The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘healthcare’ Category

OBAMACARE AND THE “WAR ON WOMEN”

If you’re a mainstream liberal-left Democrat you undoubtedly subscribe to the mantra that all Republicans (in addition to being white, male and overweight) are uniformly misogynists, merciless and are actively engaged in the well-publicized “war on women.”  That’s true even if you can neither spell nor pronounce “misogynist” or know it’s meaning.  No matter.  When yelling slogans and enjoying the approval of the mindless mob, there’s no reason to think for yourself or form opinions which might conflict with what the politburo tells you to think.  Besides – thinking has been identified as a dangerous activity and has (or soon will be) outlawed – so why waste your time on it when you could be painting picket signs.

There is certainly some evidence that, if taken out of context, would suggest that those who are Republicans (code name conservatives) might fit the definition which you have been taught in your local cell.  After all, a lot of Republicans//conservatives (code name people who have a religious background) oppose abortion – and that, of course, is an assault on your “right to control your own body.”  Granted, there are some in that conservative camp who feel indisposed to pay for your voluntary indiscretion resulting in the need for an abortion.  Most would reluctantly agree to the procedure in the very rare cases where rape or incest is involved.  But rehashing Roe v. Wade is not the thrust of this post.

So you’ve hitched your star to those who are really concerned for the well-being of Americans – the Democrats – and point to all the wonderful things that Obamacare contains.  And there are some excellent features in the act.

It’s great that irrespective of pre-existing conditions, people will be able to get insurance.  Of course, given the fact that people with life-threatening or chronic conditions will pay the exact same premium as someone of his or her age who is disease or drug free means that you and I will contribute to their health insurance directly by paying higher premiums on our own policies and indirectly through the inevitable tax increases that will be forthcoming from Washington to reimburse the insurers when they fail to make money on the policies they are being mandated to sell.

It’s great that there is now portability of insurance.  If you lose your job you will be able to keep your current policy.  Of course, you will be required to pay the full amount of the premium a portion of which your previous employer subsidized.  It’s one of the benefits of having a job – something lost on approximately 13.6% of our populace who are unable or unwilling to find employment.

The main theory behind Obamacare is that in a nation that used to be as great as the United States it is unacceptable that thirty million of us should be without insurance.  Apparently, those who are in that condition are less impressed with their precarious perch than those in the marbled halls of Washington  since the latest polls indicate that three out of four or those uninsured mistrust Obamacare and do not plan on enrolling and a solid one quarter of them have never even heard of it – despite the hundreds of millions our government has spent on public relations to promote it.

We know from well-established studies that women, more than men, need health care and treatment.  Part of that is because women are child bearers and have internal configurations that are more complicated than their male counterparts.  In addition, women have a longer life expectancy than men which results in more medical attention for a longer period of time.  Therefore, it is not hard to conclude that women will be more impacted by the provisions of Obamacare than men.

Since women live longer than men, the $600 Billion cut in Medicare funding written into the law to pay for other parts of the law hits women especially hard.   One of those cuts will affect what are known as “home health services.”  Perhaps you’re familiar with this if you’ve seen commercials advertising “companions” who might assist an elderly woman who needs someone to prepare meals, do some cleaning or simply provide companionship.  There are 5.2 million elderly (the vast majority of whom are women) who will be losing insurance coverage for these services due to Obamacare.  That’s a lot of people who either are going to have to move into a nursing home or will be left to their own resources.

Now I realize that five million is not a lot of people.  After all, when that number lost their previous “crappy” insurance last year – the administration pooh poohed this as a “small number” so we shouldn’t really be too concerned about all these elderly people.  That is unless one of them happens to be your aunt, your mother, your sister – or you.  But there is hope.

Suddenly last Friday, el Presidente decided that those formerly “crappy” insurance policies were good enough so that people could keep them another two years.  Personally, I took that as an act of beneficence – not to mention an astute political move, deferring all the forthcoming cancellations beyond the mid-term elections.  (Shame on me for even thinking that there was a political motivation behind all this).

So ladies, if you’re lucky – you never know when Obama will whip out his pen and perhaps unilaterally change the law for the thirtieth time and restore the home health benefits that were dropped by the law and restore all the other cuts that were made to Medicare.  That would go a long way to end the Obamacare war on women.  And if you’re really fortunate, he may pick up his phone and call to let you know the good news.

LIBERTARIAN SIMPLICITY

Let me begin with a premise.  If a challenge exists, finding the most complex solution to it is probably not an effective response.  As evidence of this theory, let me offer the ACA legislation, more affectionately known (but no longer by Democrats) as Obamacare.

Much has been made of the fact that Obamacare is over 2400 pages long.  Now all of us recognize that’s a lot of trees that died for this legislation.  Put another way, the original act contains over 400,000 words.  That’s nearly the equivalent of the novel “War and Peace” in the original Russian.  Of course, Tolstoy had the cleverness to incorporate a plot in his epic work – something that Obamacare clearly lacks.

But let’s continue our analysis of this law.  You may remember the physics concept that, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  Apparently that principle does not apply to legislation.

With a law as pithy as Obamacare someone has to decipher what it means and explain it to the legislators who passed it without bothering to read its contents.  Hence those in charge of administering it and writing regulations for it have, thus far, used up nearly 12 million of our perfect good English words that would have preferred to be out golfing with the president instead.  That is, by the way, twice the number of words in the Internal Revenue Code.  No wonder the IRS isn’t answering taxpayers’ question on the proper tax filing procedures.  Apparently, one of the BFOQ’s of working at IRS is not having a Certificate of Completion for the Evelyn Wood speed reading program.

Without a doubt the subject of Obamacare goes far beyond law and deeply into the innards of partisan politics.  Democrats accuse anyone who opposes it of being heartless, money grubbing and racist.  There is a bit of wavering on this subject by the Democrat senators who are up for re-election who voted for it and find that the results, thus far, have not been either what they or the president promised their constituents.  Republicans, smelling blood in the streets, have naturally stooped to conquer, citing instances of the disaster the law has brought on the populace.  They have a great deal of material from which to choose.  Meanwhile, the people whom the law was theoretically intended to help – the uninsured – have adopted a rather ho hum view of the law with less than one percent of them bothering to enroll through the end of January.  Perhaps their lack of enthusiasm and participation is that either they do not want to have health insurance or simply cannot afford it.

Without debating the merits or lack of them of the law and setting aside partisan politics, this provides an excellent example of the libertarian concept, “That government is best which governs least.”  Even some proponents of the law have admitted that it’s unveiling has been far worse than they anticipated.  One could include the president in that group since he has amended it twenty-eight times by the use of his mighty pen.  But this does raise a serious question – all politics aside.

I realize there are those who truly believe that government is the answer to all our problems – and others who believe that it is the root cause of most of them.  I consider myself to be somewhere in the middle of those two views, probably leaning more to the latter.  But whatever your political stripe or your view on the role of government, the rollout of Obamacare should give any rational person reason to pause.

By now we all know that the president repeatedly made promises about Obamacare which were patently untrue.  Whether he was ignorant of the truth or purposefully lied in order to sell the program is only moderately relevant.  If he were ignorant – he failed in his responsibility as chief executive and, if he were working in the private sector would have been fired.  If he were working in the private sector and lied to his shareholders (the American people in this case), he would have been removed from office.

Now health insurance is something which we are all mandated to own by the law and which any rational person hopes never to need to use.  Obviously, some of those who have insurance will find a reason to utilize it and others not.  So this issue only affects all of us on a theoretical basis.  But what if there were a crisis that affected everyone – a failure in the nationwide power grid, for example.  Given the track record of this administration, is there anyone who would feel confident that this government would be able to handle that crisis effectively?

Fortunately, I have a simple solution for the problems that Obamacare has encountered or created.

The president made it clear that, “He has a pen and a phone.”  (I guess that’s the original Obama phone).  So all he has to do is sign an executive order outlawing disease, accidents and genetic defects.  We will no longer have to fret about the uninsured since everyone will be healthy and the money we are spending repairing the website and expanding the bureaucracy to administer the law could be used to feed the hungry or clothe the poor.

You know, this simplicity thing, combined with the power of the pen has got a lot to commend it.  I think I’ll turn my attention next to Putin, Kim jung-un, and President Assad.  The sky’s the limit.  Well, at least if we don’t run out of ink.

FOOD SHOPPING AND OBAMACARE

No doubt you know the expression, “There are many ways to skin a cat.”  I know I’ve heard that countless times but, notwithstanding, I haven’t the faintest clue how you would even approach this project using any of the purported methods.  Nor am I inclined to check out You Tube for an instructional video on the subject.

True, I am a dog lover and prefer their company to that of our feline companions.  But I did have three cats in the house at one time who learned to be quite civil and extremely social proving that my dogs who instructed them on the finer points of good behavior could easily have been educators at the finest Ivy League schools.  At least my dogs’ feline pupils learned something.

Well, as we have now gone through that wonderful holiday known as Thanksgiving, you will, no doubt, have noticed that the grocery stores were well stocked with cans of cranberry sauce – both jellied and with whole cranberries – and only slightly more expensive than they were last year .  Although I normally make my own I did grab a couple of cans because it’s hard for me to resist a sale on cranberry sauce.

So I brought them home and added them to the larder in the pantry.  Much to my surprise as I rearranged the shelf on which cranberry sauce properly belongs, I discovered that I had a can of whole berry cranberry sauce left over from last year.  This little blighter had hidden itself in the Oriental fruit section, between the lychees and the sliced mangos in heavy syrup.  Who knew that cranberries could be so furtive?  Naturally, this annoyed me as I like to keep an organized pantry so I set about getting all the cranberry sauce organized in one place as every right thinking person knows it should be.

I was stacking the cans and was going to put the older can on top so that I would use it first when I made a discovery.  The old can was oversized compared to its new companions and didn’t nestle nicely as it should.  That was because the old can contained 14 ounces of cranberry sauce and the new cans only contained 12 ounces, a 14% reduction in the quantity of product.  No wonder the new cans were priced only a little higher than last year.  Higher price/Smaller quantity = Large Real Price Increase.

How does this apply to Obamacare?  It’s the same shell game.

One of my neighbors who is on Medicare and has an Advantage plan as her Medicare supplement asked me to review her new policy booklet for next year.  Like most of us, reading voluminous booklets is not one of her favorite activities and she finds it a bit daunting.  So I obliged her.  What I found in reviewing the plan booklets for this and next year was extremely informative.

There was no change in the planned premium which she pays to maintain this insurance.  That’s hard to understand if you’ve heard that in order to implement Obamacare there was $600 Billion cut from Medicare’s budget.  But the devil is in the details.  In order to disguise these cuts the Feds have generally chosen to incorporate them not in premium cost increases but rather in the co-insurance costs for which subscribers are responsible.

Although it’s difficult to say what the “average” increase in co-insurance will be for my friend, because it’s impossible to predict which, if any, specific services she might require, it is possible to look at specific procedures and benefits and see what the increases in co-insurance are.  They range between 40% for drugs to 100% for an ambulance.  This at a time when she was just notified that her Social Security payment which represents the majority of her income will increase by 1.5% next year.

This, of course, only deals with the Obamacare cutbacks from the standpoint of the consumer.  Doctors are discovering that their fees are also being cut – to the point where they cannot operate their offices profitably enough to keep their doors open.  A neurologist from Atlanta yesterday testified before a House Sub-Committee that he has been notified that certain drugs which have helped stabilize the conditions of his MS patients will no longer be covered and they will have to pay full cost out of pocket if they want to keep taking them.

Wait a second – this is a group of people who are one of the primary “beneficiaries” of Obamacare – those with pre-existing conditions.  But I think I’ve finally figured out and can sum up the essence of Obamacare.  You get to pay more and get less.

Please pass the cranberry sauce.

HOW A RELIGIOUS REVIVAL IN AMERICA COULD TANK OBAMACARE

Once again HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made an appearance on Capitol Hill at a Congressional hearing.  I’ve seen her so frequently that I feel that I should be allowed to call her Kathy or, perhaps, Kit Kat.  She looked very stressed as she explained that she has asked her agency’s Inspector General to conduct an investigation into the outside IT vendors to determine if there was malfeasance in the way they performed their duties.

Hmmm.  Good timing.  Due diligence would suggest that the time to perform an investigation into a contractor’s background is before rather than after you’ve committed to spend $600 million with them.  But then due diligence would also suggest that you put a major contract out for competitive bidding and avoid giving business to a college chum who happens to have gone to school with the First Lady.  It’s called propriety.   Notwithstanding, government via the DOD has still figured out that $650 for a toilet seat is a reasonable price, competitive bidding notwithstanding.

If you’re one of the unlucky “small number” of people whose insurance contracts were cancelled by your insurer – 5.9 million policies and approximately 15 million people nationwide – you’re probably nervous about what you’re going to do come January 1st.  You had a perfectly nice policy which suddenly went away and now you’re having some difficulty finding a replacement.  Fortunately, the website is now working better than it did ten weeks ago – so there’s actually a chance you might be able to see what Obamacare has to offer.

And now you’re sitting there saying to yourself, “Self – my choices are getting a new policy with all sorts of provisions which I don’t want or need, paying a higher premium and having a huge deductible before I get any benefits.  Or paying a $95 penalty or 1% of my income as a penalty by the IRS – which can only be collected if I get a refund.  What do I do?  Should I just take my chances and hope I don’t get sick and disregard the law, choosing to pay the penalty and pocketing the difference to self-fund my own healthcare?  Oh, and if I do get sick, then I can sign up for Obamacare and since pre-existing conditions must be covered I am guaranteed the right to buy insurance?”  Well, that seems like a plan to me.  But wait, there’s a way to avoid the penalty entirely.

On page 1427 of the legislation which gave us Obamacare is an exemption from the law for two religious groups – Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonites.  (They are also exempt from being subject to paying Social Security and Medicare taxes).  So all you have to do is convert to one of these two groups, start replacing your clothes with black homespun and you guys need to start letting your beards grow out.

I expect that as we get more details on all the “benefits” in store for us with Obamacare, we will see the populations of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana swell as more of us convert and become either Old Order Amish or Mennonites.  Yes, you’ll have to give up your cell phone and toss out your television (no great loss there), but on a positive note, you’ll learn how to build a barn and deep down, admit it, haven’t you always wanted to learn how to whittle?

SILK PURSES AND SOWS’ EARS

Today the president cranked up the road show which we are warned will continue daily for the next three weeks to tout the virtues of Obamacare.  He used a tried and true formula that direct mail marketeers have employed for decades.  Perhaps you’ve received some literature from them in the past.

If you have you’ll recognize the shtick.  On very inexpensive paper you will be solicited to explore the wonderful new system that the mailer has discovered which is guaranteed to turn your humble financial life into that of an affluent nabob.  The “system” is guaranteed and fool-proof.  If you only remit the modest sum of $8.95 which includes the shipping charge, you will soon have delivered to you the secret of how to become wealthy almost overnight.

Naturally, in order to convince you to part with this modest sum of money, not only does the discoverer of this remarkable system share with you the story of his personal success, he includes the testimonials of a variety of earlier subscribers who attest to their own new found wealth as they employed the system they received.  These testimonials bear their abbreviated names, such as Sharon L. – Daytona, FL or Larry C. – Indianapolis, IN.

If you are still doubtful, thinking to yourself, “Why would anyone give away this key to riches for such a modest price,?” the author has an answer.  You see he has already made more money than he can ever spend, now has four houses on both coasts with a Rolls Royce in the driveway of each and two chateaux overseas and it is because he is so grateful for his good fortune that he wants to share his wealth creating system with other, less fortunate souls.  Of course, that begs the question, “Why didn’t you just send me the book for free instead of sending me an ad for it?”

Once again, there is an answer in the material.  You see the author does not want to “Cast his pearls before swine,” and your modest “investment” is merely an expression of both your commitment and your good faith, proving that you are the kind of person who will actually utilize and deserves to be blessed by this remarkable discovery.

I couldn’t help but think of these many mail solicitations that I have received over the years as I listened to the president today.  The presentation, replete with testimonials about people who have benefitted from Obamacare lacked as much credibility as any of the “get-rich-quick” schemes that I have been offered.  Which is not to say that there are not people who will indeed benefit from the law – and that is a good thing.  But the honest question which everyone, irrespective of party affiliation should be asking is, “At what price?”

Anytime a law is enacted it affects people.  That is, in fact, the reason for creating it in the first place.  And the more sweeping the law, naturally the more people who are affected by it.  Obamacare is as sweeping a law as has been passed for perhaps close to a century.  Therefore, we should not be surprised that millions are being affected – and at this point in time, it is fair to say that those effects have predominantly been perverse.

The stated goal of this program is to “insure every American” – yet we know that by the administration’s own admission, they still expect that 30 million will remain uninsured.  So if that is the fundamental premise and reason for implementation, it is flawed from the beginning.

In part because of the inadequacy of the website, fewer enrollees have signed up than are necessary for this plan to work (hence today’s dog and pony show – to tout the “improvements” and get the gullible to sign on).  What the president omitted from his presentation is that for every person signing up for Obamacare, fifty have already lost their coverage due to Obamacare – and more of those cancellations, far more, can be expected next year.

But this attempt to sell America on Obamacare focuses only on one side of a multi-faceted issue.  It emphasizes the importance of getting insurance but it fails to address the question of “What do you do with it once you have it?”

More and more we are hearing from the medical community that they simply will not honor or participate in this program.  So, in essence, you now have a wonderful magic card and a plan booklet that is unusable.  Most of us would not consider that to be a benefit – especially when you realize that you were forced to buy this product of dubious value.

The president likes to make comparisons between Obamacare and its problems and the glitches that Apple has had with various product releases.  It seems to me that there is a fundamental flaw in that argument – or maybe two.

The first is that within a short period of time and at minimal cost, Apple fixed its problems.  The same cannot be said of Obamacare the law or Obamacare the website.

The second is that by simply letting the public know when the latest iPhone is going to be released, people in the droves queue up at their local Apple store to be one of the first to buy it.  Obamacare – not so much.

It is, in a world of “change” and “moving on” perhaps arcane to mention an old adage which I first heard from my Grandmother.  And though it may be old-fashioned and trite, it’s still true.

“You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP–DEAD

So in case you survived Black Friday and missed it, today is Cyber Monday.  This morning bright and early I logged into my Amazon account.  Alas, there were no special deals on either the Brita water filter replacements or Gracie’s Greenies Canine Dental Chews that I was prepared to purchase.  Nevertheless, I needed both items and within five minutes I had completed my purchase and received an email confirmation for my order.  Now that’s efficiency at its finest.

Fresh from this experience I decided to try www.healthcare.gov to see how “new and improved” the site was.  One of the issues which I had not seen and hoped to find in the latest iteration of the site was to be able to look at specific plans and find out whether my doctor was a participating physician.  I was, in essence, planning on doing some comparative shopping.  But I found that when I was referred to the Nevada Health Link, that information was still not available.

There was, however, a reassuring message on that web page that suggested that if I wanted to speak with a person and “have all my questions answered” I could call the toll free number and get the information I wanted.  As speaking with a person was my preference anyway, I decided to pursue that avenue.

So I called the toll free number, listened to the prompts and looked forward to hearing a friendly, helpful voice on the other end.  When I hit the third prompt, “If you have any other questions,” I immediately was thanked by the robotic voice and told that “my call would be answered in the order in which it was received and that my expected wait time was 43 minutes.”  As that was more time than I hoped to spend on hold I decided to try again later.

I made some oatmeal, went in the backyard and gave Gracie her morning treats while I ate my breakfast.  Charlie the mockingbird stopped by and I set out some food for him and watched him enjoy his meal and then entertain us with his singing.

About an hour had passed and I decided to try my call again.  On this second attempt I was informed that my wait time had increased to an hour and forty-seven minutes.  Years ago I had surgery to correct a bunion.  That entire procedure took less time than my prospective wait time just to get information.  And I sincerely wonder whether the person I might finally reach could actually answer my questions.

Being a persistent sort I will try again.  Perhaps midnight will be a time that offers a shorter wait period.  But I’m not certain that the phones are manned 24/7 so I might find that I’m asked to call back during normal business hours – which will put me right back where I was this morning.  Only time will tell.  But if I want to get the information it seems to me that with only three weeks to enroll in a plan or face a penalty, the wait times are likely to get worse as we approach that deadline.

But I couldn’t help thinking that instead of shopping for health insurance I might consider looking into prepaid funeral arrangements.  With all the difficulty facing the consumer who is mandated to buy health insurance, I’ll bet those who offer those services are probably ramping up their phone banks to accommodate those prospects who are tired of being put on terminal hold in their effort to comply with Obamacare.

A SKEPTIC’S VIEW ON “HEALTHCARE”

Grandma taught me a lesson at an early age.  It was a lesson that as a child I didn’t really appreciate or understand.  “Sweetheart, if you have your health you have everything.”  I adored my Grandmother but I thought filling up the page of my stamp album with all the pretty stamps or getting an A on the history test were far more important.  Then I got older – and then I grew up.

Because she was widowed at an age when my mother and aunt were young, she had to work hard to get by.  She held two jobs and took in other peoples’ laundry to make ends meet and to save a little bit each week.  Sadly, back in the 1920’s there were no social financial safety nets – other than what you might receive from family, friends or neighbors.

Grandma was not obsessed by money.  She never anticipated, nor did she have aspirations to become wealthy.  But she definitely understood that it was a bad thing not to be able to pay her bills and she worked diligently so that neither she nor her children were ever in that position.

Part of Grandma’s profound understanding of economics, based less than on her third grade education than on the experience she gained by attending the “School of Hard Knocks” was that income was only one component of being financially secure.  The other was how she spent what she had earned.  So she would go to five or six different grocers to buy the finest quality produce at the best possible price.  If she were president of the United States, this country would be running annual surpluses – which then could be used to help those who had not learned or didn’t care about the lessons she had been taught by life.

I don’t believe my Grandmother thought of herself as a Libertarian.  I’m not sure that the word had even been coined while she was alive.  But if she were with us today, I’m sure that she would identify far more closely with that system of government than what we find ourselves saddled with today.  And perhaps, by osmosis, that is why I view the world as I do.

Let me say that my views do not necessarily follow a “party line.”  There are very few essential issues to which virtually all Libertarians subscribe.  Beyond believing in a  limited amount of  government intervention in our lives and taking personal responsibility for our actions,, many of us who consider ourselves to be Libertarians are free to agree or disagree.  That, in itself, differentiates the Libertarian from most people who subscribe to the dogma promulgated by other political parties.  We do not have to subscribe blindly to the party “platform” in order to be considered loyal partisans.  That is, of course, also the weakness of Libertarianism.

Perhaps a better word to use to define Libertarianism is the phrase, “people who are skeptical.”  While we commonly accept the word “skeptic” as meaning a person who doubts, the derivation comes from the Greek “skeptikos” which refers to a person who investigates.  So with that in mind, let’s investigate why Obamacare isn’t working – at least not as it was touted it would.

First, I think it is fair to say that the primary premise behind the law was that it would enable every American to get health insurance.  In that respect it makes the assumption that having health insurance is the equivalency of having healthcare and that those who do not currently have health insurance would, with great avidity, seek it out.  Granted, there have been difficulties with access to the website which might have deterred some of the uninsured from investigating their new options.  But the most recent polls suggest that only one in five of those who are uninsured have even bothered to try to see what options are available to them.

If I were marketing a product that I was convinced “everybody” wanted and needed but found in surveys that only one in five actually had an interest, I would probably revise my expectations and my marketing strategies.

Second, Obamacare approaches the question of “healthcare” only from the standpoint of the consumer – not the medical establishment.   It doesn’t require skepticism to realize that if our doctors and hospitals are not willing to accept people who are covered by the new “health insurance” because of the minimal reimbursements which are being offered to them, they will find more profitable ways to do business and those who hold these new insurance policies will find themselves holding a worthless piece of paper.

If we were to purchase a product that was advertised on national television and discovered when we went to use it that it simply did not work, all sorts of government agencies, in the interest of “consumer protection,” would be filing law suits against the manufacturer and probably drive that company out of business.

Third, I have said many times that we do not now have and will not have after Obamacare a “healthcare system.”  What we truly have is a “disease maintenance” system.  If we were serious about improving the nation’s health, we should focus on having a “wellness system.”  But there are several problems with that concept.

The first is that there is very little money in providing “wellness.”  The healthy individual does not go to the doctor, other than for an annual physical exam and does not need the services provided in our advanced operating rooms.  Nor does she require prescriptions that support our pharmaceutical companies and our drug stores.

The second problem is that living a healthy lifestyle requires effort – individual effort.  It means that the individual must accept responsibility for his own good health and that requires discipline.  Americans like things fast.  That includes food – whether at a franchised McDonald’s or from the freezer of our grocery stores.  These products may be FDA approved – but that doesn’t mean that they promote good health.

The FDA and the Department of Agriculture also approve the way in which we raise and feed the factory-farm animals that contribute significantly to our diets.  The estimates are that 90% of the FDA approved antibiotics which are manufactured are fed to these animals.  As we ingest them in our meals, we naturally absorb the antibiotics that the slaughtered animals consumed during their brief lives.  Why, therefore, should we be surprised that the NIH has raised concerns that antibiotics are no longer proving to have the efficacy they once did as new “super bugs” are proving resistant to them?

It’s one thing to refer to problems and criticize and quite another to offer positive solutions.  But in a country which has almost universally accepted the concept of “disease maintenance” as “the way things are,” it is unlikely that either Obamacare or any variation of it will prove effective in the long term.  Our “healthcare system” will continue to hemorrhage both blood and red ink.  And it will be up to the individual to look after her or his own well-being.  That is if the government will let those few of us who believe this to follow our hearts and our consciences.

As Grandma said, “When you have your health you have everything.”  For those who do not believe that statement – well, they have Obamacare.

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