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Fee for Service Is Not the Problem PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Sean Parnell   
Thursday, 06 November 2014 09:07

If you go to your doctor with severe pain or some other symptom suggesting a serious injury or illness, do you want him or her to have a financial incentive to treat you, or would you rather the doctor have a financial incentive to withhold care?

Although few will admit it, a sizable number of health-care policy wonks seem to prefer the latter, having apparently diagnosed doctors being paid for the care they provide patients as one of the problems with the U.S. health-care system.

This view was perhaps best expressed by President Barack Obama back in the summer of 2009, when he was pushing for what ultimately became the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. “You come in and you’ve got a bad sore throat, or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats,” Obama said at a press conference. “The doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, ‘You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out.’”

The heart of this allegation is what is known as fee-for-service medicine. Essentially, this means doctors are paid for the treatment they provide patients, no more and no less. In other words, pretty much the same way most of us pay lawyers, accountants, mechanics, hair stylists, and anybody else who provides a service for us.

 
End the Fed: The Economics of Liberty PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Grant Mincy   
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 20:42

The Federal Reserve is responsible for implementing U.S. monetary policy. As it directs the world’s largest economy, the Fed earns top rank among powerful institutions. Though the central bank guides state monetary policy, the Fed is largely a private institution. As such, bank operations move in secrecy, absent of oversight from the public arena. Thanks to Carmen Segarra, however, we now have some keen insight to the inner operations of the Federal Reserve System.

Segarra was recently employed at the New York Fed as a bank examiner, charged with ensuring the bank followed internal regulations and conducting “oversight” of the economic powerhouse. During her tenure, Segarra grew suspicious that the Fed was rather lenient with powerful, well-connected investment banks – notably Goldman Sachs (a key player in the 2008 financial crisis). To document her concerns, she recorded 46 hours of private meetings and conversations. Her recordings reveal the Fed is, in fact, rather cozy with the financial institutions it’s supposed to regulate. With evidence in hand, Segarra voiced her objections. She was soon fired.

 
The Real Reason We Are Bombing Syria PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Dennis J. Kucinich   
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 09:26

The administration’s response to the conjunction on September 21 of the People’s Climate March and the International Day of Peace?

(1) Bomb Syria the following day, to wrest control of the oil from ISIS – which gained its foothold directly in the region through the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan funding and arming ISIS’s predecessors in Syria.

(2) Send the president to UN General Assembly on September 24, where he gave a rousing speech about climate and peace, while the destruction of the environment and the shattering of world peace is on full display 5,000 miles away.

Nothing better illustrates the bankruptcy of the Obama administration’s foreign policy than funding groups that turn on the U.S. again and again, a neo-con-fueled cycle of profits for war-makers and destruction of ever-shifting “enemies.”

 
America’s Dirty Little Secret: Sex-Trafficking Is Big Business PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 05:10

America is in the grip of a highly profitable, highly organized, and highly sophisticated sex-trafficking business that operates in towns large and small, raking in upwards of $9.5 billion a year in the U.S. alone by abducting and selling young girls for sex.

It is estimated that there are 100,000 to 150,000 under-aged sex workers in the U.S. The average age of girls who enter into street prostitution is between 12 and 14 years old, with some as young as nine years old. This doesn’t include those who entered the “trade” as minors and have since come of age. Rarely do these girls enter into prostitution voluntarily. As one rescue organization estimated, an under-aged prostitute might be raped by 6,000 men during a five-year period of servitude.

This is America’s dirty little secret.

 
Holding My Nose for Term Limits: They’re Lazy and Misguided, but They Would Also Solve a Real Problem PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 04 September 2014 09:39

Bruce Rauner changed my mind on term limits. Probably not in the way he intended, but given my longstanding dislike of them, it’s still quite an accomplishment.

The Republican nominee for Illinois governor has a television ad promoting term limits in which he pings his November opponent, Governor Pat Quinn. “A half-million people signed petitions to put term limits on the [November 2014] ballot,” Rauner says. “Illinois voters overwhelmingly support term limits: Democrats, Republicans, and independents. But Pat Quinn, Mike Madigan, and the Springfield crowd don’t care what you think. They’ll say or do anything to keep power. They let term limits get kicked off the ballot, but come November, it’s our turn to kick them out of office.”

It’s a smart play to emphasize support for an ever-popular reform – and also disingenuous beyond the vague claim of “let[ting] term limits get kicked off the ballot.” Quinn has been a proponent of term limits for decades. And the June court ruling – which higher courts have let stand – removing the referendum from the ballot cited an Illinois Supreme Court decision from 1994, which dealt with a similar term-limit initiative by ... Pat Quinn.

But it was the Madigan reference in Rauner’s ad that got me thinking – and got me re-thinking term limits.

 
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