SOMEONE ANSWERED MY QUESTIONS? WOW!


Contrary to what I asserted in GOVERNMENT CAN’T FIX HEALTH CARE, it appears someone actually did answer the questions I asked in ADVERSARIES OR JUST DIFFERENT SOLUTIONS? Unfortunately, because she used a four-letter word, WordPress put Catherine‘s comment in my trash bucket. Since her comment did not get posted (and she apparently did not know why,  got upset, and she let me know about it (see here)). Nevertheless, I am pleased to have her comment. So here it is.

  • How would government price healthcare in a single payer system? When we have market-based solution for healthcare, providers set their prices, and consumers shop for the best prices.
    –This assumes that A: people can afford to purchase health care in the first place and B: that prices are fair. I’m getting bills from random-ass doctors and medical facilities from where my husband landed in the hospital a few months ago. It makes NO sense!

    Who gets care first? When we have a market-based solution, consumers and providers work out this problem. When we need emergency care, we pay more. When we need urgent care, we pay more, or we visit less expensive facilities.
    –Again assumes A: the ability to pay more and/or B: the ability to wait for appropriately priced care. 8 years ago my husband suffered the “widow maker” heart attack while in another state. He had TWO options: helicopter home to an in network hospital or helicopter to another heart hospital 10 minutes closer, but out of network. My husband did not have 10 minutes to spare. His heart stopped 13 times that day; once the next day. He spent a week in a medically induced coma.

    What about other spending priorities? Where do healthcare priorities fit in compared to roads, schools, the military, law enforcement, and so forth? The more the government does, the more control the government has over us. When we have government-run healthcare, instead of deciding our own spending priorities, government decides how much money we will allocate to healthcare.
    –Assumes that taxes are to damn high. A: I was paying $26 every two weeks Fed income tax. I now pay $6 every two weeks. I did NOT need or want a tax cut! In 1950, the highest tax bracket was over 90%. It didn’t come down until the 70s. When was the interstate built? I rest my case.

    When have we spent enough on health care? Do we want politicians deciding that? When is it time to give up? When we can spend our own money, we can decide when we want to give up trying to get well. Even when we run out our own money, we can ask for charity. When someone else controls our health care, we are stuck with their choice.
    –Da fXXk? I guess my husband should have been left to die on the side of the road, then.

    The private enterprise model (which includes non-profits) is not great, but would the single payer model actually be better?Would a single payer system just produce a different set of problems, some of them much worse? Or would a single payer system be better?
    –The UK seems to be having a pretty good run of single payer health care. When you need help you get it. Which is the same thing that happens in the US except for the soul crushing debt that tags along with not dying.

    How can we improve the current system without fundamentally transforming it?Could the current system be made to work better than a single payer system? How?
    –YES! All we need to do is say, “your health is important and it should cost no more than X% of your income” . THEN, to make life simpler, the government takes that percentage out of paychecks directly as a withholding and pays doctors and hospitals directly for services rendered.

    When we keep giving it more and more power, how do we keep the people who run our government from abusing the power we give them? Would a single payer system violate the Constitution? How do we decide that? Do we leave it up to the Supreme Court to decide, or do we read the Constitution and pressure our leaders to abide by that document, one they swear and oath to obey?

    –Let me tell you a story. In college, recognized clubs get funding from student council and have to send a budget request every year. Student council doesn’t understand the nuances of every club, but tried to be fair. So, my SAR club had a heck of a time getting the appropriate stuff because $500 for ropes w as more likely to get funding than $2000 for radios. The second issue was having to ask for twice as much money in order to get the actual amount we needed. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW THE CURRENT HEALTH CARE SYSTEM WORKS. Doctors offices routinely bill insurance companies for as much as they can in order to get paid as much as possible. There is no good reason for a *routine* appendectomy to cost $5,000 in one city and $20,000 in another while using the same equipment and procedures. Except insurance companies are like studco, trying to spread a fixed amount of money as evenly as possible. Personally, as a non-selfish American, if we’re going to have a system where some organization is going to arbitrarily decide how much something is worth, I’d rather it be a centralized government agency so that a Virginian gets treated the same way as a Texan. Equal Protection Under the Law is kind of a thing here.

What do I think of ‘s comment in general? Here are someone else’s words.

  • There’s a lot here.
    I think one problem people have is they kind of look at their own life paradigm and apply it to others as though everyone has the same experience and/or theirs is the only experience that matters.
    Your experience is definitely pertinent (and I’m sorry about your husband….and hope he recovered/ is recovering?) but when you extend it to everyone you are in deep error. (continued here)

It is tempting to offer up a personal experience. Have one. When I was in my twenties, I had to go into the hospital to have a problem taken care of. No insurance. Even got harassed by bills six months later. But what does personalizing the argument accomplish? When we personalize the argument, it demonstrates we are prepared to be personally offended by those who disagree. No point in that.

Here we are considering the “right” to arbitrarily force others to pay for our healthcare. Where do such rights come from? Does the fact someone who speaks well and convincingly make such a “right” a right. Is a “right” just a matter of how we feel about a “right”? When does one person’s “right” become an imposition upon another person’s rights?

In the past, some Americans demanded the right to own slaves.  These slave masters needed their slaves. It made their elegant and leisurely aristocratic lifestyle possible. Supposedly, only blacks could work in the hot southern sun. So their labor was an economic necessity. Moreover, blacks needed their masters. Nature had made blacks too dumb (Which is why laws were needed to prohibit educating them?) to rule themselves……

And so it went for centuries. The slave owners got so absurd they even called up the Bible to defend the tyrannical institution of slavery. The slave owners were so determined to have their slaves they refused to see the obvious evil in the practice.

Were the slave owners more evil than any other people? No. They just did what all of us do. They had grown up with the practice of slavery. Copying those who had taught them, they defended the practice. So I think I will stay away from personal examples and just focus what seems most logical.

Here are my responses to ‘s replies to the questions.

How would government price healthcare in a single payer system?

What is this question is about? The term “fair” is so much abused that we now say life is not “fair”, the point being that the term “fair” is much abused. So what is a “fair” market price? When we comparison shop, when we believe we have paid what anyone else would have paid in a competitive market place, we have paid a fair market price.

In a truly free market, no one agency sets the price. Instead, buyers hunt for the best price and sellers raise their prices to the point where buyers refuse to buy. In a single payer system, there is only one buyer. That is not a free market. It just guarantees that medical service and product providers and health insurers will strive to buy political influence, to our detriment, of course.

What about the complexity of the billing from healthcare providers? I think this is the way some feel about the tax code, which is why those who can afford it hire tax accountants. Similarly, it is good to have a health insurance company work through all the billing. So what do you do if you don’t have insurance? Well, if you are smart enough to work your way through the government’s alphabet’s soup, you probably already have insurance. If you can’t, you probably ought to go to a hospital and ask them for help. I expect they will direct you to a nonprofit or a state agency that provides free guidance. Why? Check out Benefits.gov. This is not something I want to wade through. It is easier to have a job.

Who gets care first?

reply gave us her perspective on how the current system works. In an emergency, when someone is having a heart attack, do emergency personnel really have time to ask for the victim’s insurance card? I suppose not. Hence, I believe the law requires hospitals to stabilize patients who need emergency care before they worry about being paid. Admittedly, I don’t have a better suggestion, but our glorious leaders have allowed illegal immigrants to abuse the practice (but that’s a different topic).

Because medical care is not free, medical personnel have the right to be paid. When we demand a “right” to “free” healthcare, we demand the “right” to enslave others to our needs. We then turn what can only rightfully be called charity into outright theft. Here is the Federal Budget for 2016. 29 percent of the spending of the Federal Government was on healthcare, largely Medicare and Medicaid. When we add 25 percent for pensions, mostly Social Security, we have covered about half of the Federal Budget. Defense spending was only 21 percent. Therefore, our health, education, and welfare programs are what drive our growing Federal Government’s deficit, not defense spending.

Unfortunately, what the Federal Government spent was not all our our government’s health care spending. Medicaid spending is shared between the States and the Federal Government (see here).  So Medicaid spending in 2016 totaled over 550 billion dollars.

Appealing to our sympathy, politicians use health, education, and welfare programs to buy our votes. The demagogues love to tell us how their generosity with other people’s money is for the children or for the next generation. Unfortunately, when we force others to pay our bills using costly, poorly managed government programs, the next generation has to pay the bill.

What about other spending priorities? Where do healthcare priorities fit in compared to roads, schools, the military, law enforcement, and so forth?

tells us that question assumes taxes are too high. Then she talks only about herself? And she only talks about the Federal Income tax?????

We have a large variety of taxes: payroll (Social Security and Medicare), income taxes, property taxes, tariffs, capital gains, and so forth.  In 2016, the Federal Government spent 4.0 trillion dollars and all State governments combined spent 1.7 trillion. The deficit was half a trillion. Government spending is over 35 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

Imagine having a parasite on your back sucking your blood. The bigger the parasite gets the more blood it sucks. At some point, your health begins to deteriorate. Our government is that big. That’s why the recent tax cuts helped the economy. When people are allowed to keep some of their own money, they can invest it in things that produce wealth.

Our government does not produce wealth; it uses it up. Do we need government? Yes, but we need it to protect our rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, not to give us “free” things.

When have we spent enough on health care? Do we want politicians deciding that?

Should ‘s husband have been left on the side of the road to die?  Who decides? We live in a finite world. Just because we give a problem over to government does not mean that we now have infinite resources that we can apply to that problem.  The are lots of people who need healthcare and only so many hospital beds, doctors, nurses, and so forth. When we turn our healthcare over to government, politicians will appoint committees of bureaucrats to decide who gets care, when they get that care, and how much is spent. When we pay for our own healthcare, we get to make our own decisions.

What about those who cannot afford to pay? Since the majority of people can afford to buy health insurance, why do we need to put the government in charge of everyone’s healthcare? Why do we want to turn decisions that rightfully belong to each of us over to politicians and bureaucrats? Politicians and bureaucrats make good decisions? Does anyone believe that? Why are politicians more qualified to decide who needs charity than the person whose money they are spending?

Is it wrong just to expect those who can afford it to voluntarily provide old-fashioned charity for relative few who cannot afford healthcare? Why is it better for politicians, people none of us trust anyway, to run our entire healthcare system?

The private enterprise model (which includes non-profits) is not great, but would the single payer model actually be better?

Here points to the government-run healthcare system in the UK. Supposedly, government-run health in the UK is better.  She worries about the soul crushing debt that tags along with not dying in the US. What happens when the government runs health, education, and welfare programs is that the entire nation assumes the burden of debt (see UK National Debt Charts)? What happens in the UK is that the government rations healthcare, deciding who gets it. That is we trade our right to make our own decisions for what is likely to be a more expensive system (when government runs anything, costs go up). Note also that even before Obamacare and coverage for preexisting conditions, Medicare was more like to deny a claim than commercial insurance companies (see Medicare more likely to deny claims than commercial health insurers)(healthcare-economist.com)).

How can we improve the current system without fundamentally transforming it?

Here did not answer my question. She demanded a fundamental transformation. Supposedly, we can just wave a magic wand and all will be well. If we just give our glorious leaders the power they crave, they will fix everything? Since when?

Look at our “freeways”. Some time back around the 1950’s our glorious leaders started building “freeways”, and we stopped paying tolls. Slowly, but surely, our highway infrastructure has deteriorated.

What exactly is a “freeway”? Is it free? No. We just give our leaders our money, and they spend it as they deem appropriate, and we can only guess what they will do with it.

Since the 1950’s, it seems our glorious leaders now deem it appropriate for us to spend hours sitting in traffic. When we give up control of our money to politicians, we give up the opportunity to use our own money to actually buy what we want. Hence, we need to think about reliability of a politician’s promise. Those “freeways” may have worked fairly well for the Greatest Generation, but they have proven to be more and more deficient for each succeeding generation.

It is an old truism. “You get what YOU pay for.” When somebody takes your money, they get what they pay for.

When we keep giving it more and more power, how do we keep the people who run our government from abusing the power we give them?

response here is ironic. She cites her experience in a government-run institution, a college, and she compares that to the way health insurance companies work. Hardly the same.

suggests prices are arbitrary. Not true. Whenever anyone does anything, provides a service or product, their cost has to be less than what they charge, or they go out of business. There is no free lunch. Someone pays. The issue is who decides what gets bought for whom. So healthcare providers and insurance companies dicker with each other, and healthcare consumers shop for the insurance companies that offer the best deals and demonstrate the capacity to provide the services they claim to offer.

In a free market reputation matters. It is part of what we each sell. We each want to get what we have paid for, and we each want to get paid for what we have done for others. Even consumers have to demonstrate the capacity to pay.

If we abuse the power of government, we can just take what we want. What kind of reputation do such government officials want? They want people to understand that they must be obeyed, or else.

So it is that I found most disappointing the way addressed the constitutional issues.

Personally, as a non-selfish American, if we’re going to have a system where some organization is going to arbitrarily decide how much something is worth, I’d rather it be a centralized government agency so that a Virginian gets treated the same way as a Texan. Equal Protection Under the Law is kind of a thing here.

What is unselfish about demanding that other people pay for our healthcare? Demanding something we have not paid for is not equal protection under the law. It is something altogether different.

 

43 thoughts on “SOMEONE ANSWERED MY QUESTIONS? WOW!

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  1. Reading through the comments in your post. I believe one of the main problems overlooked about Government being responsible for healthcare is that it helps health providers to raise costs. The government is still a reliable source of payment while individuals without good insurance benefits are not reliable.

    Voters it is their Rights to obtain a medical treatment. So providers raise the prices because they know politicians will cave to their prices when voters start calling them and accusing them of not providing their “deservedly” Rights.

    Regards and good will blogging.

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    1. I’d like to agree, but my mind goes back to when I was 21 and my spouse just finished pilot training. A very high pressure sales person from the company (now renamed) USPA & IRA was trying to get us to sign on to a life insurance policy and retirement fund that was 50 percent front-loaded. I told my husband to refuse the retirement fund as I’d already set ours up and knew a lot about investing (my spouse didn’t know anything, like most of the victims of that company…no internet back then so a lot of people didn’t know better). He suggested (since this salesperson wouldn’t leave us alone) that we look at the life insurance policy.
      Okay, so he sat at the table and listed his “vices”. Outside of flying there weren’t any. Roy (the salesman’s real name) explained, “Okay, this is what you put in each month and this will be the return to your spouse if you die….”
      It looked like a good amount for me, but we planned on having kids. He said we’d need to lock in the policy now so might need to pay more to lock in the good rate.
      –Then my spouse said he might some day get a motor cycle…
      and the 60+ year old salesman looked at him like he had worms crawling out of his ears.
      “Oh, well…*cough* if you’re going to take up a dangerous sport that’s different”
      –Then my spouse said he “might take up pipe smoking” (keep in mind, my spouse was 23 years old at this time, and a pipe looked kind of distinguished and “hot” to my 21 year old self)
      “Oh, well….*cough* *cough* that will change things a LOT.”

      Essentially, the policy would be invalid if my spouse did anything in his entire life like drink, smoke, drive a motorcycle and so forth….even if he’d paid in for 50 years, because he wrote his “behavior” upon signing up at age 23.
      There’s a book called “The Giver” that describes a dystopian future world where everyone is assigned a job, they all get up and exercise at the same time as required, they all take their “vitamins” and drugs that erase libido entirely, they all eat the same meals which are delivered to them specifically for their individual needs. They are weighed and if the scales goes over their meals are reduced until they are the ‘proper” weight, and so forth.

      Obesity is our biggest health expense drain. It causes heart conditions, diabetes and all the associated problems. I remember when I was a nurse on the floor, one night we had a patient with cellulitis from injecting herself with a needle (and her own saliva). Anyway, the nurse I took over for was giving a report and mentioned that she “didn’t feel bad for the woman because she’d done this to herself”….well, right next door was a patient too fat to move without a crane, who had about ten related co-morbidities. He too did that to himself but everyone seemed a lot more sympathetic.
      The worst cases are smokers. It’s horrifying to see someone die of acute emphysema.
      They found that smokers actually die relatively early in life, so although they are expensive at the end their medical care is overall cheaper than non-smokers.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. Anytime the subject of sexual profligacy and its consequences (disease, bastardy, et al) are brought up you start pointing and calling everyone who agrees a bunch of Puritans.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Oh.. well.. thanks for noticing. 🙂
            But.. it’s not the “Puritan” idea I am trying to present. It’s what I see sometimes as a denial of the things that make us human… and presuming the only way to “fix” those parts of us that can be terrible (and we have many) is to crack open the Bible or impose someone’s concept of their own morality; that we must feel a collective guilt for who we are.
            My “erection” comment was more or less a sudden amazement moment that.. I think I was commenting to Tom… that we now need to control our erections as that in itself reflects our impure thoughts?
            Look, I’m not attacking anyone’s preferred spiritual following.. most certainly I am not qualified to make those judgment calls. But many times folks try and promote solutions to real world problems by assigning blame to human faults… or what they are interpreting as being human faults.

            Besides… us guys hear a lot from the ladies about “until you’ve experienced a period you just will never know what we go through.” or, “until you’ve experienced a pregnancy you will never know what we go through”, yada, yada. Well… until you’ve experienced an erection you have no idea what is buzzing through a man’s mind at that moment…….. if anything.

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          3. Thoughts are between God and the sinner. Actions that have real world consequences are what concern me. We have 70 percent illegitimacy rates in some demographics because illegitimacy and sexual profligacy have been not only tolerated but accepted, supported, and incentivized. We’re incentivizing all sorts of bad behaviors and it’s all justified exactly as you describe. “You shouldn’t judge/imposed your morality on others” and this leads to a shift in culture which we all pay for.
            The problems we are experiencing are due in large part to incentivizing bad behaviors.

            Liked by 2 people

          4. @Doug

            Don’t pretend to be dense. You know the issue is self control. When we do something we know to be wrong, we sin. That includes making excuses.

            The first book of the Bible includes the story of Joseph, one of the sons of Israel. When he was a slave, the wife of his master demanded that he lay with her. He knew that would be wrong. So he ran from her. Immediately after that she accused him of trying to rape her. Of course, whether he knew the truth or not, his master found it politic to put Joseph in prison. Even for slaves, it can always get worse.

            Because Joseph strove to do the honorable thing, the Bible identifies him as a hero. Nobody said it is easy to do the right thing.

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          5. Remember the fat kid in the Goonies? He looks about like the average child now. This all in only about 3 decades. We have simply accepted that the population….even our children, are going to be obese. Per the sexes, if you go now and pound down a bunch of soy lattes every day for a month or so, you might find out what estrogen does to the body. It will be harder to lose weight. That’s no excuse for being obese. Two nights ago I attended an awards ceremony and sat next to a woman my age who has 10 children she gave birth to. She was thin…no time to sit around and eat.

            Liked by 1 person

      1. Myself ,being born 78 years ago, am well aware of past marketing and ignorance of people who believed that smoking did not cause medical risks. Or, sunbathing caused skin cancer, or a host of other causes.

        In my opinion, if both voters and politicians would take my opinion seriously to implement what I suggest, there would be a practical time phase in to implement.

        Lets be frank about the issue. If something is not being done now to control all the existing known health caused problems for the future, and all States continue legalizing and paying for known health hazard habits, the end result will be as King Solomon proverb advised.

        It will wreck our nation financially.

        Regards and good will blogging.

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        1. Unless we have to lock up people for mental health or drug issues, what is wrong with people being held responsible for their own behavior (that includes spreading disease)?

          When we help people, that’s charity. Politicians don’t do charity. They buy votes with other people’s money. That’s why socialized medicine doesn’t work well.

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  2. Odd that you never address the 90%+ elephant in the room (federal income tax from c. 1940-1970)

    Also, you minimize the reality that is PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. You start talking about a grand idealistic scheme where all people can magically afford to pay for their own health care. How exactly does that work in the real world? My husband had been working is a$s off (hope your sensitive ears aren’t offended) OTR in a job that contributed to his heart attack (long hours, high stress, no exercise, cr@p food).

    I repeat: because of the “free market”, insurance companies can pick and choose which doctors are in network or out. He did NOT have 10 minutes to spare to get to the in network hospital.

    I guess if we want to get rid of personal experience as evidence of a corrupt system, we can’t look at the stroke he had a year after the heart attack and 3 weeks after his insurance company arbitrarily changed his medication against doctors orders.

    I really am enjoying reading all these comments about how government insurance is “Big Brother” and how free market private insurance is inherently good because ” free market”–no. There isn’t a free market for health care:

    A free market needs TWO THINGS in order to work: individuals need the the time to make a good decision and the financial ability to purchase exactly what they want/need when they need it. If you can’t afford to say no thank you, you are forced to accept whatever they want to give you.

    When you talk generically about health insurance, fine, people can take all the time they need to decide on a plan that works for them…if they can afford the cost of insurance on top of their other bills. It also assumes that the plan covers everything that they need (birth control?).

    Sorry, but I like anecdotes: my mom has to pay a $30/pay period fee to have my dad on her insurance because his work offers insurance. How does this make sense WHEN IT’S THE EXACT SAME INSURANCE COMPANY?! Same person, same coverage (you’d think), same doctors, but because the insurance costs less for my mom +1 than for my mom and dad separately, they are charged $30 to split the difference.

    This is because my mom works for a large hospital system while my dad works at a 11 person company. It’s all about the Group and your coworkers.

    In other words, the cost of insurance isn’t based on an individual’s health, but is arbitrarily based on that person’s coworkers ages.

    When you work at a place that offers insurance, you find that you have little control over the coverage available. You must go with the plan chosen by the company.

    Last year, for giggles, I looked at HealthCare.gov to see my “options” (not available to me because the boss offers health care). Those policies there were all cheaper than the one offered by my boss with comparable coverage. Again, the individual hasn’t changed, yet the price does? Arbitrary.

    Now, I think you tried to say that the free market works for pricing.

    Hahahahahahahahaaaaaaz

    NO. Again, free market needs the freedom of choice, which means plenty of time and/or plenty of money. Hubby HAD to be helicoptered to the hospital. The cheaper option WASN’T an option.

    There is also the issue of what it means to “get treatment”. During the stroke, he spent two minutes on a gurney in the hallway at an urgent care before getting shipped out to a hospital. They didn’t look at him and he didn’t even take that gurney with him–it was essentially a bed equivalent to a chair in the waiting room. He was charged $3000. For a place to lie down while they waited for the ambulance to park. My mom’s a housekeeper at a hospital. She makes $10/hour to clean stuff worse than that gurney.

    It’s now nearly May. He landed in the hospital in early Jan from a fall. I mentioned this before, but why am I getting bills for FOUR different hospitals/clinics for his fall? Yes, I’m okay with one random hospital bill because the hospital he went to didn’t look big enough to house the neurology and heart departments he needed to review his x-ray and CT scans because he’s a special case. But as it is, he got not only a 1st and 2nd opinion, but a 3rd and 4th as well! None of which are his ACTUAL doctors who know what he actually needs AND he went to his primary doctors for follow up just in case (before we knew everybody and their brother was going to be looking at his head). If they looked at his scans, you’d think they’d call us with the results if they’re going to charge $30 a pop, but nope. Just a bill.

    Yes, it’s conceivable to spend hours and hours trying to figure out the billing and maybe even open up a case for insurance fraud…but why should we have to do that?

    We live in what is supposed to be the best country in the world. How is a person making $20,000/year supposed to pay for $500,000 in medical bills? I know you don’t like personal stories, but if you can solve THAT one, you’ve solved the health care problem.

    I believe you are a Christian, so why do you keep bringing up money as more important than a person’s life?

    Like I wrote last time: how much of a percentage of a person’s income is fair for health care? Why is it Christian for a poor person to forego treatment rather than be benefited by someone who has more than enough money?

    Since that question seems too much like redistribution of wealth, I’ll ask a different question:

    How does a 56 year old woman working at McDonald’s (she was a stay at home mom/wife for 30 years) pay for her 56 year old husband’s (he lost his job when he lost his health) genetically caused, but suddenly identified, renal failure? Without government assistance.

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    1. @Catherine

      Thank you for your comment.

      Odd that you never address the 90%+ elephant in the room (federal income tax from c. 1940-1970)

      You want to sent 90%+ of your income to Uncle Sam? Of course not. I think that if you investigate you will find few people actually paid 90%+. The whole idea is too stupid. What is the point of working for money you can’t keep?

      In practice, what most “unselfish Americans” want is for the “rich” to send all their money to the Federal Government. Why? Do “unselfish Americans” want someone else to pay their bills?

      Can you explain to me why “unselfish Americans” don’t seem to realize that the most wealthy people earn their income from their investments, not their salaries? Taxing the “rich” may sound delightfully vengeful to “unselfish Americans”, but it is unwise, to say the least.

      Do I have a grand idealistic scheme? No. This blog is not about telling others how to run their lives or spend their money. Certainly not interested in threatening people with prison if their don’t hand over 90%+ of their income. That’s why I don’t support Socialism.

      Do I minimize the reality that is PERSONAL EXPERIENCE? I have had my personal experiences too, and my personal experiences are important to me. Still, I am glad I was born in the USA, that my parents were good people who were neither poor or rich. In the lottery that is life I could have been born a poor village, and my mother could have cooked our dinner over a fire fueled by dried animal feces. Would that experience have qualified me to propound on the virtues of socialized medicine? After all, cooking dinner over a fire fueled by dried animal feces would have done nasty things to my mother’s lungs.

      No matter what our personal experiences might have been we all have had problems. None of us have the right to force others to solve our problems. A poor family in Africa or Afghanistan may suffer terribly from poverty, but they still don’t have the right to make the rest of the world pay for their food, clothing, shelter, or healthcare.

      Medical care as we know it today is new. People are still figuring out how to make our healthcare systems work well. Do politicians have a contribution to make? Yes, but they have neither the skills nor the wisdom to run our healthcare systems. Their job is to provide the minimum amount of regulation necessary to keep the system honest. When there are some public safety issues the private market cannot handle, then they have an obligation to step in and find a solution.

      Are you familiar with public utilities. Public utilities are heavily regulated. Why? Most people regard them as natural monopolies. Hence state and local governments have come up with all kinds of regulatory schemes, supposedly to protect the consumer. That’s why some utilities are for profit. Others are run by government, and still others are coops. We are still trying to figure out the best solutions.

      When dealing with government, however, we always need to be wary. The more power we give our public officials the less accountable they are. Hence some of the regulatory schemes politicians use to regulate public utilities actually cheat the consumer. Public utilities and their employees are special interests, just like the rest of us. The special interests that speak loudest get what they want. Unless we behave honorably (a rare circumstance), government is not entirely just. When we vote for politicians who buy our votes, then their votes can be bought.

      Healthcare poses a different set of issues than public utilities. Healthcare does not involve natural monopolies, but healthcare services can be extremely awkward for the consumer to purchase without being taken advantage of. In addition, the poor may be unable to pay their bills (The poor have the same problem with food, clothing, and shelter.). Does that mean the Federal Government needs to run our healthcare systems? No. The Constitution does not even give the Federal Government the authority to do that.

      Except with respect to the interstate commerce issues, the Constitution does not authorize the Federal Government to stick its nose into our healthcare. It is a power grab. When politicians are grabbing for power, they are not trying to fix things. They are seeking advantages for their cronies.

      States (mainly states) and local governments need to try different healthcare solutions. When fifty different states are trying different alternatives, we can see what works. In addition, it is easier to hold our state and local politicians to account.

      That said, I don’t favor socialized medicine run by State governments either. I expect Socialized medicine will work just about as well as Socialized education, and that has been a disaster.

      Observations:
      1. We don’t have a free market healthcare system. Most of your complaints have nothing to do with a free market. When we get our insurance through our employer, that is a government-driven, not market-driven, decision.
      2. Emergency care is a special circumstance. Said so in the post. We don’t want politicians running emergency rooms, but just as government has a role in ensuring we have fire stations, we need a government role in making certain emergency services are available to everyone. That includes making certain that out of network insurance coverage is handled equitably.
      3. Have you ever heard of the military industrial complex. Defense contractors are famous for overcharging the government. Well, we don’t have a free market healthcare system. What we have is an incomprehensible health, education, and welfare labyrinth. That is why hospital billing is a nightmare.
      4. You asked:

      I believe you are a Christian, so why do you keep bringing up money as more important than a person’s life?

      Money represents what you can buy with it. What we spend on one person, we cannot spend upon another. That is why people steal money. They want to spend someone else’s money on their own needs and wants.
      5. You asked:

      Why is it Christian for a poor person to forego treatment rather than be benefited by someone who has more than enough money?

      Who made me God? Why is it Christian force someone to forego spending their own money on their own priorities? What if that person is sick or has a family member who is ill? If we actually start taxing people at a 90%+, who isn’t going to be poor?
      6. You asked:

      How does a 56 year old woman working at McDonald’s (she was a stay at home mom/wife for 30 years) pay for her 56 year old husband’s (he lost his job when he lost his health) genetically caused, but suddenly identified, renal failure? Without government assistance.

      Most of the population of the world is poor, most more than that 56 year old woman and her husband. Does not need to be that way. If we did not fight over everything, if we were all willing to work,…. but we are not. When some of us get desperate, jealous, or just greedy, we start trying to take what does not belong to us. Demagogues depend upon that.

      When we use the government to pay our bills, we have to raid the public treasury. How do politicians fill the public treasury? They tax the citizenry. As I observed before, there are lots of different kinds of taxes, and we are paying them. Our government cannot raise taxes without stifling the economy. Because tax rates are already too high, raising taxes will not produce any more revenue. All it will do now is kill economic activity and impoverish future generations.

      Get it through your head. Government cannot produce an unlimited amount of revenue.

      Because redistributing the wealth is an abuse of government power, private charity works better. Is private charity a perfect solution? There is no such thing. Is accepting charity embarrassing? I suppose so, but it beats voting for conniving politicians who lie and tell us healthcare is “right”. All that is is stealing, and those politicians will steal from you and me too.

      Like

  3. All the principled morality aside for a moment… the part of the argument at all is how did we even get to this point of demanding some level of government-regulated/mandated/supplied/socialized.. whatever application you wish to assign? As I was growing up I don’t recall affordable health care even being discussed.

    Here’s my “alarm bell” regarding a need for some level of public health care. It all goes to population growth, the subsequent ever-increasing vulnerability to new diseases, and the risk of spreading some exotic disease quickly and potentially uncontrollably among our human population due to our globally mobile lifestyle. On the local level, the idea.. let’s call it what it is.. fear… of our neighbor’s lifestyle, questionable hygiene habits, somehow posing a personal risk to our family’s health.. thus risk causing the need for health concerns within my own family. Let’s continue. The constant bombardment in the news of some impure food handling entering the food distribution network.. mad cow, botulism… anything requiring food recalls. The growing population causing more vehicular accidents.. or just your average everyday accidents.. nearly everything we humans do translates to a health risk and ultimately needing medical care that does not come cheap. Personally, I would not necessarily like the idea of some person who cannot afford health care and deciding to put it off.. only to become some incubation for bacteria or virus that can threaten MY family.

    My point is.. we are well past the idea that health care being affordable to all is a noble and charitable design for the poor; it’s a necessity that not only some form of universal health care is available for the entire public good, but that there likely should be mandatory preventative medicine measures.. call them “care milestones”… in order for a person to receive “free” care.

    Example… I receive my medical care from the VA. I have a fair number of risk factors to suggest I could be a candidate for a stroke. Like any person.. I’d rather drop dead from a coronary than be a veg in a wheelchair.. or worse.. unable to speak, yet think perfectly (and not be able to pull a trigger on my own to try and control some level of my fate). I approached my doc asking if I could get some head scan test.. to determine that there’s not some potential blood flow areas we should address now before things get worse.
    Well, given I have no symptoms the doc cannot authorize (which means prohibited by rules within the VA system) a non-essential preventative test like that. If I were receiving treatment by a civilian doc he/she would be more than happy to authorize such a test because I would be personally paying for it. Otherwise, some insurance company would not pay for it if not warranted.

    So the doc allows me to go have the average stress test to check for any potential cardio blockage involving the heart. Well, apparently I tested fine there… but I still have no idea what’s going on in my head (as I am sure many of my fellow bloggers would agree with).

    Point being to all this… we truly need to be considering that there is a real higher need for not only universal health care but a shift in the medical thought process toward preventative medicine without the need to consider costs. If all this sounds like socialized medicine… well, whether we need to go though this dance of making some health care program fit some free market concept or no-government control definition now.. we will ultimately end up socializing it all down the road.

    Like

    1. @Doug (FPS/DougLite.com)

      No matter how much overkill we try, we really cannot control other people effectively using the government. Tyrannical government just makes slaves, which are inefficient and ineffective.

      Consider. If somebody operates a restaurant, that guy needs to make certain his workers are healthy and follow appropriate food handling practices. Local government can pressure the owner through inspections, but what really makes a difference is that customers won’t go to a place where they are afraid of getting sick. Nationalizing healthcare is just a silly solution.

      Is preventative medicine a good idea? Yes, but government is about politics and posturing. Most of the ideas for spending that come out of it just rewards for political donors.

      There certain agencies like the CDC, FDA, the Dept of Agriculture, and the like that have monitoring and regulatory functions related to the spread of disease, drug approval, food inspection, and so forth. Such things are relatively inexpensive, and they don’t require us to nationalize our healthcare.

      Your idea about preventing a stroke? I am no doctor, but I don’t know of any routine test that would detect an impending stroke. That could be why your doctor ordered the test you got. He is the expert. Ask him.

      If there is such a test, and you are willing to pay for it, the VA cannot stop you from going to a private doctor. Just do it.

      Anyway, if you passed the stress test, then your circulatory system is in relatively good shape. Don’t worry! Be happy!

      One other detail. Suppose there was some kind of head scan that would detect an impending stroke. Once it was detected, what could you do about it? Before you spend a lot of money, take the problem to its logical conclusion. Your “head scan” could even detect a “problem” when there is no problem. Depends on how good the test is.

      What we call modern medicine is still very modern. We have developed procedures for correcting certain ills. You want a knee replacement? That is doable, usually. Does not always work. Since people are different, both patients and doctors, results vary even when the operation is a success.

      You want to prevent a stroke? Not sure anyone has that figured out, and fundamentally transforming our healthcare system won’t change that. What will? The market place. If we continue to have a system that rewards people for innovation, people will continue to innovate.

      Socialized medicine will kill innovation. There is no competition.

      Like

      1. I’m saying socialized medicine for the common good is inevitable (if we are still around as humans and there is still a good ol’ US of A). Now.. I’m a free market guy and I agree there there will need to be some adjustment for medicine to progress with innovation; after all, innovation in it’s purest sense, is all about the money… because someone has to pay for it.
        Regarding my fear of stroke.. CT scan, MRI, etc. those tests do reveal some possible issues. I went through all that for cancer.
        I don’t hate government as much as you, Tom. I do have a bit of faith.

        Like

        1. @Doug

          When are you going to stop trying to make me the issue? Never, I guess.
          🙄

          Whether I hate or love government has nothing to do with whether socialized medicine is a good or a bad idea. I say it is a bad idea, and I can give you good reasons. Can you provide good reason for socialized medicine? Maybe, but saying I hate government is not a reason. You don’t even know it to be true. All you know is that I see far more to lose than to gain from Socialism.

          Don’t blame you for being afraid of a stroke. Fear is normal. When people reach our age, we have seen enough to know what to fear. We have also learned how little we can do about much of what we fear.

          When fear seizes me, I contemplate the worst thing that might happen. I face my fear. Then I pray, I read my Bible, and I try give my fears to God. Since He created them, He knows what to do with them. I sure don’t.

          Like

  4. My heart goes out to your reader, Tom. Her husband’s heart attack presented an extremely difficult situation for her. And from a financial and health perspective, it is one I sympathize with since my husband and I faced serious financial difficulties during the housing crisis of 2007 while I simultaneously fought Stage 3 cancer. Fortunately, we had recently sold our home,and used money from that to help cover my medical expenses. Even so, we accrued a tremendous level of personal debt during that time which I consciously paid down as best as I could. It was a long process. So my heart goes out to the lady who responded to your question. My heart breaks for her, and what she and her husband have had to face.

    However, what I find interesting is that the British system is held up as an example of an effective system. I suppose if you have experienced only that nationalized healthcare system, you might believe that to be true. I think many British citizens, who obviously haven’t experienced the American health system, are content with what they have. And so their system is touted as a successful example to follow for us in the U.S. And since most Americans only understand the UK system through the testimony of those who have not experienced the American free-market system; thus, most simply accept the testimony of people who have only experienced a single payer system and therefore, have no basis upon which to make any comparison of the two healthcare models.

    However, having lived and worked on both the British and American economies, I have experienced both the British and American systems. And I must say that the health care that I have experienced as provided by the American system has been decidedly better. The waiting lists for care are long in the UK. In fact, we had a dear friend who died of prostate cancer while waiting for care from the nationalized system. (Many presume that the same availability and immediacy of care would be available under a single payer system but this is simply not the case. It might be affordable, but there are no guarantees of immediacy of care).

    In addition, doctors are paid poorly, and considering how much is spent to gain medical education and the debts thereby accrued, it was no wonder to me at the time of our UK residency that UK doctors “moonlighted” for private health care companies on the side. Also, my experience with the system was that I generally self-diagnosed. My clinic physicians would record my description of my symptoms in their computer records and then, simply print out a prescription. No tests or medical examinations were required to confirm or investigate my symptoms. They simply prescribed medication based on my complaints.

    Because of the government healthcare, taxes were extremely high at every level of production and service. The government must pay for the healthcare in some way. Thus, cost of living is extremely high. When my husband and I lived there, incomes were half of what the average American income was and yet, goods and services were double the cost of those same goods and services in the U.S. Yes, there was National Healthcare but the standard of living overall was very much lower.

    For example, we rented from two well-educated professionals, a couple comprised of an accountant and a nurse. Working full-time, they could not afford to make the payments on their home, a 15×40 row house. They accepted positions in an Arab country and rented to us so they could partially cover their mortgage as well as afford to raise their two children.

    Without a doubt, I recognize that the free-market system is far from perfect. There is definitely room for improvement. But if we are going to talk about experience at all, I must say that my experience with the single payer system is certainly less than the idyllic description that often is given by those who wish our country to emulate it. In other words, I don’t think the single payer system is necessarily the “answer” to our healthcare difficulties. Just my two cents worth. Sorry for such a long comment, Tom.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @lynnabbottstudios

      Too long? Not at all. Very much appreciate the comment.

      I too sympathize with Catherine, and I pray her husband is well. I hope I have avoided what sounds like a personal condemnation. What she believes is what too many in previous generations have taught her is true. We have a socialist education system. Why not a socialist health care system? How many Americans have stopped to think just how poorly our education system is working? What are they using as a basis for comparison?

      Never experienced healthcare in the UK, but what you described matches what I have heard on the news and from others. Still, I am not in a good position to comment on it.

      Since I was in the USAF, I experienced government-run healthcare. My wife is a nurse. She used the system to deliver our first child. She liked the doctor they had assigned her, but she always seemed much happier to go to doctor she had chosen. Hard to understand why people feel that way. NOT!

      Like

    2. Thanks for this informative writeup, Lynn.
      One of my sons was born in an Italian hospital. Although I don’t think we should adopt the European system, I do think we can look at aspects of it and learn a lot from it.
      Here is a chart of government spending on healthcare:
      https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/health-spending-u-s-compare-countries/#item-relative-size-wealth-u-s-spends-disproportionate-amount-health

      The UK government, with universal coverage, spends less than half what we do without it. We spend by far more than any other country on the list (and I’m pretty sure the world…I know the more affluent middle eastern countries like the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar all send their citizens to other countries for medical when they have substantial health issues/surgeries).
      Switzerland is the closest and they spend 7,910 per capita on healthcare.
      We spend 10,348 per capita at present…and it’s only increasing.
      Think I read that healthcare spending is about 19 percent of our GDP now, and rising.

      In Singapore, healthcare expenses are less than 3 percent of their GDP.
      http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/singapore-budget-2018/singapore-budget-2018-spending-needs-to-grow-in-healthcare
      “”All in all, we expect our average annual healthcare spending to rise from 2.2 per cent of GDP today to almost 3 per cent of GDP over the next decade. This is an increase of nearly 0.8-percentage point of GDP, or about S$3.6 billion in today’s dollars. Within the next decade, healthcare spending is expected to overtake education.”

      And they have universal healthcare.
      Bloomberg did an analysis and ranked Singapore the most efficient healthcare in system in the world.
      https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/infographics/most-efficient-health-care-around-the-world.html
      We, by contrast, are ranked 44th.

      You mentioned something about the cost of education and poor pay in the UK. Unfortunately, we’re having the same problem. From what I’ve read, the UK does not waste 4 years of the medical student’s life plus six figures on a four year bachelors’ before they can get into medical school. They place students who are capable and interested on that track early…which saves a lot of time and money.
      The real costs though, come from the ridiculous complexity of our healthcare system billing process.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @anon

        Good info.

        When we make comparisons using statistics, we need to be careful. When we observe that another nation, with government-run healthcare spends spends less on healthcare than the United States, what does that indicate? We need more government-run healthcare? No.

        The whole idea that government-run anything might be cheaper is absurd. As you indicated earlier (and to some extent in this comment), we don’t have a free market healthcare system. Hence, it is logical to assume the primary reason our healthcare is so expensive is largely because of inept government interference. Our government pours money into healthcare. Medicare. Medicaid. The VA. Our government heavily regulates the practice of medicine. Do we need more of what our government is doing, or do we need to pull back and rethink?

        There is also another consideration. When people are spending their money, what gives other people the right to tell them how they should spend it. Is that what government is supposed to do? In a free country? In a free country we are suppose to nationalize everything? Is the objective improving healthcare over gaining power over other people’s choices?

        Like

        1. I just told you, Tom. Because of population growth alone socialized medicine is inevitable.. if not in our lifetime then most certainly in the next. “For the public good” is going to take on a greater meaning in the decades ahead. I am contending that before that happens we start now to adjust medical care in general as well as how it’s financed.. and still retain some semblance of free market to encourage innovation. Unfortunately.. we historically do not think beyond the next five years in this country when developing ANY policy. In fact… we are not in an age where any policy is being set anywhere; it’s pure chaos.

          Like

          1. @Doug

            For the most part, we already have socialized medicine. It is not a solution. Socialize education does not produce wise citizens. Socialized medicine does not make efficient use of resources, and it stifles innovation.

            Here is a simple example. We don’t want spread disease? Then our schools should discourage a hookup culture. Yet our schools do exactly the opposite, and the socialized medicine “solution” is condoms.

            Socialism is not a solution for preventing the spread of disease due to population growth. It is just a means for politicians increasing their power at our expense.

            Like

  5. LOL! Chuckling here,Tom. All the best relationships usually start with a good cursing out. Kind of a “clear the air” sort of thing.

    My perspective on healthcare is more of a humanitarian one. One reason why we say healthcare should be a right, is because our own health and well being is often directly related to the health of others. Smallpox for example, really doesn’t care if you’re insured or not. It just spreads itself.

    A real tragedy actually caused by Obamacare is our current opioid epidemic. We can pretend it doesn’t impact us…..right up until you got drug dealers on your street, addicts seducing your kids, and crime everywhere. So healthcare really is related to the common good, to national defense, and the Gov does need to play some role.

    Unfortunately, when the Gov does play a role they have habit of making things much worse.

    Like

    1. @insanitybytes22

      My perspective on healthcare is more of a humanitarian one. One reason why we say healthcare should be a right, is because our own health and well being is often directly related to the health of others. Smallpox for example, really doesn’t care if you’re insured or not. It just spreads itself.

      I won’t say you don’t have a point, but I get very nervous when I hand decisions that do not belong to them to government bureaucrats.

      As you say, when government does play a role, they have a habit of making things worse.

      Relatively little in the healthcare arena requires the government to take care of us or order us about. The spread of contagious generally requires that we take care of our businesses and property. Restaurants and grocery stores need to meet certain standards. We all need to avoid breeding vermin, and everyone needs to get certain immunizations. Other than than, however, government does not have much excuse for arm twisting, but some people like to see it.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I might contend that our current Opiod addiction is one of self-control and mental health (yeah, that “old” thing again) and taking some personal responsibility of what is prescribed to you legally and what you shove into your mouth and/or introduce into your veins because it feels good. Jeez. Are we lemmings?

      Like

      1. “Are we lemmings?”

        Yes Doug, we are lemmings when it comes to certain substances and even some tactics of brainwashing. I like to be one of them strong, independent people, with a self will bigger then my vulnerablity, but it just isn’t true. I’m wise enough to know, we are vulnerable, we can be totally played and manipulated, both psychologically and physically.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. @Doug

            You want Socialized medicine, which is basically the government taking over our healthcare decisions. Then you talk about lemmings? And you cannot see the irony?

            Some drugs are powerfully addictive. I don’t pretend to know how addictive or who is most vulnerable. I just know we all have our weaknesses.

            I also don’t think it is wise call drug addiction a disease, to entirely disregard the moral implications. Nevertheless, when someone is addicted to some of the things people get hooked on, they need to be forcibly confined until they can demonstrate they are no longer hooked. Otherwise, they are threat both to themselves and others.

            The minute we talk about the exercise of force to resolve a social problem we are talking about the exercise of government power. However, drug addiction is a crime problem, not a medical problem. At least, that is the way I see it.

            Like

          2. @Doug

            I don’t there is a magic solution that makes all problems go away. When I was born again as a Christian, did my life suddenly become easier? No, but that is the most “magical” thing I know about.

            When politicians promise to fix our problems, I don’t take them seriously. Government exists to do certain things. and it has more than enough trouble doing those things.

            Like

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