!

Alright, back to it.  Beer.  In demand.  As in, really in demand.  So, why don’t they just raise the price of beer?  I mean, why bother with making beer that people wanna drink, just go out and raise the price.  Budweiser, in their annual meeting,  should simply decide what kind of revenue they would like to make and simply raise the price of their beer to accomplish that goal.  Serious.  These CEO’s are so wicked and evil, why should they allow the price of beer to dip to the levels that a working Joe <there’s Palin again–gotta love her> can afford it?

Ya wanna know why?  Because as soon as they do that, other beer companies come in and say, well, hell, I’ll charge just a dime less, steal all his customers.  And the rest, you see, is just an excercise in supply and demand.

So now, back to health care.  When a doctor puts out a shingle, he is proud, takes a picture and sends it to his mom!  He should be, big day, champion day!  And why not?  He’s worked hard, struggled hard to finish school, and boy did he, years and years of it.  And now, finally, he has his own—-wait, umm, yeah, about that med school.  Our hero has some bills to pay, and they ain’t no small kinda bills.  So now, he nervously looks at his shingle and, oops, notices he’s the only one on the sidewalk!  No sick people yet.  But, by God, he’ll make his money.  Oh yeah, he’ll make his.  But they never come.  Why?  Cuase he charges too much!  Nah–couldn’t be that!  That’s free market crazy talk!

But it’s true.  Even evil doctors have to obey the law of the market.  And in the end, they will only charge what the market will bare.

And I hear it already–sigh–.
The INSURANCE companies are the ones that are billing us, not the doctor!!!  When we sign up for insurance we are forced to see a doctor, can’t see another one, and he is now free to charge whatever he wants!!!  Damn it, damn it all!!  Evil evil rich!

And lets not forget, shall we, that precisely because of this free market system, all of us victims of the evil rich health care machine are the healthiest people in the history of the planet.  Ever.

But, alas, I have to admit it.  Here, I think, you are right.  The prices we pay ARE too high.  The system does need work.  We can remove costs from the whole process just about everywhere you look.  But the dirty secret is that the best way to do this is NOT by increasing government.  It’s by decreasing government.  It’s by allowing new players to enter into the market.  Allowing new insurance methods to be invented and refined.  It’s about letting customers, US, demand lower prices and higher quality by giving us the biggest hammer known–choice!

So you see, in the end, we are the same.  We both want Molly to be able to go see a doctor and walk away with good service and care at a fair price.  We just differ in the method.  I wanna let what has worked in every other niche of the market work here.  You wanna give this responsibility to the government, so wildly successful as to create this monster: Medicare.

Medicare wastes more money than any other federal program, yet its strong public support leaves lawmakers hesitant to address program effi­ciencies, which cost taxpayers and Medicare recip­ients billions of dollars annually.

For example, Medicare pays as much as eight times what other federal agencies pay for the same drugs and medical supplies. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently com­pared the prices paid by Medicare and the Depart­ment of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care program for 16 types of medical equipment and supplies, which account for one-quarter of Medicare’s equip­ment and supplies purchases. The evidence showed that Medicare paid an average of more than double what the VA paid for the same items. The largest difference was for saline solution, with Medicare paying $8.26 per liter compared to the $1.02 paid by the VA.

Does it feel good to have the people we elect do things that seem to help us?  Sure, hell yeah!  But when we start letting the government do things that it wasn’t created to do, we run into the danger of having that government run programs whose end result is not, in this case better health care, but rather is more votes.

Serious.  DMV.  You don’t think that in FIVE minutes you couldn’t positively affect the wait time and reduce it by 50%?  5 minutes.  And you want these people to run your health care.

You.  Are crazy.

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Dear Flaco,

Awesome.

So, when experts in 1988 claim that the temperate in 2008 is going to be .5 C higher, we should just never check up on them, right?  We should just say, WOW!  And then faint.  Wake up and elect Obama.  God forbid that people would actually capture the prediction, then, ya know, record the actual temperature, and then – SHOCKER – compare them to see if this expert knows what the fuck he is talking about?

Nah.  Let’s elect Obama instead.

Truth and facts never enter the liberal mind!

And now Molly.  Tragic story.  Really is.  And I feel bad for a 22 year old kid tryin’ to make it saddled with 9 large in debt.

Specific, here is some advice.

However, giving me a story of one girl doesn’t change cold hard facts:

  1. Health or medical care is limited
  2. We need/want more of it than can be supplied
  3. It must be rationed
  4. When that rationing method is price, it leads to lower prices and more availability

Serious.  Stop sending me this minor league business.  Give me facts.

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Dear Flaco,

daschleAs the Blessed Leader is now looking at his third failed major cabinet post, we should review perhaps the biggest blow so far; the failure of Tom Daschle.  You see, this post was his for the taking.  In fact, if there was a man that was made for Team Obama to head up Health and Human Services, it was Mr. Daschle.  He was the majority leader in the Senate and had the respect of his peers.  Then, when he was kicked out of office by his voters left office he became a public speaker, and champion of a new Federal Health Care system; a reform if you will.  He was, in short, ready to step into the job of a lifetime.  A job that would transform the way in which health care is distributed in this country.  A move that would take it from where it is now, in the hands of the private sector, and move it into the realm of the State.

However, more interesting than the man is the concept.  Universal Health Care.  Socialized Medicine.  Whatever name it goes by, it won’t go–well, away.

Economics:  The study of the use of scare resources which have alternative uses.

This is the definition of economics in a pretty basic book by the name “Basic Economics”.  Fascinating read; I suggest it.  But when you think of that definition, it kind of, or should, strike you what we are dealing with here.  It doesn’t have to be money.  It can be the study of how a teacher runs his classroom.  He only has so much time and resources and, much of it, has alternate uses – he could something else for another child.  Or, you could use it in game theory.We use it everyday in working through our “Honey Do” list….in fact, all of life, really, is a study in economics.  Scare resources; time.  And alternate uses; drinking beer or painting the baby’s room.

health-careAnd so it is with health care.  We have a scare resource; medicine, doctors, nurses and beds.  And all of it has alternate uses.  A nurse could instead choose to become a lawyer, a doctor a fighter pilot.  Money or land spent to build a hospital could be used to build an apartment, or an office building or a football stadium.  It’s all there, this — this study of things.  This demand for something that we don’t have enough of.  And in the end, that’s where we are.  We have a demand for medical services and we don’t have enough supply.    And if we can agree on that, we have agreed on one of the most important aspects of this debate.  An aspect that no politician, Mr. Daschle himself in fact, will ever admit.  Because, you see, when we have less of a thing than we want, we have to somehow hand it out so that someone doesn’t get everything that they want.

Please, please make sure that we are in agreement on this.  We have more need/want than we have supply.  There are more peope that want to see a doctor of some kind that we have ability to see.  And that might be because we have too few docs, or beds or simply time in the day.  Whatever, there is more need/want than supply.

This is important for this reason.  Once we agree on the supply demand thingy, all that’s left is to determine how we ration it.  Once we agree that we simply don’t have enough, all we have to do is determine how we will figure out who won’t get what.  And ya know what?  The single best system for determining that is the market.  Free market.  People will automatically regulate themselves and adjust so that supply meets demand.  It does everywhere else.  The best recent example is gasoline.  Consider this:

I love my bride.  We wake at 06.30 am and get ready for the day together.  Then, we take the kids to school and we go to work where we spend the next 8-10 hours toiling away forspouse the man no more than 50 feet apart.  After work, it’s dinner, the kids and bedtime.  Serious.  From midnight to 23.59, I am withing shouting distance of my wife 95% of the time.  That’s a LOT of  time dammit!  And so it is, that while we work at the same place, eat at the same place and drop off/pickup kids at the same place, I insist that we do NOT carpool.  Brotha needs his minutes yo!  But when gas starting running $3.50 to $4.00 a gallon, I relented.  I would work VO while she went to the office!  hehehe, but you get the point.  I self adjusted as the price became to much to bear, as did the entire market, and low and behold, gasoline went down.

So it is with the health care market.  I have been over the numbers before.  Many many of the “47 million uninsured” are uninsured due to choice!  They choose NOT to obtain that insurance.  Some can afford it but have decided not to obtain it.   Others, LOL, others have the government assistance available to them but refuse to do the needful to get it.  Point is, many Americans don’t WANT it.

And so, we have people come and say that they are going to offer some panacea of Nationalized Health Care.  It sounds good, it does.  But how, when we have accepted that we don’t have enough of it, are we going to provide it to everyone?  How are we going to ration this scare resource so that it gets distributed to people?  The answer, if the state is involved, is through political favors, bribes, wait times or “cost effective” measures.  None of which are better than the system we have today.

Look, is there room for improvement?  Yes.  Most certainly that improvement comes in the form of LESS government and not more.

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