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Saturday, September 05 2009

The Internet

I, like so many others, am using the Internet to publish ideas and concepts that I believe have the power to invoke real change.  To me, and I love high energy discussions, we are all looking for solutions.  So the Internet is the chosen vehicle to permit contrasting and often opposing ideas and beliefs to exist side by side.

That's the good news.  The distressing news is that so many are using this same vehicle to propagate half truths, inuendo, falsehoods, over generalized labels and personal judgements.  Noise has replaced substance at town hall meetings, in emails, on the tube, and throughout the media in general.  When the noise level rises so high that real solutions cannot be heard or discussed, "we the people" are missing the mark. 

Our Fore Fathers initiated an experiment in governance.  But they were not ignorant of the forces that could seriously disrupt that experiment.  Checks and Balances were put in place to tie the hands of mischief and protect this Democracy from those who would try to accumulate more power than is warranted by the situation.  At the same time the voice of the people could be heard through those who would represent the people.  Thus two great bodies could openly discuss affairs of state and let their wisdom bring solutions to the people.

Our Fore Fathers also were very well aware that Mob Rule would unbalance everything and bring the fledgling democracy to its knees.

What we are observing today are attempts to establish just enough noise and disruption to take on the appearance of Mob Rule.  The pursuit of real solutions for real problems is still going on but the public discourse is so noisy that no one really knows what problem we are trying to solve.  It is so disruptive and noisy we are being shut off from both the possible solutions and the potential issues those solution are bound to create.....  More to come......  So lets discuss a couple of the more difficult issues facing us.

Health Care

Camp one on Health Care has nothing to do with Health Care.  Government should be as little involved in the Private Sector as possible.  Let private Enterprise provide the solutions.  We do not need more government, we need less.

Camp Two on Health Care, it is broken.  Way too many people are not covered by insurance and even those that are, are often at risk.  I cannot transfer my insurance from workplace to workplace,  If I have had  a prior Health issue I will not be covered under a new policy.  My Health Insurance can be terminated.  Catastrophic problems such as organ transplant, long term care, terminal illness and others may not be covered.  For full coverage, it is very expensive, for partial coverage you are at risk. 

Camp Three recognizes Government is involved in Health Care (medicare and public hospitals), that Costs are rising, that there are different costs for the same procedure, that Health Care as a Profit Center has many, many issues, the least of which is inefficiency , redundancies, and business priorities vs peoples health priorities.

This is where Capitalism breaks down.  On the one side the profit motive brings entrepreneurship and all of the money and creativity with it.  On the other side profit centers when applied to quality of life in the Health Sector have conflicting aims.  We all want to continue living, but we cannot do that without the dedication, creativity and talent of all those in the Health care profession.  How is risk, reward, and our individual lives to be balanced?

In the ongoing debate between Capitalism and Government, our recent Economic Crisis is a perfect example of the failure of Financial Leaders and our Government to protect us from the excesses of Private Enterprise.  Not to belabor an already worn out example, the stupid risks capitalism took brought our economy and our financial world to its knees. Both the SEC and other entities had the information but did nothing.  After the fact the Government came in and rescued them without conditions (like you only get a small payment for your services until you pay back the government loan!).  Did we reach any conclusions about accountability, did the executives of failed Companies or Hedge Funds get paid from the public coffers?  Were bonuses paid for incompetence or at the least serious miscalculation?  We are all now paying, some dearly, for some peoples  excesses and the often inept way the government intervened.

But, that said, I do not see the private sector assuming full responsibility for our Health Care problems. We are still in the same mess we have been in for years.  So what is to be done?  The issue is not Pure Capitalism vs Socialism.  The Issue is Checks and Balances.  Mischief, Mistakes and Mismanagement are part of the process.  Oversight, properly administered, helps catch the three M's before disaster strikes.

Without direct management intervention "Government run Universal Health Care" many things could be corrected, only a few would raise the ire of extreme conservatives.

The Hospital, though it is a defined Profit Center, has some serious problems to overcome.  Solving only one part of the problem does not correct the brokeness of the overall system.  Free Emergency service must be balanced by other parts of the System.  Medicare limits what it will pay for services.  Therefore all Services have tiered pricing.  Meaning some people/ Insurance Companies pay differently for the same Service.  The threat of an individual, family, or other entity suing over negligence or mistakes carries two problems with it.  The cost of protection (Insurance) is very high.  Running all conceivable tests to prove everything was done properly is another.  Of course the paperwork is enormous.   

Equipment to diagnose our health problems is expensive.  The skill and resources to repair a shattered and broken leg did not materialize out of thin air.  Drugs that save our lives and allow us to continue sometimes add up to enormous amounts of money and time to finally arrive at our doorstep. So none of this is cheap, most of it is expensive. 

Step number one is to remove the redundancy by establishing a networked Data Base.  All patients have an account number with specific retrievable data.  Doctor and Hospital, time and date, Insurance Carrier, and indexed patient data. A National registry of Doctors, Securitized patient records (xrays, MRI's, Date and time of other specific data).  Since Hospitals, clinics and Doctor's offices are profit centers, they all have their own billing mechanism, but, they must record under the patient's account number a billing entry.

In todays world not all Doctors have Hospital privileges.  In todays world you cannot call a Doctor's Office and talk to a Doctor.  Many, many Doctors will not take in new patients that are under Medicare.  The concept of Primary Care Physician is incorrect and outdated.  Tiered pricing is incorrect and unfair to many. Physicians that will accept Medicare are disappearing fast and those that do are experiencing overload. Sharing networked Patient Data, meaning a data base has your records, is not happening anywhere near enough times.   Specialization makes it difficult to treat patients with more than one problem.  Crowding means you may wait an hour or more past your appointment time to see the Doctor.  Many Offices are so crowded it is an all day deal to get treated.  Because of the multi level pricing game (same procedure 5 different pricing levels), because there is no accountability for services rendered, because a Hospital visit is shrouded in mystery and complicated by undefined services (consulted with patient, reviewed chart, ordered blood tests....285.00)...(blood work.....315.00), Exit evaluation...265.00)   You get the idea, specifics, accountability, accurate billing for specific services rendered are not there. 

The Insurance Companies and the Medical Profession could solve this problem.  They could step up to the plate and devise a system of accountability and billing along with an integrated digital data base.  Because they have not we now have the government stepping in.  Everyone who has ever dealt with any of the service providers in the health Industry know about these problems.  A strong system wide solution can be designed and implemented.  Our survival as individuals means part of that survival is predicated on adequate Health services that do not break the individual every time something really bad happens.  It also means a Government run system is not the best system but because private enterprise will not step in and help us out, we have no choice but to create a government sponsored universal health care system.  

Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Terrorism, Oil.

To kill or be killed, is that the question? 

Everything in this Web Site is against this premise. But, that does not alter the current situation where innocent women, children and men are being sacrificed to a greater cause.  It no longer matters who lives or dies, who is injured or left alone on the side of the road with no parents, who has to navigate the rest of their life injured emotionally, psychologically, physically.  It no longer matters how much hate is stirred up, or how much anger is generated over the death and destruction.

Whether the US accidentally or with calculated disinterest kills a dozen innocent people.  Whether 10 or 20 children die in a blown up bus. Whether soldiers give their lives for a cause the end result is really quite simple.  Leaders (and I sometimes use that word loosely) choose war and more war to solve problems and most of us are cannon fodder, expendable, useful, pawns. 

Hey I have an idea, lets all acknowledge, really admit, that two things are absolutely true.  Some resources are limited and our cultures and economies that depend on those resources are in danger.  If we did that what could come out of such an admission.

We could kill everyone that was weaker and had those resources until we were the only ones left standing.  It would be like 5 guys in the middle of the desert with only 5 quarts of water left.  One could kill all of the others and last five times as long, and then die anyway.  However that person would have the satisfaction that they were the stronger and more powerful one of the group, until they too dried up and blew away.

That is exactly what is going on this very minute.  We are not fighting for our Species survival, we are squabbling over who gets the last known peanut butter sandwich in the known Universe.  This is not only ludicrous, it is insanity at its finest level.  I know it does no good to scold those who cannot see past this idiotic behavior but it helps me wade through the horror we as a species are inflicting on each other day in and day out. 

We need serious people to help solve serious problems.  And you, unnamed people, have had your last 15 minutes of ranting, raving and killing in the name of God, Oil, or Democracy.

I know very seriously how presumptuous it is of me to recommend any alternatives to our current approach to the worlds problems.  It is very complex and it boggles the mind how many problems and different people, cultures and religions are in the witches cauldron.  However, I have noticed that the best ideas for resolving any dispute comes from someone who is not embittered or embroiled in the conflict.

 What I am going to propose will take courage, a great deal of courage. I call upon all to weigh carefully these alternatives.  I call upon all to search deep in their hearts for the wisdom and strength to implement them.

So, let us begin.........

A Changing and Dangerous World

The Dali Lama and all who are with him cannot change the reality of China systematically destroying Tibetan culture, heritage, traditions and people.  The world knows this is injustice and does nothing.  Genocide in Africa and other parts of the world has not been dealt with.  Dictatorships crush human rights around the Globe.  Children die from malnutrition, correctible illness, war. Thousands per day.  Lawlessness, terrorism, violence expands across  the Earth in waves.  War is appearing all over the Globe with more and more justification for more and more war. 

Aquifers (underground lakes of clean water) are systematically being poisoned and drained off.  Genetically modified Seeds are systematically threatening the variety and integrity of the grains that feed the world.  The soil is being blown and washed away, poisoned, and being made sterile by over producing and agricultural mismanagement.  We are introducing and have introduced so many chemicals into our food chain that it is almost impossible to avoid the disastrous health effects.  Heavy metals, arsenic, plastics, mercury,  toxins, pesticides.  We are losing species by species at an alarming rate (the genetic pool of diversity is disappearing).  Over population is looming on the horizon.  Crisis after crisis will dominate our attention for the coming decades.

Have I even made you a tiny bit nervous yet?  There is more, much more.  The world our children's children will face should make every parent cringe and want to do something to stop these disasters from coming into existence.  Is this even possible?

Yes, it is.  But some things have to change.  First it is we as individuals.  Although groups (sometimes in the millions) do form to evoke change it is just a different story with the same dysfunctional agenda.  We are not asking for enlightenment here, we are not demanding that everyone adopt spiritual mantles, don robes, or accept new ritualistic patterns.

We are asking that a new level of daily consciousness become a part of all of our lives. From this many things can emerge.

Healthier individuals, healthier families, healthier societies.  Individual anger diminishes and we question more the reasons for war.  Is killing the only way to gain control over the last drop of oil?  Or, can we find a way to manage our resources so that all can participate while innovation and creativity help us develop alternatives and new ways of living.


Withdraw from the field of battle.  Gather and train ambassadors in the history, religion, culture and politics of the Nations we are trying to deal with.  Everyone is afraid of what will happen if we leave Afghanistan.  We are now the interlopers, we are no longer looked upon as helping the situation, we are becoming not only the enemy but the bringers of chaos and harm.  Offer aid and assistance, but leave.  For Iran, do not try to overthrow the ruling leadership, but strengthen the United Nations to bring sanctions against those who would threaten the safety of the citizens of other countries.

Heroin brings money to the farmers, the drug lords and the Taliban.  Figure out an alternative.  India and Pakistan are at each other again, The governing of Pakistan, Afghanistan , Iran and all other countries should be left to the people of that country.  If we had a United Nations that was effective, all the world could bring their power to stop atrocities and suppression of human rights.  Sanctions from all Nations would be a powerful deterrent to all saber rattling and abusive governments.  There is much that could be done. 

Posted by: Dick Carpenter AT 10:58 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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