In this powerful and intensely personal article, Big Hollywood Editor-in-Chief John Nolte describes his wife’s struggle with “trigeminal neuralgia,” a nerve disorder that causes episodes of excruciating facial pain. It’s an extremely debilitating medical problem that has literally been deemed “The Suicide Disease” because it has driven so many sufferers to end their lives.
Nolte describes the years they spent visiting multiple doctors and desperately trying different treatments with great emotional detail. Blessedly, his wife was able to successfully obtain several newly-developed treatments and her symptoms have now abated.
My wife has the promise of her life back because of the dynamic innovation of our current health care system, and also, those individuals and institutions the Left is so determined to demonize…
I’m not arguing our current system is perfect and couldn’t use some major improvements…Yes, as I noted above, there were moments so frustrating that I would’ve gladly reached out for anything marked hope or change. But the bottom line is that what saved my wife can best be described with a single word: Innovation – and nothing drives away creativity and risk-taking and those industriously intelligent individuals good at both, faster than the punishing regulations, restrictions, red tape and overbearing punitive measures that always come with government interference.
Had ObamaCare become the law of the land ten years ago would the perfect storm of scientists, technicians, thinkers, and doctors have been around to create the medications and equipment necessary to give my wife her life back? No one can say. But when you’re talking about the well-being of my wife, or anyone’s loved one, “no one can say” is not an acceptable answer.
True, at first we trusted the system and it failed us. Miserably. But because the system is still mostly market-based this gave us choices and alternatives that made The Miracle possible.
What is wrong…is ObamaCare and its advocates stifling the kind of creativity that affects our quality of life, and this I fear will be the unintended consequence. This will also affect everyone. In the world of ObamaCare, the wealthy will most certainly continue to enjoy their elite, top-tier health coverage. But everyone will be in the same boat when it comes to paying the cost of whatever medical innovations are lost in the bureaucratic maze of what is now the law of the land…
Nolte is absolutely right. The American healthcare system is messy and chaotic and frustrating. Almost everyone has a dear friend or family member who has struggled at some point with the challenges of getting the treatment they need. But across the board, the American system provides quicker and better medical services to more people than that of any other nation.
Not only do we have a choice of doctors in virtually any specialty, doctors who will be able to select from a number of different medications and treatments to fix what ails us, we also benefit from American researchers who have pioneered new technology which allows for quicker and more detailed diagnoses of diseases before they even develop, e.g., the discovery of the mutation of the BRCA1 gene and its correlation to increased risk of breast cancer.
To give a more superficial example, capitalist ingenuity brings you stuff like Hot Pockets and iPads. Government-run development gets you a Trabant…also known as a Trabi, the East German car infamous for its cheap construction and poor mechanical reliability (see jokes here and here).
Research verified from a number of groups, including the left-leaning Kaiser Family Foundation and the U.S. Census Bureau, show that the actual number of uninsured Americans (i.e., those who are uninsured not because they have chosen to be, but because they cannot afford insurance) is, at most, about 14 million.
According to the 2010 Census, the current population of the United States is over 308 million, so 14 million is less than five percent. Obama and his Democrat allies in Congress have decided to tear apart our medical system, unconstitutionally mandate the purchase of individual insurance policies, and add billions of dollars of cost from added levels of bureaucracy and regulation, all supposedly justified by the ability to help less than five percent of the country.
You’ve probably seen discussions about the hundreds of new bureaucratic agencies and departments that will be needed to enforce and administer Obamacare, such as the thousands of new employees to be hired at the IRS. Americans for Tax Reform, citing research done by U.S. News and World Report, points out that the cost of ObamaCare just at the IRS alone will be over $359 million next year.
I cannot see how providing basic health care coverage for 5% of the U.S. (even if we paid for all of the costs) wouldn’t far cheaper than over-regulating all of us. If the Democrats actually wanted to help the poor and uninsured, they would be doing everything they could to encourage preventative care and reduce the use of emergency rooms as the major medical provider for uninsured Americans. Besides the fact that providing care in an ER is significantly more expensive, it’s also far more stressful for the patient. I mean, given the choice, would you rather make an appointment to see your primary care physician or wait for hours and hours in an ER with seriously ill and injured people?
I am cautiously optimistic that the constitutional challenges to Obamacare will succeed (everyone say a special prayer of encouragement for Pam Bondi, OK?), but in the meantime, Republicans in Congress as well as those who are seeking elected office need to keep hammering the points that Obamacare is a dangerously risky burden on the best parts of our health care system, while failing to adequately help the uninsured people that it claims justify the new legislation.
(You may also consider this post my statement that, while I’d vote for him over Obama, I will not be supporting Mitt Romney in the primary. Government takeover of health care and individual insurance mandates are not “conservative” ideas, in my opinion, and while I recognize there is no “perfect” candidate, this is just too big of a deal for me to look past.)
[Cross-posted at Sunshine State Sarah]
Wealth is not Created at the Top: It is Only Devoured There
The UK has left the EU and we can argue about the minutiae of Wealth until we’re blue in the face. But the overriding factors are apparent and in one of the richest countries in the world it is shocking that so many people can’t even be sure if they are going to be able to eat enough today or provide for their loved ones.
These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have “made it”. By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurial-ism that are helping to advance the whole world – Opinion by Rutger Bregman
… across the spectrum virtually all agree that wealth is created primarily at the top and so entrenched is this assumption that it’s even embedded in our language. When economists talk about “productivity”, what they really mean is the size of your paycheck. And when we use terms like “welfare state”, “redistribution” and “solidarity”, we’re implicitly subscribing to the view that there are two strata: the makers and the takers, the producers and the couch potatoes, the hardworking citizens – and everybody else.
Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook … a new breed of rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they’re sucking the rest of us dry
In reality, it is precisely the other way around. In reality, it is the waste collectors, the nurses, and the cleaners whose shoulders are supporting the apex of the pyramid. They are the true mechanism of social solidarity. Meanwhile, a growing share of those we hail as “successful” and “innovative” are earning their wealth at the expense of others. The people getting the biggest handouts are not down around the bottom, but at the very top. Yet their perilous dependence on others goes unseen. Almost no one talks about it. Even for politicians on the left, it’s a non-issue.
To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our “human capital” in economic terms) to create something new, whether that’s a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth.
But there is also a second way to make money. That’s the rentier way: by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others’ expense, using his power to claim economic benefit.
But here comes the rub. Most rentiers are not as easily identified as the greedy banker or manager. Many are disguised. On the face of it, they look like industrious folks, because for part of the time they really are doing something worthwhile. Precisely that makes us overlook their massive rent-seeking…
The problems we face are that the politicians are firmly in the hands (pockets) of the uber wealthy. We live in a corporate plutocracy and those holding all the wealth and therefore power have no intention of changing the status quo, even if it isn’t sustainable. They remind me of bacteria (or cancer) devouring the host body more and more even though eventually it will kill them too.
Donald Trump Forgets Important Lesson From Grandad:
Harper’s Magazine reprints an interesting letter from US President Donald J. Trump’s own grandfather that may get you thinking. Here is it then:
The Emigrants – By Friedrich Trump – From a letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Trump had been ordered to leave Bavaria for failing to complete mandatory military service and to register his initial emigration to the United States twenty years earlier.
Prince Luitpold rejected Trump’s request for repatriation; the family later settled in New York. Translated from the German by Austen Hinkley.
Most Serene, Most Powerful Prince Regent! Most Gracious Regent and Lord!
I was born in Kallstadt on March 14, 1869. My parents were honest, plain, pious vineyard workers. They strictly held me to everything good — to diligence and piety, to regular attendance in school and church, to absolute obedience toward the high authority.
After my confirmation, in 1882, I apprenticed to become a barber. I emigrated in 1885, in my sixteenth year. In America I carried on my business with diligence, discretion, and prudence. God’s blessing was with me, and I became rich. I obtained American citizenship in 1892. In 1902 I met my current wife. Sadly, she could not tolerate the climate in New York, and I went with my dear family back to Kallstadt.
The town was glad to have received a capable and productive citizen. My old mother was happy to see her son, her dear daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter around her; she knows now that I will take care of her in her old age.
But we were confronted all at once, as if by a lightning strike from fair skies, with the news that the High Royal State Ministry had decided that we must leave our residence in the Kingdom of Bavaria. We were paralyzed with fright; our happy family life was tarnished. My wife has been overcome by anxiety, and my lovely child has become sick.
Why should we be deported? This is very, very hard for a family. What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree — not to mention the great material losses it would incur. I would like to become a Bavarian citizen again.
In this urgent situation I have no other recourse than to turn to our adored, noble, wise, and just sovereign lord, our exalted ruler His Royal Highness, highest of all, who has already dried so many tears, who has ruled so beneficially and justly and wisely and softly and is warmly and deeply loved, with the most humble request that the highest of all will himself in mercy deign to allow the applicant to stay in the most gracious Kingdom of Bavaria.
Your most humble and obedient,
… Well then. Long ago, yes.. Still applies? You tell me.
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