After Repeal, Then What?

By Richard E. Kelly & Mark A. Evans

So what happens if the 2010 Health Care Law is repealed? If the health care system in the U.S. is not broke, why fix it? Right?

The engine that drives U.S. health care is health insurance, which will be an unregulated industry if the law is repealed. Unlike bankers and Wall Street, this industry will then be able to police itself, with no government regulations to get in the way of keeping Americans healthy, at least for those who can afford health insurance.

Unfortunately, there are a few doomsayers. Warren Buffet, for one, warns, “If we repeal the current law and do nothing, everyone’s health care will be in jeopardy. The way we are going, within a decade we’ll spend one dollar out of every five we earn on health care – and we’ll keep getting less for our money. Fixing what’s wrong is a necessity we cannot postpone.

“The high costs paid by U.S. companies for employee health care puts them at a competitive disadvantage internationally. That kind of cost, compared with the rest of the world, is like a tapeworm eating at our economic body.” And feeding his warning are the following facts:
[Read more...]

2010 Health Care Reform

The 2010 Health Care Reform Law

Does it Make Sense for America?

Before passage of the 2010 Health Care Reform Law, most Americans would have agreed that our health care system was flawed. And they would have cited high premiums, rapidly rising costs, insurance companies denying coverage at their discretion, and millions of American citizens unable to afford quality, reliable health care at affordable prices. So why now the cry to appeal health care reform, which appeared to have remedied many of those flaws?

Both political parties share responsibility for the flap-doodle. While health care misinformation is now at war-time propaganda levels, the roots of the problem began before the bill was passed. Among them were the lack of objective debate; ambiguous wording of the voluminous 1,017-page bill; wide disagreement between Democrats on how to implement universal health care; the appearance of impropriety—Washington making customary side deals to purchase passage of the law; and the inability of the President to frame the goals and objectives for reform in simple, easy-to-understand language.

To add insult to injury, we are now bombarded with distorted truths and overt misinformation about the 2010 Law. If Mark Twain were alive today, he might have diagnosed our problem as follows: “What gets most Americans into trouble in this health care debate is not that they know so little, but that they know so many things that ain’t so.”

Giving credibility to borrowing Twain’s assertion are polls showing an alarmingly disproportionate number of Americans who believe these things that ain’t so, including such fabrications as the new health care law covers illegal immigrants; Americans have no choice in the health benefits they receive; death panels will decide who lives; the government will set doctors’ wages; and no chemo treatment for older Medicare patients.

Per PolitiFact, the number one that ain’t so for 2010 because virtually every Republican leader told it repeatedly to the American public was: the health care reform law is a “government takeover of health care.”
[Read more...]

Continuous Improvement at Just One Opinion

During the last fifteen years of my work life, I was a strong believer and fervent practitioner of Continuous Improvement as a business strategy. So earlier this year when I suggested to my friend John Hoyle that he consider using CI to make, a news Blog that we co-edit, a more informative, entertaining experience, and to offer a broader range of topics to its readers, he figured he had no choice in the matter and agreed to try it.

While it’s true that I made the initial suggestion and recommendations on how to accomplish this goal, I had no idea how excited and energized John would become with the process of CI. Ever since that discussion he has been a human dynamo in implementing new ideas and testing new techniques.  Now, after several months of trial and error, we are prepared to share our improvement plan with our readers.

Our first and most important move will be to add four, or possibly five, additional contributors to our writing staff. These men and women are all published authors who share a down-to-earth, common sense view of life.  Our common goal will be to share well-thought-out opinions on a broad range of interesting, relevant, and timely topics that each of us feel passionate about. [Read more...]

Corn-pone Opinions

Black PreacherOver fifty years ago, my grandfather shared some words of wisdom that are as relevant today as they were when I first heard them. And they were, “Dickie, you’ve got to read and reread Mark Twain’s ‘Corn-pone Opinions’ until you got it down pat.” This was a short, 1901 essay which I will paraphrase as follows:

As a boy of fifteen, Samuel Clemens had an acquaintance he was very fond of – a delightful young black man named Jerry – a slave – who had the daily habit of preaching sermons from the top of his master’s woodpile. He imitated the pulpit style of the clergymen of his day, and did it well. One of Jerry’s favorite texts was, “You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I’ll tell what his ‘pinions is.”

It seems that the black philosopher’s idea was that a man is not independent, and cannot afford views which might interfere with his bread and butter. If he was to prosper, he had to train with the majority; in matters like politics and religion, he had to think and feel with the bulk of his neighbors, or suffer damage in his social standing. In other words, he had to restrict himself to corn-pone opinions – at least on the surface. He must get his opinions from other people; he must reason out none for himself; he must have no first-hand views.

Mark Twain thought Jerry was right, in the main, but he did not go far enough. It was Twain’s belief that a man conforms to the majority view of his locality by calculation and intention; that a coldly-thought-out and independent verdict upon a fashion in clothes, or manners, or literature, or politics, or religion is a most rare thing – if indeed it ever existed. Basic human instinct moved one to conformity. It is man’s nature to conform; it is a force which not many can successfully resist. The cause is the inborn requirement of self-approval. And its source is the approval of other people.

We get our notions and habits and opinions from outside influences; we don’t study them. We are creatures of outside influences; as a rule we do not think, we only imitate.

The outside influences are always pouring in upon us, and we are always obeying their orders and accepting their verdicts. Morals, religions, politics, get their following from surrounding influences and atmospheres, almost entirely; not from study, not from thinking.

Why are Catholics, Catholics; Baptists, Baptists; Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jehovah’s Witnesses; Republicans, Republicans; and Democrats, Democrats? Mark Twain believed it is a matter of association and sympathy, not reasoning and examination, that hardly a man in the world has an opinion upon religion or politics which he got otherwise than through his associations and sympathies. Broadly speaking, there is nothing but corn-pone opinions. And broadly speaking, corn-pone stands for self-approval.

Men think they think upon great political questions, and they do; but they think with their party, not independently. They arrive at convictions, but they are drawn from a partial view of the matter in hand which is of no particular value.

We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking. Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it’s the Voice of God.

Now I don’t know if my awareness of corn-pone opinions is why I have no religious affiliation or why I can’t join a political party. But I’m not ashamed to admit that a lot of what I believe, I learned from Mark Twain. Like he said, “The trouble with the world is not that people know so little, but that they know so many things that ain’t so.”