Sunday, January 09, 2005

speaking from the center?

You can count me among the people who believe that the constitution spells out how we can have a free society and an appropriately-sized federal government.

That the government should stay off people's backs, and stay out out what it the states' rights to determine. That the federal government should provide a strong defense without primarily functioning as a profit-center for the rich and powerful, and without the strong defence functioning as a federally funded presidential campaign tool. That the federal government should never place discrimination in the constitution. That the federal government has no place in determining any personal medical decision. That my tax dollars can never be spent to market any religion, whether that of the majority or a minority, of the politically powerful or the disenfranchised.

You can count me among the people who have an education, opinions, and experience enough to form these opinions from a strong foundation, and among the people who respects the rights of others to have those opinions. You can count me among the people who respects others opinions because I have the self-respect to have confidence in my own.

You can count me among the people who voted against the current administration because there is not a single thought among those in the White House that supports the interests of the average citizen in terms of governance, the economic divide between rich and poor, and the balance between freedom and security, yet they were such effective salespeople that they sold a bill of goods.

You can count me among the people that agree that we are dangerously close to establishing royalty in this country - the inheritance tax, damage award cap, and social security issues are prime examples - and we are veering dangerously close to annointing our leader with king-like powers - the ability to determine who is and is not a legitimate enemy in a war, and what level of of torture is acceptable are prime examples. It makes my head spin that these radical ideas are supported by anyone who considers themselves conservative.

The very freedom to say things like this is under attack from Attorneys General, media moguls, and political leaders alike, and it makes my head spin that anyone who considers themselves conservative doesn't see this.

I certainly am fairly liberal on the environment and liberal in a constitutional-freedom sense about personal liberties, but also conservative in a small-federal-government way.

You can count me as one of the 49% who voted against the current administration's re-election because of commonly held beliefs, nothing radically left or right. Self-defeating, pathetically blinded ownership of radical right or left ideas is dangerous to our society.

Yes, count me as one who speaks from the reasonable center.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

ambulance chasers and drunken doctors

The money, in the medical industry, goes straight to the top. Corporate executives are among the highest paid in the US. forty years ago, that overhead just wasn't there, and went to your local doctor.

The average surgeon in the US earned $78,000 last year - more that I make but it doesn't really seem like a lot. They spend nearly 50% of their time and profits administering paperwork for HMOs, insurance, Medicaid, etc. They did go to school longer than I did, and I want them to be well rested when they put a knife in me.

Insurance is expensive to them, but the rise in malpractice insurance precisely tracks the rise in insurance company profits - not court cases by ambulance chasers, not doctors drunkenly snipping out the wrong kidney.

We are swamped with immigrants in many parts of this country, and they indeed use emergency rooms for their urgent care needs, and this raises the price of hospital care for all of us. California is particularly impacted by this, and receives less monetary support from the federal government per capita than most states, when reasonably we should be compensated for this federal problem (California is not, yet, a soveriegn nation, and can't be expected to protect a federal border on its own).

Californians are also nearly twice as likely as residents of most other states to file a Workman's Comp claim. Since medical services are compensated at wholesale rates, this also increases medical costs for those of us who don't file WC claims.

IMO we, the richest nation in the world with the best Doctors, Nurses, and Hospitals, should make a system where we never deny the best medical care to anyone regardless of their ability to pay - anything less is shameful.