Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Awakened Intelligence

We human beings accord intelligence to our abilities to communicate, remember, reason, intend, plan, exercise free will, and to know.  Some scientific investigators of today are discovering that plants and communities of plants exhibit just such human-like brainy behaviors, including memory, decision-making, and other survival skills.
 
Since plants are rooted to their spots, they have highly sophisticated systems of sensations, food gathering, and protection.  Plants exhibit fifteen to twenty specific senses beyond our simple five.[2]  From root to leaf, they respond to chemicals, light, gravity, moisture, touch and other environmental stimuli, even collectively responding, communicating, and sharing resources.  Plants can change their molecules to disarm threats, can emit chemicals to repel predators and attract allies.

Some plant scientists maintain “no brain; no intelligence, no abstract thought, judgment, or reason.” In contrast, Social scientists, philosophers, and psychologists lean toward a definition of intelligence as the ability to respond in optimal ways to challenges presented by changeable circumstances. [3]  

Scientists that advocate for plant intelligence belong to an emerging group called neurobiologists.  Stefano Mancuso claims that plants show intelligence by their incredible problem-solving capabilities. [4] At the cell level, plants exchange information and network with one another, gathering and integrating environmental data.   With some form of memory they store information and use it to adapt to changing circumstances.  Neurobiologists call this consciousness of one’s surroundings “being online”, as opposed to the old paradigm of consciousness as being an inward awareness of one’s existence, and the perspective of “no brain = no pain.”  If plants adapt to challenges, as they do, then they must be responding to signals of pain or discomfort. Perhaps this belongs to the broader network of nature’s intelligent handling of environmental imbalance. [5]

Recent findings by Suzanne Simard describe how an underground plant network between trees in a “wood-wide web” employ fungal connections among their roots to wisely share information, water, and nutrients for survival.  This is an example of self-management analogous to the biological intelligence currently being discovered within the cellular and molecular systems in the bodies of higher life forms like ourselves.

If we can emulate how plants integrate themselves with their environment, it will help us human beings better evolve.  The emerging message is that, rather than being based on competition, the systems and communities of nature employ far more cooperative behavior than previously thought.  If we become extinct, the plant kingdom will survive; the opposite will not come about.  We have a lot to learn from the other ninety-nine percent of biomass on this planet.  Exploring nature will surely awaken innovative insights and advancements in human understanding and sustainability.


[1]Michael Pollan, The Intelligent Plant, New Yorker Magazine, 12/23/13 page 92
[2]Ibid page 94
[3]Ibid page 95
[4]Ibid page 95
[5]Ibid page 102

Monday, December 02, 2013

Creating More Efficient Care for U.S. Health

The overall well-being of the USA is tied to how we care for our health—individually and collectively. It’s a daunting challenge given our environment, our systems, and our willingness to overcome so many obstacles for the betterment of all. Today’s stresses, financial pressures and evolving trends do not make wellness advocacy and healthcare efficiency a paramount priority. 

A large part of my father’s life was devoted to bettering the healthcare system in the U.S. and it was indeed a challenge.   For the past three years, I have been primarily responsible for my father’s care. At the age of 90, I find it of great interest and benefit to reflect upon his efforts in this area during the major part of his life. 

Self-care is hard if you don’t care for yourself and so many neglect their own well-being. Helping others to best maintain their health requires wisdom, knowledge, compassion and determination.

Many years ago, the Washington Post referred to my Dad as “the unobtrusive shaper of law.”  He spent over four decades of his life writing major healthcare legislation as a Congressional lawyer and researcher, including being a member of staff on the House Ways and Means Committee assisting with all facets of Medicare, Social Security and other endeavors.

Presently our economy totals 15 trillion dollars.  U.S. total healthcare expenditure is $2.7 trillion or 18 percent of GDP.  It is forecast to reach 34 percent of GDP by 2040.  In 2010 Americans spent $1.3 trillion on healthcare. Multiple chronic illness cases that are just one percent of healthcare expenditure consume 21 percent of this total amount.  The last tier of 50 percent of patients accounted for 2.8 percent of spending last year.  Contrary to popular opinion only 10 percent of healthcare dollars are spent in the last year of life.  While there is increased spending in the last few months approaching death, it is not the massive percentage of medical care dollars that is widely believed.

Healthcare spending is forecast to account for nearly 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), or one-fifth of the U.S. economy, by 2021.  It’s been estimated that wasteful spending may account for between one-third and one-half of all U.S. healthcare spending.  The largest area of waste is ‘defensive medicine’, including redundant, inappropriate or unnecessary tests and procedures. Other factors that contribute to this excessive spending include non-adherence to medical advice and prescriptions, alcohol abuse, smoking and obesity.

A chief factor of the high costs is that in the United States-- compared with other industrialized nations--we do not monitor or intervene in medical pricing, aside from setting payment rates for Medicaid and Medicare for older people and the poor. We allow for this government waste.  Many other countries deliver healthcare on a private fee-for-service basis, as does much of the American healthcare system. We will find out if the Affordable Care Act (aka. Obamacare) act to set healthcare rates will better negotiate fees with providers and insurers in a competitive marketplace.

How is medical overspending monitored?  Who is questioning what care is of benefit and whether it is truly needed?   Whose role is it to make our medical care more efficient?   How can we determine what tests and procedures will benefit the patient in question?  Do certain operations, medications and devices add to the better quality of life of the given patient?  The bottom line is that we the people must play a key role in reducing our nation’s galloping healthcare costs.

Why do Americans pay more for medical care than other people in other countries?  Ironically, we prescribe more expensive procedures and tests whether or not other countries operate a private or national health system. There is a need to best account for who is responsible for controlling healthcare costs including lawyers, doctors, insurers, hospitals, drug makers, and patients.

The United States spends about 18 percent of its gross domestic product on healthcare: nearly twice as much as most other developed countries. The Congressional Budget Office has said that if medical costs continue to grow unabated, “total spending on healthcare would eventually account for all of the country’s economic output.” Federal spending on government healthcare is cited as a primary reason for long-term deficits.

American medical companies can set charges for their products without marketplace competition and government intervention. Contrary to the economic laws of supply and demand, many healthcare products can remain overpriced and even increase in price over time instead of dropping. For example, the price of a total hip implant increased 300 percent from 1998 to 2011 according to Orthopedic Network News.

Presently many payments are negotiated between a doctor, hospital or pharmacy, and an insurer. Insurers have constrained ability or incentive to get the best price, and they can raise premiums to cover costs.
Who is advocating for the consumers? While doctors may agree that they have a responsibility in containing costs, actually doing this is another matter.  They also cite awareness of the costs of tests/treatments they recommend.  

Most physicians may agree to strive in the best interests of their individual patient’s; however, what specific procedures and tests they give them is all over the board.  Whether they focus on cost management and also juggle what is in the best interests of their patients is questionable. Physicians are concerned about financial losses as a result of cost reduction efforts.  While employers are educating their patients to healthcare costs, many doctors advocate for better healthcare cost management.

Greater awareness of medical costs and understanding the true price of such care will lessen overspending.  Changing doctors, consumers’ and insurance companies’ attitudes regarding lesser costs and motivating better care given limited resources is a huge social and economic issue requiring common political will.  It appears to be nil or lacking.  

2013 marked 50 years ago when President John F. Kennedy addressed Congress about the state of mental health—and changed the way Americans view mental healthcare. However, understanding the ramifications of this on all facets of our economy, culture and society is murky. For example, how depression, anxiety and other ailments directly affect our bottom-line can only be speculated.  Also, the degree to which such mind states related to obesity and other major diseases today is difficult to track.  Loss of worker productivity and other indirect costs for mental treatment, therapy and other associated facets of mental illness are difficult to fully measure. 

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obama Care) creates more mental health mandates, by requiring all insurers who sell on the exchanges to include such treatments in their benefit packages.  In a year we will see how this will work.  Mental health spending, both public and private, more than doubled its level in inflation-adjusted terms since 1986.  However, direct mental health spending has remained roughly 1 percent of the economy since 1986, while total health spending climbed from about 10 percent of gross domestic product in 1986 to nearly 17 percent in 2009.

Today the United States spends 5.6 percent of the national healthcare spending, or $113 billion, on mental health treatment.  Most of this goes toward prescription drugs and outpatient treatment. Our country had 156,300 mental health counselors in 2010, and access to mental healthcare is pathetic compared to other types of medical services.

Mental healthcare is expensive, with 45 percent of the untreated citing cost as a barrier. A quarter of the 15.7 million Americans who received mental healthcare listed themselves as the main payer for the services according to one survey that looked at those services from 2005 to 2009.

Greater information regarding expensive treatments with no proven benefits allows the public to better evaluate their treatments options. If consumers, the patients, can see prices before services are provided, that can help create better value.  Presently patients see little of what their full medical costs are. Improved quality data on hospitals and doctors could better the medical marketplace.  Patients with insurance pay a tiny fraction of the bill, providing scant disincentive for spending.

Over three years ago my oldest brother, who lived with my father, contracted Class IV terminal cancer.  After several months and some preliminary treatments his pain became too extreme. We will never know fully why he bravely committed suicide. He did not want to burden the medical system and had the courage not to prolong his life since he had no healthcare and his future, from his perspective, appeared hopeless. 

After searching for over a decade for full-time work, I teach tennis part-time to cover my basic expenses.  One third of my income is devoted to my healthcare.  For many decades I worked in resource conservation.  Medical overspending today is just another reason to champion the value of waste reduction. Perhaps I can create some potential employment opportunities in advocating better healthcare management practices, just as I have done with used motor oil and paper.

I have spent thousands of hours exploring diverse areas of stress management and mental wellness. For several years I taught mindfulness meditation at my local hospital right across the street from the National Institute of Health here in Bethesda, Maryland. Every day I exercise and best focus on how to foster my own well-being.  I also do this for many family and friends.

For last 17 years I have learned to better address my anxiety and depression.  I have been fortunate to be able to cope with a more and more demanding world. I have been reluctant to share my plight with my HMO and spent out-of-pocket tens of thousands of dollars of my own money to manage my own mental health.  This exploration has been my most valuable financial investment since I have become more mindful as to how to keep appearances up and costs down. However, stress and increasing global tensions continue to augment as our population and social conditions evolve. It is wise to question how we going to fix our broken healthcare system so as to prosper in years to come.

The sooner we Americans show courage to fully address this emerging crisis, the better we all will feel. Both my depression and anxiety will be less of a problem the sooner I become the solution and agent of change.  Now I just have to be wiser in exactly what and how I care.  Caring for me and others is a delicate balance of prudence and persistence.  All Americans are mutually tied in what happens in healthcare.  Our very well-being and future prospects forces us to courageously address this current crisis-- its challenges and opportunities.  Good can lessen ill, if only we work together to address this profound challenge.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Conservative Investment

A recent PEW poll shows that over 66 percent of Americans believe that humans impact our climate.  Another 67 percent feel that the Earth is getting hotter and 58 percent favor alternative energy. The recent Philippine hurricane and the past weather trends all are factors why we must shift from fossil fuels.  The more we lessen our carbon use the greater we create a better world for our future generations. Greater efficiencies both improve our economic and environmental prospects. Addressing climate change is both wise and prudent.

If all Americans can agree that less waste is better then what is stopping us from lessening our impact on this earth and creating incentives to do so?   The challenge is for us to make partisan commitment on how we all can profit by preventing resource loss.

Cleaning up our air, water and land requires incentives and pollution controls.  Also such action will send a message to our grandchildren we wish to leave a vital legacy.  More people today recycle than vote.  Now, can we go to the next level and advocate waste reduction, and better environmental management practices?

Every facet of our society, be it health care, education, transportation, etc., will excel if we invest in being more efficient and ingenious.  Focusing on future prosperity through better resource management can be explored, researched and implemented.

Currently we each are the agents of change for revitalizing the American way. Every facet of our infra-structure, culture and society will benefit from a smaller footprint.  Let’s engage ourselves in a collective green awakening becoming more lean and green.  Let's champion giving our best to this world by lessening our impact as the best investment to whatever the future brings.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Carelessness or Health Care?

What is our state of mind in reforming health care today?  Crazy first comes to my mind in how we address the symptoms instead of the problem of today’s health crisis.  Health carelessness and mismanagement can be corrected only if we fully embrace wellness, prevention and wise care.

Presently our economy totals 15 trillion dollars.  U.S. total healthcare expenditure is $2.7 trillion or 18 percent of GDP.  It is forecasted to reach 34 percent of GDP by 2040.  In 2010 Americans spent $1.3 trillion on health care. Multiple chronic illness cases that make of just one percent of care consume 21 percent of this total amount.  While the last 50 percent of patients account for the 2.8 percent of spending last year.  Contrary to popular opinion only 10 percent of health care dollars are spent in the last year of life.  While increased money is spent in last few months approaching death it is not the massive percentage of medical care dollars that is widespread believed. http://www.governing.com/topics/health-human-services/The-Economics-of-Dying.html[1]

Health care spending is forecasted to account for nearly 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), or one-fifth of the U.S. economy, by 2021.  It’s has estimated that wasteful spending may account for between one-third and one-half of all U.S. health care spending.  The largest area of this waste is defensive medicine, including redundant, inappropriate or unnecessary tests and procedures. Other factors that contribute to this excessive spending include non-adherence to medical advice and prescriptions, alcohol abuse, smoking and obesity. Other factors that contribute to wasteful spending include non-adherence to medical advice and prescriptions, alcohol abuse, smoking and obesity.

2013 marked 50 years ago when; President John F. Kennedy addressed Congress about the state of mental health—and changed the way Americans view mental health care. However, understanding the ramifications of this upon all facets of our economy, culture and society is murky. For example how much depression, anxiety and other ailments directly affected our bottom-line can only be speculated.  Also how such mind states related to obesity and other major diseases today is difficult to track .  Loss of worker productivity and other indirect costs for mental treatment, therapy and other associated facets of mental illness are difficult to fully measure. 

Each year more than one out of every four adults experiences a diagnosable mental disorder. PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimated that the medical treatment, non-medical and long-term-care costs related to brain disease in the United States in 2012 would exceed $900 billion each year. This year, direct treatment costs of $515 billion could approach almost 20 percent of all health-care spending. About 5 percent of our population — 7.2 percent in Rhode Island — has a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder

Experts cite exponential costs of treating illness if we invested in researching the roots and remedies of the problemFor example look at the figures of alcoholism in American today to see how underdeveloped our basic understanding is. Alcohol abuse is rising. Around 1 out of 6.

Mental health spending, both public and private, more than doubles its level in inflation-adjusted terms since 1986.  However, direct mental health spending has remained roughly 1 percent of the economy since 1986, while total health spending climbed from about 10 percent of gross domestic product in 1986 to nearly 17 percent in 2009

Today United States spends 5.6 percent of the national health-care spending, or $113 billion on mental health treatment.  Most of this goes toward prescription drugs and outpatient treatment. Our country had 156,300 mental health counselors in 2010 and access to mental health care is worse than other types of medical services.

Mental health care is expensive, with 45 percent of the untreated citing cost as a barrier. A quarter of the 15.7 million Americans who received mental health care listed themselves as the main payer for the services, according to one survey that looked at those services from 2005 to 2009.

Another major challenge is that prevailing attitudes.  Many mental health patients who consider about going to the doctor but decided against it.

The jury is still out regarding Obama Care.  However, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obama Care) creates more mental health mandates, by requiring all insurers who sell on the exchanges to include such treatments in their benefit packages. Also how the rest of this act works out will take time to sort out.

Managing my father’s health care I have observed first hand overspending, waste and inefficiency.  He spent over four decades of his life work writing major health care legislation as a Congressional lawyer and researcher including staff on the House Ways and Means Committee assisting with of Medicare and Social Security issues.   

It is hard to find mental balance today from our health care crisis.  How are we going to better manage, prevent, reduce costs and promote wellness?   My sense of mental wellness allows me to see the many facets of this current situation- its challenges and opportunities.  Let’s best cure, heal and prosper by proactive measures to secure our country’s health and well-being

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Time to Change Our Climate

Increasingly new scientific findings suggest that humans are impacting our planet. However, our ability to best manage the stress of these studies is becoming a huge psychic burden.  Compound this with the increasingly polarization of American politics and it safe to assume things are heating up on many fronts.  People’s passions, fears, despairs and frustrations are running high.  While change is needed, increased fearful delay increases both the temperature and tensions.

What can you as an individual do?  Cool down and become part of the solution not add fuel to this fire . Since our very foundation of freedom is directly dependent on responsible citizen action profiting from preventing further harm is paramount.

How can we stimulate public support when our current economic system does not adequately reward such endeavors?  Public demand and bipartisan support are fundamental to bettering our climate with a new awareness, ingenuity!

Lessening our impact on our planet, people, and fragile eco-system is road to now travel. Simple planning, to save more and pollute less is an art form that already millions of Americans share in. More people now are walking, recycling, biking, and many other beautiful acts of showing greater kindness to how to best live on this Earth.


The word conserving comes from the combination of two words.  "Con" which can mean to examine, carefully, persuade, and steer or even an opposing view.  "Serve" means to work for, prepare, and offer and to complete.  Together conserving means to: protect from loss and harm; to prevent from waste, injury; and to economize.  

When people conserve, they wake up to how we all are inter-connected.  Conserving is a form of  prosperity resulting in an amazing ripple effect.  Showing greater respect for all things on this planet widens our circle of greater well being. Conservation is cool!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Use It, Not Lose It

In these difficult economic times we need to recreate the American dream not continue not continue government waste? Especially since Uncle Sam’s fiscal year ends tomorrow. This Sunday’s September 29th, Washington Post front page article,” Use it or Lose It, “was more than coincidental.  We cut essential social program to buy 71 new jet fighters costing almost $8 billion dollars  for what reason?

As more people are feeling economic stress and another government shut-down will further cost us billions of dollars we still foster federal spending insanity. How can we promote cost reduction efforts while in the month of September in the last three years 20% of the spending happens?  For example last September the government spent $45 billion in its last fiscal week.  

Back in 1981 as a recycling coordinator for the Nation’s Capital I saw a lot of stuff head south to the Lorton Landfill because “use it or lose it” promotes throwing out lots of good equipment and furniture.


From another perspective, numerous recent scientific studies are showing the recent rise in climate change has human origins. The Washington area not only produces more carbon dioxide than Sweden, Denmark and Finland but our government stimulates the most significant global loss of resources. Government must shift from this behavior of consuming more to understanding performance is measured by output over input.

The fed’s are the largest consumer of goods and services in the world producing a buying power yearly exceeding 25 European Union nations. Just look at one department protecting us. Contrast this with the fact we invest a fraction of one percent money on how we conserve resources. Wise economy and world security is all about the path of discovery around recovery.

There are no exact figures or comprehensive methods of determining of how much our region wastes. Each year Americans use, discard and recycle more than 17 billion tons of waste. This does not include how we create tens of thousands of incentives to waste. Improved feedback in how we can re-utilize our discards may stimulate a frontier of economic development. Developing market mechanisms to conserve is just one avenue to minimize our carbon footprint.

The good news is that more Washingtonians are recognizing that becoming more environmentally efficient improves our well-being. Also, as we prevent pollution, we also reward ourselves and profit our country. Saving our land, air and water has many implications besides just peace of mind for our future generations. Better managing and accounting for our nation’s eco-capital must become “tenor” not the “terror” of our time. Let's recover our nation's capital by saving things instead of losing them. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Eco-Wisdom

Once we understand that both our finances and environment are inter-linked then we may awaken to greater prosperity.  The hidden costs of pollution, population, reckless consumption and climate change all impact our bottom line.   Extreme weather, resource depletion, energy costs, water loss and other environmental costs are reasons we incorporate environmental debts in all facets of our economic decisions.  Increased shortages in food and water are just a few of the examples.   

Our culture of reckless credit card spending and denial of present environmental costs of land, water and air abuse all points to the need for sustainable solutions.  Unless we invest in landscape restoration, food production, water management, renewable energy, and stabilize our climate, all will suffer serious environmental debt.  An attitude of carefree, masters of our domain, is no longer viable. 

The 2008 Wall Street financial crisis fueled by easy credit is just a rehearsal for what our future will bring.  Our supply of money is tied to agricultural products, timber, fish, metal and host of other materials.  How economic and environmental management forces collaborate requires ingenious reforms and innovation.   As new crisis emerge wise commodity management is imperative since declining supplies of basic resources threaten all.  

In the upcoming years how can we feed 9 billion people?  How can we maintain the current American life style if more people want more and this planet has a finite amount of goods to sustain us? The real challenge is can we be honest with ourselves?   

All you have to do is look around you and do the math.  Our economic and environmental worlds are inter-related as our individual connection to this world.  I challenge you to look at the facts and see what conclusions you come up with.  Eco comes from the Greek meaning house.  Both our financial and ecological households are at stake since they are one and the same.

Friday, July 12, 2013

From Rationalizing to Rational Americans


Last week the Washington Post reported that one in four children go hungry in the U.S.  The next day several experts cited no protective financial measures have been enacted from the Dodd-Frank reforms exposing Americans to the same  vulnerabilities we suffered  before the  2008 crash.  Finally the Post reported  the wasteful  multi-million dollar Afghanistan military bases built and not used. 
  
So what do all these things have in common?  No longer are we rational Americans, however, now rationalizing ones.  Individual gain at the expense of millions is becoming the rule not the exemption.  How long we will allow greed, and military insecurity eroding the chances for our future prosperity?  Our founding fathers wished balance ambition with ambition.  Today special interests threaten the very core of democracy.  Are we of the United States or “we the people” when a select few now command such power?  Are we at the point where the one percent  dominant the remaining 99 percent? 

We have lack of accountability in our Defense Department.   President Eisenhower  and many other past ?leaders have warned about the curses of the military industrial complex .  There is no question economic development  is greatly stimulated by investing in armaments.  However, our health care, infra-structure, environment and many other areas deserve greater attention. 

Look at the environmental costs of ignoring climate change as one great example.  Why is China investing more than us in green energy and pollution prevention? 

Can we change our self destructive ways?  Yes if we have a revolution when we  follow the same vow,  may I leave this place better than I found it.” Until enough Americans and citizens of the world demand the rich create new possibilities and opportunities we will see a form of global poverty never experienced before.  

It is time for new opportunities and economic developments.  Our collective worth is in keeping our country and planet in good order.   It is rational to invest future enterprises. Rationalizing the status quo is a disaster waiting to happen.  May we all bless and leave this place the best we can. Otherwise  the consequences of plundering the very thing we hold most dear and beloved will be our greatest curse. 


Thursday, June 13, 2013

What is Conservation?


When years ago I started writing this blog I did so with this word to create cooperative dialogue about protection of our land.  Some people where I live in Western Virginia and the DC area were adverse to the word, “environmental,” since it was interpreted has having a very liberal agenda.  Interestingly those who call themselves conservatives can reflect what conservation is about.

Today words convey many concepts. Unfortunately we spend way too little time talking about what we agree upon.   I challenge anyone below to find fault with the definition below.  It is my opinion that people of all walks on this amazing planet are for prevention, saving, preservation, best management and other definitions of conservation.  However I fully understand the exact details and practical ways to conserve are subject debate. Can we at least agree to some common ground to better invest in resources and prosperity for the future?

According to this internet definition of conservation http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/conservation

This noun is 1. the act of conserving; prevention of injury, decay, waste, or loss; preservation: conservation of wildlife; conservation of human rights. 2. official supervision of rivers, forests, and other natural resources in order to preserve and protect them through prudent management. 3. a district, river, forest, etc., under such supervision. 4. the careful utilization of a natural resource in order to prevent depletion. 5. the restoration and preservation of works of art.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ration and Conserve for Our Future!

Conservation matters because our consumption exceeds twice our Earth’s carrying capacity if we continue to deplete and pollute at current rates.  Just in the United States we need to reduce our resource consumption by 80 percent.

Stan Cox predicts in Any Way you Slice It, that rationing will become unavoidable.   He writes that rationing energy, water, food, medical care, and other essential due to ecological reasons.  Given time we will experience adjustments in the prices of resources and goods because of future limitations and events. The Earth’s ecosystems will force us to conserve.  Our human economy will have to cater to emerging ecological challenges or suffer the consequences.  

Any Way You Slice It explores rationing today offering new possibilities to not “if” we are going to face a crisis but “what is best” to resolve our inevitable environmental economic challenges.   Today we are in a different state of war where the enemy is invisible, and mysterious.  From previous wartime rationing and other systems of rationing that ensure a fairer marketplace the best allocates goods and services.

Due to the problem of escalating inequity creating fair trading or system of rations can transform our global economy.  Creating a more equitable distribution of resources from a dominant few percent to a greater percentage of the population stimulate greater opportunities. Consuming less is imperative to balancing today’s limited resource. Rationing is one measure to address the delicate balance of need versus greed. Conserving via rationing can helps us better allocate resources for the future.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Health Care With Less- Preventing Its Carelessness

U.S. health care costs are approaching $3 trillion dollars.  These escalating costs are threatening the future well-being of all Americans. U.S. spends per person $8,233 each year for such care. We spend more than two-and-a-half times more than most developed nations in the world, including relatively rich European countries like France, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Our very health and wellness is in peril. Such expenditures have increased ten times more than just three decades before. Ironically, we are becoming victims of our own successes since people are living longer and new innovations are more expensive.  The changing nature of illness has sparked a renewed interest in the possible role for prevention to help control costs. Ironically, we lead the world in health care research and cancer treatment. What and how can we control costs and at the same time provide care? We must reform health carelessness with renewed form of care using less.


  • Technical advancements–new medical technologies has been cited as a primary contributor to the increase in overall health spending;
  • Medications and drugs- prescription drugs have been cited as another factor to spiraling costs.
  • Rise in chronic diseases – It has been estimated that health care costs for chronic disease treatment account for over 75% of national health expenditures. For example, there has been tremendous focus on the rise in rates of overweight and obesity and their contribution to chronic illnesses and health care spending. 
  • Administrative costs –  Increased administrative costs of government health care programs and the net cost of private insurance has also increased health care expenditures. Also public-private system creates overhead costs and large profits that increasing costs. 
Other possible common solutions are;

Reduce health care fraud and abuse- lessen fraud and reduce costs on consumers, employers and taxpayers. Health care fraud nationwide has been estimated to cost up to hundreds of billions of dollars each a year

Medical liability system- increase efficiency since it is estimated 20 to 30 percent of all health spending going to care that is wasteful, or redundant, our medical liability system generates billions of dollars in unwarranted costs each and every year.  By lessening claims of medical negligence and compensate patients who suffer injuries as a result of malicious or incompetent medical practice such reforms will reduce costs.  Some experts promote that evidence-based medicine approach to medical liability will protect both providers and patients.

Increase information sharing – this will allow consumers, employers, and public programs to make more informed purchasing decisions, lessen abuse and waste by stimulating public participation to curb costs.

Innovations in payment and delivery systems- create incentives to reward quality and promote evidence-based health care and assist physicians, hospitals, and other health care professionals in the design and implementation of payment reforms.

Reduce unnecessary medical visits-   seek opportunities to lessen patient’s time in hospitals and medical facilities so to avoid potentially harmful complications. Such measures can improved quality and lessen costs.

There are no easy solutions to today’s crisis in health care.  However, we must be assertive to remedy its current ills. We all observe how things are breaking down and now we must rebuild and champion wellness.  

We have to reform our health care system with both government leadership and greater market-based models that encourage greater competition.  Also lessening waste and encouraging preventative measures will promote wellness.  What are the low hanging fruit to keep costs down?  How can we as Americans lessen our costs?  What can government and the private sector do to make health care more affordable? No longer can we remain complacent with our broken health care system. Only with an asserted effort to reform health care can we keep costs in check and champion affordable medical services.