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Duel: France and America, scalpels at 10 paces


Fri, Apr 3rd, 2009
Posted in Commentary

I picked France because it is the poster child of indulgent laziness and "nanny statism" for all those rugged individualists who live by the code "I made mine all by myself without help from anyone, now you get yours without help from me."

You know the kind of person who writes to the paper, "if they can't take care of them they shouldn't have kids. Why should I be taxed to take care of them?" Implying I guess if the kids suffer it will teach the parents a thing or two.

Most of the time these knuckle draggers use the term socialism to describe all of Europe's healthcare systems. The American Enterprise Institute seems to be most responsible for changing the definition of socialism because the way they explain it Webster's Unabridged Dictionary's definition is "too narrow". That is it didn't include all systems the AEI doesn't like. Socialism is defined appropriately as a system where the government owns and operates the means of production and distributes the benefits.

Let's see if you think France operates a socialists system. The French don't think so and they are across the channel from the only European country that does, the United Kingdom.

The French system of payment for healthcare was the most expensive in Europe in 2001 at 3,000 dollars per year per person. That is half the U.S. cost of over 6,000 dollars that year. By some measures the Swiss system now is the most expensive European system. Still the Swiss are 1/3rd less than the U.S

The French pay for healthcare increasingly by taxes on earned and unearned income equally. The monies go into regional pools that are administered by private insurance companies. These funds cover basic healthcare along with a small co-payment for routine or minor health problems. Private insurers can sell policies to cover co-payments or medical frills. The policies are cheap and 90% of the French have supplemental policies.

The insurers are severely limited in underwriting policies that exclude patients that are likely to become ill and must accept all applicants. There is no reason to cancel or exclude such patients for the sicker you are the more the pooled funds care for the patients. About thirty expensive chronic conditions are paid for in full as long as needed. These are things like all cancers and cancer treatments (including the most expensive and/or experimental drugs), diabetes, heart disease, emphysema, asthma, multiple sclerosis, and other such long st .....
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Spring will come

Sat, Mar 28th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Maybe what we all need is a little pep talk. The news these days is heavily burdened with bad economic information and we at the same time are finally putting a long winter behind us. The grass will soon be turning green and those hardy Crocus and D ..... 
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Is Congress up to the task before it?

Sat, Mar 28th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

I arrived in Congress in 1965, just as President Lyndon Johnson's transformation of the U.S. government was getting under way. It was an extraordinary time, as LBJ sent up to Capitol Hill his proposals for Medicare, Medicaid, aid to elementary and s ..... 
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One moment, please...

Sat, Mar 28th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

This past week has definitely been positively enlightening.

First, I need to thank all of our readers, in print and online, for giving me your feedback on our new features.

More and more people are replacing their time in front of th ..... 
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One moment, please...

Fri, Mar 20th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

As you read YOUR newspaper today, I hope you enjoy some new elements we have introduced in an effort to stimulate further interactivity with readers in print and online.

Beginning with the March 9 issue of the Fillmore County Journal, we ini ..... 
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Queen for a day wins her Hysterectomy

Fri, Mar 13th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Have you seen the commercial for Colonoscopy Sweepstakes? Saturday Night Live would have been proud to have written that one but, alas, it was real. For those of you who wonder about the direction of health care, ponder no more. It is the purest of ..... 
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One moment, please... Homer Simpson moments

Fri, Feb 27th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



For those of you who didn't catch it in last Monday's Fillmore County Journal, to the lower left of my column is a reference point for which I feel an obligation to share with readers.

We made a mistake. We noted the author of the Jo ..... 
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Wind farms and wildlife

Fri, Feb 27th, 2009
Posted in Commentary



The wind itself may be free, but harnessing it for electrical power involves the expenses of wind turbine production, purchase of options on land for the placement of turbines and provision of service roads and substations. Indirect expenses ..... 
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One moment, please... Multiplicity

Fri, Feb 20th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Recent Journal office conversations have inspired me to write a piece about the antics of the California octuplet lady, Nadya Suleman. Surely, you've heard about her and her 14 children. Who hasn't?

Can you imagine being the single mother of ..... 
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