I just finished my third year as a panelist on a healthcare policy day for a local leadership training group. I continue to be impressed that they bring me back. Each year I’m teamed with an insurance professional, hospital administrator, payor or pharma executive. The panels view of the the healthcare market, the problems and solutions couldn’t be farther apart. The debates are lively and the audience of 40+ people come from all backgrounds and political philosophies.
I represent the independent medical doctor and their unique challenges in American healthcare. As insurance companies merge, hospitals get ever larger and piles of regulations come out of Washington DC, it’s the small family doctor that is getting squeezed. The consequences of less and less competition for healthcare services comes more concentrated power. With more buying power comes higher prices. Basic economics.
The boogie man in healthcare in the 1990’s was the evil insurance companies and their HMO’s. Today, the hospitals have taken up the mantle of Goliath and they are merging and buying their way to market dominance, city by city. As the hospital grows, their ability to dictate every higher prices from insurance companies grows as well. Through the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies have been turned into highly regulated utilities similar to your local electric or gas company. The government dictates who the insurance company must take, what they can rate their policies on and how much of the premiums have to be spent on services. In highly regulated markets, the bigger survive because they can afford the layers and layers of systems and people to manage the complexity. The losers are independent doctor groups and in the case of banking and finance, the local community banks. (more…)
Decline of America – 12 Arguments That America Is In Decline
The decline of a great society doesn’t happen overnight. There are certain stages and warning signs that are hard to miss. As you go about your day you may be like me and you come across a story or a fact or a chart that makes you pause ask yourself ‘that can’t be a good thing’. This book is my attempt to string these ‘that can’t be a good things’ together and look at macro trends happening in America. Some of these trends have been going on for generations and others can be started or compounded from one election cycle to the next. I attempt broke these patterns or trends into 25 categories and then researched and developed the top 12 areas that I believe are leading to the decline of a great society.
Taken individually one of these 12 topics can be seen as a crack in the foundation of what made America great. Taking them all in conjunction you can see how each of the chapters of this book contribute to a pattern and the piling together of the patterns are leading our Country to a decision point. Will this decision point be a conflict, will we wake up and change course, can we turn the ship around? These are all questions I ask myself every day. Hopefully this book will help you make decisions for your family, you community and your country.
It will be easy to argue a particular point I’m making but I challenge you to take the analysis in their entirety and judge for yourself. Judge our Country on the dozen items I put forward and ask yourself if we are a Country on the rise or the decline. Analyze your particular school, or city council. Use these points and start watching the news or reading the newspaper with a more enlightened analysis of where we are heading as a society.
When researching this book, it helps me to look at the history behind some of the decisions or directions our country is taking. I’ve been fascinated with the formation of America. The debates, the amendments, the structure was all deliberately put together to ensure that the human desire for power and the focus on self interest would be minimized for a greater good. The Founders of our country studied the fall of great societies and tried to put in place a form of government that pitted branches of the federal government against each other. They pitted States rights against a Federalist system. They built a government and a nation that survived over 240 years. My contention is that the more we erode the founders original structure of government the more damage we’ve done to our Country. The erosion of State’s rights, the election of Senators from popular vote instead of from the State legislatures have all had profound and negative impacts on our society.
The natural inclination as I researched this topic is to step back and ask yourself ‘how does this end up?’ and knowing that the path we are on as a country doesn’t look very promising, ‘how do I take care of my family?’ In the final chapter I’ll spend some time pontificating on how our society will react to societal pressures, political vacuums and market gyrations. No one knows the future but we can look to the past to get inkling on what happens next.
This book has something for everyone, politically that is. I am a Republican, I do a morning radio show on a conservative Christian talk network. I’ve run for elected office, I’ve helped Republican candidates and as an entrepreneur I did build that. I believe the free market is the best way to deliver goods and service between two parties. I believe in small government and lean libertarian on many issues. I stay clear of social issues relating to how people chose to live their lives. I’ve been blessed in my life and giving back through board services with organizations that I believe in.
My radio show, columns and this book is about putting ideas out into my community aimed at helping families figure out there future. This book is about how I see the my Country. For the past eight years I’ve emerged myself in politics, society and culture. Being a part of the media has given me access to the leaders and decision makers in my community, my State and in the Country. Over the years I’ve seen patterns emerge. I’ve seen the challenges at making true change at the ballot box, I’ve seen the contrast between liberal and conservative governance. I’ve observed how people handle the mantle of power and what affects their decisions. These life experiences have lead me to write this book.
Decline of A Great Society
When you look at the decline of other great societies there are historic clues that don’t always line up perfectly with the arguments I put forth in this book but there are definitely patterns that should scare you and make you take notice. Alexander Fraser Tytler, a European historian published The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic. In his analysis, Tytler concluded that from his research that the following stages of societal growth and decline are clear guideposts that great societies follow:
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over a loss of fiscal responsibility, always followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world’s great civilizations before they decline has been 200 years. These nations have progressed in this sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith,
From spiritual faith to great courage,
From courage to liberty,
From liberty to abundance,
From abundance to selfishness,
From selfishness to complacency,
From complacency to apathy,
From apathy to dependency,
From dependency back again to bondage.”
The American experience, at just shy of 240 years old, is following Tytler’s stages. From our Countries foundation and the push back against tyranny at the hands of the British empire to the roaring 20’s, industrial revolution, post WWII economic booms on through to the rise of the counter culture, hippies, free love and into the rise of illicit drug use through the cocaine and crack 80’s and 90’s. The final stages we are now living include lack of trust in our governmental institutions from Congress to your local school district, the rise of the entitlement state and the ‘selfie generation’ who ask ‘what is my government going to do for me?’ (more…)