America’s Disaster if We Don’t Solve Our Medical Care System

Posted on May 31st, 2007 in Health by Robert Miller

The United States of America spends more per capita on health care than any other Western nation, yet we have more than 44 million Americans uninsured. A significant portion of our medical costs are created by administrative charges which constitute about 37% of our medical bills. For the past forty years, the growth in per capita health care costs has outstripped the growth in per capita income, so that by the year 2022, given the present rate of growth, the annual health care growth costs will consume half of our economic growth and all of our economic growth by 2051. Even for those insured, the co-pays and cost of drugs inhibit people from seeking health care until their problems become more serious, at which time the costs of treating them are usually much higher. It is completely silly that if an employee loses or quits his/her job their health insurance is also lost. If our objective is to make sure that our citizens are covered for their health care needs, the employee based system of health insurance needs to go. Bush’s plan, to have employees get a tax credit for purchasing their own health insurance coverage after leaving a place of employment doesn’t do anything other than put a band-aid on a major hemorrhage in America. We need a fix.

Where is the U.S. on the Global Peace Index?

Posted on May 30th, 2007 in Politics by Robert Miller

A new effort has been launched as the Global Peace Index. This index was brought about by a consortium of influences which converged on a group within “The Economist” publication office who developed a model that attempts to evaluate the positive influence that any country has in developing both internal and external peace. Numerous criteria were used to derive the peace index score and they included things like the size of the military, the number of conflicts the country has had under UN supervision vs without it and the magnitude of external sales of military hardware. But the index goes much deeper than that because it also attempts to score internal issues like education, the system of government, the degree of participation of citizens, the level of gender equity, the rate of incarceration, the density of police officers and includes issues like the international reputation that the country has for peaceful activity. For each of these categories, a score of 1-5 was entered with 1 being the best. According to this scorecard, the U.S. ranks 96th out of 121 nations and it is not hard to understand how we scored so poorly. On the other hand, Norway was number 1, with New Zealand and Denmark right behind; it is worth looking at the scores these countries get and thinking about each of the categories. Do you want to guess whether anyone covering the White House will ask the President if he has read the peace index data? (“flawed data”)

Employment for Paul Wolfowitz

Posted on May 29th, 2007 in Humor,Politics by Robert Miller

Having gotten us into a war we cannot win in Iraq, by advocating that our troops would be welcome and that no evidence was available to suggest that resident Iraqis would object to our arrival and then having alienated just about half the planet at the World Bank and most Europeans, Paul Wolfowitz will soon face unemployment. A person who is armed with that much lethality naturally concerns us and most Americans are interested in where his next employment might be, so that they can quickly disinvest in any related stock that might be in their portfolio. The good thing about this of course is that wherever Wolfowitz goes, Americans will become more knowledgeable about their own stock holdings and the extent to which they might errantly veer into a company that would be within the “Wolfowitz Walk Zone,” that swath of influence which might have a spillover effect in ways that at first seem unimaginable. Of course we are exposed to may outrageous theories which can readily be dismissed almost out of hand. For example, I just heard the other day that someone suggested Wolfowitz might be responsible for the decline in bee colonies that provide critical pollination to our crops. If so of course, one would want to immediately disinvest in almond farming which depend critically on bee pollinators in California.

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