Article on Nikabrik’s Choice

http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2016/01/nikabriks-candidate

There are a lot of great points in this article. It especially points out why literature is so helpful in our lives. The analogy in great literature of any time helps us put our current situations and issues into perspective and help us see truth. I did take issue with this one line though.

“He knew what it was like to feel that all hope was lost. And he knew that fear and despair can drive decent people to look for someone, anyone, who projects an appearance of strength.”

I take issue because our our nation is nowhere near that kind of “fear and despair”. Our nation is not looking to Trump because of this. They are doing it out of impatience and ignorance, among other things. Our politicians have created this monster of economy and war to produce the effects of fear and loss of hope. It’s a game to them, to keep power in their hands. It isn’t real. The future of this nation does not lie in government or politics, it lies in the people educating themselves, taking care of their own lives, and leaving others alone to do the same.

Notes on “The Primal Prescription” by Doug McGugg, MD & Robert P. Murphy, PhD

I got this book because I heard one of the author’s speak on one of the podcasts I listen to…not sure which one. Maybe I should keep track of that! These are just notes about the book, not a whole lot of deep thinking or rewriting here. Skip to the end to read what I really got out of the book!

Chapter 1 – How We Got here

“Alarmed by the proliferation of unregulated rivals, the university-trained physicians organized into country and state medical societies and lobbied to enact licensure legislation,”

See. That’s what happens. Why, as a user of medical advice, ask the person I’m going to where they were educated, look at reviews, make up my own mind about whether I believe they are capable? Do I really trust a third party (government) to tell me?

“the stricter standards just as surely harmed patients of modest means who would have preferred to hire the services of a cheaper provider, an option that was now illegal.” And I’d say I poor doctor is better than no doctor at all. It goes for “organic” food too. Pesticide sprayed food is WAY better than no food. You cannot take options away from people “for their own good” and kill them.

“a government intervention into medicine leads to a problem, but rather than repeal the initial measure, the government simply slaps on further interventions.” Yes. That goes for intervention into anything. Food, shelter, health care, education.

My note from the margin, How pervasive was the problem of poor doctors giving bad treatment to warrant laws that made the unintended consequence of fewer doctors all around?

“many influential doctors welcomed the restrictions because they gave them a relative advantage over their competitors.” And I’m sure they had the hubris to believe that they knew what was best for everyone. I mean, you should be going to us and paying X, not that guy and paying less. He’s a lesser doctor! Well, yes, but I can’t afford your X fee and now I have no doctor.

Here’s one you’ll like…”there’s nothing magic about health insurance” and “you don’t use your car insurance to pay for a routine oil change”

And here’s the problem, “In order to provide this much coverage and still keep premiums affordable, the doctors and hospitals sought the help of the government.” It’s a ‘public good’ right?!

“the government never gives out a favor without strings attached.” and taxes.

“Moral hazard refers to the fact that people take on greater risks when they are personally shielded from the negative consequences.”

A note from the margin, when people ask me ‘what about the poor?’ because they think they poor didn’t get medical service before insurance, I’d like to ask ‘are they getting it now?!’

“the doctor-patient bond had been a fiduciary relationship that was mutually beneficial.” and thanks to third party insurance that relationship is dead. Think about it. Why would a doctor not do his best to keep you healthy and happy? Is he going to keep getting paid if he doesn’t? Now he really doesn’t care. You don’t pay him, the insurance company does and thanks to the lovely regulations, there are so few doctors now that if you leave, they are happy to see one less patient.

1942 Stabilization Act (look into that)

“The E&M coding system allows for levels of billing from the most simple to the most complex. In order to bill at higher levels, you have to rack up more elements in each segment of the medical record.” That’s part of why I have to endure so many tests to get birth control. It has nothing to do with good health care.

Some doctors have to hire an extra person do the recording on the computer while they treat a patient. A computer person needs to translate what the doctor is doing into legalese for the insurance and government. Crazy. What if they end up doing something like this in education? Maybe they already have!

HIPAA violations…and “potential” ones! The cost of health care isn’t going up because of greed it’s because of government.

Chapter 2 – The Deadly FDA

A note in the margin…so the answer to “our system works” is to revamp it and make it different?

“According to one estimate for the 1950s and early 1960s, it then cost about half a million dollars and took about twenty-five months to develop a new drug and bring it to market…By 1978, ‘it was costing $54 million and about eight years of effort to bring a drug to market’” The introduction of the FDA has raised the cost of creating new drugs so high that companies can only afford to work on drugs with a large market, or rely on federal funding (taxes) to keep them in business.

A note in the margin…why not have FDA approved drugs and non-FDA approved drugs and let people choose?

“on one occasion US marshals seized and destroyed 12,000 gallons of P&G’s orange juice because it was labeled “Citrus Hill Fresh Choice” (for what it’s worth, the juice had the disclaimer “Made from Concentrate” on the packaging, but FDA officials said the print was too small)” Yay! Saved from the horrors of mislabeled orange juice!

A note in the margin…Why? What benefit is it to the FDA to have a bad drug out? Do they do it on purpose or is their system so screwed up they really aren’t helping anyone? It’s just as likely that a bad drug would be on the market after the FDA as before.

“in the real world, most patients are on multiple medications for which their side effects are additive” like vaccines, tested individually but never in bulk the way they give them to children.

“we are pointing out that the current system – with the FDA sitting atop a pyramid of control by the power of law – suffers from institutional biases that would be weeded out in a more competitive arena with multiple “authorities” providing expert product review.” I think most people would agree that the system doesn’t work as well as a thinking and reasoning population of humans. But most people don’t believe that actually exists. They think that most people will kill themselves if left to make important decisions on their own when in actuality some will but most will not. A larger portion will not if they are allowed to take care of themselves.

“What you should now be starting to see is a particular pattern that develops when the government is given the power to regulate. There is an immediate alliance that develops between the government and the dominant players in the industry to be regulated. A naïve observer might expect all private companies to adamantly resist government interference with their business. However, the biggest companies in an industry often recognize the advantages of costly new regulations.” This is perfect. I wish everyone could understand that this is what happens when government regulates anything and it is what has caused so many of our problems the past 100 years. Capitalism and liberty do not create it, government does. And giving all the power to the government as in socialism will only create bigger problems.

My note in the margin…people think that if there were no regulations/FDA, companies would kill more people with bad drugs and procedures, but it’s just not true especially with today’s communication. One bad drug and the trust is gone…if we were thinking for ourselves instead of trusting the monopoly on approval and usage, the FDA.

Chapter 3 – The Medicare Ponzi Scheme

“the government taxes current workers in order to pay current retirees” Ponzi Scheme. And you are forced to buy into this one.

“the bulk of those painful projected budget cuts conveniently occur in the future, when other people will be in office”, who will then amend the law to remove those cuts or postpone them to the future again.

“the original “investors” are paid not with the genuine earnings created from the wise investment of their initial contributions, but instead with money flowing in from the next wave of “investors”” Why is this ok when the government does this at the point of gun? Because previous generations voted it to be a good thing to do to their children and grandchildren? Why is it wrong for me to do it by convincing people to “invest” but ok for the government to force you to do it?

Chapter 4 – The Perverse Economics of US Medicine

“the ACA won’t solve the festering problems in the US health care system, but rather, will exacerbate them and hasten the degradation of the private sector.” I think this is the intended idea.

Confusing “care” with “insurance”. It’s not really insurance. And it’s tied to an existing employer.

“Some readers might be tempted to say, “Annual testing – money is no object when it comes to my daughter’s health!” but that ignores reality. If cost really is irrelevant, then why not weekly or daily testing? At some point it is obvious that more frequent testing “isn’t worth it.”” People say this because they aren’t paying for it and most don’t believe they should pay for it. They honestly believe that the rest of the country owes them health care, among other things.

What if we stopped saying “government” owes us and say what it really means, “the people of this country”?

“The public can’t have it both ways. If they want a government strong enough to take care of them, they must be willing to endure a government with the power to kill them.” But I don’t think that’s right. They believe that there is such a thing as a government that can take care of them and there isn’t. No one is more interested in your well-being than you.

Chapter 5 – The Inner “Logic” of the Affordable Care Act

“there is nothing qualitatively different about the ACA; it is simply an extension of trends that have been in motion for many decades.”

“each intervention spawns further problems, which are then cited as the rationale for further encroachment.” How can people not see this? Does everyone think that all the laws that exist now have always existed? That this has been the way things have always been and will always be unless we make one more law?

Chapter 6 – The Fatal Flaws of the ACA

Bastiat “The State is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live a the expense of everyone else.” We will eventually run out of other people’s money because we cannot force them to make more.

“the government doesn’t have any resources” Yes! Few people seem to understand that the only money the government has was taken from someone else. Each year you take from the “rich” there will be less to take and they will take from more and more of what you call “middle class” and then the poor.

If you operate a health insurance like you do any other insurance it’s a viable business, but if you force them to pay for regular care and keep their prices low, they will go out of business. But people think that if the government runs it they will never run out of money. Why? Because they can print it? Or steal it from someone else?

“CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5% to 2% during the period from 2017 to 2024, almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor – given the new taxes and other incentives they will face and the financial benefits some will receive…The largest declines in labor supply will probably occur among lower-wage workers…”

And that’s good for us all because the un-employment numbers will go down! And people will have more time with their families. That’s actually what people are saying. And this will happen way after the people that made the new law will be leaving office and the people will blame the lower productivity and less jobs on something else, make a new law, etc. This is just nuts.

“But if the employer reduces (or eliminates altogether) spending on the employee’s insurance, and increases monetary compensation instead, then the extra wages are taxable income.” And that is effectively raising taxes on everyone, not just the rich.

Chapter 7 – Paving the way for “Single Payer”

“…eventually it will become clear to the pundits and political officials that the “free market system” is still broken and the government “needs” to intervene yet again.” This is exactly what I said when they passed this dumb thing. It was created to forcibly break the system even more, not fix it, and then the people will be clamoring for the government masters to take over.

Chapter 10 – Choosing Your Doctor

Thinking of a doctor as a sherpa. “Despite his superior knowledge, conditioning, and familiarity with the environment, the sherpa knows he is your servant. His authority is always delivered in a subservient fashion, because he knows you are the one paying him. He lets you set the goals and agenda and tired to accomplish them within the constraints of reality.” I really don’t think this type of doctor exists, especially out here. It sure sounds nice though.

“You do not need a doctor to be well.” And they insist that you do!

“When testing is done just for the appearance of thoroughness in order to decrease malpractice risk, you face a greater chance of false positives.”

“Alternative Providers” People like nutritionists and homeopaths are “wellness care”.

Chapter 11 – Getting off your meds

This part really hit home. When my sons were young I went to the doctor about anxiety. She gave me a heavy dose of anti-anxiety meds. It helped a lot, but I could never find the real help I needed. The meds healed a symptom, not the disease, and it took me 8 years to get off of them and find real help elsewhere. I never really did. I read and thought and discovered on my own to try and get off the meds. It might not have taken so long if I had found help.

Chapter 12 – Surviving the hospital

“Have an advocate” That’s what I took from this chapter. You are too sick to question and search for answers. Have someone there all the time that knows what you want and is willing to work for it.

Chapter 13 – Medical Screening & Elective Procedures: Worth the Risk?

“…find yourself at risk for type II diabetes and Alzheimer’s dementia. What should you do?” Eat better, get exercise, and stay fit, but it won’t stop it from happening, it just reduces your risk of becoming ill. You can do that anyway, without the tests and worry.

“What seems like a matter of necessity is really a matter of our unwillingness to endure the pain and suffering for the period of time it takes Mother Nature to heal the injury.” So many times I’ve wondered if I should go to the doctor for something, put it off, and found that the problem corrected itself.

Chapter 15 – Living Health and Free

I just like that title. And here’s the real take away from this book, “…it’s about reducing stress and embracing independence as a way of life. Benefits will spill over into other areas of life, including your career and personal relationships.” and “there are always going to true experts in every walk of life who know more than you, but you must develop the ability and confidence to identify sincerity and reject charlatans.” Yep. This is something I found by leaving the education system completely behind. Greatness is still achieved and at a much higher rate without trying to conform myself and my family to their standard of living and learning. And it spilled over into my relationship with Jesus when I left the idea of the church as authority and gave it back to Him. It’s spilled into my relationship with family and friends. And now…into health care. If only I had this information from my youth, where would I be now? Raising my children to be confident and independent thinkers gives me some hope that there will be change in the future.

Following Your Dreams?

I just heard Isaac Morehouse say in an interview that there are some people that are perfectly happy working at something they don’t exactly love to have the time and money to do the things they do find passion in. Everyone is different and there are a lot of people that would be very unhappy following their passions for an income, making it a chore instead of a hobby. I’ve always heard you can’t be happy doing some job just for the money and following your dreams on the side, but I know so many people that do just that.

In my education journey, I’ve always told people to think “Am I happy doing this?” or “Is this getting me and my family where we need to be?” If you are, then maybe adjusting some little thing or adding something will create even more joy in your life. If you aren’t happy, change things, look for new ideas. But you don’t need to change your whole way of thinking and doing things just because someone else says you would be happy if you did.

A Thought from my Current History Book

From “Caesar and Christ” by Will Durant

Chapter 11 – Augustan Statesmanship

“Morals, which had been loosened by riches and luxury, had not been improved by destitution and chaos, for few conditions are more demoralizing than poverty that comes after wealth. Rome was full of men who had lost their economic footing and then their moral stability: soldiers who had tasted adventure and had learned to kill; citizens who had seen their savings consumed in taxes and the inflation of war and waited vacuously for some returning tide to lift them back to affluence; women dizzy with freedom, multiplying divorces, abortions, and adulteries. Childlessness was spreading as the ideal of a declining vitality; and a shallow sophistication prided itself upon its pessimism and cynicism.”

“They were no longer enamored with freedom, but wearily wished for security and order; any man might rule them who guaranteed them games and bread.”

I really think more people need to read and study history. Maybe if we did, we might be able to avoid a disastrous future. Or maybe it isn’t disastrous, just an inevitable change and cycle. I hear that things are different now; that the technology and communication of our time will give us a more favorable outcome to our political and governmental problems, but I just don’t see it that way. Too many societies have come and gone in the same way. Are we so much better than they were?

Facebook Reality

Facebook is the ultimate reality TV program with those you may know in some way as the “actors”. Think about it! As an actor in this program, I post about what I believe is my image, what I want people to know about me or what I think is important. I edit my own channel to fit that vision. Just like a reality TV program, I don’t post everything that I experience, only what I want the viewers to see.

As a consumer of this program, I am at liberty to watch which channels I find most interesting. All of these people are real people out there in the world, but I have to remember (just like when I’m watching reality TV) that their channels may or may not reflect who they really are, only what they want you to believe about them. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just like when I go to the grocery store and I wash my face and put on a clean shirt. I don’t cuss or fart out loud while I’m there because I’d like people to think I’m a little more civilized than that. I edit myself to fit my surroundings or make those around me feel more comfortable. Some people don’t. They’d rather you knew the real person. But is that the real person? Maybe the real person is happier to fit in and show kindness, than to speak out about their real feelings. It’s one of those philosophical questions that makes people crazy.

There are some channels that I don’t watch because they are too negative or sad for my tastes. And some I constantly watch because they are inspiring or adorable. Some I come back to now and again because I’d like a good argument. Some of these could be friends and family, some are public figures and websites. All of them are real people and I would probably invite them over for a BBQ because the real person is probably different and even more interesting than what they post on Facebook.

It seems to be a lot like the Truman Show, except that we know we are not in reality when we are there, or do we?

Loads of Stuff Rolling Around

I’m not finding much time to blog lately. It seems when I do find the time to sit down and write, I’m just not in the mood and inspiration evades me. But I do have a couple things to talk about whirling around in my head, so I thought I’d just throw it out there. See what sticks, so to speak.

“Democratic Socialism”. Not a fan. And it appalls me how many of my lovely Facebook friends are totally ok with and promoting this idea. I want to ask them, so if we democratically decide to socialize let’s say child raising…then will you be ok with it? If we all democratically decide that women with breast cancer are a drain on the socialized health care of the state and that they should not be allowed the cures and treatment to try and heal them and keep them alive, will you be ok with it? That’s how this “democratic socialism” works. The majority of voters decide what and how the state does things. The minority is just out of luck. Right now they believe that the minority (the richest people in our country) don’t deserve what they have and it should be taken and split up among the majority of us poor people. Right now you are in the majority, so it’s ok. What happens when you are not? We really need to think this through.

What makes me crazy is that people blame our country’s problems on Capitalism, Free Markets, and our Constitution. Since the 30’s and 40’s, we haven’t been using those. We’ve been slowly moving towards this lovely Socialism you speak of and IT is what is failing. Having more of it, will only cause more problems. It’s been tried all over the world. It starts small, grows large, and then starts killing people and crushing lives.

And on that same idea I was thinking the other day while I was doing the dishes. I know! Those who see political solutions to problems by making laws are taking the easy way out or getting a short term fix. But they are creating bigger and more complex problems for the long term. Those who come up with political solutions, generally, are trying to use you. They aren’t doing it in an evil way, usually. It’s just what happens.

That’s all I have for now. Happy Monday!

Struggling

Lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, scared, and defeated. The more I read about about history and philosophy, the more comforted I feel about the current state of the world. It brings the big picture to mind and helps me see that it’s not the end of the world as we know it, just another ebb and flow of time. But then again, the more I read the more I feel that so many of us are headed in a terrible direction and begging for something that will not benefit us in the long run.

We silence voices from speaking their minds in the guise fairness and morality. We call it “hate speech” and “intolerance”. Whatever happened to free speech? What happened to putting ideas out there for the world to see and debating them? Besides, I’d much rather know that someone believes something that may hurt me and be able to avoid them than to have them hide their feelings away in the dark and associate with them.

We believe killing people to get our way is ok, as long as it is done by doctors or soldiers. I’m disgusted by people killing the unborn with abortion because they don’t want children when it’s possible to not get pregnant in the first place. I’m tired of hearing people tell me my sons should join the military to get free training in the field they want to be in. It isn’t free. They pay for it with their souls. I don’t think freedom comes at the end of a gun.

We’ve watched the world try communism and socialism and we beg to have it here. Do we think we’d just do it better? I’m terrified by what kind of a world my children may have to raise their children in.

There’s a scene in “The Abyss” where they show how an animal can breathe this goo so they can get to the bottom of the ocean. Then they give it to the people. The people know it will be ok and they should just relax and breathe normally, but they can’t. They struggle and gasp. It’s just so unnatural. That’s how I feel right now.