Are you smarter than congress about health care cost?

This might seem obvious but to properly address an issue you must first understand the problem you are trying to fix. Well clearly our legislators, the media pundits, and most of the clamoring public seem to be ignoring the need for understanding the problem in discussions of Health Care cost and how to pay for it.

So let’s just dive right into the healthcare “cost” issue.

Why is it important – This goes way beyond partisan bickering and protecting political turf. Which also is why it cannot be corrected with hurried and poorly prepared legislation.
This is about you with your injured child – “Do you have insurance? How will you pay for this?”
This is about you losing everything because you – had a heart attack – lost your job – lost your insurance and now face $200,000 in medical bills you cannot pay.
This is about a national cost item that cannot be paid for in any governmental scheme that does not include care restriction and increased taxation. Yes – if you consider unlimited health care a basic right for everybody, that is true!

Language – words matter and if you don’t understand the language, you not only cannot fix the problem you may inadvertently make it worse. We all must differentiate between “Health Care cost” and “Health Insurance.” They are related but not the same:
A. Healthcare cost – this is the actual cost of medical treatment and related services. This exists if you have insurance or not. This is what nobody can afford to pay, and WHY you need insurance.
B. Healthcare insurance – this is a funding mechanism designed to “pool” risk and spread the cost. This is how we collect a relatively small amount of money from healthy people to pay the bills for somebody who needs care. This is how we as a society pay for all those healthcare costs.
C. Access to “Healthcare” – This is the ability for a person to get a healthcare professional to treat them. Everybody has basic access to general healthcare and emergency services. What you might not have is enough money or “Insurance” to pay for your treatment.

So the next time your hear somebody say “Healthcare is just too expensive we have to beat up the insurance companies”, quietly know that they are uninformed.

Economics. There is at least one un-refutable truth in economics. Money coming in must be bigger than money going out. Even governments cannot live forever if debt exceeds revenue. Eventually even government runs out of your money and your ability to create more GDP.

The problem – So the problem is the “Cost” of healthcare. How do we address that?
First it is critical we all stop blaming and finger pointing, we need to talk and agree on a few things.

Try this approach – you do not get to complain unless you have thought about it and bring forward an idea to solve the problem. You don’t have to be right the first time, but you do have to be part of the solution and not just some anonymous internet loudmouth complaining.

Start here:
Problem    National Health Care cost ___________________________________________________________________________

Solution    My idea to provide care and pay for it ___________________________________________________________________

To paraphrase a credit card company – what’s in your mind? How would you approach this problem?

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Knock knock – who’s there? – American business

I am having breakfast at the Adobe Restaurant watching rain come down like high water poured out of  short top cowboy boots and I’m wondering – how does American busines keep doing it? The election is a mess, nobody knows what is going to happen and yet there were 250,000 new jobs reported last month.

American business people really just never give up.

Focus Benefits Group is an employer based consulting firm so I see mainly regulations and costs related to employee benefits and payroll. For example, the real cost of providing benefits is not the medical cost plus administration. You have to add the regulatory burden imposed by a massive new bureaucracy created by ACA. Administration costs for insurance providers have been capped at 18% to 22% but the governmental sector has no limits and they just keep grinding out the regulations.

Consider this:

The SBA reported in 2010 that  the federal regulatory burden in 2008 was $15,586 per household and the cost for healthcare  $10,586.  That was 2008! ( 83 page report) Imagine what the cost must be now

The point is regulation may comes from real need initially but beaurocrats by their nature can’t let a solved problem rest. They just have to keep making it worse, or better in their eyes. They also seem to be unable to punish only the guilty. They like to punish everybody in the hopes  they will get a guilty one at some point.

Alright enough of a soap box speech. I was really trying to point out how resilient our economy is and how innovative our entrepreneurs are. Life changes and as the old methods and products go away new opportunities arise and thrive. The trick is to be able too ride the small waves and be ready when the big swell rolls through.

As an aside to this topic you might want to get your hands on the  latest Metlife benefits study. As the world moves to more websites and fancy Internet  interfaces, Metlife found employees want more personnel contact and better face to face advice. (Well Duuuh!) Contrary to popular belief millenials are loyal workers and they are not as promiscuous as their parents were. Aren’t employers looking for honest reliable workers with ethical values?

Back to American business. We are still the most innovative and entrepreneurial society ever in history and we need to consider education and mental capability. And that means that we need manufacturing and other reliable jobs that puts all levels of education  and ability back to work.

Not every person has the ability to program or deal with computers, or work in esoteric finance. But they can build things and show up for work and be respected and valuable. We need these people and they need work they can be proud of.

I know this wasn’t about insurance but I really love my country and I am proud of the people who make up this nation.  I have been reported dead at least twice and flat broke (living under the bridge) in my life. Each time somebody helped me get started again. Nobody gave me anything , they made me earn it but they made the opportunity available to me.

Be proud of your country and give somebody opportunity.




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Getting what you ask for – like it or not!

I read about an offer this morning from Welcoa, a wellness company, about the importance of positive Psychology in an effective wellness program. I agree but it took me to a place I frequently comment on.

You will get in life what you truly ask for.

I say that and right away people say “Yea, well I have been asking for more hair and more money for years and I don’t have either!” While that is humorous it is not the point I am making. The human mind is a very powerfull organism and our subconscious mind works in the background like a powerful computers  operating system.

Consider this. You have the ability to see, hear, taste, speak, and hopefully reason. You do all of those without effort from your conscious mind in most cases. Your subconscious mind lives in a dark soundless cave and can only get information you provide to it filtered through your daily experiences. OK OK where am  I going with this?

If all you give your subconscious mind is negative input it will decide that you really like that kind of life and it will give you back every opportunity to get more of it. Remember it only knows  what you tell yourself and then it reinforces what you seem to want.

If you are angry all day you may notice that you get many more opportunities to be angry everyday. “Why does everybody tick me off everyday?”

If you tell everybody you never get any good opportunities you may notice life is getting worse every day. “Why does everybody else get promoted but never me?”

If you focus on being sick all the time and talk about it to everybody every day you will most certainly get even sicker. You probably can’t cure cancer with a great attitude but those day to day maladies may be  under your control.

The point is that we get what we reinforce in ourselves and in others. So if you complain all the time you may well meet more people happy to  complain with you, and you will get many more opportunities to have things to complain about.

Motivators frequently say “Fake it till you make it.” and they are right in that if you tell yourself you are better you will become better. If you tell yourself you are healthy you will become more healthy. This is not magic and it  does not work just because you say the words, you have to take positive action. What happens is that as you think differently you see better opportunities and you encourage people to join you and be part of your positive journey.

As you may have heard “A mind is a a terrible thing to waste!”, so stop wasting the most valuable thing you own and control by feeding it trash.


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