End of Life Issues

Take a look at this post on End of Life issues I did for the firm joepatton.com

Click here

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Let’s Try Freedom

Some time ago I posted a link critical of Obamacare. A friend posted some heartfelt comments. I thought I would share with you my reply.

My friend stated, “Until someone figures out how to get those of us who don’t have insurance medical care at a cost that is remotely reasonable, this is about the only option left. There is a whole layer of the population that gets forgotten in the polarization of politics; the working poor, those people who have jobs, if only temporary due to this economy, but cannot afford any kind of health care. I know where of I speak. I see it daily; I live it. No, It’s not perfect. No plan that any of the other Presidents of the past have come up with previously has been. Obama just happened to be the one in office when Congress actually passed it this time. Somebody come up with a viable option for those of us stuck in the middle rather than going on about all the bad in the plan already in Place.”

Here is my reply.

You have a good heart and are rightly concerned about helping folks. I share your compassion. The question is not whether we should help but how?

There is an old saying, “when your only tool is a hammer, all the problems look like a nail” The liberals have one tool: more government. The assumption in your remark is that we only have one alternative which is the one the liberals offer of a big government solution; not so.

Big government solutions inherently limit freedom; an unknown, unelected government official in Washington is making your personal choices. We can create a solution that does not violate our most basic freedoms.

Yes, those that are working at lower wages often face financial problems. However there are no financial problems they have that a higher paying job wouldn’t help. But the big government solution is to offer them “free stuff”, increase taxes on those that create jobs, resulting in fewer higher paying jobs so our low income friends, and their children, are locked into their situation for generations.

Why not deal with the root cause of the problem? Need a better job? Let’s create a free market where things are popping and workers are in demand. Result: higher wages.

Can’t afford health insurance? In addition to helping our friends find higher paying jobs, why not deal with root causes of high insurance premiums? I have read reports that estimate as much as 40% of the premiums are because of government mandates. The government mandates that a certain benefit must be in the policy, even if the individual buyer doesn’t need or want the benefit. If you eliminate those mandates and allow people the freedom to buy what they want the premium level would go down. While we are making changes, why shouldn’t you be able to buy a cheap policy that covers your needs from another state? Answer: an old outdated government restriction that says you can only buy Kansas regulated policies. Let’s allow you the freedom to buy the cheaper out of state policies. Allowing interstate competition will drive down the health insurance price even more.

Many lose their health insurance when they leave their jobs. Why? The answer: the employer owns the policy. Why should employers be the only ones to own the policy? The policy is for the employee so let’s allow the employee to own the policy, so they can take it with them when they leave the employment. This gives the employee more freedom in deciding where to work, they are not chained to the current job out of fear of losing the employers good health insurance policy.

The current system was created by the law that allows employers a tax deduction for paying the employee’s premium. Why not give the employees the same advantage? Let’s allow employees to deduct the premiums of their own policies. Result: immediate lower effective premium rates and more people with insurance. Or you could make it what is called a refundable income tax credit. This means that if the employee needs a little assist to afford the policy they get the extra they need to make the purchase in their income tax “refund” check.

Another reason the health insurance premiums are so high are because most medical care prices are high. Why? It’s a simple supply and demand economic question. You know what happens when a product is in short supply, the price goes up. Remember the short supply of the Cabbage Patch dolls, what happened to the price? It went sky high. The same principle is at work in the area of medical providers. The government programs have created more demand for medical providers without creating more supply. If we adopt policies that increase the supply of medical providers, then the price will go down.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. We are now suffering from the unintended results of the good hearted policies adopted by old politicians a generation ago. But we do not have to be satisfied with more of the same, we have options. The real choice is this: do we solve the problems with more government or with policies that create more prosperity and freedom?

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A Pyrrhic Victory

We lost a battle, but won the war.

In 2010 our goal was to change the Kansas House of Representatives so the legislators would reflect the conservative values of the average Kansan. I served as Chairman of the Kansas Republican House Campaign Committee that election cycle and as Chairman I shepherded Republican candidates to historic gains. As a result, Republicans picked up an astonishing 16 seats, leading to the largest GOP majority in the Kansas House since 1952. GOP gains that year represented a larger percentage increase in Republican control than any of Kansas’ neighboring states. The Kansas House is now not only red, it is deep crimson.I knew 2012 was the year to turn the Senate, and I was proud to be the first to hit the beach.

To stop us our opponents spent more money in this race than has ever been spent in a State Senate primary in our entire history. They spent over $200,000.00. The outside groups campaigning against me spent even more. Easily this race cost the other side nearly a quarter of a million dollars. Yet my opponent won with only the slightest of margins, 159 votes out of over 11,000 votes cast, hardly a mandate. You can be sure that had I not run for the Senate in the 20th district all of this money would have been used to try to stop the other Senate challengers. Our goal was to make the Senate conservative reflecting the values and traditions of the average Kansan. We achieved that goal, with 8 Liberals being replaced with Conservatives. The Senate is now conservative. I am excited that the Senate will now be controlled by real republicans that will allow our Governor to make real progress.

In the final days of the campaign they were almost throwing money at our little army of 50 volunteers who stood in the gap. Having done all, you stood up for what was good, right, true and just. I am so proud of all of you. You are Great Americans! Thank you all for your hard work. Know you have my deepest appreciation and gratitude.

Professionally I will continue to practice law. I believe the law can be a noble profession and will continue to serve the community in the private sector. What are my personal plans? I will mow my lawn, clean out my garage, fix the fence, walk the dog, and go fishing; maybe in reverse order.




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