Monday, January 11, 2010

Measures 66 & 67

I voted on Saturday for Measures 66 & 67. If you're an Oregonian, please make sure you cast your ballot!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Guy Fawkes Day!

"Remember remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder, treason, and plot. For I see no reason the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot." - British Nursery Ryhme

"...Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone's death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others...but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you,..More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you've seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot."

"One thing is true of all governments - their most reliable records are tax records. "

Quotes from: V for Vendetta. (emphasis mine)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

My Opinion On Health Care and Health Services...

... and what I think it should and shouldn't be.

Regarding Health Insurance
- You should also be able to buy into a plan and not have it revoked due to your health situation unless you can no longer make the premiums.
For example, If I developed MS, my provider shouldn't be able to cancel my insurance without first giving me an opportunity to make the premiums. Conversely, If I purchase a plan for 5 years, and 8 months in I develop MS, I should be able to keep that rate for the 5 years until the plan contract expires. The insurance company can then say "Based on your medical history, to continue with the coverage you have, you'll need to pay $x.


- You should be able to purchase your health insurance from any private organization in the country (I limit to the country because I just don't see it working effectively with organizations outside the USA).
I should be able to purchase my insurance from a company in NJ if they can provide me with the lowest rate for the coverage I'm looking for. I don't see this working effectively with a company in Laos where my insurance premium is likely half of their GDP.

- You should be able to purchase the coverage you want or need, but not what is mandated. With exception to some basic coverage for children - such as regular doctor visits, immunizations, etc. - but only if you have children. Further you should have to purchase basic coverage for your children or split the cost between the two parents.
I know this sounds somewhat contradictory, but children are unable to purchase health care or insurance for themselves. A parent should be taking care of his or her children before taking care of themselves, I shouldn't have health insurance while my children do without. On the other hand, I shouldn't have to purchase maternity coverage if I'm a widowed Dad with two young boys, or Prostate or Child coverage if I'm a 24 year old single woman. States should decide what is the minimum coverage for children. Speaking of the 24 y/o single woman - she should be free to purchase maternity coverage at any time. If she gets pregnant and then looks for materity care, then of course the premium would be more. If she gets maternity care and gets pregnant, she has the choice of purchasing child coverage before or after the child is born, but doing so after might cost more than doing so before.


- Insurance should not be provided by an employer, rather, an employer can contribute to your insurance premiums, but should do so in a way that is fair for all employees.
For example, If I work at CompanyA - and I find a great health insurance plan with provider 1 - I should be able to keep the plan if I begin employment with CompanyB. Conversly - if CompanyA pays $500 to Provider1 for one employee - they should pay $500 to Provider2 for another employee if that employee has a plan through Provider2 - the employer should not be able to choose preference or offer discounts between Provider1 and Provider2.

The Employer can offer different rates for the number of people it will cover - for example the employer could say we'll pay up to $500 per covered family member up to 10 family members, or some machination of that. Or "we'll offer a cafe amount of $5000 to be spent on what ever coverage you want/need and anything excess will be credited to you as compensation." It will be up to the employee or individual to shop his or her insurance premium and keep their employer up to date on where the premiums need to go and how much to send them.

The government should not mandate the minimum or maximum a company can contribute to this sort of practice.



Regarding tort reform
- Its one thing do suffer a malady from a natual cause and not be able to do anything about it, but to suffer at the hands of someone who was neglegent or wreckless is not only wrong but criminal - and the victims of such crime should be compensated justly.
I'm not sure of the balance here, but whatever tort reform that is put in place cannot totally take the liability off of the person or group performing the procedure or service. For example, If I forget to put the lug nuts back on a tire and the tire falls off and damages the car or kills someone, I or the company I work for should pay to have the damage fixed and/or replaced. If I leave a scalpel in someone's body cavity and it causes further complications, then I or the company I work for should pay for the damage and rehabilitation of the person I injured. On top of that some additional form of compensation should be made if my neglegence or malpractice kills someone in both situations.

On the other side, if I'm an ER doctor and I'm working to save someone's life and they die because I couldn't get a test run or had no idea they were alergic to some anti-biotic or medication. I shouldn't be liable or responsible. There has to be a "reasonableness" factor to every situation. Also, if I'm a doctor and I run a couple of tests and the test results point to DiseaseA. I loose liability when the patient chooses my treatment, and the problem ends up being DiseaseB.

People will quickly discover that GP's with higher rates most likely have higher insurance premiums due to higher malpractice insurance due to a higher malpractice rate. This will keep good doctors in place and bad doctors out of business.

Misc.
Consultation and reviews of medical records should be a free service provided by doctors and hospitals. And I say this because I should be able to take test results, diagnosis, and treatment options and have them reviewed by other doctors before making a decision on treatment. I think being allowed to do this freely would increase the number of treatment options available to patients and decrease the possibility of wrong treatments being prescribed to patients. I'm sure if people could afford to go to 3 or 4 specialists for various opinions they would - but most can't and thus the problem of mis-diagnosis and treatment runs rampant. Doctors should be required to spend at least 10% of their time performing this task and hospitals should have review boards dedicated to this task as part of their certification. People should be able to send their medical history to any doctor or hospital in the nation and get feedback on their medical treatment. Then it becomes a choice for the patient to choose their treatment. Hospitals should be able to outsource this to doctors as well, but must have a minimum number of dedicated staff based on the number of patients they see each year. Hospitals only should be allowed to break the cost of dedicated staff down and include it in their billing.

Where this fails is in Physical exams - a doctor in Naples, Florida cannot physically examine a patient in Albuquerque, New Mexico to see if the lump on their neck is a tumor or a goiter - however they can recommed that the patient have an additional test or procedure done to help diagnose the problem. In this case the patient will need to visit a doctor and pay for a physical exam, test, or procedure. They can then send the results off again for additional opinions.

In all cases - if a person doesn't have coverage for something that they need, say they didn't buy cancer coverage or can't afford to buy cancer coverage and they develop cancer, it should be on them to pay the bill for it, and not government or the taxpayers.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hypothetical...

First let me say, by no way am I accusing anyone of anything with this post. I'm simply asking a hypothetical question.

Say two pilots were flying a plane from Point A to Point B, and along the way they neglected to land at Point B. Instead, they over shot Point B by about an hour.

Now some pointed questions that popped into my mind:
Is the plane being hijacked?
As it turns out, no the plane was not being hijacked.

Are the Pilots dead or dying?
Again, no. It turns out they were both alive and well.

Were the other crew members able to communicate with the Pilots?
Not sure, but from what I understand they were not.

What were the Pilots doing?
In this case, they say they were lost in conversation.

Ok, so here is my hypothetical, and again it is completely speculative and should not be used to cast judgement on anyone.

Could the two Pilots have been having sex in the cockpit of the plane? And
if so, would this ever be reported to the public?
And I'm a serious here. In today's age, would something like this be reported? And if not, Why? I would certainly think that this sort of behavior would be grounds for the FAA to revoke their license (which happened today). Would likely result in the loss of their jobs. (which again is likely due to the fact they cannot fly anymore). But more importantly, is it something that the media would report on? I personally feel it would be newsworthy, but I'm not sure that view is shared by our major news outlets.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Knives at School and a larger problem

Ok, so there have been two stories now (highlighted by foxnews.com) about kids with knives at school 1 2. So there are a whole bunch of problems with the way Schools are handling these situations. First, why is a pocket knife considered a weapon? I can understand a dagger or a sword as a weapon, but a pocket knife? Come on. Second, what is the fuss about - I mean unless the kid uses the knife as a weapon there is no reason they shouldn't be allowed to possess it. Consider that other things can be used as weapons but are not banned from school under "Zero Tollerance" policies: Baseball bats, books, pencils, umbrellas, drum sticks, a power cord.

When I was in school there was a kid who broke the table leg off of a table in class and went after one of the other kids in the class. This was well before the Columbine and Thurston high school shootings. The point is anything can be turned into a weapon, and to single out a knife, which for thousands of years has been used more as a tool than a weapon is just insane. Consider how many knives are used every day in America, how many of those do you think are used as a weapon?

Next - are all knives banned on school campus, even the ones in the school kitchen? How about the wood shop? Or can a sharpened piece of metal in the metals shop be considered a knife or weapon?

I understand the fear here - but to be honest, you're not going to prevent a determined and angry person from bringing a knife or any other weapon on campus just because you've implemented a "Zero Tollerance" policy. Kip Kinkel brought a gun to school 2 times, and both times he knew it was illegal and against school policy to do so. The first time, he was expelled for bringing the gun to school - the second time, he killed two kids and injured several others. But if you read about him, you'll learn that the kid who tackled him had experience with guns enough to know that Kinkel was reloading and that he had a chance to stop the situation before it got worse. The kid who did that, himself had been shot once already and was shot a second time trying to disarm Kinkel.

What I'm saying folks, is you need to get a grip on your schools - become more involved in the policies and correct the problems. The time to be complacent has passed. You've let too many things be decided by being silent. The problems you see before you will not dissapate unless you act to correct them. Just because something doesn't affect you directly now doesn't mean it won't at some point in the future. If you, like me, see a problem with your schools - do something about it. One voice alone, will not be able to solve the problem.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Huh?

You suppose there will be a conflict of interest if Hillary becomes SOS?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Political Definitions

So its been forever since I blogged, so I thought I would pick up again with something light. I'm going to try and do a series based on political buzzwords. The first up is: Budget Cut


Usage: "My employer cut back my hours, thus I'm forced to make some budget cuts."


Definition: (Noun) - The act of reducing budgeted expenditures


Government's Definition: What occurs when there isn't enough money to fund Public Art, Diversity, Raises for Public Office Holders, Public Health Care, Schools, Roads, and Police Protection.


Commentary: In government's definition of Budget Cut things such as Schools, Roads, and Police Protection are the first items to be considered when trimming the budget. Why? Because these are the items that government knows the public wants most, therefore when trying to extort more money from the tax base, if they cut Schools, they have more leverage in obtaining said funds. No one is going to vote for "Tax increase to fund Diversity" or "We don't have enough money for Public Art".


See, cutting the police budget has all sorts of impications for tax payers - i.e. more criminals on the streets, slower response times, less or no police coverage, etc. And government know it, therefore they will institute programs that directly benefit them, such as pay increases for state workers, knowing that they can cut the budget for police and schools and that the tax payers will find a way to fully fund the important programs.


So remember the next time you read in the newspaper that Government is going to have to make Budget Cuts that what they are really doing is funding what they want at the disservice to you.