Costly Dentist Visit: Some Ways to Save

At some point, everyone needs dental care. Millions of Americans are delaying their dental care for fear of having an appointment with the dentist or simply because it’s expensive. Avoiding dental chairs to save some penny will just cost you even more in the future.

If untreated, it can lead to bigger problems. Will you sacrifice your tooth over a small cavity? Will you just turn a blind-eye on your abscess and just let it become a major infection?

According to the 2013 US Survey of Dental Care Affordability and Accessibility, findings show that 56% of Americans without dental insurance get no preventive care at all. Additionally, 18% have been to the dentist only once or not at all in the past ten years.

Because of the lack of preventive care and dental visits, oral health is starkly poorer among those without dental insurance – 67% have at least one major unmet dental care need (e.g., missing teeth, bleeding gums, toothache). Even among the insured, a majority (57%) currently has at least one unmet dental need. The expensive costs of care and cost transparency are the top two factors that lead patients to withhold from a dental visit.

Nevertheless, if you are one of the millions of Americans keeping his or her dental care on hold out of fear of the cost tied to proper dental treatment, there are some solutions. Follow these tips for a cheaper dental trip.

Brush Your Teeth Regularly

Maintaining a proper routine in taking care of your oral health is essential to being healthy and at the same time money-wise. It may sound cliché, but it’s undeniably efficient in preventing tooth decay and other dental problems. Brushing your teeth is simply sweeping off the food debris left between the teeth. But by forcefully doing this, it will cause cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.

Even though the enamel, toughest tissue of the human body, covers teeth, it can still be weakened and damaged by brushing staunchly. And once the damage happens, the body can’t fix it.

The recommended way of brushing your teeth is to position your toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle to the surface of the teeth and brush gently in small circles.

Also, be cautious when cleaning your gum line since tartar, plaque, and bacteria tend to accumulate in the area. Rinsing with a mouthwash and finishing with floss can be of great help too.

Compare

The cost for a particular dental treatment can vary by several hundred dollars or more. Try checking the average prices in your area, like dental billing in Houston or other states, for similar treatment by calling local dentists and see how much they charge for the treatment you want or you need. You can use websites like Fair Health to check online the average prices of dental procedures in your area.

Get Insured

Finding a way to balance your costs versus savings is possible as there are now more dental insurance options available than ever before. While dental insurance coverage does typically require a monthly or annual premium, and some upfront costs or co-payments, in most cases dental insurance lowers a person’s overall dental costs.

Average dental insurance policies usually operate on a basic 100-80-50 plan: 100 percent coverage for annual routine care; 80 percent of costs for initial procedures including fillings and extractions; and 50 percent cost reduction for major services like crowns, bridges, and others.

However, insurance plans normally have a spending cap. It means that you are only covered for a certain maximum dollar amount each year. A cap of $1,500, for instance, means that any charges incurred after the insurance carrier cover $1,500 in dental costs that year would be your responsibility entirely.

Try a Discount Plan

Another popular option is dental discount schemes. Designed for individuals, families, and groups, It is best when saving some penny on the dental care needs. Members of such plan can save 10% to 60% on the standard cost of dental care and treatments at a network of more than 100,000 dentists nationwide.

Some of the benefits of a dental discount plan include no deductibles, no co-pays, no waiting periods, no paperwork hassles, no restrictions on getting immediate treatment for pre-existing or expensive procedures, and no annual limit on how often you can use your plan to save at the dentist. Exclusions may vary per program.

Schedule Regular Cleanings and Exams

Just because you brush your teeth regularly and thoroughly, it doesn’t mean that you have fully cleaned your mouth. You might have missed tartar between your teeth, in tiny chips and cracks or just below the gum line. The plaque that has formed can result in oral infections if it remains untreated.

Removing plaque shouldn’t be forcefully done. Professional assistance and care are necessary to avoid undesirable consequences later on.

Recently, research shows that annual cleanings for an average dental patient are just as effective as visiting the oral doctor every six months. Moreover, this single appointment is essential as it aids to identify problems before they get serious and pricey. High-risk patients, like those with periodontal disease, may need additional frequent visits.

Ask Your Dentist for A Cash Discount and Negotiate

Image result for dentist

Discount plans aren’t insurance plans, but they are an affordable alternative to the uninsured. Many dentists out there are willing in giving discounts for cash customers. Some pay visits automatically discount up to 5% depending on the clinic. It can be pulled down further for an agreed specific plan.

Ask Questions

Communication is the key. Dentists are highly trained and are well-rounded in their field of expertise, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your dentist will get to decide solely for you.

Ask questions about the purpose of any procedure that isn’t quite clear to you. Don’t hesitate to ask if the suggested action needs execution. For example:

  •    Is that operation medically compulsory or purely cosmetic?
  •    Is there a cheaper option that would work just as well?

Consider Going to a Local Dental School for Treatment

Dental students need exposure and hands-on practice especially those who are nearing their graduation. Under the supervision of the instructors, they perform cleanings and other procedures for the public at a steeply discounted price compared to those of dental clinics. You can check on the American Dental Association’s list of all the accredited dental schools across the country. Many of them offer services at an affordable price.

Be Part of Clinical Trials

Gray Metal Framed Red Dental Treatment Chair

Some institutes like universities and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research here and then need volunteers for their research. These study participants are often given free or low-cost dental services in trade for their voluntary involvement.

Takeaway

Taking into consideration all the major purchases and health care expenses; it will surely cost you several green bills. But by doing some research, comparing local clinics, getting insured, asking for discounts, etc. can make a huge difference in saving money. Well, you might be provoked to skip an appointment whenever you have a minor toothache, but this isn’t entirely a valid choice.

Dental care isn’t cheap, but the ways above will somehow help you in keeping your mouth healthy along with saving money. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Spending a few bucks is more worthwhile than waiting on dental problems over the long run.

Obamacare Is Dying. Let It. by John Tamny

The alleged failure of Republicans to repeal the misnamed Affordable Care Act (ACA) predictably has the conservative punditry up in arms. “Why Can’t Republicans Get Anything Done?” was one of many frustrated headlines lamenting the GOP’s lack of legislative success.The politics of repeal would have been worse than doing nothing.

One editorial asserted that Republican failure to ‘do something’ about the ACA “is one of the great political failures in recent U.S. history, and the damage will echo for years.” Really?

Implicit in all the conservative ranting about the need to repeal, or worse, fix the ACA, is that health care was a wholly unfettered, dynamic source of free-market driven innovation before President Obama was elected. Let’s try to be serious for a moment.

Letting Obamacare Fail

Repeal of the ACA would have been an impressive headline, but the short and long-term politics of repeal for Republicans would have been worse than doing nothing. That is so because expectations about a looming nirvana would have been created, only for health care to, at best, return to its less-than-stellar-self that existed before passage of the ACA in 2010.

Importantly, none of what’s been written so far should be construed as support for the ACA. It was foolish legislation, and evidence supporting the previous contention is that the ACA was already dying before our eyes. No surprise there. Legislation meant to give some Americans a lot for a little, with a lot taken from others in return for very little, was bound to fail.

The ACA was plainly imploding as the constant rush of insurance companies out of ACA exchanges revealed in bright colors. Why abolish what the laws of economics were already abolishing?The half-measures offered by Republicans were plainly worse than simply doing nothing.

And that’s why the half-measures offered by Republican compromisers were plainly worse than simply doing nothing. Why legislate away one central plan in return for an allegedly improved central plan; essentially exchanging bad legislation for bad legislation on top of what already wasn’t working before 2010? The politics of repeal or partial repeal spoke to the horror of Washington doing anything to legislate a right to what was and is a market good like any other.

Not discussed enough by either side is that it’s impossible to invent a right to a good or service of any kind to begin with. This is certainly true with regard to health care when we remember that it didn’t realistically exist until the 20th century. Lest we forget, in the 19th it was a death sentence if you were shot in the abdomen. If you broke your femur, you had 1 in 3 odds of dying. Broken hip? Dead. Cancer? Forget about it. You were going to die.

Legislation didn’t reverse the previously mentioned odds as much as trial and error in the area of healing led to healing advances such that a market eventually formed. The shame here is that politicians discovered health care in the first place. Imagine how much more advanced we’d be had they left what was advancing alone.

We Don’t Have a Crystal Ball

All of the above has seemingly been ignored by Republicans ever eager to prove they’re as compassionate as their reliably hysterical opponents on the other side of the aisle. And there lies the problem.

Much as health care didn’t broadly exist when the 20th century dawned, so were automobiles the microscopic exception to the horse rule. Imagine if politicians, sensing what few did about the car’s potential, had legislated broad access to what very few people owned. If so, it’s safe to say that the American automobile industry would never have taken shape, mainly because politicians can’t possibly divine what we want, let alone need. The car evolved into a common good thanks to relentless experimentation that occurred alongside a 99% percent failure rate for American car companies.

Thinking about the computer, while few could get by without one today, as late as 1943, IBM Chairman Tom Watson confidently asserted that the market for computers wouldn’t expand beyond five total computers. Decades later, and billions of dollars worth of failed companies later, the computer is the can’t-live-without rule, including the supercomputers that increasingly line the pockets of rich and poor alike.

At present, politicians in both major political parties are thinking about ways to spend trillions in tax dollars on enhanced roads, just as entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos are aggressively thinking of ways to deliver us goods and services by air, care of drones. Yet conservatives are comfortable allowing Republicans to add more laws to an already over-controlled health care market?

Despite the historical truth that the present rarely predicts the future of goods and services, politicians in both parties pretend that they know what the market for health care should look like. But how could they?

For Republicans and Democrats to legislate a right to medical services in the present is every bit as lame-brained as it would have been had they legislated access to specific kinds of cars, computers, and smartphones in 1900, 1950 and 2000. Whatever they would have dreamed up for all three would have been a fraction of what intrepid entrepreneurs divined through feverish trial and error.

What Is and What Will Be

Seemingly forgotten by Republicans is that legislation is the absolute worst way to solve any problem, real or imagined, particularly one involving goods and services created in the marketplace.

Lawmaking by definition deals with what is while thriving markets are all about sleuthing out what will be. We’ll only arrive at what will be in the health care space insofar as individuals and businesses are free to experiment without limits, yet Republicans and Democrats in their infinite confusion are trying to create rights for people with what already is.

Ok, but that’s cruel. It’s the hypothetical equivalent of politicians legislating access to the cars, computers, and smartphones of today at a time when all three were likely on the verge of rapid evolution. Health care is no different. If the goal is that everyone should have access to it, the only response from Congress should be that it will cease legislating access to what it can’t give, and more important, what it doesn’t understand. If so, watch health care markets evolve in amazing ways that redound to us all.

Reprinted from Real Clear Markets.

John Tamny

John Tamny

John Tamny is a Forbes contributor, editor of RealClearMarkets, a senior fellow in economics at Reason, and a senior economic adviser to Toreador Research & Trading. He’s the author of the 2016 book Who Needs the Fed? (Encounter), along with Popular Economics (Regnery Publishing, 2015).

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New Secrets Unlocked: Know The Curse of Sleep Loss to Alzheimer’s

Sleeping less than seven hours makes you tired, woozy, and grumpy. Long-term effects of sleep loss become more dangerous than you ever expected. Scientific findings link sleep deprivation to obesity, heart disease, mood swings, diabetes, sleep disorders, and other kinds of health issues.

You may already know the risks written in a long list, and now you have to include Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep disturbances make you look and feel old. As a neurodegenerative form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder wherein demise of neurons stimulates recession of memory and cognitive functions.

For the past years, no one was able to carry out a study proving the significance of sleep and dementia to each other. Just recently this month, Dr. Yo-El Ju together with her co-researchers in  Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, and Stanford University finally found the link of dementia to sleep deprivation.

What the study proves

The researchers examined 17 experiment volunteers at home. They also underwent controlled sleep procedures in the lab of Washington University. They divided the volunteers into two groups and let the half of the sample get into a deep sleep while others were in a shallow sleep.

Dr. Ju stated that “As soon as they got into slow-wave sleep, they got a beep. And the beeps got louder and louder and louder until they came out of the deep sleep. It went on for the entire night. The volunteers did not realize their sleep had been interrupted.”

The volunteers use beeping monitors which disturb their sleep patterns. The sleep monitoring device measures their quality of sleep at home. As a result, those who slept poorly show a significant relationship between sleep and higher levels of the associated brain proteins.

“We were not surprised to find that tau levels didn’t budge after just one night of disrupted sleep while amyloid levels did because amyloid levels normally change more quickly than tau levels. But we could see, when the participants had several bad nights in a row at home, that their Tau levels had risen,” Dr. Yo-El Ju said.

Increase of brain protein levels

Health: Forgetfulness in Men

Forgetfulness in Men

Sleep deprivation for consecutive nights can cause an increase of dementia-related protein levels in the human brain. A good night’s rest prevents too much synthesis of proteins called Amyloid-beta and Tau which causes Alzheimer’s and other memory-related diseases.

When deep sleep interruption happens, Alzheimer’s disease-related proteins increase in the cerebrospinal fluid as new research suggests.

Disruption of slow-wave sleep

A study published in Journal Neurology shows that higher levels of amyloid-beta and tau are due to poor sleep. In fact, they found out that two proteins cause obstruction called plaques in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients.

According to Dr. Yo-El Ju of Washington University School of Medicine, “When people had their slow-wave sleep disrupted, their amyloid levels increased by about 10 percent. I don’t think people should worry about Alzheimer’s disease after one bad night. I do think chronic sleep disruption increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”

This study tells us that getting enough sleep helps reduce the levels of amyloid and tau.

Treatment contingencies

Five simple tips for reducing forgetfulness.

As recorded, there are approximately 5 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease, and the figures continue to grow. Mental-related disorders are hard to cure, and it requires long-term health scrutiny. There is no silver bullet to cure these health issues.

As of now, medications don’t work as what the diagnosis requires. It only serves as sustenance to patients who continue to experience the most common symptoms. Cholinesterase inhibitors namely donepezil or Aricept, galantamine, and rivastigmine are drugs used to avert and slow the dementia-related disorders.

As researchers and medical experts continue to fill the puzzle and unlock its’ secrets, humanity is one step closer to understand this phenomenon completely.

Dr.  Ju’s Theory

File:Characteristics of AD.jpg

Characteristics of AD

Releasing of amyloid-beta is a natural function that human brains perform. It happens whenever brain cells fire its synapse. “It may be that interrupted sleep leads to increased brain activity and increased amyloid production.”

She comes up with an assumption that as people sleep, amyloid secretion stops and regulates the excess protein levels. “When people are in a nice and deep sleep, they get a period when, with the normal clearance mechanisms working, the levels of amyloid decrease. If levels increase over the years, they are more likely to cause the clumps called plaques, which don’t dissolve.”

According to their previous study using mice as a sample, a 10% excess of amyloid can be a source of plaque formation.

Takeaway

Dr. Yo-El Ju, the head of the study, stated that “When people don’t sleep well, their brain cells don’t get the chance to rest.” The guaranteed means of treating Alzheimer’s continues to be half a mystery.

But prevention is still an amicable sheath to safeguard ourselves from health issues, chronic or not. Proper nutrition, sleep hygiene, and brain training can make a difference. Take action before it gets progressively worse. You can browse Focus On Furniture to help you look for the right bedroom design which can help you feel more comfortable while sleeping.

 

VIDEO: Repeal and Don’t Replace Obamacare

Obamacare has led to higher costs and fewer health insurance options for millions of Americans. The 2010 healthcare law has brought the American people rising premiums, unaffordable deductibles, fewer insurance choices, and higher taxes. President Donald J. Trump promised to repeal and replace this disaster, and that is exactly what he is working with Congress to achieve.

VIDEO: Government Can’t Fix Healthcare

Why is the government so bad at health care? Why did Obamacare make health insurance costs go up, and access to medical services go down? The short answer, as six-term Congressman Bob McEwen explains, is that when bureaucrats and politicians spend other people’s money for services they won’t themselves consume, only bad things happen. Watch our new video to understand why.

Tomorrow, we’re releasing a very special feature-length video with Dennis. Click here to receive a text message when we post the video. You won’t want to miss this.

VIDEO: Obamacare’s ‘People Will Die’ Canard by Charles Blahous

Passions are high in the national health care debate. Some supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have taken to asserting that hundreds of thousands of “people will die” if it is repealed or significantly altered. These claims do not withstand scrutiny, and those who wish their policy arguments to be taken seriously would be well advised to avoid them.

These sensational claims rest on fallacious reasoning, which I’ll describe later in this piece. But first let’s acknowledge that neither I, you, nor anyone else has any idea how many Americans will live or die under alternative federal health care policies. It’s an inherently fruitless exercise to attempt to quantify these effects. However, if one seriously wished to attempt it, one would not do so via the methods now being employed to promulgate the “people will die” claim.

Effects of the ACA

The claims are based on extolling a single effect of the ACA: increasing health insurance coverage, which is said to reduce mortality. Of course, the ACA didn’t magically produce its coverage increase out of thin air. To finance it, the law included several features that likely have countervailing effects on mortality.

Below is a partial list of such effects, provided with the caveat that it would be just as silly to charge the ACA with killing people as it is to attribute deaths to its possible repeal:

  • CBO also found the ACA to reduce workforce participation. Although there is a fierce national debate over the effects and causes of unemployment, there is broad understanding that unemployment correlates with worsened health.
  • The ACA imposed substantial taxes on medical devices and drugs, inhibiting their development and use. We do not know how many lives these products would otherwise have saved.
  • Most of the ACA’s coverage expansion occurred through Medicaid, which has a limited supply of providers and services. Those who gained Medicaid coverage via the ACA gained access to subsidized health services. But unless the number of providers, facilities and services accessible through Medicaid grew at least as fast as enrollment did, there has been a corresponding reduction in health service availability to people previously on Medicaid.

What Studies Show

But even a balanced attempt to weigh the ACA’s net effects on longevity would be inherently problematic under the methods currently being employed to estimate them.

The widely-circulated figures for deaths supposedly caused by replacing the ACA are extrapolated from a study of the Massachusetts health reform experience. That study found that post-reform (2007-10) mortality rates in Massachusetts improved relative to pre-reform (2001-05) mortality rates more than was the case in other US counties after controlling for demographic and economic conditions.

The study is credible, interesting, and suggestive, but does not offer any generalizable proofs of the effects of national health policy on longevity. To the contrary, the authors state that “Massachusetts results may not generalize to other states.”

The study merely shows that longevity improved within Massachusetts after health legislation, more than can be accounted for by economic and demographic trends. This indeed might plausibly have happened because of Massachusetts’s particular health reforms but as the authors acknowledge, it could also have arisen from any of countless factors specific to Massachusetts.

Indeed, a similar study of Oregon’s experience with Medicaid expansion “did not detect clinical improvements other than depression reduction.” In any case, the Massachusetts study only tells us what didn’t cause its longevity improvement; it cannot definitively explain what did.

Killing Your Credibility

But the biggest problem with the “people will die” claim is that it rests on a fundamental logical fallacy. It is related to the familiar “Fallacy of Composition,” which any discerning interlocutor will call you on if you commit it. An oft-cited example of the fallacy is that just because a standing spectator can see a baseball game better than the patrons seated near him, this doesn’t imply that everyone will see better if they all stand up.

The application of the fallacy to health insurance is straightforward. One cannot leap solely from the observation that “having health insurance. . . results in better health” to the conclusion that “the more we expand health insurance, the healthier we all will be.”

Health insurance reduces the out-of-pocket costs individuals face when they buy health services. Expanded insurance coverage increases health service consumption which, considered by itself, should improve health. But it also increases cost growth, an effect widely recognized in health expenditure forecasting. People with insurance feel this cost growth through rising premiums, but the cost inflation is felt especially keenly by the uninsured, who must pay more whenever they buy health services (or receive less care for what they pay).The observation that the insured are relatively healthier doesn’t by itself imply that expanding coverage will save lives.

Thus, even if health insurance did absolutely nothing to improve national health outcomes, we’d still expect the insured to be healthier than the uninsured. Thus, the observation that the insured are relatively healthier doesn’t by itself imply that expanding coverage will save lives.

There are countless potential examples of the fallacy in operation. For example, consider the current tax preference for employer-sponsored insurance (ESI). Those who receive health insurance through their employer enjoy an advantage in these benefits’ exemption from taxation. This tax preference steers additional health benefits to these individuals. However, this does not mean improved health for the nation as a whole. To the contrary, the ESI tax preference is widely recognized as a driver of health market inefficiency, reducing the value of health services relative to dollars spent.

An even simpler example: the government could easily add to the wealth of ten individuals by sending them each a million-dollar check. It is a non-sequitur to infer from this that the national wealth would be increased by the government’s sending a million-dollar check to every American.

In short, the “people will die” argument is premised on an easily-recognized logical fallacy. Don’t use it if you want to convince others to adopt your health care policy views. If you do, the only thing certain to die will be your credibility.

Reprinted from Economics 21.

Editor’s Note: Check out this hilarious video, parodying the “people will die” argument.

Charles Blahous

Charles Blahous

Charles Blahous is a senior research fellow for the Mercatus Center, a research fellow for the Hoover Institution, a public trustee for Social Security and Medicare, and a contributor to e21.

Why the Swiss Health Care Model Will Never Work in America by Kevin D. Williamson

If you’re wondering what in Hell is actually going on with U.S. health-care policy, the short version is this: Policymakers in both parties are trying to replicate Swiss policies in a country that isn’t Swiss.

The Affordable Care Act was, as thinkers as different as Paul Krugman and Avik Roy both observed, an attempt to Swiss up the U.S. health-insurance and health-care markets. (Obligatory reiteration: Those are not the same thing.) The Swiss system, Santésuisse, achieves one big progressive goal — universal health-insurance coverage — while offering much to please conservatives: a private market for health insurance and health care, consumer choice, and relatively low government spending on health care.

Obamacare vs. Santésuisse

Santésuisse is, in its broadest strokes, a lot like the model established by the so-called Affordable Care Act — a model that is kept in large part by the Republicans’ “repeal-and-replace” proposal, which neither repeals nor replaces the Affordable Care Act, though it does make some substantial changes to it.

Like Obamacare, Santésuisse mandates that all citizens purchase insurance from private insurance companies; establishes by law a minimum package of acceptable benefits to satisfy that mandate; subsidizes health-insurance premiums for lower-income people, with a goal of keeping their insurance premiums to less than 10 percent of their incomes; mandates coverage of preexisting conditions and imposes “community rating,” which means that low-risk insurance buyers pay higher premiums to allow for high-risk buyers to pay lower premiums, though the Swiss do make some adjustments for age and sex (!); it imposes controls on procedure costs and reimbursement for providers.

The Swiss model also does a few things that ACA does not: It requires that insurance companies offer their minimal policies on a nonprofit basis; it is structured around relatively high out-of-pocket expenses (high copays and deductibles) in order to encourage consumers to spend soberly; and, perhaps most important, it does this in the context of a health-insurance market that is entirely individual: There are no employer-based health-insurance plans in Switzerland. Everybody buys his own health insurance, the same way people buy everything from tacos to mobile-phone service. Swiss regulations also mandate that prices be made public, which helps consumer markets to function.

The Cost of Health Care

In terms of government spending on health care, Switzerland isn’t terribly different from the United States. Indeed, with the exception of high-spending Norway, per-capita government spending on health care is pretty consistent across a selection of advanced countries with very different health-care systems: Switzerland, the United States, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, and Denmark all have similar per-capita outlays. Interestingly, none of those countries has a national single-payer system: Sweden and Denmark have largely public systems, but they are run mostly by local governments rather than by the national government.

Among countries with single-payer systems, there is a fair amount of variability in per-capita spending: Australia, for example, has lower government spending than does the United Kingdom.

In terms of total spending — government and private spending together — countries with quite different systems lead the pack: The United States spends the most, followed by Switzerland, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Austria, Denmark, Belgium, and Canada. (These are OCED statistics from 2014.) The lack of a robust relationship between health-care systems, health-care expenses, and health-care outcomes suggests that the most powerful determinants of these are exogenous to policy, things like national demographic characteristics and economic conditions: Older people with lots of disposable income will tend to spend more on medical services, the Swedes and Okinawans have been healthy and long-lived under a number of different health-care systems, etc.

Which is to say, one of the reasons the Swiss and the Americans spend relatively large sums on health care may be the structure of the insurance markets; it might simply be that they are rich countries in which consumers choose to consume more health care, which would explain why Sweden and Canada are in the club of relatively big spenders. And low medical spending is not necessarily a sign of health: They don’t spend very much on health care in Cameroon.

Cultural Differences Matter

As Avik Roy and others have pointed out, trying to build Swiss health-care architecture on American foundations is a project by no means guaranteed to succeed. Switzerland, for example, has enjoyed very strong compliance with its national health-insurance mandate. Part of that is cultural (the Swiss are rule-following people), and part of it is that Swiss government: If you fail to comply with the mandate, the Swiss government will garnishee your wages and charge you a penalty equivalent to the cost of the premiums plus up to 50 percent, and, if you persist, the government will sign you up for an insurance policy and allow the provider to sue you for back premiums covering the period during which you were uninsured.

The American version is a little less robust, to say the least: The ACA mandate is “enforced” with a very small penalty that in most cases is nowhere near as expensive as signing up for insurance. That is, the Swiss have a system under which compliance makes economic sense, and we have a system under which non-compliance makes economic sense.

The Affordable Care Act was designed in a dishonest way, front-loading the revenue and backing in the expenses in order to get a nice budget score from the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO rolled its institutional eyes at this, and its report suggested very strongly that its analysts did not believe a word of what they were writing, inasmuch as the most popular parts of ACA were likely to be enforced while the unpopular bits — like the “Cadillac tax” — would be put off or softened, resulting in a program that in reality cost much more and produced less revenue than it did in the model version that CBO scored.

Sure enough, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders both campaigned against the Cadillac tax (it hits their union foot soldiers first and hardest) while the House and Senate Republican plans would keep in, in theory, but put off collecting it until 2025 — at which point the smart money would be on its being put off again.

If you want a Swiss health-care system, then you have to be willing to accept ruthlessly efficient Swiss enforcement and an unsentimental Swiss bottom-line view of the program. Neither party is interested in that: The new Republican health-care plan would formally do away with the individual mandate while keeping a form of the preexisting-coverage rule, which is, the protestations of the bill’s drafters notwithstanding, probably going to be unworkable.

As long as you have a mandate that insurance companies cover preexisting conditions (i.e., that they place bets against events that already have happened) then you really have to have the mandate that people buy insurance, too; otherwise you create incentives to forgo buying insurance until you are actually sick, creating insurance markets composed mostly of sick people, a model that is not economically sustainable. If you want to cover preexisting conditions, then you have to have a mandate and enforce it strongly — Switzerland’s compliance rate is about 99.5 percent.

For comparison, the United States mandates that drivers carry automotive insurance, and about one in five drivers fails to comply with that mandate. And while the enforcement is tougher, the subsidies are less generous. Two-thirds of the Swiss receive no health-insurance subsidies at all, and the subsidies that are received tend to be relatively small except for the very poor.

But what is most critical may be that the Swiss model is free of one big problem that most Americans do not see as a problem at all: employer-based health-insurance programs. The Swiss market is an individual market, but most insured Americans get their insurance from their employers. Doing away with that would provide real benefits, but it would also bring a great deal of stress to risk-averse Americans who are, in large part, satisfied with their employer-based insurance plans. A Swiss system in the United States might — might — be a good idea, or at least better than the status quo ante of 2009.

A Swiss system with no real enforcement, sloppy economic thinking, and no dynamic, consumer-driven insurance market? A Swiss system that replaces Swiss efficiency with American sentimentality? It didn’t work when it was called Obamacare. It won’t work when it’s called Trumpcare or Ryancare or McConnellcare, either.

Reprinted from National Review. 

Kevin D. Williamson

Kevin D. Williamson

Kevin D. Williamson is roving correspondent for National Review.

Active and Engaged: Keeping Senior Citizens in Full Vigor

 

As we grow older, we might experience physical and mental conditions that may cause limitations in our activities. It becomes challenging to maintain physical and psychological strength because that is the nature of aging.

In this modern era, people tend to be less active because of all of the conveniences available to us. Social activity is also important in our older age, but most of the time we find that we just want to stay at home without realizing it. How can we remain active as we age?

As we love the older members of the society, we must always try to find out best possible ways to take care of them. But sometimes, we may not have the chance to help them ourselves. That’s why assisted living in Houston is one of the best ways to address this as they provide the services to take care of our aging loved ones.

The aim of this community is to provide support for the improvement of both physical and mental condition. a

In this post, we are going to look at some activities for the elder members of society that can help them to stay fit and active. Let’s begin!

Importance of physical activity to stay fit

We have the wrong assumption that physical exercise is just for young people. Having a fitness goal is important for aging people, too. Physical activity helps to in making sure that we live a healthy life.

When we get older, some physical problem can arise such as arthritis, fragile bones, stiff muscles, etc. Also, the coordination and balance may decrease. Fortunately, numerous physical exercises can help to prevent these problems.

Even light exercise can contribute to improving our health conditions. Let’s see how physical activity may help to fight aging problems.

Improve strength and liveliness

As we grow older, we become weak and less active. Strength exercises can improve our physical strength as well as liveliness. Strength exercises can prevent mobility problems.

Strength exercises are activities that make our muscles work harder than during normal conditions. It helps to make our muscles strong, and strong muscles support our bones and joints. It also aids in improving our stability and prevent joint problems to some extent.

Promotes Healing

Experts state that wounds take a longer time to heal, even small wounds when we become old. That might be a serious problem because as long as the wounds remain, the chances of infection can increase. But if we exercise properly, the healing power can be 25% faster than people who don’t exercise.

Prevents diseases

With age, many unwanted conditions come such as stroke, diabetes, stiff muscles, colon cancer, fragile bones, etc. Exercise can delay the onset of these diseases as well as prevent it. As per the National Institute of Aging, exercise can reduce overall hospitalization and death rates.

Improves the immune system

Physical activity is the most effective therapy to improve our immunity.  It is also scientifically proven. Regular exercise promotes circulation and keeps our body and mind relaxed. There is no need to do hard exercises, you can take a walk for 35-40 minutes, or you can join a yoga class, and it will effectively boost your immunity.

Improves digestive health

The digestive system includes the stomach, entrails, and the intestines. It breaks down the food we eat into nutrients. Wrong diet and bad lifestyle are sometimes the causes of problems in the digestive system. It reduces the energy that we need to operate our body.

Anyone can face digestion problems at any age. But seniors face it the most. Exercise can help to improve our digestion system and allow our body to absorb nutrients efficiently. Physical activity improves blood flow throughout the body.

Improves lung function

Breathing exercise can improve the lung function. As per the National Institute of Health, controlled breathing is more beneficial for older people. When we grow older, we don’t take the time to breathe deeply, that can cause us to feel uncomfortable and prevents us in leading a healthy life. Exercises is great for our lungs as we get to breathe in deeply and take in more oxygen.

Importance of mental activity for older people

Like physical activity, mental activity is important for aging people. With age, some mental changes occur like loss of neurons, deposits accumulating within brain cells, slower messaging between neurons, etc. Our brain becomes smaller with time, but it still can function effectively just like that of a younger person’s. You can do following things for mental activity:

  • Reading books, magazine and anything you love.
  • Play games like cards, chess, scrabble, etc.
  • Give more time for social activity.
  • Join clubs that you are interested in.
  • Do gardening to feel refreshed.
  • Practice using memory by playing puzzle games.
  • Join meditation classes.
  • Try to keep yourself busy. Discover new hobbies.
  • These are some task you can do to keep your brain working properly.

There are some benefits of mental activity during our older age. Here are some of them.

Improves cognitive skills

At an older age, we feel lonely, isolated, and bored because there is nothing much to do. Nothing can be better than reading books to prevent this scenario from happening. Books are great to pass our leisure time and acquire new knowledge. Reading helps us to improve our cognitive skills as well.

Improves memory

Senior people can play cards, chess, checkers, and many other games to improve mental clarity. It helps the seniors to make them more social, give them plenty of chances to meet new people to play with and helps in the interaction.

Increases creativity

Senior citizens can be assets instead of being a burden to the society if they use their experience and expertise in different creative works. The creativity of a person flourishes only when he or she is active mentally.

Eliminates anxiety

Anxiety in older age can be a dangerous thing. Many diseases can come out of stress because of anxiety. If we are active mentally, it will reduce our stress and will help us from being anxious.

Improves self-confidence

Being mentally active enhances self-confidence. We can use our leisure time in doing mental exercises. Knowing new things can make us feel that we are still actively learning and that we can keep up with the younger generation. Doing this will help us to have an increased sense of self-confidence.

Boosts brain power

Aging people have a lot of time to boost their brain power. Many activities can keep us mentally active. We can spend our time reading or even surfing the web and learning about new things. It is useful in many ways. It will allow us to spend our time more productively and so many things can be learned along the way.

Takeaway

Seniors can do so much with their time. Keeping them fit both mentally and physically, we can get the assurance that they will be living quality lives. We have so much to learn from them as well. If we can take the time to connect with them, they can teach us so much as they have the life experience and expertise as well. It’s our duty to keep them fit to build a better future together.

 

Infant Sentenced To Death By European Human Rights Court

How is this any different from Hitler’s early “euthanasia” policies? It always starts the same way. The sick, the dying, the elderly, and of course the Jews are targeted first. Nazi Germany’s “euthanasia” program represented in many ways a rehearsal for Nazi Germany’s subsequent genocidal policies.

A European court has ruled that the parents of a critically ill baby cannot privately pay for him to go to the United States for “experimental treatment”, and the child must stay in a British hospital to “die with dignity”.The parents of 10-month-old Charlie Gard are reported to be “utterly distraught” after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) denied them a final effort to save their dying son. (here….)

After losing a battle in the UK’s Supreme Court, they had appealed to the court in France to fight the decision of British doctors at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, who argued that the baby could not be saved in the U.S. and must “die with dignity.”

INFANT SENTENCED TO DEATH BY EUROPEAN HUMAN RIGHTS COURT

Daily Caller, June 30, 2017:

Ten-month-old Charlie Gard was sentenced to die by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Tuesday, who ruled against potentially life-saving treatment for him.

The ECHR ordered that Gard’s life support be shut off and blocked him from travel to the U.S. for an experimental treatment for which Gard’s parents raised over $1.7 million. Doctors diagnosed the infant boy with a rare mitochondrial disease, according to a report from Daily Mail. The court labeled the Gard’s appeal case “inadmissible” and upheld the previous decision of the U.K. High Court, saying their decision in Gard’s case was “final.”

“Subjecting him to nucleoside therapy is unknown territory — it has never even been tested on mouse models — but it may, or may not, subject the patient to pain, possibly even to mutations,” wrote Justice Francis in the High Court’s judgment. “But if Charlie’s damaged brain function cannot be improved, as all seem to agree, then how can he be any better off than he is now, which is in a condition that his parents believe should not be sustained?”

Francis then concluded that the hospital “may lawfully withdraw all treatment, save for palliative care, to permit Charlie to die with dignity.”

Gard was born with encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS), which causes gradual muscle weakening and brain damage. Doctors at Ormond counseled Gard’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, to remove Gard’s ventilator in March and said it would be best for Gard to “die with dignity.” Gard’s parents refused on the grounds that they wanted to take Gard to the U.S. for a treatment known as nucleoside, which a doctor from the U.S. said he would be willing to perform.

Dr. Brian Callister of Nevada, who has spoken out against assisted suicide and euthanasia, said the court’s decision was contemptible.

“To withdraw life support against somebody’s will when they have hope of a treatment that either could extend their life or, who knows how long it could extend it, who knows what kind of quality of life may or may not be available — to take away that hope and say ‘you’re life is worth nothing’ I think is wrong on every level,” Callister told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “It’s wrong on a human level. It’s wrong on any basic level of medical ethics, and there are medical ethicists out there in Europe and the United States who think that’s just fine. I think they’ve got a screw loose.”

The courts cited reports from expert counsel, which said that Gard was likely in pain and was suffering. However, Callister said that while it was possible that Gard was in pain, pain and suffering are subjective terms and typically are not the reasons that people legally end their lives, according to data from the state of Oregon.

“Pain is not even in the top five — doesn’t even make the top five of reasons listed in Oregon of people that commit assisted suicide,” Callister said. “It doesn’t make the top five. Burden to family, loss of autonomy —those are the top reasons people kill themselves legally.”

Callister was careful to differentiate between euthanasia and ending life support, which he said were two different matters. While euthanasia constitutes actively killing a person, ending the artificial prolonging of life via machines when a patient no longer wants to live via machine is simply “letting nature take its course” and is not morally reprehensible in Callister’s eyes. In Gard’s case, however, Callister said it was wrong of the court to deny his family the opportunity to seek treatment, whether or not it would have prolonged or saved Gard’s life, and the ruling could have “indirectly contributed to his death.”

Given the ECHR’s geographical range of jurisdiction, Callister also said he was suspicious of their stance on human rights, citing euthanasia practices in Belgium and the Netherlands.

“Keep in mind those are places where it’s legal to euthanize people now,” Callister said. “So, I’m going to be real suspect of any group that talks about human rights in places where euthanasia is legal, and I’m not talking about assisted suicide. I’m talking about actively killing people — often involuntarily or without their knowledge.”

The ECHR has made questionable calls concerning human rights in the past, such as when the court pressured Ireland to legalize abortion, saying that Ireland’s ban on abortion violated human rights and put mothers at risk of harm and death. Ireland, however, had one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in Europe at the time and still does.

Gard’s parents were heartbroken over the ECHR’s decision, and though they cannot use the money they raised to save their son, they said they will donate the money for treatment of other children suffering from the same mitochondrial disease. Gard will be taken off life support Friday.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Geller Report.

President Trump and Senator Rand Paul: Pass a clean repeal of Obamacare [Video]

Rebecca Shabad in a CBS News article titled “Rand Paul says splitting up health care bill could improve chances of Obamacare repeal” reports:

Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that the health care bill should be split into two pieces of legislation in order to pass an Obamacare repeal.

“I think if we take this bill and split it into two pieces, we pass one that is more, looks like repeal that conservatives like. And then the other one you load up with all kinds of Christmas ornaments and gifts and money and just pile money on it that the Democrats will vote for and some of the Republicans will vote for,” the Kentucky Republican said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Paul predicts that “both [would] end up passing” if Senate Republicans pursued that path.”It may not be completely good for the country, but you at least get the repeal that way,” Paul added.

The repeal bill, he said, could repeal Obamacare’s taxes and regulations and include Medicaid reform, but he said it would be “much narrower” and “much cleaner.”

President Trump tweet on Senate healthcare bill:

It’s Democrats who have embraced the policy of death and thousands of people are dying!

As Republicans in the U.S. Congress are debating the pluses and minuses of their repeal and replacement legislation for Obamacare, the Democrats are accusing their colleagues of  wanting “thousands of people to die.”

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

It was The Agenda Project Action Fund that in 2011 released the video of a “Republican” pushing an old woman in a wheel chair off of a cliff. The Agenda Project Action Fund in 2016 endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for President of the United States. The “thousands of people to die” rhetoric has been repeated on major news channels most recently by Senator Sanders and other Democrats, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.

The scheme is to paint Republicans as murderers. It’s the “big lie.”

Master propagandist of the Nazi regime and dictator of its cultural life for twelve years, Joseph Goebbels wrote,

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Watch the below video to understand how a variety of Democrats, and media pundits, are repeating the “big lie” that “thousands will die”:

TRUTH: It’s Democrats who have embraced the policy of death and thousands of people are dying.

Here are a few examples of policies and legislation supported by Democrats that are causing people to die:

In an LA Times article titled “111 terminally ill patients took their own lives in first 6 months of California right-to-die law”, Soumya Karlamangla reports:

A total of 111 people in California took their own lives using lethal prescriptions during the first six months of a law that allows terminally ill people to request life-ending drugs from their doctors, according to data released Tuesday.

A snapshot of the patients who took advantage of the law mirrors what’s been seen in Oregon, which was the first state to legalize the practice nearly two decades ago. Though California is far more diverse than Oregon, the majority of those who have died under aid-in-dying laws in both states were white, college-educated cancer patients older than 60.

The End of Life Option Act made California the fifth state in the nation to allow patients with less than six months to live to request end-of-life drugs from their doctors.

Five states and Washington, D.C., have “Death with Dignity” statutes:

  • California (End of Life Option Act; 2016)
  • Colorado (End of Life Options Act; 2016)
  • District of Columbia (Death with Dignity Act; 2017)
  • Oregon (Oregon Death with Dignity Act; 1994/1997)
  • Vermont (Patient Choice and Control at the End of Life Act; 2013)
  • Washington (Washington Death with Dignity Act; 2008)

These five states and the District of Columbia are controlled by Democrats.

Illinois is in a fiscal meltdown, the state is bankrupt. In 2016 the Illinois Obamacare co-op became 16th to collapse. Americans for Tax Reform reported:

Sixteen Obamacare co-ops have now failed. Illinois announced that Land of Lincoln Health, a taxpayer funded Obamacare co-op, would close its doors, leaving 49,000 without insurance. The co-op now joins a list of 15 other Obamacare co-ops that have collapsed since Obamacare has been implemented.  Failed co-ops have now cost taxpayers more than $1.7 billion in funds that may never be recovered.

Co-ops were hyped as not-for-profit alternatives to traditional insurance companies created under Obamacare. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) financed co-ops with startup and solvency loans, totaling more than $2.4 billion in taxpayer dollars. They have failed to become sustainable with many collapsing amid the failure of Obamacare exchanges.

Since September, 13 Obamacare co-ops have collapsed, with only seven of the original 23 co-ops remaining.  Illinois’ Land of Lincoln co-op faced losses of $90 million last year and is suing the federal government for the deficit caused by Obamacare.  Co-ops across the country have struggled to operate in Obamacare exchanges, losing millions despite receiving enormous government subsidies.

Tens of thousands of people in the Land of Lincoln are without healthcare. Illinois is ruled by Democrats.

In an article titled “Break the Baby’s Neck if Born Alive” Debra Braun reports:

St. Paul, MN, June 27, 2017 – Planned Parenthood abortionists in St. Paul, Minn. would “break the baby’s neck” if the child was born alive, according to a new video just released by Pro-Life Action Ministries. This would be a violation of both federal and Minnesota law.

Braun notes:

In the video, a former Planned Parenthood client says that when she went to Planned Parenthood earlier this year for a late-term abortion (at 22 weeks, 1 day), she asked the two abortionists, “If you guys were to take him out right now while he’s still, his heart rate is still, you know, going, what would you guys do?” According to the woman, one of the abortionists looked at the other one, then looked back at the client, “and she told me that we don’t tell women this, and a lot of women don’t even ask this question, but if we was to proceed with the abortion and the baby was to come out still alive and active, most likely we would break the baby’s neck.”

Read more.

Democrats fully support Planned Parenthood aborting the unborn, and now killing the born.

So who supports a culture of death? Who wants thousands of people to die? You be the judge.

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VIDEO: Is There a Health Care Crisis?

In the next week or so, the U.S. Senate may vote on a health care bill that would repeal and replace some parts of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

This 1993 lecture in Houston, Texas by FEE president Lawrence Reed (then president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan) is full of important fundamentals about both health care and government. In the quarter century since then, the bottom line remains unchanged: more government can hardly be the solution to problems that too much of it gave us in the first place:

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Democrats in La La Land, while Republicans are laughing their Ossoffs

Shortly after the Karen Handel win in Georgia’s 6th District race for the U.S. Congress the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) sent out the following in an email to their supporters:

[W]e know yesterday didn’t go as we hoped.

Make no mistake, we’re disappointed, and we know you are too.

But this race should have never been this close. Republicans had to pour tens of millions into a race that should’ve easily been theirs.

That gives us so much hope as we look toward 2018.

Let’s look at what each candidate raised and spent in the Georgia 6th District race:

The fact is that it was the Democrats who “poured tens of millions” into this race. In fact Democrats poured $32 million into the 4 special congressional elections to date and lost all of them.

Most of Ossoff’s money came from outside of the 6th District. Ossoff spent 7 times what Handel spent and lost by 6 percentage points. Democrats are living in La La Land if they believe this gives them “hope” as they look forward to 2018.

But wait, not so! The DCCC believes the Congress is in play in 2018!

The DCCC email contains a link to a video made by DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján who declares that the Democrats have a “real shot” at taking back the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018:

In the Daily Wire column 4 Dumbest Democratic Reactions To Their Stunning Defeat In The Georgia 6th Ben Shapiro lists the following reactions to Ossoff’s loss:

  1. Republicans Are Just Evil.
  2. Democrats Must Move To The Left.
  3. We Need A Hug.
  4. Civility Will Never Work!

To date Democrats have lost 4 special elections. The DCCC and Luján made the Georgia District 6 race a referendum on President Trump and his make America great again (MAGA) agenda. The DCCC was right, it was a referendum on President Trump’s agenda. That’s why Handel won handily. The DCCC has lost every special election, against a President and Republican Party that has relentlessly been demonized in the media, by some Republicans and most all Democrats.

So the Democrat base wants the DCCC to do more of the same, expecting different results?

This reminds us of how the media and Democrats treated candidate Trump during the 2016 presidential election. They lost in November 2016. They continue to lose.

The DCCC message has not changed. Luján keeps singing the same tune. The Democrats will keep losing if they go down the path of hating Republicans, moving even further to the left, hugging one another and abandoning civility and resisting anything and everything proposed by Republicans.

Democrats are still in La La Land, while Republicans are laughing their Ossoffs.

When your opponent is committing suicide, don’t interfere.

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In Georgia’s 6th, Democrats couldn’t capitalize on an unusually well-educated electorate

Why Democrats keep losing

Florida’s Medical Use of Marijuana Law

SB 8-A — Medical Use of Marijuana implements the provisions of Art. X, s. 29, of the State Constitution. The bill builds on the existing compassionate use of low-THC and medical cannabis program with additional provisions to implement the Constitutional Amendment passed by Florida voters in the 2016 General Election.

Provisions in the bill relating to patients:

  • Exempt marijuana and marijuana delivery devices from sales and use tax that would otherwise be imposed under ch. 212, F.S.
  • Establish procedures for physicians to issue physician certifications to patients who have qualifying medical conditions. The bill includes all debilitating medical conditions listed in the State Constitution as a qualifying medical condition: cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or other debilitating medical condition of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated. The bill also includes as a qualifying medical condition:
    • Chronic nonmalignant pain, which is defined as pain that is caused by or that originates from a qualifying medical condition and persists beyond the usual course of the qualifying medical condition.
    • A terminal condition.
  • Eliminate the 90-day waiting period before the qualified physician may register a patient as qualified to receive low-THC cannabis or medical marijuana.
  • Ensure that qualified patients can receive low-THC cannabis as well as full-THC marijuana.
  • Allow marijuana edibles and vaping, but prohibit the smoking of marijuana.
  • Establish residency requirements for patients to be issued a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card (ID card). The bill specifies documentation that must be provided to document residency, including documentation required for a seasonal resident.
  • Grandfather in existing patients from the low-THC and “right to try” programs registered in the compassionate use registry so that they may continue receiving their medication ordered through those programs.

Provisions in the bill relating to caregivers:

  • Establish qualifications to become a caregiver, which include:
    • Being at least 21 years of age and a resident of this state.
    • Agreeing in writing to assist the qualified patient and serve as the patient’s caregiver.
    • Passing a 2-hour caregiver course that is administered by the Department of Health (DOH).
    • Passing a background screening unless the patient is a close relative of the caregiver.
  • Limit the number of caregivers each patient may have and the number of patients each caregiver may assist.
  • Require a caregiver to be registered on the medical marijuana use registry and possess a caregiver identification card. The caregiver must be in immediate possession of his or her medical marijuana use registry ID card when in possession of marijuana or a marijuana delivery device and present the ID card upon the request of a law enforcement officer.
  • Require a caregiver to purchase or administer marijuana for medical use by a qualified patient who is younger than 18 years of age.
  • Prohibit a caregiver from receiving compensation, other than the actual expenses incurred, for any services provided to the qualified patient.

Provisions in the bill relating to qualified physicians and physician certifications:

  • Require a physician to complete a 2-hour course and examination relating to the requirements of this law for approval as a qualified physician. A qualified physician must also comply with a 2-hour continuing education requirement for licensure renewal.
  • Prohibit a qualified physician from being employed by, or having a direct or indirect economic interest in, a medical marijuana treatment center or marijuana testing laboratory.
  • Establish standards for a qualified physician to issue a physician certification to include:
    • Conducting a physical examination while physically present in the same room as the patient and a full assessment of the patient’s medical history.
    • Diagnosing the patient with at least one qualifying medical condition.
    • Determining, and documenting in the patient’s medical record, that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for the patient. If a patient is younger than 18, a second physician must concur with this determination and this determination must be documented in the patient’s medical record.
    • Determining, and documenting in the patient’s medical record, whether the patient is pregnant. A physician may issue a physician certification for low-THC cannabis only, to a patient who is pregnant.
    • Reviewing the patient’s controlled drug prescription history in the prescription drug monitoring program database.
    • Reviewing the medical marijuana use registry to confirm that the patient does not have an active physician certification from another qualified physician.
    • Registering as the issuer of the physician certification for the named qualified patient on the medical marijuana use registry.
    • Updating the registry with specified relevant information concerning the physician’s certification for the patient’s medical use of marijuana.
  • Limit certifications to no more than three 70-day supply limits of marijuana.
  • Require a qualified physician to evaluate an existing qualified patient at least once every 30 weeks before issuing a new physician certification for that patient.

Provisions in the bill relating to Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs):

  • Require the DOH to license the seven existing dispensing organizations as MMTCs. These MMTCs may begin dispensing marijuana pursuant to this law on July 3, 2017.
  • Require the DOH to license as MMTCs 10 applicants by October 3, 2017.
    • The first group of licensees, which are to be licensed as MMTCs by August 1, 2017, include applicants that submitted an application under the compassionate use law in 2014, which was reviewed, evaluated, and scored by the DOH; which had an administrative or judicial challenge pending as of January 1, 2017, or had a final ranking within one point of the highest final ranking in its region; which meets the requirements of this law; and can document that it has the ability to begin cultivating marijuana within 30 days after registration as an MMTC.
    • The next group of licenses must be licensed by October 3, 2017. These applicants must submit an application to be reviewed, evaluated, and scored for selection to be licensed as an MMTC. Within this group, one license must be awarded to an applicant that is a recognized class member of specified litigation and a member of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association-Florida Chapter. All applicants must meet the requirements of this law. In the scoring of applications, the DOH is directed to give preference for up to two of these new licenses to applicants that demonstrate in their applications that they own and will use or convert a facility or facilities that are, or were, used for the processing of citrus fruit or citrus molasses for the processing of marijuana.
  • Require the DOH to license four additional MMTCs within 6 months after the medical marijuana use registry contains 100,000 active qualified patients, and upon each additional 100,000 active qualified patient registrations.
  • Limit MMTCs to 25 dispensing facilities statewide until the medical marijuana use registry contains 100,000 active qualified patients. When that occurs, an additional five dispensing facilities are authorized for each licensed MMTC.
    • Upon each additional 100,000 active qualified patient registrations, an additional five dispensing facilities are authorized for each licensed MMTC.
    • The bill also requires each MMTC to locate its authorized dispensing facilities within five regions statewide according to county population estimates for the counties within each region.
    • An MMTC that chooses not to establish a dispensing facility within a region as authorized, may sell that regional slot to another MMTC.
    • These limitations on dispensing facilities expire on April 1, 2020.
  • Detail requirements for MMTC applicants and standards that each MMTC must meet to obtain and maintain licensure; including a diversity plan that promotes and ensures the involvement of minority persons, minority business enterprises, or veteran business enterprises.
  • Authorize alternate forms of assets to satisfy the performance bond requirements.
  • Require an MMTC to perform all functions of cultivating, processing, transporting, and dispensing marijuana for medical use; including ensuring that low-THC is available for the medical use of qualified patients.
  • Require MMTC processing facilities to pass a Food Safety Good Manufacturing Practices inspection by a nationally recognized certifying body.
  • Require laboratory testing of MMTC products and create a certification program for medical marijuana testing laboratories.
  • Establish standards for advertising and requirements for a professional appearance and operation of dispensing facilities.
  • Require background screening of MMTC owners, officers, board members, managers, and employees, and of medical marijuana testing laboratory owners and managers.
  • Authorize a change of ownership for an MMTC under specified parameters and prohibit ownership in multiple MMTCs or certain profit-sharing arrangements.
  • Preempt the regulation of cultivation and processing of marijuana to the state.
  • Authorize local governments to ban MMTC dispensing facilities within their borders. However, if a local government does not ban dispensing facilities, it may not place any restrictions on the number of dispensing facilities allowed within its jurisdiction. Also, it may not adopt any regulations or fees for dispensing facilities that are more restrictive than its ordinances regulating pharmacies.

Additional provisions in the bill:

  • Establish administrative, disciplinary, or criminal penalties for prohibited acts by physicians, patients, caregivers, MMTCs, medical marijuana testing laboratories, and other persons. These prohibited acts include, but are not limited to:
    • A qualified patient or caregiver cultivating marijuana or acquiring marijuana from anyone other than an MMTC.
    • A qualified patient or caregiver in possession of marijuana or a marijuana delivery device who fails or refuses to present his or her marijuana use registry identification card upon the request of a law enforcement officer. However the bill includes certain mitigating actions that may enable a patient or caregiver to avoid prosecution.
    • An MMTC providing kickbacks to a qualified physician.
    • Unlicensed activity.
    • Counterfeiting marijuana or a marijuana delivery device purporting it to be from a licensed MMTC.
    • Possessing or making a counterfeit or otherwise unlawfully issued medical marijuana use registry identification card.
  • Authorize the DOH to pursue certain enforcement action for violations of this law.
  • Specify that this act does not limit an employer’s ability regarding a drug-free workplace program or policy, does not require an employer to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in the workplace or an employee working while under the influence of marijuana, does not create a cause of action against an employer for wrongful discharge or discrimination, and that marijuana is not reimbursable under ch. 440, F.S., relating to workers’ compensation.
  • Require the DOH and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to establish public educational campaigns related to the medical use of marijuana.
  • Require the Department of Law Enforcement to develop initial training and continuing education for law enforcement agencies relating to activities governed by this law and criminal laws governing marijuana.
  • Create the Coalition for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Education (Coalition) to conduct rigorous scientific research, provide education, disseminate research, and to guide policy development for the adoption of a statewide policy on ordering and dosing practices for the medicinal use of cannabis.
  • Include rulemaking and other provisions to aid the DOH in adopting rules and implementing the provisions of Amendment 2 within the time frame specified in the amendment.
  • Require each district school board to adopt a policy and procedure for allowing a student who is a qualified patient to use marijuana obtained pursuant to this law.
  • Rename the Office of Compassionate Use in the DOH, the Office of Medical Marijuana Use.
  • Rename the compassionate use registry, the medical marijuana use registry.
  • Provide a severability clause so that if any provision of the act or its application is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications which can still be given effect.
  • Include appropriations for the state 2017-2018 fiscal year for the DOH, the education programs, and the Coalition.

A True American Healthcare System

As Obamacare continues to reveal itself as an economic and policy disaster, it strikes me that in undoing this healthcare mess, we are not following the path forged for us by the Framers of the Constitution.

For them, the overarching, driving concern was the protection of the liberties of the nation’s citizens from the intrusions of an excessively powerful government. Translated to healthcare, this would mean protecting patients and their doctors from government interference in their most private and personal dealings.

The Framers accomplished this by creating a national government of specific and enumerated powers that was prohibited from directly regulating the actions of the American people. This latter authority was retained by the states, and specifically not given to the federal government.

So, under this strategy, what would the nation’s health care system look like?

Protecting freedoms, not relying on government

In a truly American healthcare system, the responsibility for funding one’s medical care would fall squarely upon the treated individual. In cases where the cost of receiving treatment became excessive, the individual would be aided by his or her family, local churches, and community charitable organizations dedicated to helping those who couldn’t help themselves.

More importantly, healthcare would be delivered in a society where God and worship played a central role in human interaction. And no, not because the government demanded it, but because the people spontaneously shared this unyielding resolve in a state where an environment encouraging public worship existed and the family was viewed as society’s foundational building block.

It was a milieu where people were continuously reminded of their direct relationship with God and of His greatest commandment; that each person love God with all his might and that he love his neighbor as he does himself.

If the healthcare system needed to be more formalized so that hospitals and healthcare could be regulated or a risk-diverting network could be implemented, then such a structure would be generated and executed by the state, not by the federal government. In fact, if the Constitution were properly interpreted, the courts would hold that the federal government was prohibited from directing the states on creating, implementing, or administering a health care program, or taxing the people directly for the purpose of creating a healthcare insurance company.

Healthcare not part of limited federal government

Other than Dr. Benjamin Rush, who voiced his concern for the potential of healthcare being used as a tool in support of a dictatorial regime, it is likely that the Founders gave little thought to the design of the new nation’s healthcare system. Not only was it orders of magnitude beyond their primary concern of building a functional system of government, but they would have clearly maintained that such was not the role of the new federal government. In fact, they did. It was no enumerated, as mentioned above.

If asked, the Framers would have undoubtedly agreed that the solution to the nation’s healthcare challenges lay not in the acts of politicians, but in the moral compass provided to the people by their Creator and in the unyielding pledge that each and every person had instinctively made to his or her neighbor through his or her faith in God.

It is within these concepts that the true solutions to our healthcare woes is to be found, not in the machinations conceived by politicians or bureaucrats.

Hopefully, we as a nation will recall and apply these self-evident truths before we irreparably tarnish our Great Experiment and make true the warnings of Dr. Rush some 240 years ago.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.