Archive for the ‘Health Care’ Category

Jeremy Corbyn wins two Labour leadership election victories but will be enough for the Blairites?<

September 26, 2016

Jeremy Corbyn wins two Labour leadership election victories but will be enough for the Blairites?

By Dark Politricks
Dark Politricks

 Jeremy Corbyn wins yet another Labour election victory
Jeremy Corbyn wins yet another Labour election victory but will it stop the Blairites attempting another coup?

Guess what…

Jeremy Corbyn has won his Labour Leadership election battle against the unknown (to me at least until this content), Owen Smith.

I don’t find it a surprise, I don’t find it a shock I find it a waste of time and a stupid exercise by Blairites and their followers who they co-erced into joining their coup as a massive custard pie in the face. They have really wasted some important months when they should have been attacking the Tories on

  • BREXIT and what’s happening with it (I have no clue).
  • Our new PM Theresa May and how she has gone back on many of David Cameron’s policies – which should really trigger a general election but as the Labour party were in no fit state to fight one they got away with it/
    The re-introduction of Grammar Schools.
  • The possibility of Scotland holding another referendum to leave the UK.
  • China building our nuclear power station and security issues around this.
  • So many other items to mention.

This is what satirist Jonathan Pie thinks about the re-election of Jermey Corbyn.

This year he won with 61.8% of the vote to Smith’s 38.2%.
Last year he won with 59.5% of the vote against the other 3 candidates.

This must tell you something. Maybe that the people and the Labour members want him as their leader no matter how much the press attack him all the time and try and portray him as unelectable?

Are the Blairites mad, do they not realise that the Labour party and the part of the country who are left wing actually WANT Jeremy Corbyn as the leader. Not some air brushed, PR managed, speaker phone in a suit, controlled by HQ who says what he is told to, and has no real opinions or beliefs of his own?

We don’t want constant US led war, like a puppy on a lead.

“Lets go bomb this country now UK our Special Friend”, and then afterwards whilst the people are all still fighting in a civil war, or forming new terrorist groups we can later control for our own ends, we can let all the US corporations get the oil rights such as Halliburton.

Plus all the contracts to rebuild the roads and hospitals that we bombed for no reason in the first place can go to US companies formed for exactly this reason.

Special Friend? The only thing special about our relationship with the USA is that we get to sleep in the wet patch afterwards and have little say when the “special” part is about to start.

We don’t want to to give banks money at 0% interest rates whilst we all have to suffer with 10%+ or if your stuck then WONGA or 1 of the hundreds of pay day loans that have sprung up much more.

Is that not a sign something is wrong?

When the public have to pay 1000s of % APR for their money? Do you know the pay day loans interest rates at the moment.

  • WONGA – 1,177% APR
  • Satsuma Loans – 1575% APR
  • Sunny – 1,299% APR
  • Square Today Short Term Loan – 1265% APR

I could go on, but that seems wrong to me, especially when all these payday banks are owned by the same main banks at the top anyway. It seems to be one of our only growth industries in the UK at the moment along with online Bingo, Poker and Gambling sites. That doesn’t say much for our economy does it?

If your a normal person, I consider myself normal believe it or not, then we don’t want our economy to built on services that milk the common person so that big banks get even richer and the poor poorer. No, we want to re-focus it so that we have a skilled manufacturing base, a decent job for university and apprentices to enter into after work not fill the shelves at Lidl.

We want high tech, high skilled people and a way for those who have fallen off the track due to ill health or long term joblessness to get back into those jobs through free training. Not punishment by taking away benefits because they have an extra room in their flat, or they don’t have a computer so that have to spend their meager benefits on bus fares into town to use the library to search for jobs as they currently have to do.

Call me stupid but we don’t want to privatize everything from education to the NHS. Privatising the National Railways when you think about it can’t be competitive anyway due to not having the ability to have 2 trains running on the same line at the same time to the same place. Isn’t that what competitiveness should all be about?

Unless you are going to allow each railyway company to build their own tracks through the country (which would take decades due to planning permission and all the rest) then you should make our railways a decent public transport option for the nation by making them fast, on time, reliable and cheap. If you did all that more people would leave their cars at home, help the environment and use the trains like they do in Spain and France.

Why is it in Spain I could travel overnight and back to a place the same distance as London for a couple of pounds on a clean railway when here it costs me the best part of twenty pounds, and more if it’s overnight?

No it has to be all about money and putting it into the pockets of companies after we have sold the rights for a few billion. It’s a stupid mentality only dreamt up by the Tories and Blairites.

The same goes for education. Education should be for life. People should be able to re-skill throughout their lives without forking out thousands in loan repayments. You should be able to go to University for free, another Blairite scheme that has just expanded the cost of education to those that can afford it again and again.

Cut the amount of money we spend on a useless Trident scheme that relies on US GPS (so they could turn it off if we went rogue), and the trillions we have spent on wars over the last decade and we could easily afford free education for all for life.

If you are unemployed you should be able to get onto any workplace training scheme or educational course you want for free.

It costs a lot more to have a jobless person claiming benefits for their home, pocket and council tax for years on end than it would for a year or two at a college.

We also have to admit that some of the things Blair and his cronies and followers did that were very bad for the country and it’s future as well as the world’s e.g Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and voting in the Tories time again won’t sort that out.

PFI was a nightmare for a start, one that will cost over £200 billion in the next 35 years. This will lead to hospitals and schools going broke if not already due to these huge debts they are with debts for the next 20+ years. Yes we may have build a lot of new schools and hospitals due to PFI, but the one thing we didn’t build was houses – why not?

Was that because we couldn’t find a way to allow the private sector to milk the taxpayer as they do with the others. Currently schools and hospitals have to pay contractors up to £100 or more to change a single light bulb if it breaks in a classroom instead of just calling out their handy man to do the job for them.

I remember being at school with a handy man who did all the odd jobs around the place and we all loved him more than the teachers.

He did everything that needed to be done and he cost a hell of a lot less than what schools are currently paying for fixing anything broken at the moment.

Just think of the waiting time for the private contractors to arrive for one, and then the inflated costs all to fill their pockets. What is the point apart from a one off payment from the private company to fill whatever gaping hole the treasury currently has and then face decades of debt?

Of course it doesn’t worry the MP’s who put it into action as they will be long gone by then. They are probably working for the same companies who are running the PFI schemes they helped push through parliament with their votes no doubt.

Also I don’t want to bail out the banks without jailing the directors as Iceland did. The people who led us into the 2008 crisis in the first place should be punished like any other criminal. I want some justice for all this mess and austerity everyone is facing.

Why are we giving banks money at 0% when we could be making National Bonds for investments in house building that will return a nice profit for investors, much needed jobs flooding in and most of all provide the housing people need?

These are all things Jeremy Corbyn wants to do. I can’t find a fault in it so please leave your comments to what is so stupid about these policies please.

From the Guardian

Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to “wipe the slate clean” after winning a convincing victory in Labour’s bitter leadership battle, securing 62% of the vote.

Speaking after the result was declared in Liverpool, Corbyn thanked his rival, Owen Smith, and urged the “Labour family” to unite after the summer-long contest.

“We have much more in common than that which divides us,” he said. “Let’s wipe that slate clean from today and get on with the work we’ve got to do as a party together.”

Corbyn secured 61.8% of the vote to Smith’s 38.2%. The victory strengthens his hold on a party that has expanded dramatically since the 2015 general election and now has more than 500,000 members. In last year’s contest, he won 59.5% of the vote.

Corbyn won a majority over Smith in every category – members (59%), registered supporters (70%) and trades union affiliates (60%).

 

View the original article at the main Dark Poltricks web site at Dark Politricks where you can get even more #altnews and daily politics away from the lamestream media

By Dark Poltircks

© 2016 By Dark Poltircks

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What is going on with our NHS system?

February 27, 2013

What is going on with our NHS system?

By Dark Politricks

With the recent sad story of a World War II hero having to sell his medals to pay for his care in his old age I thought I would write about my own experience with the NHS.

Whilst I have found it to be excellent when you are wheeled in unconscious from an ambulance into accident and emergency, if you have a long term health issue or require non emergency treatment I have found it to be slow, unresponsive and at times down right ridiculous.

Labour tried and failed to introduce a multi-billion pound national health database to be used by all hospitals and doctors surgeries that was then scrapped due to technical and userbility failures amongst various other issues.

As a computer programmer myself I know how easy it could have been to write a system that would be secure, allow enough flexibility for doctors to add new information as well as give patients access to their own health records.

I cannot see why an Internet based system could not be created that had a secure log on for doctors and different levels of security to stop the GP secretary from reading your personal health history. All whilst allowing a doctor at the hospital to add notes and upload scans and files one minute and for them to be instantly accessible by your GP the next.

There is nothing more ridiculous in my eyes than having a scan in the ultra sound department at the hospital then being given a scanned copy of the files and told to walk 50 metres down the hall to another department and hand them over to another doctor. All the while computers sit on top of desks. Does every department within a hospital have it’s own IT system? It seems that way and if so why?

If you know me, you will know I have had serious health problems over the last few years and it has certainly been an eye opener for me in how the NHS works.

I have to see multiple doctors all at different locations. From my GP at my local surgery, to consultants at the pain management clinic and the hospital and counselors at other locations.

If one of these doctors recommend a course of treatment or a new drug or examination I have to literally wait weeks whilst the doctor in question writes down the details or dictates into a microphone recorder the details which are then copied to paper. The details are then sent in the post – sometimes only hundreds of metres up the road (I kid you not, one place I visit is less than 200 metres from the hospital!) before arriving at my GP‘s surgery where it sits until a receptionist opens it and transcribes it into their own local computer system.

If I make an appointment for a month from the initial visit I “might” be lucky enough for the details to appear on my doctors own computer system when I finally get an appointment with her and if not I have to wait another week until they do get transcribed and copied onto their own computer system.

It has got to the stage where I frequently demand that they copy the letter out there and then and I take a physical copy by hand to the other doctor in question rather than wait so long.

On one occasion one doctor wanted to prescribe me a stong pain killer for my pain and I took a hand written copy straight to my GP where she read it and prescribed the drug straight away. If I had left it to the normal method I would have had to wait weeks at the very least.

Apparently email is out of the question due to the legal implications of opening the Royal Mail opposed to intercepting electronic communications. The sentence for the crime of opening the Queens mail is seemingly stronger and that is why they use the post and not email! A basic website as I previously mentioned would do the job – I would even write it for them if they wanted and I wouldn’t charge £20 billion for doing so!

Now I respect the NHS, unlike the USA we don’t let the poor die due to lack of insurance and we don’t expect to pay before we are treated. We also are not faced with huge crowds of people using the local accident and emergency room as a doctors for minor ailments due to laws that state they cannot turn a patient away. We also don’t have to take out huge loans or pay massive chunks of our salary towards health insurance that may OR may not cover you for your current problem.

I’m pretty young, yet I already have a pre-existing condition. That would mean I would have to pay lots to get insured and if I didn’t work I don’t know what I would do. In fact I would probably already be dead if I couldn’t get cheap insurance to cover me.

There have been times I have been jobless and broke. I have also had to go to hospital. How I would have paid for insurance or a large hospital bill I have no idea!

It seems the NHS is screwed.

They have separate procurement services – why don’t they bulk buy as a national company and get everything cheaply?

Gordon Brown’s PPI may have built lots of nice new hospitals but it has also loaded them up (and the country) up with debt and forced hospitals to use private companies for minor maintenance whereas having a full time odd job man on the pay roll would have been much cheaper in the long run. Instead they have to hire specific companies and pay stupid inflated amounts of money just to change light bulbs – £70 is the figure I have heard.

Our policy of adhering to the hippocratic oath is admirable but it also means we have become a target for health tourists who come halfway across the world to claim expensive medical care paid for by my tax money.

Whilst I lie here in severe pain, waiting months for my next appointment to come through the post someone from another country who hasn’t paid tax or even worked towards funding the NHS is taking up resources that should be dedicated to the people who pay for it i.e. you and me.

Our parents and grand parents fought two World Wars to get our social safety net that includes a pension, dole money and a health service. We are supposed to pay for it out of our National Insurance contributions but instead the money has been diverted over the years to fund military campaigns and other huge wastes of tax payers money.

Our National Insurance cards should have to be displayed before any social security and health services are delivered. It doesn’t mean we are loaded and have paid in more than a certain amount but it does mean we are a tax paying resident citizen of the UK and entitled through our own and our parents contributions to be put ahead of those who are costing the service billions due to over crowding and health tourism.

Stop paying to have NHS and Social Security leaflets printed up in 20+ languages and for interpreters to be present at the cost of cancer medication to a 90 year old UK citizen.

If we are having doctors making life or death decisions due to cost restrictions then UK nationality should be at the top of the list far above factors such as whether you smoke (and pay billions into the NHS), drink (and do the same) or are obese or unfit.

These are all factors which should be combated before a person gets ill from them and pre-emptive health care is always better than fixing a puncture once your lung or heart goes “pop” anyway. Start young, start at school, stop the kids getting fat and ill in the first place by teaching them how to cook healthy tasty food instead of letting them just go down the chippy at lunch.

The same goes for an “integrated” social care policy. Currently because of the lack of any foresight or planning our hospital beds are merry go rounds for OAP’s who are sent home before they are ready and then end up back in hospital within the week. Either that of the lack of proper social care in a home means they stay in hospital beds longer than they should be and deny them from people who require them.

The actual implementation of an integrated travel system, where airports, major train stations and roads are all linked instead of being miles apart would help grow our economy and bring people and wealth to all parts of our country. An integrated health and social care system would prevent the mis-use of hospital resources and stop them being used as replacements for proper social care. The same goes for using prisons as storage facilities for the mentally ill, the homeless and the addicted.

Labours and now the Tories ideas of introducing “internal markets” within the health service is just another foolish way to introduce “privatisation” into something that is owned by the people. It is another area where capitalism is not going to work to drive down costs and deliver better services.

Just like trains that cannot physically run on the same tracks and makes a mockery of true competition on the railways where prices rise every single year. A true market cannot be created in our health system due to the nature of the beast. Are you going to ask the ambulance to go to the nearest hospital when you’re having a heart attack or stroke or are you going to risk travelling an extra 20 miles just because another hospital has a better survival rate?

Should we turn our hospitals into shops bidding for our business and send bills out for treatment, putting people into debt to pay for them. Or should we try to cut waste, combine resources and limit the users of our service to those who deserve it, saving money and using it more wisely by reducing managers and back office staff many of who’s jobs can be automated.

The number of receptionists at various hospital departments that could be automated with touch screen computers that tell the relevant doctor or consultant you have arrived probably runs into the thousands.

The amount of time and money that is wasted by transcribing notes so that they can be posted when they could be spoken directly into a computer system using speech to text technology probably runs into more than a few thousand per month.

And the cost in stamps or pre-paid postage that could be saved by having a simple website that allows all doctors concerned with your case to see your notes, upload digital screenshots of scans and write comments for other doctors to see probably runs into the millions.

Just by limiting the resources of our precious health service to those who actually deserve it and who own a national insurance card would save millions again. We cannot afford to be the preferred free health care destination for the world.

For those people who don’t like the idea of turning away illegal immigrants then private charities and religious organisations can combine their resources to pay for their own hospitals that are open to those who are not national insurance contributers.

There are so many things that could be done to cut waste and automate procedures it wouldn’t be hard apart from unions kicking off when jobs are lost due to the cut backs.

However I am tired of waiting 3 months just to get an appointment for a pain removal injection and then wait another month until the actual operation.

I am tired of having to convince one doctor to give me a copy of  their letter to me so I can personally deliver it to another doctor so I don’t have to wait a month to get my presecription.

I am fed up of having X-Rays that show something wrong with me but because my GP is on holiday and the locum doesn’t know me I am being told to just wait until she comes back whilst kidney stones are causing me imense pain.

I am pissed off at having to spend an hour in the morning trying to get through to my local GP surgery to find that all the appointment slots for the day have gone and that I cannot book an appointment with my GP until next week.

I am seriously fucked off that I am paying for someone who has never worked a day in their life or who has no right to the NHS to enjoy better health care whilst I have to suffer in pain and still go to work to pay for the National Insurance that pays for their treatment.

Our system is certainly not perfect and when compared to the USA I would pick the NHS any day of the week. However we need to sort out the whole system so that it survives into the future and we don’t end up turning to a private insurance based system as some kind of fix.

When 90 year old War hero’s are having to sell off their medals then something is seriously wrong with our social care system and we need to fix it fast before Cameron and Co chose another war over looking after their citizens health.

View the original article “What is happening to our NHS” at Dark Poltricks.

Quiz Are you only against an American police state when “your man” is in the White House?

June 17, 2012

By Dark Politricks

This a pop quiz to see if you are a free thinker who chooses your morals independently of whether “your guy” is in the White House or someone who sees right and wrong whichever side of the coin is in power.

1. Are you someone who is attacking Obama‘s expansion of the war on terror. His increase in drone strikes and failure to close Gitmo. The  killing by Presidential decree and implementation of civil liberty destroying measures such as increased Internet Spying and the implementation of the NDAA?

2. Were you doing the same when George Bush was implementing the PATRIOT ACT and using warrant-less phone hacking. Allowing his Vice President to have a personal execution team to take out enemies of the state and using extraordinary rendition and torture to gain information from prisoners who were mostly innocent people sold to the Americans by the Afghan warlords. Were you decrying  the implementation of drone attacks which de-link the close up smell and emotion of a killing from the deed turning it to nothing more than a real life video game? Did your protests stop when a Democrat “you could believe in” entered the White House and then carried on the Bush policies?

3. Are you someone supporting the Occupy Wall St’s desire to have real banking reformstop bailouts of casino banks that waste billions on bets or “hedges” like JP Morgans’s recent London Whale and want to close the disparity between the top 1% and the rest of America. Do you mind that during the worst depression of our lifetime the wages of those in the top percent of the country have increased by staggering amounts whereas the lowering, devaluing dollar that means lower and middle class families are seeing real price increases, inflation and lowering living standards?

4. Were you supportive of the original Tea Party and Ron Paul when they were making some of the same claims. Did you change your support of economic policy when Bush left and Obama entered the White House. Do you think it matters who sleeps in the White House bed when the FED can print money, loan out billions to foreign and domestic banks on a whim and devalue the dollar in your pocket without any political oversight?

5. Is it moral or ethical to kill an American citizen without any judicial process even if they are not in America at the time of the killing?

6. What about if they were in America? Should the President be able to sign your death warrant like an English King without your knowledge and without any recourse to  court?

7. Is it okay to kill a Jihadist in Pakistan by drone attack because a CIA agent “thinks” they have the right person in Langley, Virginia?

8. Is it still okay if 50 innocent Pakistani villagers, woman and children are also killed at the same time?

9. What about a thousand people? What number is a legitimate figure for “collateral damage” in these kinds of attacks?

10. What if you later find out that the Jihadist wasn’t killed at all and it was a case of mistaken identity. Was the attack still justified? What recourse should the families of the dead victims have against the American government who is supposedly not at war with Pakistan?

11. If a gang of burglars broke into your house in the middle of the night, shot your dog dead, beat you with sticks and de-humanised you in front of your family. Should you have the right to fight back, to kill if necessary to protect your family and possessions?

12. What if the gang wore SWAT uniforms and were following a false tip phoned in by a jealous neighbour or they thought you were smoking marijuana. Should the fact that the state is the gang of thugs killing your pets and beating you make any difference to your right to defend your family and your property?

13. Do you think Obama is bankrupting the country by increasing national debt?

13. What about President Bush or President Reagan? Does your perspective of national debt change depending on whether you are a Republican or Democrat or is debt, debt no matter who is President? Both Bush and Reagan increased the national debt by huge amounts – what is the difference between  a Republican increasing debt and a Democrat?

14. Do you think Obama wants to turn your country into socialist Cuba by having a health policy that actually allows poor people or those with existing conditions to get affordable health care?

15. What would you do if you lost your job due to a bank bailout and a house repossession caused by policies enacted under George W Bush and you couldn’t afford your health insurance?

16. What would you do if you broke your leg or had a serious disease. How would you treat your condition? Would you use the most expensive health care system in the world by turning up at your local Hospital Emergency department?

17. Do you think that a healthy work force is a productive one? Or should people born into poor families through no fault of their own be left to suffer and die due to lack of money?

18. Do you think war should be decided by Presidential decree alone or that Congress should vote on every decision that sends peoples children into harms way? Should Congress vote according to their conscience or their parties line on the matter?

19. Do you agree with the wars in Iraq and Libya. Were you against the war in Iraq when Bush was President and for the war in Libya when Obama was? Why was  that?

20. Do you want your country to turn into a modern day Police state where all communications are listened to, automatically filtered and then decisions about whether you can leave and enter the country or travel by plane decided by a text message or email?

21. Should the TSA be able to touch your wife’s breasts and touch your children’s bodies all in the name of protecting the homeland from terrorists disguised as 4 year old white boys and 80 year old grannies?

22. Should people be able to speak out about government abuses, criminal acts and actions that break international law if they feel that the people have a right to know? Does the law apply to everyone or just the serfs and not the landowners?

23. Should these whistle blowers be punished for breaking “secrets act” laws or praised for following their conscience?

24. Should the American government force private companies to stop trading with people and organisations that try to bring the truth to the people. Knowledge and misdeeds that your government would rather you didn’t know about such as the illegal bugging of UN dignitaries or the massacre of innocent people in a war zone?

25. Do you want to live in a world where it is increasingly hard to tell the difference between your once free country and a banana dictatorship that kills opponents on a whim, uses torture and prison without trial, prints money to cause inflation and goes to war to distract the people from real problems at home?

26. Do you really think that by electing Mitt Romney as the next US President anything will really change?

27. If Mitt Romney is elected do you think jobs will suddenly come flooding back to America from all those companies like his own and Apple who offshore them to Chinese cheap labour camps?

28. Will Romney stop the FED printing money and will the government never raise the national debt under his presidency?

29. Do you think that he will stop or expand the war on terror and increase it more to the homeland by naming US Citizens as domestic terrorists. Do you think you are on one of the government watch-lists right now?

30. What can you do about it?

Please put your ideas in the comment boxes.

How to fix the UK now we are once again in a double dip recession

April 29, 2012

By Dark Politricks

I have just watched the Andrew Marr show with his interview with David Cameron which covered an number of interesting matters such as the influence of lobbying and lobbyist especially his closeness betweeen the government and Rupert Murdoch, the economic crisis which has seen the UK enter a double dip recession.

Thinking of this interview and the state our country is in at the moment and with a bit of previous thought that has always remained in my consisouncess I believe we need to come up with a basic plan of steps that can help to restore our country.

These steps should not be ideologically bound and should be considered in a “what works, works” conceptiuial basis. Whether you are a Tory, Liberal or Socialist we all are suffering under the same problems and a solution that works should be considered whether or not it neatly fits inside your ideological view box or not.

The Economy

1. The private sector has not rushed into fill all the public sector jobs that are being lost. People are being put on the dole which increases government payments for jobseeker allowance and housing benefit and in turn increases the amount we need to borrow and therefore increases national debt. Therefore the question needs to be asked whether or not in makes more logical sense (and in turn basic mathematical sense) to keep on this track.

Many people might blame our tax rates and they might be right. If it can be proven that lower company taxes or a flat tax rate system will bring in more actual revenue to the governments coffers then I have no problem with it.

However corporation tax has already been dropped, our tax free allowance raised twice already, the higher rate of tax dropped from 50% to 45% and no influx of private sector jobs has occurred yet.

Here is something that ought not to be just a thought experiment. I would love to know if some university professor with too much time on his well paid hands has tried workig this out or not and please if anyone knows the answer let me in on it.

In the 1980’s our PM of the time Maggie Thatcher went to war with the miners. Many mines were unprofitable but they supported whole villages and towns and were often the only place for people in the local area to work.

Therefore when the mines were closed whole swathes of the country were made unemployed and in time due to the 3 million unemployed people on the dole the government told the employment agency to shift people onto disability allowance if there were eve the slightest thing wrong with them so that the figures were reduced and they could claim success in the war against unemployment.

This is the same government (although a different generation) that is now trying to get people off the disability allowance they had put them on to help win elections. Hypocrisy?

There were no private companies in these places for the people to go to work in and most of the miners were unskilled manual labourers with little other skills. The only “fix” given by the government of the time was from Norman Tebit who said “Get on your bike” and look for work.

Many of these miners are still jobless and many of the towns and villages that were based around the mines are now desolate wastelands full of empty or broken houses, drugs, drink and other social problems.

Now if someone at the time of this massive descission could have done the maths and worked out whether over the next 20-30 years the amount of money spent in dole money, sickness and housing benefit, extra police, court and prison costs and all the other long term costs that come with massive social deprivation and compared it with the subsidies or lost money from the mines which would come out on top?

Is it better to have a town full of people all working, all feeding their familes, all with a sense of pride in their community living in a town with lower social deprivation at the cost of a government subsidy?

Put aside your libertarian or socialist views and consider it from a basic mathematical point of view. Which do you think costs more?

This is the question we should be asking now with the current public sector cuts. Without knowing the actual true cost of the massive mine closure over 30 years I would surmise that it is cheaper to keep people working and off multiple government subsidies (dole, housing etc) and keeping a loss making mine open – another government subsidy.

So it comes down to a simple question of which subsidy is more benefiial for society? The ones handed out in dole and police wages or the one keeping open the mine and along with it the town that works there.

Remember that the higher cost of current government subsidies for unemployed people has brought our borrowing levels up NOT down and it is only our low interest rates that have kept our heads above water and not turned the UK  into a permanent London riot all year long like Greece and Spain.

Stimulating the Economy

Just a few off the top of my head.

  • Tax breaks for UK companies that make their products within the UK and don’t offshore them to slave labour camps like China.
  • Tax breaks for companies who hire long unemployed people – e.g if you have been unemployed for over 1 year or even 6 months.
  • More emphasis on ensuring companies are not hiring illegal migrants and keeping UK citizens out of jobs through the use of slave labour. A National Insurance card must be provided, photocopied and saved for every employee and provided on demand by people who’s actual job is to prevent slave labour from occurring.
  • Closing all tax loopholes and ensuring any international company who wants to sell their goods in one of the biggest markets in the world has a UK company setup on these shores and all relevant corporation tax paid to our treasury from that company.
  • Setting up a UK PLC company that is owned by all the taxpayers of the country who will recieve dividends from the company each year – used to stimulate the company. They would battle in the economy like any other company for private work but for government contracts they should get first dibs – and why not I ask? The Labour government has shown us through PPI how much money was (and still will be for the next 20 odd years at least) on these private public investment schemes. The UK PLC company would be filled with UK workers with valid national insurance cards, the long term unemployed, ex prisoners, other people struggling to get work AND any other workers who apply to vacacnies when required. The only benefits this company would have compared to others is in the non private workspace e.g government contracts.
  1. It gets first refusal on any government contract whether it be an IT system or new Hospital building or even just a maintenance role at a school. Why pay a private company hundreds of pounds to change a light bulb when we should be able to do it cheaply? Believe me through Gordon Browns PPI system we do pay hundreds of pounds to change light bulbs in hospitals and schools all around the country.
  2. If it makes a profit the profit is divided between expanding the company and paying dividends to us taxpayers who will then use that money stimulating the economy in the private marketplace.
  3. It is a first port of call for the long term unemployed and others seeking work to find a job working for their country.

Banking.

  1. We need to create a national bank that has proper interest rates for savers and encourage people to save money again at a rate that makes it worthwhile.
  2. We need a bank that is owned by the people of the country and is willing to loan out money to small businesses who are the companies who give people jobs.
  3. We need a bank that is owned by the people that’s job isn’t to make money purely from money e.g gambling, as we know all the big players do with their high frequency trading and front running.
  4. We need s bank that is owned by the people where the profit is given out to the shareholders of the company each year (the taxpayers of the country) and not in million pound bonuses to a few of their best AND most of their worst gamblers.
  5. We already have huge stake-holds in more than one bank. We should take the whole thing over and turn it into a bank run for the people of the nation for the benefit of the nation.

Can you imagine as a working tax payer being given a yearly cheque for a few thousand pounds to spend as you wish because you as a taxpayer are also a shareholder in a national bank?

This is one way to stimulate the economy as well as incentivise people without jobs to get jobs and to start paying tax.

The European Union

We should leave the European Union as soon as possible. We should give them an ulimatium either make the whole shaky house of cards what is should have been a free trading zone, with free movement of people and goods and not a semi quasil supra government in which unelected people can weild enormous power and the elected EU government can weild little.

The Euro should never have gone ahead as it was clear to many people at the time that the North and South European countries were two totally different systems that would never mesh together and it was only with the help of the criminals at Goldman Sachs that allowed countries like Greece to hide their huge debts and get on board the Titanic with no-one noticing.

We will save money and keep our own embassies and seats at the UN instead of what is surely on the EU’s roadmap a huge polical union like the USA in which the EU is the only embassy in each country and the EU Foreign Minister makes descisions for all European nations.

Whilst there are some good things in the EU there are plenty of bad and I cannot see the balance being tilted the other way anytime soon.

The case of Abu Qatada has shown our weakness in the face of unelected European judges and whilst I am happy
to know that an appeal lodged at the European Court of Human Rights will take up to 7 years to be heard and maybe prevent Gary McKinnon from being deported to the USA the flipside is also true and it prevents us from deporting dangerous criminals like Abu Qatadar.

Law, Equality and Liberty

The case of Abu Qatadar brings me onto the legal system in the UK.

We should create our own Bill of Rights on the same lines as the US Bill of Rights and that every single person wether they be a policeman or royal is covered by the Bill and everyone in the UK is equal under the law.

I want to know 100% that I will be given the same treatment by the judiciary as the Queen if she let her pack of Corgi’s maul a child to death or drink drive into a bus stop full of people killing many of them. Only when we are all equal under the same law – a British made law and one that is the highest law in the land can we call ourselves free and equal.

Alongside this the true “Freedom Bill” should be implemented post haste not the weak and feeble cut down version making its way through parliament at the moment. It is a disgusting stain on the Lib Dem’s character that they allowed the Tories to rip out everything good about the bill and turn it into a wheel clampers justice bill.

These reforms will rebalance our extradition treaty with the USA, restore our right to silence under police interview, give back our right to protest near parliament and many more important laws the pro-surveillence governent of Labour (and now seemingly the coallition) had brought in.

The English should have their own parliament to solve the West Lothian question and to prevent Scottish MP’s voting to raise UK students tuition fees whilst they can keep University free in their own country.

We should do away with this mismash of devolution which Tony Blair started and go the full hog. We should have full devolution for all 4 parts of the UK in which citizens of those countries vote for their local MP to sit in their countries parliament on matters that affect their country alone and then sit within the Westminister parliament when the matter is UK wide e.g whether to go to war, to sign treaties with other nations and other important UK matters.

The English parliament can sit in the Houses of Parliament in Westminster and matters covering the whole UK will involve members of parliament from the Scottish parliament, the Welsh parliament and the Northern Irish one.

Immigration

I live in a town that due to Joanna Lumley is no longer recoognisable due to the ex Gurka veterans (who I have no problem with at all) bringing their whole families over to live in this country. This would be fine if:

  • They could speak English.
  • They were not all given houses straight away, houses some of us have waited decades on the housing list for.
  • They were not overloading our already strained and mercilessly cut public services.
  • They would at least try and learn our culture and fit in. A thank you wave when you let someone through at a junction is not too much to ask – I know a little thing that many other people don’t do but it’s little things like this that really grind my gears (quote Peter Griffin)

People come to the UK from Africa with HIV and turn up at the nearest hospital and then given the best treatment around for free whilst someone who has live in this country their whole life and can trace their history back hundreds of years is treated contentably by the NHS when they have a serious illness.

I am not against immigration as it was badly needed after World War II and when English people won’t take the jobs someone needs to do them.

  • What I am against is the fact that whole swathes of the UK are now ghettos where a white person would feel threatened to walk at night.
  • Where on a bus ride in certain towns you can hear a myriad of conversations, that is apart from English.
  • Where if you open a door to a woman in a head scarf or let her pass in the street she won’t even look at you in the eye let alone say thank you. I know their culture forbids it but this is Britain not Saudi Arabia and we treat women as equals not slaves therefore we should expect some modicum of “fitting in” if we are going to allow tens of millions of people all from various cultures into our country.

I feel that we should have tigther border controls and that anyone wishing to migrate to this country should be able to pass an entrace exam on our history as well as basic English before being allowed on our soil.

Once they have completed there exams they should be given a citenship ceremony in which they are presented their national insurance card. A card by the way which should be mandatory display at any doctors, hostpital or benefits agency. We all got them when we were 16 and any new immigrant should be proud to achieve the right to hold one. They are not national ID cards but they are a sign you are entitled to work, pay tax, claim benefits and this should include health care.

Not only will this help social cohesion it will install a sense of pride at achieving British Citizenship. We should abolish the stupid tests Labour brought in which were more about how to claim benefits than history and our existing culture. Labour ruined this country in more ways than can be counted.

We want people who want to live here and accept our way our life. I don’t want our government sending troops to foreign lands so that they can say that “we fight them over there so we don’t fight them over here”  whilst at the same time we have thousands of men and women within our shores looking at our culture in disgust and planning payback for all that “collateral damage” we do across the world. It goes both ways and I definitely don’t agree with the wars we are in.

There are so many other things I could go on about including stopping the wars, ending the surveillence state, removing our tongue from the USA’s ass and much more but I think I have said enough for one morning. Lets cross our fingers and pray to the great big Spaghetti monster in the sky that some of it becomes true.

Antipsychotic drugs found in Nurofen painkillers

August 26, 2011

By Dark Politricks

Anti-psychotic drug, Seroquel XL 50mg, has been found within some Nurofen Plus packets

Anti-psychotic drug, Seroquel XL 50mg, has been found within some Nurofen Plus packets (Photograph: SPL)

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has advised people to be extra vigilant following reports that the anti-psychotic drug, Seroquel XL 50mg, has been found within some Nurofen Plus packets.

Three batches of the painkiller, which is available to purchase in pharmacies across the UK, have been affected.

The Seroquel XL 50mg tablets, manufactured by AstraZeneca, are prescription only and used to treat such illnesses as schizophrenia, mania and bipolar depression (or manic depression).

The effected batches of Nurofen and their product licence no’s are listed below.

EFFECTED BATCHES
Pack size Batch number Expirary date Product Licence No.
32 tablets 13JJ 03/2014 00327 / 0082
32 tablets 57JJ 05/2014 00063 / 0376
32 tablets 49JJ 05/2014 00063 / 0376

Seroquel XL 50mg tablets are large, capsule-shaped and can be identified by their gold and black packaging.

The smaller Nurofen Plus tablets can be identified by their silver and black packaging.

Patients have been advised to contact their GP if they suspect they have taken any affected tablets.

Ian Holloway, from the MHRA’s Defective Medicines Report Centre (DMRC), said:

“People should check to see if they have any affected packets of Nurofen Plus. If you do, return them to the pharmacy where you bought them from. You can also report this to the MHRA’s DMRC on 020 3080 6574.”

A spokeswoman for the MHRA said that GPs should explain the possible side-effects to any patients who may have mistakenly taken the anti psychotic.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society said that although a single dose of Seroquel shouldn’t be an issue for healthy patients, patients taking other medicines should consult their GP.

Neal Patel, a pharmacist from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said:

“For a healthy adult a single dose of Seroquel is unlikely to cause major problem, however, for patients taking other medicines or those with other medical conditions or if you suspect you may have accidentally taken Seroqel and feel unwell, seek advice from your pharmacist or doctor as soon as possible.”

From www.seroquelxr.com

SEROQUEL XR is a once-daily tablet approved in adults for

  1. add-on treatment to an antidepressant for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who did not have an adequate response to antidepressant therapy;
  2. acute depressive episodes in bipolar disorder;
  3. acute manic or mixed episodes in bipolar disorder alone or with lithium or divalproex;
  4. long-term treatment of bipolar disorder with lithium or divalproex; and
  5. schizophrenia.

SEROQUEL is approved for

  1. acute depressive episodes in bipolar disorder in adults;
  2. acute manic episodes in bipolar disorder in adults when used alone or with lithium or divalproex;
  3. acute manic episodes in bipolar disorder in children and adolescents ages 10 to 17 years;
  4. long-term treatment of bipolar disorder in adults with lithium or divalproex;
  5. schizophrenia in adults and
  6. schizophrenia in adolescents ages 13-17 years.

Important Notes

Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis (having lost touch with reality due to confusion and memory loss) treated with this type of medicine are at an increased risk of death, compared to placebo (sugar pill). SEROQUEL XR and SEROQUEL are not approved for treating these patients.

Antidepressants have increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions in some children, teenagers, and young adults. Patients of all ages starting treatment should be watched closely for worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or actions, unusual changes in behavior, agitation, and irritability.

Patients, families, and caregivers should pay close attention to any changes, especially sudden changes in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. This is very important when an antidepressant medicine is started or when the dose is changed. Report any change in these symptoms immediately to the doctor. SEROQUEL XR is not approved for patients under the age of 18 years. SEROQUEL is not approved for patients under the age of 10 years.

The side effects of SEROQUEL can include:

High fever; stiff muscles; confusion; sweating; changes in pulse, heart rate, and blood pressure.

These may be symptoms of neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), a rare and serious condition that can lead to death.

If you experience any of these side effects then stop taking SEROQUEL XR or SEROQUEL (or Nurofen) and call your doctor right away.

Other side effects can include:

Weight gain, the inability to control parts of your face, tongue, or any other body parts, feeling dizzy or lightheaded upon standing, decreases in white blood cells (which can be fatal), or trouble swallowing.

For SEROQUEL, the most common side effects in adults are drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, constipation, weakness, abdominal pain, a sudden drop in blood pressure upon standing, sore throat, weight gain, sluggishness, abnormal liver tests, and upset stomach.

The most common side effects in children and adolescents are drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, increased appetite, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, and weight gain.

I’m only speculating here (and wildly) but be careful people. This is probably just a mix up in the packing factory or some malevolent fool causing havoc but we already know what our societies are capable of.

They already drug our water against our wishes and it would be no surprise whatsoever if they started mixing in anti-pyschotics and anti-depressants into commonly taken over the counter drugs as well. Hard times are coming and a dumbed down drooling and ill population incapable of fighting back the authorities when the shit hits the fan would be just the ideal ticket to prevent the kind of riots in the UK and Greece we have just witnessed.

If you have recently bought Nurofen then check the pack and ensure you are safe.

The Evolution of Health Care Control

January 29, 2010

Paul Murdock
Campaign For Liberty
Friday, January 29th, 2010

The Evolution of Health Care Control: America to Forgo Liberty by Following the Pattern of Canada

In Canada, one of Alberta’s most prominent ex-Premiers boldly called for a two tier health care system. Here in American, politicians are secretly finding ways to force it upon us. Typically, we only hear about how universal and efficient public health systems are. However, if we examine the evolution of the Canadian Health Care system, we can see why we should be scared here in America.

First, it is important to note that provinces and territories are generally responsible for administering their own public health care plans. The federal government acts as a partial financial partner and enforcer of basic uniform, national standards. Sound familiar already? Progressively minded individuals wanted to provide care to the “poor” and the federal government naturally assumed there was a constitutional right to become involved. In Canada, the federal government has questionable constitutional authority over health care, except over specific populations including First Nations, Inuit, and military personnel. Yet, a clause providing authority in times of crisis allowed the government to justify itself. Anyone hear of a health care crisis lately?

The power of the citizen’s vote was quickly diminished by the intruding federal government. Our ability to quickly remove politicians by popular vote and thereby influence events is key to our liberty. This is why the sovereignty of the state is essential. Our vote counts most at the local level such as municipalities, counties, and states. Thus, if you are liberty minded, it is important to keep laws and regulations as close to your vote as possible. Canadians lost this power as they ceded power to the federal government. The result was not pretty.

Prior to the 1940s, health care services were predominantly provided by private or charity hospitals and clinics. Canadians, generally, paid for their health care services out of pocket, through charity, or private health insurance. Doctors were in a similar position that we find here today, either in private practice or associated with a particular hospital or clinic.

In 1966, the federal government of Canada introduced the Medicare Act. Under this legislation, it committed to sharing costs with the provinces for all physician services, regardless of whether they were provided in a hospital. Moreover, the Act stipulated certain criteria which a province would have to meet in order to gain this federal funding. This was no accident, and the government was aware that no province could afford not to comply. The introduction of the national Medicare Act firmly established the federal government in the center of health care policy. Moreover, health care policy, like Medicare in America, quickly became the center of political power.

This is similar to what would occur in the United States. Obama promised that you can keep your current insurance and health care providers. Similarly, the federal government in Canada can also claim that it does not choose your health care services or the care you receive from your health care providers. However, the government’s ability to indirectly influence policy through the conditions it attached to Federal funding insures compliance to federal mandates. Like in Canada, the power lies in money, which is controlled by federal law and regulation. Whom do you think will control this in the United States? Not you!

Naturally, the power of the federal government was quickly revealed. As a result, tensions grew between provinces and the federal government. Shockingly enough, this occurred after the Federal government informed the states that it COULD NOT AFFORD to live up to its end of the bargain. Provinces were left to foot the bill. Provinces were also furious about the health plan criteria the federal government now required.

In an attempt to make a reasonable living, physicians began charging fees and extra-billing to supplement the low reimbursement fees paid by the government. The federal response was to change the criterion in which funding was provided to provinces. In 1984 the government introduced the Canada Health Act. The legislation re-established conditions that the provinces would have to follow in order to receive federal health care funds. Central to the Act was the prohibition of user fees and extra-billing, and the establishment of other criteria deemed essential for the operation of provincial health care services.

Here is an obvious lesson in point. Once you give federal government the power, they are free to change the rules. Moreover, all socialist systems of health care including Canada and Europe have struggled to pay the increasing costs. This is no different than America. Yet, why increase government involvement to pay for health care, when every country who has tried, struggles?

In 2002, a federal commission on health care proposed even greater expansion of official power. The commission sought a relationship where each level of government was an equal partner in the public health care policy. Here we see the federal government seeking direct power from the Provinces. Additionally, the Commission recommended enacting a Health Covenant which would have set out a national vision and framework for public health care, and be binding on all governments. It also recommended that a Health Council of Canada be created, with the goal of fostering collaboration between levels of government. The end result is that the federal government now controls health care and the provinces are left with no sovereignty.

The laughable commission finally recommended the federal government increase its share of federal funding for health care to a minimum of 25 percent of provincial/territorial costs. Of note, this is half of the original proposal, made to entice the public, by the federal government decades earlier. Like the proposal in Canada, we have a government promising to fund health care by the billions. In the end the fate will be the same; too costly. The end result the same; less quality, restricted access, longer waits, and no way out. As we all know, federal projections fall significantly short, and the true cost will be in the trillions. The government will not be able to pay, the states will have to comply with federal rules, and your taxes will be increased. The true fate lies in the loss of your medical freedom and the erosion between state and federal powers.

The problems mentioned above are not restricted to Canada. Hundreds of thousands in Britain must wait for some type of medical care, with thousands waiting six months or more. France is in a similar situation. In Ontario, Canada, 1.5 million Ontarians (or 12 percent of that province’s population) can’t find family physicians. Health officials in one Nova Scotia community actually resorted to a lottery to determine who’d get a doctor’s appointment.

As a result, the goals in Europe and Canada are the opposite of the United States: Increase privatization and access to care. The Provincial Court of Quebec ruled that Canada’s restriction on private care violated an individual’s right to care. Consequently, doctors are leading a bold charge against Federal regulations. In addition to businesses arranging care for Canadians in the United States, Dr. Jacques Chaoulli organized a private Quebec practice. This is rare, but many believe it will become the trend.

Sir William Wells, a senior British health official, recently said: “The big trouble with a state monopoly is that it builds in massive inefficiencies and inward-looking culture.” In 2007, the private sector provided about 5 percent of Britain’s nonemergency procedures; Labour aimed to triple that percentage by 2008. The Labour government also works to provide vouchers for certain surgeries, offering patients the choice of a private provider. And in a recent move, the government will contract out some primary care services, perhaps to American firms such as UnitedHealth Group and Kaiser Permanente.

Sweden’s government, after the completion of the latest round of privatizations, will be contracting out some 80 percent of Stockholm’s primary care and 40 percent of its total health services, including one of the city’s largest hospitals. And modest market reforms have begun in Germany; increasing co-pays, enhancing insurance competition, and turning state enterprises over to the private sector (within a decade, only a minority of German hospitals will remain under state control).

Although American media outlets continue to praise health care in other countries, they neglect the important facts about American hospitals. In The Business of Health, Robert Ohsfeldt and John Schneider factor out intentional and unintentional injuries from life-expectancy statistics and find that Americans who don’t die in car crashes or homicides outlive people in any other Western country. Other statistics also support American superiority. For leukemia, the American survival rate is almost 50 percent; the European rate is just 35 percent. Esophageal carcinoma: 12 percent in the United States, 6 percent in Europe. The survival rate for prostate cancer is 81.2 percent here, yet 61.7 percent in France and down to 44.3 percent in England.

If we use the Canadian health care system as an example we can see progressive losses of freedom as health care has expanded. Not only do they lose personal freedoms, but they have become deluded about their own system. In a recent survey found on the Canadian governments own website, more than 80% of all Canadians approve. As an expatriate Canadian, I do not, neither should Americans.

The Snare of Incremental Health Care

January 27, 2010

Sheldon Richman
Campaign For Liberty
Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Opponents of (more) government control of health care and health insurance are breathing a sigh of relief after Tuesday’s upset senatorial election in Massachusetts. But now that the celebrations are subsiding, I feel compelled to warn that the most perilous days may lie ahead.

How can that be, when Sen. Edward Kennedy’s seat is about to be assumed by a man who campaigned on a promise to vote against Obamacare, depriving the ruling majority of its critical 60th vote?

It’s simple: In place of 2,000-page omnibus monstrosities, we are likely to see a series of micro “reforms” — that is, government interventions — that may well garner bipartisan support. The new buzzword on Capitol Hill is “incrementalism.” This is a strategy to break the big House and Senate bills into several small ones — to slice the salami into manageable portions. Instead of one 2,000-page piece of legislation, we might see ten 200-pagers, or perhaps 100 20-pagers.

Will that make a difference substantively? Most likely not, because those micro bills are unlikely to be the needed repeals of the government’s impediments to free competition, such as the ban on interstate insurance commerce, the Food and Drug Administration, the patent system, and the tax-code bias toward employer-purchased insurance.

Instead we’ll probably see bills that embody most of the elements of President Obama’s, Speaker Pelosi’s, and Majority Leader Reid’s proposals. But since the series of small bills won’t look like an overambitious program to reinvent 16 percent of the U.S. economy in one unreadable fell swoop, much of the congressional opposition could be defused. Its previous talking points and photo ops regarding legislation that stacks three feet high will be useless.

Furthermore, individual elements in Obamacare have populist appeal. Many people (rightly) feel abused by big insurance companies, and being ignorant of both economics and the intricacies of current policy, they could be attracted to what appear to be modest consumer protections. (See this.) With the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate up for election this year, a preponderance of members may fear alienating those voters.

In other words, the incremental approach may be to the omnibus approach what (as the old folk warning has it) slowly cooking a frog is to tossing it into boiling water. (For the record, frogs will jump out of gradually heated water if they can.)

The majority party may kick itself for not thinking of this strategy sooner. One big bill is easy to scare people with — a bunch of smaller, less intimidating bills is not.

What might the series consist of? It seems certain that a bill will be introduced to require insurance companies to cover people who are already sick; that is, an end to the preexisting condition exclusion. Other bills will require guaranteed renewal, community rating (uniform premiums for all members of a group regardless of health status), and a limit on the difference between premiums for younger and older policyholders. (Today the premium for an older person can be six or seven times that of a young person, which is not surprising because older people tend to consume more medical services. Yet the pending legislation would permit only a two- or threefold difference. See Prateik Dalmia’s analysis here.)

Will members of the minority party go for the proposals? All indications up to now say yes. For example, as Sam Stein of the Huffington Post pointed out last November, “Many of the most respected health care voices in the GOP have historically treated the idea of eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions as an obvious plank in any reform effort… . Even deeply conservative figures like Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okl) insisted as recently as August that ‘everyone agrees’ that legislation should ‘eliminate pre-existing conditions’ as an excuse for denying coverage… . Another Senate Republican who was heavily involved in negotiating health care reform, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, has unequivocally declared that the government has ‘to prohibit insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions and charging higher premiums to people who are sick.’”

This, to say the least, is ominous. (And see Sen.-elect Scott Brown’s comments here.) For one thing, it won’t be enough to compel insurers to accept people who are already sick. In all likelihood, insurers would also be prohibited from charging sick customers more than well ones. (There’s no political point otherwise.) If the minority party will go for this, what won’t they go for? New taxes perhaps?

As I’ve pointed out before, coverage for an existing illness at someone else’s expense is not insurance. It is charity, or if forced through the state, subsidy and welfare. Once that intervention is enacted, others will follow.

Which brings us to the individual insurance mandate. Proponents justify the mandate on grounds that, to protect the viability of the insurance market, young healthy people must be forced to buy insurance when the companies are obliged to cover sick people at actuarially unsound premiums. From the beginning of the discussion in 2009, the majority party has insisted on the mandate (and one on employers too). It’s is an obvious violation of individual liberty, but where was the minority party’s protest? If one of the incremental bills calls for a mandate, as is most likely, will it pass the Senate? Let’s hope not, but we’ll have to wait and see.

It’s not time to breathe easy yet.

Time for an American Health Care solution

January 24, 2010

Empower Patients — Not Government and Insurance Companies.

David McKalip, M.D.
Campaign For Liberty
Sunday, January 24th, 2010

The dust is settling on the rejection of President Obama’s government and corporate takeover of American Medical care. But lovers of liberty must remain vigilant for attempts to compromise that will actually create the same problems for Americans. Obamacare was always about one thing only: control of medical care and medical spending by parties outside of the patient-physician relationship. Sadly, there are many in the Republican party who support the same thing: control by third parties. They will be now be tempted to pursue these “cost control” measures — to satisfy their own special interests and to appear to offer “solutions” for political reasons. They will be making a mistake and the American people must reject compromises of principle for political expediency.

Obamacare’s core elements fell into two broad categories: 1) covering the “uninsured” and 2) controlling medical costs. “Universal coverage” has been a holy grail of Statists for decades and this version was an adoption of the failing Massachusetts model: a mandate to purchase insurance for every American. That was coupled with increased enrollment in Medicaid and wealth transfer to 60% of Americans to subsidize purchase of insurance. While private corporations would hold the money, the state would set the terms of health care financing and what would be “covered”. Thus there is practically no difference between a single payer system and the corporatist model of health care financing.

The second key element is alive and well: cost control. Massachusetts policy-making elitists lament that they expanded coverage in 2006 without controlling costs. They now face budget shortfalls and upheaval as hospitals sue the state to recover losses in the new system, patients wait longer to see doctors and the state begins to create and implement rationing. It is the rationing model that is likely to remain and be supported by many Republicans. In fact, it was under the Bush administration that talk of this became prominent, with terms like “quality and efficiency”, “pay for performance” and “value-based purchasing” and “transparency”. These strategies must be just as soundly rejected by the American people now as they have always been part of the Obamacare proposals and have no redeeming value. In fact the data is clear that not only do they not improve quality, they usually harm patients and control costs only through committee controlled rationing — also hurting patients.

Under these “value-based purchasing” models, doctors will be put on a budget. They will have to be paid by so called “accountable care organizations” which can be described only as HMO’s on steroids. All service payments (for medical tests, hospital care, nursing home care and physician fees) will be “bundled” together and doctors will have to fight for their “fair share”. The doctor will be “rewarded” for spending less of the budget by receiving financial bonuses (incentives). In other words, they will be paid more, get more patient referrals and have a better public profile if they spend less money on the patient (essentially serving as rationing agents). That means ordering fewer tests, procedures, medication, hospital stays and all the other things people expect to receive from their health insurance premium. This “pay for performance” model can better be described as a “penalties for physicians”. When doctors are punished for spending “too much” corporate and government money on the patient, the patient will not be able to trust the doctor. This will end the concept of the patient-physician relationship: the hallmark of American medicine for decades that has lead to the best medical care ever seen in the history of man.

So how can we control costs and increase access to care? It is true that health insurance premiums are too high. Medical services seem to cost more than is reasonable (e.g. $80 Tylenol in the hospital). Medicaid patients must drive hours to find a specialist — if they are lucky. Medicaid patients (even though they are “covered”) are still twice as likely to go to the ER than those with private insurance since they can’t find doctors who can afford to pay to take care of them. Worse still, many people go without medical care. All of these problems can be solved if we reject the very structure that has gotten us to this point so far: control of every health care dollar by third parties, especially for routine annual medical care. When insurance companies and government hold the money, patients come to feel entitled to receive every dime’s worth of care they can possibly get to make sure they get their “fair share”. They don’t ask about cost or even necessity. They don’t ask if they really need an MRI or a 5th medication or a spinal surgery with titanium implants. However, when consumers hold the money for routine, annual medical care (coupled with a 100% coverage catastrophic medical insurance plan) they begin to ask questions and shop for best price. They demand (and deserve) more time with their doctors. Since 2003, this model of health savings accounts and high deductible health insurance has been shown to drive down costs as patients make sure they are getting the most for their health care dollar. Patients with this means of paying for their health care are more likely to get preventative medical care, engage in healthy behaviors, ask questions about medical necessity and basically hold their doctors and hospitals accountable.

In other words, it is by application of free market principles that we can drive down health costs, increase access and increase quality. Just as market forces keep down costs and allow innovation and growth of new features for computers, cars, dental care, plastic surgery, and laser eye surgery (the later medical services are not covered by insurance). But many will ask: what about the poor? The poor are always better served when the market drives down costs for all as they can then find more affordable services. In addition, it is easier for government assistance and the charity dollar to go further when prices have been held down by the market. Of course, there will always be a role for the government — but it must be targeted only at the poor. But more importantly, when there is a vibrant and prosperous health care sector operating in a free market, it will be easier to provide the best form of assistance to the poor: charity. Charitable organizations once had a prominent place in American health care and many great hospitals started in this way. It is time to rebuild charity as a means to provide medical care for the poor while helping them achieve financial independence in a greater free market economy based in liberty.

Likewise, it is time to begin a 10 year transition of Medicare from a government run system to a system where people own their own health savings that will be used in their later years. It is clear that Medicare can’t last and has failed as much as other Great Society experiments like welfare, public housing, and food stamps. The proof of Medicare’s failure is in its $35 trillion unfunded debt, the coming rationing and the assault on independent doctors that will occur no matter what happens this year. Doctors will leave the system as Medicare will be no better than Medicaid. It is also essential to restore the right of Americans to keep their Medicare benefits if they choose to see a doctor who has left the Medicare system. They should also keep their Medicare benefits if they want to enter into a private agreement with a doctor to pay a rate in addition to the Medicare benefits agreed to by both parties. Congress removed the right to privately contract from Medicare recipients in the late ‘80’s and has created a government Medicare rationing cage that neither doctor nor patient can escape. Creating an ownership right to the Medicare dollars that were essentially stolen from decades of workers’ paychecks would be the best way to serve current Medicare patients while transforming the program for future generations.

It is essential for Americans and lovers of liberty to reject any fake Republican compromises that will impose more government and insurance cost control strategies. Pay for performance, value-based purchasing, accountable care organizations, bundling and “efficiency” are the exact same central economic planning tools that those in power would love to wield. Central economic planning failed the Soviet Union, is failing Europe and only succeeds in China due to their willingness to deny liberty and property rights to their citizens. Central economic planning enriches the arrogant power-holding elite, denies liberty, demands higher taxes and relies on a fiat currency that ruins economies as it loses value. We need an American solution for health system reform, and that means a free market solution of patient economic empowerment, a resurgence of charitable care and a small but strong government safety net.

View the original article at Campaign For Liberty

Health Bill Can Pass Senate With 51 Votes, Van Hollen Says

January 16, 2010

Jonathan D. Salant
Bloomberg

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Even if Democrats lose the Jan. 19 special election to pick a new Massachusetts senator, Congress may still pass a health-care overhaul by using a process called reconciliation, a top House Democrat said.

That procedure requires 51 votes rather than the 60 needed to prevent Republicans from blocking votes on President Barack Obama’s top legislative priorities. That supermajority is at risk as the Massachusetts race has tightened.

“Even before Massachusetts and that race was on the radar screen, we prepared for the process of using reconciliation,” said Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Getting health-care reform passed is important,” Van Hollen said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend. “Reconciliation is an option.”

Using reconciliation would likely force Democrats to scale back their health-care plans. The procedure is designed to make deficit-cutting easier by reducing the number of votes needed to pass unpopular tax increases and spending cuts. Lawmakers can’t include policy changes that the parliamentarian deems have only an “incidental” connection to budget-cutting, and senators would need 60 votes to override those rulings.

Van Hollen also said he expects Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakleyto win in Massachusetts.

‘Pure Hallucination’

Van Hollen said Republican predictions that the political climate had changed so much that they can capture the 40 seats needed to regain control of the House was “pure hallucination.”

“Why would you hand the keys to the car back to the same guys whose policies drove the economy into the ditch and then walked away from the scene of the accident?” Van Hollen said. “For the Republicans to say vote for us and bring back the guys who got us into this mess in the first place, I don’t think it’s a winner.”

He said Democrats expect to see their majority shrink this year because the party that occupies the White House traditionally loses congressional seats in the first midterm election.

TuneUp Utilities 2010

At the end of a week dominated by images of death and destruction after the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, Van Hollen said lawmakers likely will approve whatever relief money the president requests. Obama has already asked for $100 million.

“We want to help people who need relief immediately, and so to that extent I support it,” Van Hollen said.

Haitians in U.S.

Separately, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced yesterday that Haitian nationals now in the U.S. will be allowed to stay for an additional 18 months because of the quake devastation.

On other domestic issues, Van Hollen said Congress won’t raise the gasoline tax this year to fund a new long-term construction program for roads and mass transit. The current six-year, $286.5 billion transportation legislation is expiring.

Jobs legislation passed by the House includes $50 billion for construction projects, Van Hollen said. Longer-term legislation with a gas-tax increase will require “some kind of bipartisan consensus before you more forward,” he said.

On the decision to call Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to testify before the House Financial Services Committee, Van Hollen said that while he didn’t believe Geithner was in political danger, it was appropriate for him to come before Congress.

New York Fed

Lawmakers want to know why the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which Geithner formerly led, agreed to payments of 100 cents on the dollar to companies that held American International Group Inc. credit-default swaps tied to subprime mortgages.

Van Hollen said the New York Fed’s decision was wrong and the U.S. needed to “understand how that decision was made, because that kind of decision should not be made in the future.”

As Democratic congressional leaders worked with the White House to meld House and Senate versions of the health-care overhaul legislation, Van Hollen said there was no deadline for completing the measure.

“Our more important goal is to make sure we get it right,” he said.

While polls show opposition to the legislation — a Quinnipiac University survey found 58 percent of Americans opposing the way Obama was handling the issue — Van Hollen said the individual components were popular and most people will support the measure once it clears Congress.

“It’s been subject to a lot of demagoguery, a lot of misinformation,” Van Hollen said. Once the measure is finished, “people will see the benefits.”

View the original article at Bloomberg

More evidence emerges that Americans are drugged out of their minds

January 13, 2010

S. L. Baker
NaturalNews
Wednesday , January 13th, 2010

As NaturalNews has previously reported, the U.S. is a nation seemingly hooked on mind-altering drugs (http://www.naturalnews.com/027054_d…). A study released last fall in the Archives of General Psychiatry documented a dramatic increase in the use of antidepressant drugs like Prozac since l996. In fact, these medications are now the most widely prescribed drugs in the U.S.

Think Americans are maxed out on the number of psychiatric meds that huge numbers of them are taking? Think again. A new report says U.S. adults are increasingly being prescribed combinations of antidepressants, anti-anxiety and antipsychotic medications — and they could be experiencing serious side effects as a result.

The study, published in the January edition of Archives of General Psychiatry, investigated patterns and trends in what is known as psychotropic polypharmacy, meaning the prescribing of two or more psychiatric drugs. Ramin Mojtabai, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., of Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, examined data gathered from a national sample of office-based psychiatry practices. In all, the researchers looked at the medications prescribed between 1996 and 2006 during more than 13,000 office visits to psychiatrists by adults.

The results showed a significant increase in the number of mind impacting drugs prescribed over these years. The percentage of doctor visits which resulted in two or more medications being prescribed increased from 42.6 percent to 59.8 percent. What’s more, the percentage of visits at which three or more drugs were prescribed soared from 16.9 percent to 33.2 percent. And the median number of medications prescribed at each appointment with a psychiatrist increased on average by of 40.1 percent.

TuneUp Utilities 2010

The combinations of drugs being prescribed with increasing frequency include antidepressants with sedative-hypnotics (the most prescribed combination), antidepressants given along with antipsychotics and combinations of several kinds of antidepressants. But at least the doctors prescribing these mixed drugs are only doing so based on solid research showing the combos are safe and effective, right? Wrong.

“Because scant data exist to support the efficacy of some of the most common medication combinations, such as antipsychotic combinations or combinations of antidepressants and antipsychotics, prudence suggests that renewed clinical efforts should be made to limit the use of these combinations to clearly justifiable circumstances,” the authors wrote in their paper. “At the same time, a new generation of research is needed to assess the efficacy, effectiveness and safety of common concomitant medication regimens, especially in patients with multiple disorders or monotherapy-refractory conditions.”

In other words, drugs are being given to patients in all sorts of combinations without sound science showing they even work well together — much less that these drug cocktails are safe to take. In fact, the researchers point out specific dangers of taking multiple psychiatric drugs.

“While the evidence for added benefit of antipsychotic polypharmacy is limited, there is growing evidence regarding the increased adverse effects associated with such combinations,” they concluded. A case in point: some combinations cause increases in body weight and total cholesterol level. Others have been associated with an increase in fasting blood glucose level.

For more information:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/…

View the original article at NaturalNews