By James A. Kidney What if you needed a doctor and there was none? What if you suspected you had cancer, or suffered a stroke, or had a bad lingering cough, and your doctor could only see you in six or seven weeks? For many, whether you have a good insurance plan or no plan at all, this is the case now. A 2014 study reported the average wait time for an appointment with a family physician was 66 days in Boston, 23 in Seattle, 26 in New York and 19 in Houston. A combination of doctor shortage, overwork and low pay for Medicare and Medicaid patients is driving the growth of “concierge care” in which you pay an annual fee to guarantee you talk to a doctor when you need one. It is creating a multiple-tier system of care in which many physicians reject Medicare patients, or even all … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney “Govern” is a six letter word, but it is treated as a four letter word in Washington, D.C. A strong case can be made that there has been no governance on domestic issues since Newt Gingrich promoted the “contract with America” back in 1994, turning up the flames on political partisanship. It is certainly the case that neither party has done much to govern the nation domestically since Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial later in the ’90s. (Adding pharmaceutical benefits to Medicare and passing Obamacare, both of which had serious defects, are the two major exceptions.) Neither Democrats nor Republicans are interested in governing. Only in getting elected. Then the focus is on the next election. Republicans have proven this point for their party. They were in control of Congress beginning in January 2011. They criticized everything President Obama did or tried to do for six years, and … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney Presidential Rasputin Steve Bannon called for “deconstructing the administrative state” at a convention of those-who-used-to-be-known-as-Reagan-conservatives-but-are-now-just-Trump-nuts Thursday at the new MGM gambling palace in Maryland. “Deconstructing the administrative state” echoes Lenin after a couple bottles of vodka screaming in Red Square, or maybe just a long-haired 19-year-old outside the 1968 Democratic convention. It is both threatening and laughably cracked. The phrase probably is just a word pudding for the old Republican oligarch’s favorite book, A Treasury of Economic Nonsense, a political Kama Sutra coauthored during a fevered coupling of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman. These are the erotic (to Republicans) positions that cause enthusiastic ejaculations by Paul Ryan – no taxes, no rules, no government, except to buy military equipment and to protect patents. Give Bannon credit for PR. “Deconstructing administrative excess” certainly is gentler sounding than “gutting the government.” Once you are accustomed to the … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney There is lots of fear, angst and anger about Trump in Congress, in the blogosphere, in op-eds and on “the street” among us little folk. But all of us could exercise a little intelligent strategizing on how to deal with the reality of President Trump in addition to protesting and complaining. Let’s use our economic power. Here is a look at an alternative way to deal with two Trump proposals, one announced and the other circulating in draft, if either becomes policy or law. On these, as well as other proposals, liberal wealth could be used to leverage the right wing agenda to reduce its influence and elevate better ideals of freedom and liberty. One of these proposals is the one Trump announced while pandering to the right wing “Christian” crowd at the annual White House prayer breakfast. Trump said he plans to “destroy” the 64-year-old … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney Let’s talk about something more interesting than the Trump Administration. How about capital punishment and Dylan Roof? We can all concede that Dylan Roof is a really bad guy. He admitted to killing nine people in an historic African-American church in Charleston, S.C. in 2015. He seems proud to assert that he murdered them for no reason other than their skin color. He killed them after sitting for over half an hour in a Bible study group with his victims at the church. A jury is considering whether to impose the death penalty on Roof. The temptation is to say: What are we waiting for? But there is a surprise. Survivors of at least three of the victims are providing stellar examples of Christian forgiveness. Although Roof is unrepentant, these survivors said soon after the killings, and again more recently, that they forgive him. The federal … Read more of this post . . .