Health Care – POSITIVE and PRO-ACTIVE Solutions

By: Sean McCarthy

There is a truism in governance which states if you want to limit a particular behavior or activity then regulate it—if you want to severely limit it then tax it.  Consider the current “health care” debate this country is having.  Then reflect on the various “social engineering” initiatives this country has supported based on moral grounds:  Prohibition—alcohol; regulation and prohibition of various pharmaceuticals aka “drugs”; regulation of tobacco, and ever increasing taxing of its use; legalization and government funding of abortion; funding and support for various sex education programs for youth; government funding of planned parenthood, and single parent support initiatives.

The list above is but a few random selections.  Based on the examples I provided above, when the government both regulated and taxed an activity (tobacco use) the result was a dramatic reduction in the use of the offending product.  Those unable to break their habit pay a heavy tax to continue satisfying their urge.  Some may say this is an unjust taxation as typically smokers are from the lower strata of the socioeconomic status—we are penalizing the poor to fill government coffers.  What can I say?  What government tax or regulatory regime is fair?  When does it not take from one group and give to another group?  At least the behavior is legal and smokers are free to choose whether to pay the price or not, whereas many other tax schemes do not afford one a choice.  Note the failings of the other initiatives listed above—what do they have in common?  They are projects whose stated objectives are failing miserably.  It seems the more money we put into education, or child pregnancy prevention the worse the results.  There is no adverse tax, or regulation associated with those behaviors.  We don’t regulate or tax the activity—in fact we subsidize it and thereby encourage the behavior.

So, drawing empirically from the anecdotes above, one could surmise if you wish to limit a behavior, then you should regulate and tax it.  If you wish to encourage a behavior, then limit the regulation, tax, and cost associated with the activity.  (Hmmm, a paradoxical conundrum may exist; we publically deplore an activity, yet through our governmental action we are literally increasing the numbers of participants in said “bad” behavior.)

Applying this postulate to health care will allow an effective perspective to develop.  Let’s start by stating the goals for which we can all agree:

  1. Universal transportable coverage.
  2. Reasonable/affordable costs for both services and insurance.
  3. The best health services and medication available in the world.

We don’t want to see costs continue their rapid escalation; we don’t want to see rationing, or long waits for care; and we don’t want to see any degradation in the quality of care in our country as it exists today.  It is becoming readily apparent the various proposals being weighed in the Congress will not achieve the basic tenets we desire, nor will they guarantee no degradation of the current system we have.

The various options all discuss increased regulatory oversight of all aspects of our system; they include various increases in the tax burden for both small business and the currently insured.  Remember, taxing and regulating limit a behavior; I think we want to encourage citizens and business to be responsible and pay for their own insurance and health care.  So, if the solution is to reduce regulatory burden and the tax burden to incentivize a desired behavior, what would it look like?  John Mackey’s “The Whole Foods Alternative to Obamacare” (WSJ, August 12, 2009) provides a CEO’s (Whole Foods, national grocer) perspective with several private sector solutions:

-Encourage HSAs (Health Savings Accounts).  Similar to IRAs, individuals can deposit money directly tax free, as well as accepting deposits from their employer into this same account tax free.  The monies roll forward year to year tax free which encourages savings to cover deductibles or health care costs directly.  This is a limit on taxes which encourages a good behavior.

-Ensure all health insurance plans are tax deductible.  Whether paid for directly by the individual or by an employer, we should encourage this.  Making the premiums tax deductible will definitely encourage everyone to buy an insurance plan.

-Reduce regulations regarding mandatory coverage.  Oftentimes many like to blame a failing of the market place when results are not desirable.  In this case years of mandated coverage by our well meaning government have increased the cost of coverage for all concerned.  Let’s allow the consumer/citizen to choose what coverage they need—not special interest groups and their lobbyists.  This is the practice in all other forms of insurance markets (i.e., auto, life, property, etc.)

-Tort reform.  No surprise here.  If my costs to insure my practice increase, I simply pass the cost to the consumer.  If I cannot recover the cost, then I cannot stay in business which limits the number of practitioners, increasing demand on the remaining service providers which further increases costs.  Some argue tort reform is a canard.  They say liability claims represent only 1% of the total monies spent in health care.  What they don’t discuss are the various extra tests, and costs associated with ensuring a practitioner is not vulnerable to a future claim of negligence.  Oftentimes a past law suit judgment against a doctor causes all others in the medical field to require additional procedures to ensure they are safe from potential nuisance suits.

-Transparent and timely costs.  Call a doctor or hospital and ask for their rate sheet on various procedures and they won’t be able to provide one.  Why?  Well, it depends on the method of payment, the insurance company, and several other medically irrelevant factors.  Why is this not the case with a dentist?  How about a Veterinarian?  If you get a cavity filled, or your dog has its regular check up, you know the cost and you pay it right then and there.  Let’s make routine treatment the same for our personal medical needs.  If you have to pay it, you will likely be more cost conscious.  If your doctor does not have to wait 60 to 90 days while fighting your insurance company for payment, then costs will be reduced.

You can see these are simple suggestions, but they are based on eliminating needless regulation and tax.  We should own our coverage and be responsible for the costs associated with our health care.  As with other areas of our life, when we have to pay the freight directly, we are more diligent in ensuring costs are low and quality is high.  What about pre-existing conditions?  If you owned your health care plan, and it was not tied to your employment, then this issue would be mollified tremendously. With few exceptions we could all get inexpensive health coverage plans when we are young. Similar to term life insurance, you would lock in an annual premium for life.  Regardless of sickness in the years ahead, your premium would remain the same.  If you lose your job, you don’t lose the coverage—analogous to life, property, and auto insurance.  Your employer can, and as your value to the firm dictates, should contribute towards your individual health insurance plan.  Again, this would be tax deductible and increase the savings for the individual plan holder.

Individual responsibility, limiting government involvement, and allowing the power of personal economics to govern one’s choice of coverage is the key.  Whatever difficult issue faces our country, it is, it will be, and it always has been better to solve difficult issues in our country by supporting individual choice, as opposed to arcane legislation.

A US ARMY Veteran who proudly served as a Cavalry Officer and  Airborne Ranger.  After his military service, McCarthy worked as an executive in the transportation industry providing transportation solutions for large manufacturing facilities.  Intrigued by manufacturing McCarthy was hired by the Trane Company in Pueblo as a production manager in 1995,  learning their innovative world class manufacturing processes.  This allowed him to run his own facility in Colorado Springs for a small door and window manufacturer.

Commuting, and working long hours for the benefit of absentee owners motivated McCarthy to start his own enterprise.  His affinity for “numbers” drew him to the mortgage industry.  On July 4th, 1997 he started his venture which he has run continuously either solely or with partners since.  He purposely started on that date to commemorate his own “independence” day.  McCarthy still owns and operates Castle Investment & Loan, an independent mortgage brokerage and private placement lender.

McCarthy serves on numerous community boards in Pueblo; currently he is President of both the PCC Foundation Board of Directors, as well as the Pueblo Performing Arts Guild (PPAG).  He proudly advocates for Pueblo businesses, the downtown district (member Board of Directors Pueblo Downtown Assoc.), taxpayers, and the “Traditional Liberal” perspective of free enterprise, limited government, and fiscal prudence.   McCarthy can be reached at: seanmccarthy@aculink.net

The End of the World as We Know It?

Absolutely not.  The past week has been a pretty rough roller-coaster with the current administration’s and representative’s plans and actions.  On top of everything, our traditional media outlets have done a fine job of making it either feel like everything is going to be fine or that the rapture is near (and neither are quite true in my opinion).

None of us know the future, all we have is today.  All of us, together, have this day to make a difference, and to make a positive impact within our family, our community, and our country.

What to do?  Well, there is sure enough complaining and throwing hatred to go around.  Our job here at The Good American Post is to find content and contributors that talk about positive and sustainable people, places, and functions that protect our liberty and constitution.  In our opinion, the opportunity to pursue anything is the only thing worth fighting for, and that is the fight we are up against now.

Today, take small steps to make positive impacts.  Start learning about where your food comes from.  Find out who the troops protecting this great country are in your community.  Volunteer to help a cause, or start your own business where you can create development in your local economy.  Ask questions, keep up to date on what is going on with these threats to our constitution, however spend some time making positive advances, not just worrying about all the things that are wrong.

Because I can tell you, there are so very many things that are right.  And for the little ones who have a future to grow up in, we need to be using this time we have to work for a positive difference – it is our duty.

By: Tisha Casida

Liberty & The Mustard Seed – Part VIII

By; Tisha Casida

BE WARNED – I AM A CAPITALIST & PHILANTHROPIST

Here you will find many promotions, endorsements, and shout-outs for people, products, and services that I whole-heartedly believe in.  I may make money from that.  I may make money from writing this book (as a matter of fact, that is part of the point).  I believe in making money because if I can become a millionaire by spreading good information that helps other people to improve their quality of life (namely, by making more money and keeping more of the money that they earn), then that is a good thing.

Also, the more money I have in the bank, the more people that I can help.  I am a firm believer in charities and social welfare.  I don’t think that government should be in charge of that – I think that capitalists – people who work hard and earn money – should be in charge of where their money goes, including helping people and causes that are dear to them.  There are thousands of examples of extraordinarily rich people giving back to their community and to special causes.  If we have more people with more money to give, I am certain that we will continue to see the charitable spirit reflected in our society.  Human nature is easily argued either way – whether people are intrinsically good or evil.  This a philosophical debate by nature, one which will not be debated here.  What I am saying is that if the government is in charge of making and keeping over 300,000,000 Americans happy, when there are 435 Congressmen/women and 100 Senators, then we are looking at a fairly bleak ratio of face-time for all of these people’s wants, needs, hopes, and desires.  Charity should be local, and something that is born of the community – NOT something that is mandated as SOCIAL JUSTICE in the name of the American people’s tax-dollar.

“Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
–James Madison

“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one….”
— James Madison, letter to Edmund Pendleton, January 21, 1792

Money and values make the world go around – it is at the heart of every transaction – it is the reason that we are able to enjoy a quality of life with the “stuff” that we like.  Making money and creating value are virtuous acts that our forefathers and ancestors have been a part of.  There is no shame in that.  There is also no shame is respecting your time, labor, and what you earn from that.  No one should be able to take that away from you.

Liberty & The Mustard Seed – Part VII

By: Tisha Casida

YOU CANNOT HAVE BOTH LIBERTY & SECURITY

Liberty versus Security – with so many crisis-like situations – economically, with our health care, with our national defense, etc., we have turned into a population seeking security instead of the liberty.

Liberty IS OUR GREATEST SECURITY.  Our ever-bigger and ever-more powerful and centralized government continues to succeed because of its (and our) ignorance of the Constitution. The horrid events of 9/11 and additional terrorist attacks on the American people, not only caused a very strong and painful memory for us, but it also brought into our lives stifling legislation and the government’s encroachment into our privacy (i.e. The Patriot Act), which changed the face of our independence.  Unless repealed at some point in the future – you or I can be deemed a terrorist with little or no real evidence, and be dealt with accordingly.  There is no safety and security in that – even though “safety” was forced down our throats (using fear-tactics and very successfully marketing) how much safer are we domestically when we no longer have privacy.  There is a place for justice and a defensive national policy, but there is not a place for innocent American citizens to be wrongfully spied on or wrongfully accused.  You cannot have the government protecting you while also ensuring your liberty.  It is impossible.

The Census – The True Cost?

This is a very interesting subject, and although mandated by our constitution – there may be some questions asked about the method of collecting this information, and the cost to the American taxpayer.

Beyond that – do they really use the data?  And couldn’t the data be VERY skewed?

Read a little more from one of our contributors – Tamrah Jo Ortiz, here:

http://www.allthatspossible.com/blog/2010/03/census-update/

Liberty & The Mustard Seed – Part VI

By: Tisha Casida

YOU CANNOT HAVE BOTH LIBERTY & EQUALITY

Part of the problem in the United States is that there are two competing notions that are impossible to forge together.  We cannot all be equal and at the same time all have liberty.  It would be impossible to make sure that every citizen, consumer, and constituent of our country are equal without evading the liberty of these same people.  These issues are facing us now – with what is happening in our economy and our health care system.  Making everything equal, forced by the heavy hand of government, will in fact encroach on the liberty of many more people than those that are said to be given this equality. Such a movement is made on the platform of social justice, and inherent rights of American citizens.  Our rights are liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as justified by the Constitution of the United States of America – nothing more.

Social justice often cries for equality.  Unfortunately, just as there is a scarcity of resources, there are limits and constraints as to how “equal” we can be.  Civil rights has nothing to do with social justice.  Civil rights are HUMAN RIGHTS – something that I and any other God-fearing human being believe in.  Social justice, and even environmental justice, are battle cries that are often communicated by great people with great causes.  However, it is impossible to make everyone equal.  There can be equal opportunity, but still, not everyone will be equal, and thus, not everyone will always be happy.  This is a hard and painful lesson to learn, but the truth.  We CAN all be free.  FREEDOM and the opportunity to pursue happiness is the basis for our country.  We are all equal on the level of human and civil rights, beyond that, our FREEDOM allows us to create the life that we want to lead.  The equality of income, opportunity, political class, and social class are impossible.

To me, liberty is much more important than equality.  Liberty, justice, and the opportunity to PURSUE happiness, are all we can ask for.  That is what this country is all about – you can find it in our constitution, and the relatively free market that makes it possible to write and read this book.

Going to a Caucus – Where are WE THE PEOPLE?

By: Tisha Casida

I am the youngest person here by at least 20 years, and I am 28 years old.  Out of 264 people in my precinct 83 – only 6 people are sitting at the table (only 5 technically count because when I registered to vote when I was 18 I decided that I was Independent).  That is a 1.9% turnout.  If this were a test – WE THE PEOPLE – failed miserably.

I am a citizen of the United States living in the great state of Colorado.  I convinced my parents to go with me to the republican caucus taking place this evening – Tuesday March 16, 2010.  In addition to the three of us, there were three others at our table – Bill, Ken, and Steve.  Our chairman for our precinct was not present.  Ken and Steve were diplomatic enough to take over and explain the processes as we went along.  Reading material on most all of the candidates was available for everyone to look at as well as pick up – I saw every candidate there represented in one form or another except for Scott McInnis – I guess the Southern part of the state may not mean too much to him, at least that is what I came away with.

The purpose of a caucus, as I have gathered so far, is that this is where WE THE PEOPLE start to select candidates for governor, the U.S. senate, the U.S. house of representatives, state treasurer, state senate and house districts.  On the docket tonight (at least for the straw pole) was to decide upon who the registered republican precinct members wanted for governor (Dan Maes vs. Scott McInnis) and the U.S. senate (Ken Buck vs. Jane Norton vs. Cleve Tidwell vs. Tom Wiens).

Several of the tables for other precincts meeting here were EMPTY – meaning that NO ONE from these precincts of around 200 people came to represent a candidate or represent a value or ideal they would like to see upheld.  Tragic.

The process was simple, efficient, and ended in just ONE HOUR.  We talked about all of the candidates, everyone voiced an opinion as to what they thought, the votes were made for the straw pole (at our table), and everyone was given the opportunity to present resolutions (of which we had none, however there were several for us to look at on one of the tables when we walked in).

It was overwhelming at first, but now an understandable process.  Which really irritates me, because more people should have been there, more people should know what is going on (republican OR democrat OR anything else).  This is a fatal flaw of the public education system – fifth graders should be able to rattle off their precinct number and the process of a caucus, a county convention, a state convention, and a primary.  This is also a dangerous flaw with our society – the reason we are in the mess that we are in is because we have sat on our keisters and not taken an hour out of an evening to go to things like this.

Know your enemy folks – it is ignorance and arrogance.  Learn about our political system, get involved, and fight for liberty – we are all we have.

Taking Our Country Back

Well, folks, we better be ready to do whatever we have to if they are able to unconstitutionally pass this health care bill.  If they use the “slaughter rule” which is 100% against Article 1, Section 7 of the GOVERNING DOCUMENT of this great nation – we here at The Good American Post want to be part of the solution – to figure out how we are going to get our country back.

The slaughter rule ignores the voting procedure, and will allow for those who have worked so hard to take away our liberties and free-market to not take any responsibility for that (until election time of course).

What will this take?  New representation, new reliance on our communities, new reliance on our own micro-scale economies that have not been bastardized by the interference of the heavy-hand of government, and new media.  We will be a part of this, and we are looking for patriots around the country who are interested in doing the same.
By Tisha Casida

Constitutional Violation

We have been getting a lot of traffic on our previous post on the Slaughter Rule/Slaughter Solution, and rightly so.

If this procedure is used, it is a direct violation of our constitution – Article 1, Section 7:

“Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a Law, be presented to the President of the United States.”

This is an unprecedented act by our so-called representatives, and if this does happen to be how this legislation passes, then we must make great strides in finding elected REPRESENTATIVES who will repeal such an terrible act against our country and instead FOLLOW THE CONSTITUTION and listen to WE THE PEOPLE.

The Heritage Foundation has a more at-length article, you can read such here:  http://blog.heritage.org/2010/03/16/obamacare-slaughter-rule-is-without-precedent/

Liberty & The Mustard Seed – Part V

By: Tisha Casida

On Christmas Eve of 2009 I watched as President Barack Obama spoke to the American people about the success of his Health Care Bill, as a monumental achievement that would shed upon all of us good fortune and access to medical care.  Senator Harry Reid said that the government was providing to us “security and stability”.

I don’t want security and stability “provided to me” via Uncle Sam.  I would like to do that for myself.  For years I have been a student – both in the educational system as well as in the school of life – as a consumer, worker, and citizen.  I have continually waited for “the experts” and “our representatives” to effectively lead our country.  Today, there is no doubt in my mind that our true leaders are those driven, middle-class Americans that make up the back-bone of our nation and free-market.  There is no piece of paper, no certification, no amount of money, and no political relationship that makes us, as Americans, more qualified for the job of being an informed, knowledgeable, participating citizen and consumer of this country – WE ARE THE LEADERS.

The future representatives and business-owners are people like you and me – there are no “experts” in Washington that are smarter than us.  Once we all realize that, our power as citizens will be much greater.  That is the reason for this book – to simplify, ignite, and unite all of us to stand up, speak out, and make REAL change happen.  This would not include just “hope” – I am talking about creating and taking advantage of incentives.

Taking responsibility and action are all we have to stand against a system that has become very corrupt.  Our forefathers would be unhappy with us – all of us.  Thomas Jefferson may have said it most simply, “The tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”  The founders of our Constitution and the forefathers of our great country knew what kind of battle we would continuously be up against as a free nation.

I do hope that the blood I shed is with this pen and paper.  As the great American journalist and novelist, Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”  Here I sit on my modern-day typewriter, and I bleed.

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