Monthly Archives: May 2015

Our Health Care System and Alternatives

2 a) Relative quality of health care We have the best healthcare system in the world, don’t we? Would you believe that we are # 37th according to the world health organization, behind such countries as Costa Rica & Chile. The following from:                    Source: WHO World Health Report – The World Health Organization’s ranking of the world’s health systems.                                 The following is in rank order, the best to worst. 1 France                       2 Italy                        3 San Marino                    4 Andorra                                           5 Malta                         6 Singapore            7 Spain                               8 Oman                                                9 Austria                     10 Japan                  11Norway                         12 Portugal                                    13 Monaco                 14 Greece                15 Iceland                         16 Luxembourg                       17 Netherlands        18United  Kingdom 19 Ireland                     20 Switzerland                                21 Belgium                 22 Colombia           23 Sweden                       24 Cyprus                                  25 Germany               26 Saudi Arabia      27 United  Arab  Emirates  28Israel                                    29 Morocco                 30 Canada               31Finland                      32 Australia                                           33 Chile                        34 Denmark            35 Dominica                   36 Costa Rica                           37 The United States                                                                                                                                                        

Relative Quality of Life As far as healthy life expectancy goes, a quality of life factor, The US ranks 24th. Following was taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy                                    

HEALTHY LIFE EXPECTANCY (HALE)   Health attainment, level and distribution in all Member States

Disability-adjusted life expectancy at birth (years) Adjusted for years spent in disability                                                                                                                                                    

Rank      Member State                         Population      Males              Females                      1              Japan                                                   74.5                  71.9                 77.2                                      2             Australia                                              73.2                  70.8                 75.5                                     3              France                                                 73.1                  69.3                 76.9                                      4              Sweden                                               73.0                  71.2                 74.9                                      5               Spain                                                   72.8                  69.8                 75.7                                     6               Italy                                                      72.7                  70.0                 75.4                                      7               Greece                                                 72.5                  70.5                 74.6                                    8             Switzerland                                         72.5                  69.5                 75.5                                    9               Monaco                                               72.4                  68.5                 76.3                                 10             Andorra                                              72.3                  69.3                 75.2                                      11            San Marino                                        72.3                  69.5                 75.0                                      12             Canada                                               72.0                  70.0                 74.0                                  13            Netherlands                                       72.0                  69.6                 74.4                                 14            United Kingdom                               71.7                  69.7                 73.7                               15             Norway                                                71.7                  68.8                 74.6                                16             Belgium                                               71.6                  68.7                 74.6                                 17             Austria                                                 71.6                  68.8                 74.4                                18            Luxembourg                                      71.1                  68.0                 74.2                                    19             Iceland                                                70.8                  69.2                 72.3                                      20             Finland                                                70.5                  67.2                 73.7                                      21             Malta                                                    70.5                  68.4                 72.5                                      22             Germany                                            70.4                  67.4                 73.5                                   23             Israel                                                    70.4                  69.2                 71.6                               24             United States                                   70.0                  67.5                 72.6                                And yet our per capita healthcare costs are the 2nd highest among all countries.

One additional site to visit on this topic: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/new-health-rankings-of-17-nations-us-is-dead-last/267045/

Our broken system for electing representation and alternatives (3)

Don’t like how we elect? Can it change?

You have most likely seen various emails and other media espousing the merits of Amendment 28? While this deals with numerous reforms, most of which have merit, there is only one that deals specifically with election reform:                                                                       1.

TERM LIMITS     no more than 10 years in total:      A. One six-year Senate term &                   two two-year House terms.

Amendment 28 is only an idea, but in 2013 there was some action taken as follows, from: http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/28thamendment.asp

“In August 2013, nearly four years after this item began making the rounds on the Internet, two Congressmen (Ron DeSantis of Florida and Matt Salmon of Arizona) did introduce a joint resolution (H.J.RES.55) similar to the proposed amendment, proposing an amendment to the Constitution stating that “Congress shall make no law respecting the citizens of the United States that does not also apply to the Senators and Representatives.” That bill will almost certainly die in committee, and it is exceedingly unlikely that any such broadly worded amendment could ever pass muster in Congress without the underlying idea being subject to a good many qualifications.

Could this amendment be passed without Congress voting on it? Yes and no. Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution specifies two procedures for amendments. One method is for two-thirds of states legislatures to call for a constitutional convention at which new amendments may be proposed, subject to ratification by three-fourths of the states. The constitutional convention method allows for the Constitution to be amended by the actions of states alone and cuts Congress out of the equation — no Congressional vote or approval is required. However, not once in the history of the United States have the states ever called a convention for the purpose of proposing new constitutional amendments. The other method for amending the Constitution (the one employed with every amendment so far proposed or enacted) requires that the proposed amendment be approved by both houses of Congress (i.e., the Senate and the House of Representatives) by a two-thirds majority in each, and then ratified by three-fourths of the states. It’s probably safe to speculate that the odds that a supermajority of both houses of Congress would pass an amendment which placed such restrictions upon them are very low indeed. “

In my opinion there are workable alternatives that can cure our diseased election system, but implementation any time soon is extremely doubtful.

Our broken system for electing representation and alternatives (2)

From idealism to reality

I believe that many, if not most, of our elected federal representatives enter their first term in office with the best of intentions, but also viewing this as a first step in a long career in politics. I suspect that it only takes a matter of months for a savvy house member to realize that he or she will need party support to achieve reelection and that effort will need to commence well prior to the election date. I tend to generalize here so I apologize. Not all members fall into this category. A few have such a tremendous level of local support that their reelection is virtually assured. Most also are aware of that the source of campaign funds comes from a relatively few very large sources, whom we might consider investors, “investors” with special interests. It is no wonder that campaigning for political office commences so far in advance of the election date. Is it possible for our representatives to look out for the common good while their focus is on reelection?

The most important element of our election process is funding. While not always true, it is a fact that the candidate with the most campaign money usually is victorious.  Removing this factor from our election process would be the first step in the remission process (yes, I do view it as a cancer). Unfortunately the very folks that like it the way it is are the ones with the power to change it, short of a Constitutional Amendment. One way to level the financial playing field would be to do away with PACs & Lobbyist and limit individual contributions to a very low level, say $500 or less per taxpayer. Among others would be to restrict any and all campaigning to the 60 day prior to the election.

Stay tuned, more to follow on this topic