POLITICAL: Is it “health”, “health care”, “health care insurance”, or something else?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

FROM FACEBOOK

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Stephen E. Phelps Jr. shared Jeremy Beckham’s post.
15 mins ·

Jeremy Beckham
January 12 at 6:10pm ·
I sold health insurance from 2004-2006 for one of the largest health insurance companies in ~30 states.

Maybe because we’ve had ACA for a while, people don’t really remember what it was like then, but I want people to know that I declined people health insurance on a DAILY BASIS.

Some of the things that resulted in automatic “DNQ” (does not qualify) determination from our underwriters, which means there was NO policy we would issue you, included (and these were all standard in the industry):

– Ever, in your life, having a heart attack or stroke
– Ever, in your life, receiving any sort of mental health care or substance abuse treatment in any inpatient setting (I saw a woman in her 40s declined insurance because she was a ‘cutter’ in the 1980s and was hospitalized for that, yes, more than 20 years prior)
– Having a history of most (but not all) forms of cancer
– Diabetes or pre-diabetes
– Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
– Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative colitis
– Connective tissue disorder
– Autism
– Obesity (Defined strictly by BMI score)
– Having both high blood pressure and high cholesterol
– Being pregnant (fortunately at least a lot of these women could get on Medicaid, even pre-ACA, because conservatives were worried they would just choose to have an abortion if they couldn’t pay bills from delivery).
– If you were a woman of child-bearing age and you had ever given birth to a pre-term baby, we would decline coverage for YOU, even if not currently pregnant, because the risk of an additional pre-term birth was greater and we would be on the line for that in the event you did get pregnant again

Other health conditions, like asthma, allergies, high blood pressure on its own, wouldn’t necessarily result in a DNQ, but would result in a permanent “rider” to your policy which mean that we agreed to cover you EXCEPT any medical bills, prescriptions, incurred related to your asthma, allergies, etc.

Another odd thing I remember: sometimes fathers would get ordered by judges as part of their child support order to pay for their kids’ health insurance. But then we (and everyone else) refused to insure the kid due to health history, and they’d basically be under the threat of violating the judge’s order and maybe even going to jail. It was a very odd legal issue that I never really saw resolved. lots of times the judges would think the fathers were lying about being unable to procure insurance and were just being lazy. I think lots of people didn’t realize how crummy the individual health insurance landscape really was until they called to try to obtain it.

I had to console people in tears on a regular basis. We were instructed by management to just get them off the phone as quickly as possible to free the phone line for a healthy person. One line that was popular to tell people was “well you wouldn’t ask a car insurance company to insure your car after it’s been in an accident!” but it felt incredibly heartless to compare someone’s autistic son to a car accident, so I never said that. All I could tell them to do really was either try to get in their state’s crummy and expensive “high risk pool” (if there was one, some states didn’t even have that) and write their members of Congress.

Looks like we might be heading back to these lovely days.

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Economics is called the “dismal science” for a reason. So to, it’s called “insurance” for a reason. It’s sad to be the bearer of bad news, but there is NO FREE LUNCH. Just as you can’t insure your house after the fire or the car after the accident, you can’t insure someone’s health when they are sick or at risk of being sick already.  Not much one can do with the realities of life.

If the Gooferment gets out of the way, there are some suggestions that would help:

https://downsizedc.org/blog/20-ways-replace-obamacare

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PROPOSAL #3: Politicians should make all sickness and wellness expenditures tax deductible, including insurance premiums and preventive measures, such as supplements and fitness clubs.

Congress should make all health expenditures tax deductible, without requiring a threshold to itemize. Make it so we can deduct our healthcare expenses in addition to our standard exemptions and/or other deductions. Americans should also be allowed to save unlimited amounts in their Health Savings Accounts.

These changes will…

— Give Americans more control over their own healthcare spending, and a more secure future, through unlimited HSAs

— Put individually purchased insurance on the same tax-footing as employer paid insurance. That will…

— Create incentives where people prefer individual policies, which will…

— Help decouple health insurance coverage from employment, so that…

— People will no longer lose their coverage when they lose their jobs.

Increasing the number of Individual policies will also curtail the pre-existing-conditions (PEC) problem that happens when people get sick during periods of unemployment. The PEC problem was state-caused. Politicians paved the way with tax policy. The way out naturally involves fixing tax incentives.

Preventative measures, such as fitness clubs, vitamins, and other supplements should also be tax deductible. Everyone agrees on the preventative power of exercise, and the Life Extension Foundation has marshaled overwhelming evidence that many supplements outperform pharmaceuticals both in preventing and treating disease. More investment in prevention will lower medical costs over time.

Remember, politicians poisoned our healthcare system. They can only fix it by sucking out the politics.

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POLITICAL: CA’s version of a “Boston’s Big Dig” boondoggle

Saturday, January 21, 2017

http://www.wsj.com/articles/californias-big-dig-1484609909?mod=djemMER

California’s Big Dig
Elaine Chao can take the train to Fresno off federal life support.
Jan. 16, 2017 6:38 p.m. ET

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Elaine Chao is rolling to confirmation as Transportation Secretary with little trouble. The same can’t be said of California’s beleaguered bullet train, and one of Ms. Chao’s first orders of business should be to cut the choo choo off federal life support.

Last week the Los Angeles Times reported that the first 118-mile segment in the state’s rural Central Valley could run 50% over budget, according to an internal Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) risk analysis that was labelled “confidential.” The FRA also warned that the California High-Speed Rail Authority would miss several deadlines.

The Obama Administration gave California $3.2 billion to build the 500-mile bullet train from San Francisco to Anaheim, which seven years later still isn’t shovel ready. The $10 billion in state bonds that voters approved in 2008 for the $64 billion (and counting) train have been tied up in litigation. Meanwhile, Democratic legislators have been loath to appropriate funds beyond a fraction of the revenues generated by California’s cap-and-trade program, which is also under legal challenge.

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Kill all the “boondoggles”.

If a private investor wants to risk their money, fine.

Opt the taxpayers out!

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POLITICAL: The Lawlessness of Law Enforcers

Friday, January 20, 2017

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/01/william-norman-grigg/routine-lawlessness/

The Perverse Ingenuity, and Routine Lawlessness, of Law Enforcers
By William Norman Grigg
Pro Libertate Blog
January 16, 2017 

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Enforcers of drug prohibition can be perversely ingenious in devising methods to subvert due process guarantees. One tactic widely employed by police officers looking for a way to circumvent the Fourth Amendment is to intimidate a subject into giving the officers permission to invade the rights of others – such as residents of an apartment building, or passengers in an automobile. That ruse has been rebuffed in two recent state Supreme Court rulings.

Police officers in Berlin, Connecticut who conducted a warrantless search of an apartment complex using a drug-detecting dog violated the Fourth Amendment, acknowledged a December 22nd ruling from that state’s highest appellate court.

In May 2012, acting on an anonymous tip, police obtained permission from the owners and managers of an apartment complex to carry out what was called a “canine examination of the common areas of the building.” A drug-detecting dog named Zeusz was deployed in the hallway of each floor of the complex, and allowed to sniff at the bottom of each door. Zeusz displayed what is called a “passive alert” at unit 204, which prompted the officers to obtain a search warrant. This led to the discovery of several marijuana plants.

The Fourth Amendment’s definition of a reasonable search refers to a particular description of “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”; this language was designed to forbid the kind of general warrants that were commonly used by British military and customs officials in the years immediately prior to the colonial rebellion. By getting the owners of the apartment complex to authorize a warrantless search – waiving the rights of dozens of people to be secure in their individual domiciles — the Berlin Police behaved less like their British forebears than their antecedents in Communist East Germany.

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The police are absolutely out of control. Time to reign them all in. Need to end the “(pseudo) War on (some) Drugs” from whence all these illegal search and civil forfeiture abuse originates from.

Juries must vote “not guilty” on all drug laws or any OTHER “victimless crime” like prostitution.

Argh!

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POLITICAL: Arkansas takes on Big Gooferment

Thursday, January 19, 2017

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-new-arkansas-supermajority-to-take-on-government-bloat-1484352326?mod=djemMER

OPINION  COMMENTARY  CROSS COUNTRY
A New Arkansas Supermajority to Take On Government Bloat
Three Democrats defected last year after the election. The Clintons would hardly recognize the place. 
By GREG KAZA
Jan. 13, 2017 7:05 p.m. ET46 Little Rock, Ark. 

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Since being announced last year, the project has identified 184 efficiencies and made 60 recommendations. For instance, administrative functions have been consolidated in the Agriculture Department, and some tasks at the Community Corrections Department have been privatized. A report we commissioned from PricewaterhouseCoopers noted $312 million in outstanding tax debt that the state has already deemed collectible. One big victory was privatizing in-home health-care workers, which the governor’s office says reduced state payroll by 2,000.

Gov. Hutchinson can enact some recommendations by executive action. His state hiring freeze, put in place last year, has whittled another 1,161 employees from the payroll, according to his office. But others ideas—such as revising the funding formulas for education programs that have expanded beyond their original remit—will require the legislature. Progress so far has been solid, but there’s always more that can be done to change the culture. Although department heads say they support “efficiency,” only four state agencies use the word in their mission statements.

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Always more that can be done.

Imagine if all the various Gooferment went on a spending diet.

I suggest we cut everything 1% immediately. WITH the proviso that it can’t effect real people. 

It can always be done. Just ask private business who ruthlessly cut “waste”.

Argh!

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POLITICAL: The Peace Amendment by L. Neil Smith

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

http://ncc-1776.org/tle2017/tle906-20170115-05.html

You Go First: The Peace Amendment by L. Neil Smith lneil@netzero.com

  • First published in TLE Issue 269, May 2, 2004
  • Republished in Issue 465, April 27, 2008
  • Author’ Note:As the government continues trying to pick a fight with the Bear, this may be the only deterrent.
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The idea is probably as old as the Pharaohs, maybe even as old as Homo Erectus. Whenever and wherever old men have sent young men off to die, sooner or later someone has suggested that the old men should go first.

There are two reasons for this, I think. The first is that, unless you’re running an empire of some kind—which we Americans are not supposed to be doing—and you’re fulfilling a Manifest Destiny you imagine that you have, to reach out and steal everybody else’s life, liberty, and property, finding yourself involved in a war represents a serious failure on the part of a nation’s political leaders. In fact they’ve screwed up bigtime, and there ought to be a price to pay for that.

Instead of paying a price, however, politicians are traditionally rewarded for screwing up. Like the man said, “War is the health of the State”. And of the statists, too. War offers them expanded power and prestige, more stolen money to spend and less need to make excuses about it, greater control over society in general as well as every facet of an individual’s life, and plenty of justifications for employing violence and threats to shut anybody up who objects. But just as nobody should be allowed to profit from a crime, no politician should be allowed to profit politically from plunging his country into war.

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It is time to ratify the Peace Amendment.

Here’s how it would work: the first clause would repeal the War Powers Act and any other law, regulation, or directive that allows a president to send troops overseas (or do very much of anything else militarily) without a formal declaration of war passed by majority of congress.

Maybe even a super-majority.

The second clause would reinstate the 1878 Posse Comitatus in full, forbidding the government to use the military to enforce its will anywhere within the United States. Perhaps this idea belongs in another piece of legislation, but my belief is that politicians feel an irresistible urge every waking minute to use the military to beat somebody up and kill them. Prevent them from doing it overseas, and things could get worse here, unless we prevent that with the same stroke.

The third clause is the meat of the amendment. Having voted to declare war, every Congressman who voted “aye” will immediately get up from his seat and march right out the door, where he will be handed a uniform and a weapon and be conveyed directly to the front, defined as that area of military activity that is producing the highest number of casualties.

No excuses. Practicing politicians will be denied Conscientious Objectorhood. As long as they voted to subject yet another generation of Americans to war, their age, sex, prior service, or state of health won’t keep our valiant congressional warriors from going with the “boys”. If they can’t march, they’ll be given knobby tires for their wheelchairs.

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Heinlein in “Starship Troopers” suggested that only veterans of “Federal Service” should be politicians or bureaucrats.

“A soldier accepts personal responsibility for the safety of the body politic of which he is a member, defending it, if need be, with his life. The civilian does not.”

“Service men are not brighter than civilians.”

At one time in the USA, prior to William Jefferson Clinton, a President HAD to be a combat vet. Senators and Representatives usually too.

Sad that “We, The Sheeple” let that “tradition” slip away.

I like the Peace Amendment. How does it get passed?

Argh!

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POLITICAL: How to fix Obama / SCOTUS — care!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

FROM WSJ

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No Easy Cure 
Congress has begun the work of replacing the Affordable Care Act, and that means lawmakers will soon face the thorny dilemma that confronts every effort to overhaul health insurance: Sick people are expensive to cover, and someone has to pay. The 2010 health law forced insurers to sell coverage to anyone, at the same price, regardless of their risk of incurring big claims. That provision was popular. Not so were rules requiring nearly everyone to have insurance, and higher premiums for healthy people to subsidize the costs of the sick. If policyholders don’t pick up the tab, who will? The available options all have downsides. Mr. Trump and GOP leaders on Capitol Hill pledged this week to move swiftly to not only repeal but also replace the Affordable Care Act, but it will be a difficult promise to keep.

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From DOWNSIZE DC 

https://downsizedc.org/blog/preview-proposals-replace-obamacare

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Proposal #1: Restore natural prices and make them visible to patients. This will enable consumer control, foster competition, increase supply, and reduce costs.
Proposal #2: Repeal Obamacare in its entirety before considering legislation to replace it.
Proposal #3: Politicians should make all sickness and wellness expenditures tax deductible, including insurance premiums and preventive measures, such as supplements and fitness clubs.
Proposal #4: Revive true health insurance (and make it affordable too) by removing all the expensive mandates imposed by Obamacare and the states.
Proposal #5: Outlaw monopolistic “certificates of need.”
Proposal #6: End punitive damages that enrich lawyers with no compensating health benefit.
Proposal #7: Make the FDA advisory, not dictatorial.
Proposal #8: Restrict the FDA to certifying safety only.
Proposal #9: End the FDA’s power to regulate generic drug factories.
Proposal #10: Limit pharmaceutical patent protection to the recovery of research costs.
Proposal #11: Remove redundant licensing requirements.
Proposal #12: Incentivize the frugal use of medical services by creating the equivalent of Medicaid and Medicare HSAs.
Proposal #13: Increase co-pays for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Proposal #14: Reduce doctor visits by ending the need for prescriptions.
Proposal #15: The State should stop defining dietary guidelines.
Proposal #16: Create an exchange for pro-bono services and voluntary funding.
Proposal #17: Provide a 100% tax credit to anyone who pays for an indigent person’s healthcare expenses.
Proposal #18: Make Medicare a safety net rather than a dragnet.
Proposal #19: Make indigent access to the tax-funded safety net contingent on a history of personal responsibility.
Proposal #20: Create a schedule to devolve Medicare and Medicaid to the states or localities.

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Unwind the effects of World War 2 wage and price controls — that’s how “benefits” got tied to “employment” in the first place.

Gooferment created the problem; get them out of the way is the solution.

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POLITICAL: Asset Forfeiture IS Extortion!

Monday, January 9, 2017

https://reason.com/blog/2017/01/05/inside-mississippis-asset-forfeiture-ext

Inside Mississippi’s Asset Forfeiture Extortion Racket
State narcotics police seized $4 million in cash—as well as couches, comics, and 18-wheelers—through asset forfeiture in 2015.
C.J. Ciaramella | Jan. 5, 2017 10:00 am

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“We’re completely in the dark on how pervasive the practice really is,” says Blake Feldman, an advocacy coordinator at the Mississippi ACLU. “Pretty much the default mindset is nobody should be overseeing any law enforcement. A big concern will be if the required tracking and reporting is going to be enforced, or if it will be a shallow gesture.”

In recent years, there has been bipartisan momentum in states across the U.S. to roll back civil asset forfeiture laws, which allow police to seize property without convicting or even charging the owner with a crime. Mississippi is no different. According to an April poll of Mississippi voters conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, 88 percent of voters oppose civil forfeiture, including 89 percent of Republican voters.

Reason reached current Hinds County Attorney Claire Baker to ask about the couch seizure, as well as the debate in the state over asset forfeiture.

“There’s been a move to crack down on forfeitures, and I get that,” Baker says. “Mississippi law is wide open as far as forfeiture goes.”

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There has to be reform.

If we eliminate the “(pseudo) War on (some) Drugs”, a lot of this non-sense will stop.

Even before that happens, the forfeiture law needs to change dramatically. 

(1) Nothing is taken without a conviction.

(2) The Gooferment’s claim can’t be taken on face value.

(3) The actual owners, like parents, shouldn’t be penalized for something some one else does.

Argh!

It’s all about “revenue collection”; not solving or preventing “crimes” against real victims.

Obvious, the police and judicial complex are over-funded.

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