09 September 2009

Health Care Changes

New Demand, New Supply Needed

The current discussions and congressional bills say nothing about how more health care capability would be created.

If 40 million more people are added and get free medical care and unlimited insurance, how would the current number of doctors, staff, hospitals and clinics possibly match the new demand?

Apparently no one has thought about where from or how a 20 percent increase in demand will be supplied. It could take at least 15 years before you could increase the number of doctors to meet demand. It could take 6 years or more for a 20% increase in medical technicians, nurses and other staff. It would cost hundreds of billions of dollars to increase hospitals and clinics and all their medical equipment by 20 percent, and who knows how many years it might take.

If we want to make medical care more available and cheaper the supply must be made larger than demand. Medical care delivery must be expanded by about 30 percent. Otherwise, very high prices will follow the short supply, extremely long lines, and necessarily, rationing.

Everything in shortage is invariably rationed. Extremely short supply is always followed by rapid price inflation. Exactly the opposite outcome of what the well meaning, but uninformed profess to be seeking; reduced access and higher costs, and probably lower quality.

A surplus of medical services will markedly increase access and dramatically lower costs, and probably provide much higher quality.

I don’t think the President, Representatives or Senators actually care about access or costs at all. They just want to create another crisis so they can seem to fix it with a massive and expensive increase in government entitlement programs that gives them massive political power and intrusive influence over your life decisions and imposes communist style wage and price controls over more than 10 percent of this nation’s economy.

All under the guise of an eminent crisis that hasn’t changed much for 70 year, except for the steady decline in the number of citizens who can’t get health care to almost zero. And does nothing to make them capable of paying for the valuable care they’ve gotten.

Increase supply, discourage frivolous and excessive medical suits, and permit interstate health insurance competition; problem solved.

Oh you might say, “How does that give free health care and insurance to poor people?” It doesn’t, nor should it. It’s about improving health care. It’s not about increasing welfare benefits. Most of them already get low quality, rationed, excessively bureaucratic health care for free; which is about what it is worth. They don’t need improved access or lower costs.


06 September 2009

Religious Ceremonies

And Public Property

Stop conducting religious ceremonies, practices, programs, and prayers and displaying artifacts and symbols on taxpayer owned, or financed, or at monetarily supported events or official activities.

That, as the Supreme Court has decided in many cases since McCollum v. Board of Education Dist.71 in 1948, Torcaso v. Watkins 1961, Engels v. Vitale 1962, Abington School Dist. V. Schempp 1963, Epperson v. Arkansas 1968, Lemon v. Kurtzman 1971, Stone v. Graham 1980, Wallace v. Jaffree 1986, Edwards v. Aquillard 1987, Allegheny County v. ACLU 1989, Lee v. Weisman 1992, Church of Lukumi Babalu Ave, v. Hialeah 1993; these acts amount to, ".... an establishment of religion,” a violation of the First Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment had the effect of applying all Federal laws and rights to all states and citizens.

The way that Christian prayers have been included in public ceremonies for decade’s amounts to unequal treatment of many other religions with hundreds of millions of believers that have never been invited, let alone scheduled, into ceremonial programs to exhibit their religious practices.

Equal treatment would add, for even a few of this nation’s major religions, an hour or two to any officially conducted public gathering. The United States probably is the most religiously diverse country in the world.

I’ve met US citizens from most of the world’s many religions; Christian 2.1B, Islam 1.5B, Hinduism 900M, Chinese Traditional (Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese Buddhism, Ancestor worship 394M), Indigenous-Shamanism 300M, African Traditional 100M, Sikhism 23M, Spiritism 15M, Judaism 14M, Baha’i 7M, Jainism 4.2M, and Shinto 4M; listed in order of their estimated worldwide believers.

I’ve not yet met believers from Juche (North Korean, 19M), Cao Dai (Vietnamese, 4M), Zoroastrianism 2.6M, Tenrikyo (Japanese 2M), Neo-Paganism 1M, Unitarian .8M, Rastafarianism .6M, Scientology.5M; all with lower numbers of estimated believers. There are thousands of recognized religions in the United States.

The point is it would be extremely difficult to invite their participation in planned and conducted public events, let alone include a few of the largest group’s prayers in the public ceremony. It would take hours to bless everyone and everything, display symbols, establish contact and summon the proper spirits. On these two bases alone it is impractical to include many equally, or exhibit their practices and artifacts without the benefit of publicly owned or operated facilities or public resources.

Many such assemblies are government events, (conference, meetings, training, ceremonies, etc.) The best practice would be not to bless these unholy government events with any sort of invocation. It’s completely unnecessary to sanctify these events with any religiousness, and somewhat despicable to even make the attempt.

The other religious part of the First Amendment says, “...or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” Citizens, visitors, resident aliens, and even convicted felons are all free to pray to their God, Gods, ancestors, spirits or whatever by themselves in un-conducted, non-ceremonial, non-coercive, unobtrusive and non-obstructive ways anytime and anyplace including public property.

Tax exempt churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, shrines, etc. are provided in nearly every community for the conducted celebration of ones religion. Nothing prohibits believers from going there to pray, or for scheduled ceremonial events, and the display of symbols.

Private property, owned, rented or leased, is unrestricted for the private exercise of ones religious beliefs, providing they do violate laws or the privacy of other citizens. They can even sacrifice animals if their state permits hunting or livestock slaughter, which I believe is every state.

So, religious believers rejoice. The United States has the most religious freedom of any nation in the world. You are free to practice privately and publicly, in inoffensive and sometimes offensive but legal ways, everywhere except using public resources and facilities in planned and executed governmental sanctioned events where attendance is required or coerced.

Stop trying to get your religion “established” as official, most right, largest, the light, the word, the way, or the one true religion. Not only is it illegal, but it is unwise to even seek to appear to have official governmental recognition. It harms your cause to clamor for "establishment" that should only come from the merit of good works.

Go practice your religion in this the greatest country on this planet, where you are guaranteed the right to the religious beliefs you choose.

And, prohibited from imposing them upon others, especially children, using any facility or event made available by the passage of laws that appropriate public resources.

02 September 2009

Save Taxpayer Money

Amend the Constitution

You could start with this part of Amendment XVII.

“When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, that the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.”

Historically there has not been any interest in minor clerical improvements to the constitution. Changing how Senate vacancies are filled, since it’s amending an amendment, probably wouldn’t get much support. Because it saves a lot of state taxpayer money, but very little Federal taxpayer money, it won’t help foster a national movement. No Senators ox is getting fed and many would be gored. The two major political parties would hate it, and that’s another good reason to do it.

Here’s the improvement idea anyway. Stop filling vacancies by temporary appointment or special election. Stop filling them at all until the normal election cycle. This would mean no added out of sequence costs for the state missing a senator. Federal savings would be salary, benefits and some staff expenses for however long it’s vacant. If it’s vacant for retirement there would be very little, if any, Federal savings.

The missing state Senators' vote could be made by the governor of that state. The governors are elected by statewide popular vote just like senators. They are usually experienced executive decision makers, probably better judgment than most Senators.

The workload increase wouldn’t be that much. Most states have Lieutenant Governors who could fill in during brief interruptions to the governor’s schedule. Everything, including voting, could be done by computers or video conferencing, and television appearances can be done anywhere. Senators don’t do much else anyway and their staffs do most of the work.

Only loss would be some political corruption. The savings from statewide election costs would be tens of million in some larger states, many having revenue problems. Citizens would be spared added stupid political commercials, endless inane direct mail pamphlets just disguised appeals for political contributions, and out of sequence sanctuary disturbing phone calls begging for money.

Any Constitutional Ammendment that reduces state or Federal spending and puts representatives in closer contact with their constituents should be undertaken immediately.