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Will Trump-care Live Up To Obamacare
JANUARY 14, 2017
You can not make something great again, that was never great to begin with.
The above letter from George Washington to Dr. Hugh Martin was written eight years and two months before he was elected president. Washington wrote several letters to the doctor at Fort Pitt, during the American Revolution, to help his mother ailing from breast cancer.
Hugh Martin, the doctor at Fort Pitt, thought he had an effective medicine for cancer. However, back in 1782 things were slightly different. Twitter had not been invented yet for one.
There were disorders that are now considered simple, that struck towns and claimed hundreds of lives. Though medicine has advanced, in regards to several devastating diseases some are nearly as incurable today as they were in 1782.
The level of disregard for some common health tragedies, by the most powerful is utterly disgraceful; in that in many instances the politicians, who are supposed to be representatives, do not comprehend the subject matter. While there are brilliant representatives on both sides of the aisle, many Democrats and Republicans appear not to be elected based on their intelligence, honesty, ability, or virtues. The math literally works out to certain lobbyists giving one penny to the top politicians per American who dies from their products; like tobacco cancer-sticks.
Some Districts Pick Virtuous Candidates, Some Send Less Virtuous To State Capitol & Washington
Instead of the best of the best some U.S. counties send representatives who appear to stand for the antithesis of virtue. They are the best of the best at making empty promises to voters and being able to provide sincere sounding excuses when the empty promises go unfulfilled. Instead of setting the medical goal of curing anyone, of anything at anytime, there is a goal of advancing the lucrative business of politics for personal gain.
There are towns in America where high schoolers are killed, by their town, for traffic infractions like flashing their brights. Yet if a greedy, corrupt politician nets a billion dollars for themselves, by breaking the law solely for their personal gain, they are not reprimanded in the slightest. That would be inconvenient.
So the topic of the day, the basis for 8 years of tantrum from the so-called Tea Party Republicans, is Obamacare. When the fact is that, while not perfect, President Obama's dual objective of economic recovery and affordable care, were honest and strong attempts to realize important concepts expressed in America's founding doctrines.
When any American with common sense would not want to be denied health care because they have a so-called "preexisting condition." The argument over Obamacare snowballed, with no regard for common sense, simply because the Bill is nicknamed after Obama.
Instead of the common sense principle of attempting to make a product better and more affordable, too often companies resort to lower quality with greater expense. The recipe might work for a "quick buck" however ultimately it was not designed to stand, and it falls. In certain instances states paid millions of dollars more to replace Obamacare with a very similar alternative, for the sole reason of being able to say they were not part of Obamacare.
Millions of dollars... while states threw their money away to create a political charade, people went hungry, constituents had low quality services and care, or none at all, that were supposed to be there.
Elderly veterans died, because their town allowed their electricity to be shut off in subzero temperatures, because they were late paying. 93 years old, froze to death, and left their huge estate to their local hospital to try to help all of their community. But their representatives were busy politicking against the opposing party, rather than working for the common good.
Obviously, all of a sudden communities across America are not going to up and decide they want to focus on representatives with virtues. Though, for all of the demonizing of President Obama by some so-called Republicans, his administration did at least attempt to provide some common sense basics to all Americans. So health insurance companies, that are 100% dependent on results of tax payer funded: Research, building and training; can't use preexisting conditions as an excuse to deny you.
"Dr. Martin's Cancer Powder" - Benjamin Rush M.D. 1786
Pennsylvania Hospital was founded in 1751, Harvard Medical School was opened one month and a day before George Washington wrote the above letter in 1782. While University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine was founded in 1762, and based on the medical school at University of Edinburgh. Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons was founded in 1767. Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal was built in 1645, and while medicine was not new, it most certainly was not great.
The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh was founded in 1505, and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1682, and the Faculty of Medicine at University of Edinburgh in 1726. The University of Edinburgh was built in Scotland in 1582.
Benjamin Rush attended medical school at University of Edinburgh from 1766-1768. He wrote about Dr. Hugh Martin's supposed cancer medicine in 1786:
Source: Benjamin Rush M.D., 1786
Dr. Rush continued:
Source: Benjamin Rush M.D., 1786
There have been many medical breakthroughs since 1786, however the state of medicine is for the most part still primitive. Common health conditions are still completely incurable, it does not matter if the person is rich or poor, Republican or Democrat, or like most people disinterested in politics.
Though the Declaration of Independence states:
The reality is the systemic hierarchy in America results in a failing health system, that does not maximize the potential for "the preservation of life." As technology advances the potential for the bar of medical excellence to be raised from the ground increases.
However, the reality is that the probability of success, to raise that bar of medical excellence from the dirt, is infinitesimally small, to none. On top of that there is an awful political temper tantrum that has been thrown continuously for a few years. While there was a surprising moment of harmony when Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, in context with the reality of American families' and patients' experience: The political bickering and tantrum throwing was not great. It was a waste of time while American families in need did not "benefit," they "regretted" as George Washington calculated in the letter he wrote Dr. Martin on October 20, 1782.
American Politics' Silver Lining
America has a standard of excellence, and an excellent capacity for advancing technology. The value of many health and medical businesses (that adhere to fundamental business principles) increased enormously due to the Obama Administration's actions. While the common situation of "businesses" in the medical arena that can not turn a profit, for the most part struggled as is often the case.
The argument against the Obama Administration was not to improve and advance, but to dismantle everything to be able to say that the Tea Party did it. The Tea Party effectively won too, they acted like Obamacare was their tea tax; however it was not about taxes, or improving medicine or health care, it was about wanting power for themselves, with little to no explanation of how their plan is supposed to be better.
The Tea Party argument derived from the goal of not wanting to take on medical challenges, especially for poor classes. When the fact is there are structural weaknesses in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that could be strengthened to make the law more perfect; the crux of the new, supposed, Tea Party's argument is that big businesses should be allowed to take advantage of federally funded infrastructure and their own customers, because it is easier than contributing to raising the bar of medical excellence so they could handle complex, incurable diseases intelligently to the point they are curable. This is a hope within 21st Century Cures Act, however Congress wasted so much time and focused so much on enacting a political, partisan soap opera.
It is also clear that in addition to the strong potential of 21st Century Cures Act, one point was to make advocates for specific diseases go away. Using 21st Century Cures Act as an excuse; a supposed cure-all, when it is an excellent law, however is not enough to do all that it advertises without other intelligent initiatives.
Rather than point out particular parts of Obamacare that could prevent the goal of being able to cure anyone, of anything, anytime, the current political leaders, alligned with the so-called Tea Party, huffed and puffed so much, about how much they despise Obama, that it appears their goal is just to be able to destroy Patient Protection & Affordable Care and either do nothing, or replace it with something written by the insurance companies to make insurance companies as inaccessible as possible to anyone not in perfect health.
While U.S. Representatives threw nothing short of the temper tantrum of the century, for years; the actual businesses, the health insurance companies, did extremely well across the board thanks to Obamacare. Apparently, still, with very little restriction on very greedy and unintelligent business practices.
It is just beyond ridiculous that investors and owners are looking at $100 a share gains on health insurance companies, while the new Tea Partiers throw their tantrum about how awful Obamacare is. Then they say, the only reason anything goes up, is solely due to their actions, not the actual cause for an increase in quality of the business, due to the imperfect, but more sensible Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act. UnitedHealth Group (UNH) went up over $130 a share, Cigna (CI) went up $130 a share, Aetna (AET) went up $98 a share, and Anthem (ANTM) formerly WellPoint went up $107 a share since January 2009. So, when owners and shareholders hear about the so-called importance of tearing everything down, it's very counterintuitive; it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Independence Or Dependence, Intelligence Or Ignorance
The fact is medicine in the United States is interconnected with federally funded research. The most advanced current forms of medicine are descended from, related to and dependent upon the power of all Americans, and all the tax dollars that have been paid. Yet some, let's call them "Tea Party Politicians" are perfectly content with proclaiming that certain people, let's call them "99% of taxpayers" or "average Americans" shouldn't be allowed to have healthcare, because they're too poor, or they're not employed by the government, they're just average American, not special American. When there is a big secret, the reason certain groups don't believe in health care is because they don't understand it, except that there is money involved.
Where the original Americans had a Declaration of Independence the new Tea Party's years long incoherent temper tantrum could be called their Declaration of Dependence. Literally saying their fight is for Americans not to have to depend on them for anything, because they're too busy... being dependent, suckling on the American tax payers' wallet, and complaining that it's so hard representing people who are too poor to afford health care, run by companies that engineer a system that hinges upon raising rates 20% a year until customers can not afford it.
People with insurance get services for less money, because of the large quantity of business. People without insurance would have to pay full price for the same procedure and treatment. In terms of health care that is the difference between life and death.
Before Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act insurance companies could simply refuse to help sick people. That was something that many politicians felt strongly about when they co-sponsored Rep. Charles Rangel's H.R. 3590 Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, nicknamed Obamacare.
It has gotten to a point where both politicians and average Americans using Obamacare as an argument point, simply do not comprehend the subject. At all.
This day and age, simply because Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act is called "Obamacare" a group of Americans are magnetically opposed. Rather than the goal being: to be able to treat any American curatively, for any disease, at anytime.
Cures Act: Is It Too Little Too Late, And An Excuse For Lazy Politicians To Give Up
While Congress did pass H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016, the leaders of the Subcommittee on Health left their office unattended for weeks, and closed up shop. Refusing to even contemplate intelligent efforts to understand, prevent and effectively cure terrible conditions, beyond the ability of the Cures Act. Their excuse was they were retiring so they had to move out of the office weeks before the session ended.
The reality is they simply gave up. It sure as anything didn't matter that the nation, the top general in the Revolution, the first president fought a war against cancer and diseases, for his family. Last year's crop of politicians just didn't feel like it. When the fact is most of the people in charge don't even have the capacity to understand the minimum required knowledge of a graduate student.
Thus the failing system appears to be controlled by a group of bumbling idiots. Who apparently think the "best way" is some way other than the way that makes the companies go up $100 a share.
Certainly there is a lobbyist for the insurance companies, sticking it to the political elite, demanding that insurance companies only have to do business with people in top physical health. Health insurance companies demand that they automatically raise their rates a minimum of 20% a year, until their customers can no longer afford health insurance. So, the companies get as much money as they can, and their customer can no longer afford to live. Because they upped that rate 20% or more a year.
If the % increase were capped, they'd do what the most corrupt and greedy, dysfuctional counties and states in America do with their property taxes. They'd just change a classification, or an overall value in order to work around a limit imposed. Regardless of the fact, that in doing so, medicine is prevented from being able to cure the diseases that kill people.
What Is Needed: The Imagination Of Science Fiction & Code
The largest tech companies, Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOGL), have started working on health care, however the subject is very complicated. It is easier said than done, to "cure" diseases.
What is needed is insertion of technological fixes that alleviate the burdens that teams of medical professionals can not handle adequately on their own. For decades the beginning stages of implementation of digital records have hoped to acheive such goals, however have far from succeeded.
In theory a computer system could be created that can diagnose every condition accurately, for every patient, in seconds. Additionally and most importantly a team of intelligent experts could list the most important hurdles, that have not yet been solved, for all diseases. Then the work of beginning to solve those problems could be prioritized.
As well the causes of preventable diseases could be prioritized. This is something some communities do a better job with than others. Still in general the incidence and mortality statistics show that the level of success is abysmal.
When it is certainly possible to work out solutions that are agreeable to consumer product companies, that also represent the best interests of communities that wish to prevent awful, incurable diseases. However, that is simply not the job of lobbyists and though it is the job of political representatives, many prioritize lobbyist dollars over health of the people they represent.
The Debt In Retropect
One of the biggest talking points of the Tea Party is the debt:
Though the result of medical excellence is healthier, stronger communities and longer life expectancy; where healthier and stronger communities can afford more, and must support more. The above graph of the debt, also, does not take into account credit rating. Some debt is acceptable, however politicians on both sides of the aisle who want to keep debt under control use both strong, and weak arguments. It's important to differentiate the strong points from the weak points and consider the strong points, on both sides.
Wasteful spending has taken place under several different administrations. Though, in the case of the Obama Administration municipalities and businesses with strong credit ratings, who know how to handle finance, and also happen to be in productive industries, had the ability to benefit immensely.
Communities that focus on education, preparation and encouragement of residents to be productive are able to handle a certain amount of debt. Communities that are taken advantage of by corrupt politicians, are not prepared to be able to handle finance. In history some communities implemented strong fiscal policy and others either could not, or did not.
The amount of propaganda referencing debt, that does not have a full working knowledge of the dynamics of business is astounding. The rate of debt increase from the George W. Bush Administration to the Obama Administration shows a correlation, that is not limited to just "liberals" but related to both parties and both ideologies as they are practiced.
The Obama administration paved the way for massive economic expansion, and also supported all American municipalities. Even the ones that do the most complaining.
So, to this day there are politicians in municipalities that received massive amounts of federal funds to be able to stay afloat, that now spend their time complaining about the debt. However, they sure as anything did not turn down federal funds. Certain initiatives that were politicized were from time to time turned down, however majority of funding was not. Contrary to their own argument. With the expectation, that impropriety of those funds would be for the most part completely overlooked and excused. Did any municipality with numerous incidents of impropriety ever say to the Obama Administration: 'Based on the statistics we are refusing federal funds because we are objectively irresponsible with them, and: The debt.' Most often if not every single time they took that money, pocketed it, continued being irresponsible and complained about not having any money, then effectively complained: 'The Obama Administration spends so much (paying us), look at the debt!'
Speed of Medicine
One of the important observations represented in the famous pair of medical history painting by Thomas Eakins: Gross Clinic (1875) and Agnew Clinic (1889), is the implementation of more sanitary practices. Before the realization of the importance of sanitary methods, infections were rampant.
In order to reduce infections some medical professionals realized that cleanliness was important. However, medical historians note that there was quite the pushback from the medical establishment, in many corners. Those who dismissed using gloves and gowns and new linens, as unimportant.
In modern times the equivalent is politicians being used as hand puppets by lobbyists, whose products cause diseases. They spin statistics, they just flat out lie, to make compounds in consumer products that are scientifically proven to be catastrophic to health, sound innocuous. The most important takeaway is that one of the only ways to fix some of the preventable conditions is to treat their causes as the dangers they are.
The Bottom Line
Obamacare works from the ideal that insurance should be accessible and affordable. This is contrary to what health insurance businesses wanted. Because if it were up to health insurance businesses any college intern working as an insurance adjuster, with zero understanding of medicine, should be able to overrule any doctor in America. Not based on what is best medically, based on how many claims they can object to.
As it turned out President Obama piloted the greatest economic rebound in human history. Still, for all of the good intentions of all of the U.S. Presidents' administrations from Washington to Trump, if you took the best parts, and George Washington's own viewpoint in the letter at the beginning of this article, one thing is for sure, American health care and medicine neither is great or was great, even though many times the chief executive wanted it to be great. Medicine can not be made great again, it must be made great for the first time. In a hierarchical system where the people in power can not even begin to comprehend the subject matter.
The bottom line is medicine is often like one of those equations that has 1 right answer. In order to reduce the mortality rates on many diseases by 50%, then 50% again and so on, until the diseases are cured. However, if the political theatrics of the 111th through 114th Congress are an indicator it is no wonder why the speed of medicine is hindered.
For instance, political theatrics that actually involved closing major roads that stranded ambulances in traffic, over petty disagreeances and retribution. As well the reality that while the Obama Administration made health care a top priority, to try to empower patients, the Cancer Moonshot did not develop until the very end of the term. When it should have been a top priority from day number one.
Similarly, the 114th Congress used a good Bill, the 21st Century Cures Act for self fulfilling purposes. Passing it at the very end of the term, instead of working on it, passing it, implementing it, evaluating it, and making it stronger from a intelligent medical perspective. The 114th Congress effectively stated: "Done now." Rather than using strategy to produce results.
Because some of the representatives have such allegiance to the lobbyists, over the well being of their own constituents. For that extra money. Rather than treating carcinogens as the lethal dangers they are, the politicians act like they are executives for the industries the lobbyists represent. For instance former Speaker Boehner joined the tobacco industry's board of directors immediately upon being fired from Congress. When he used to pass out checks to the Congressmen, from the tobacco industry, while they were voting on Bills affecting tobacco. So while former Speaker Boehner is good at the political game, some of those types of actions represent priority for helping companies cause health catastrophes, rather than standing up for all of the voters. Because, apparently a salary isn't enough for some politicians, they want that extra money from the lobbyists. That is paid to allow for pollution that permanently harms people, paid in order to keep dangerous compounds in consumer goods, for instance estrogen-like chemicals in plastics (like BPA, which is thought to contribute to breast cancer), and paid to keep carrageenan in most dairy products, when it causes pleurisy (inflammation) and is linked to Crohn's Disease.
Some politicians spin the statistics to make huge mortality rates sound like no big deal. Saying not all smokers get lung cancer, when the medical industry has proven the vast majority of lung cancer is linked to smoking. However that's not compelling enough for some politicians, like Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Burr (R-NC, the largest recipient of tobacco lobby funds) to lift a finger to prevent the tobacco industry from killing millions of people. Because of "extra money."
So, it is fairly obvious to objective investors that Trump's slogan: "Make America Great Again" is a misnomer relative to the state of business. Based on objective performance, in terms of value, President Obama's administration was great.
If Trump-care's answer to Obamacare is to create a situation where more health insurance companies' customers go broke and die, because of greedy and unintelligent practices, then that would be a joke. If health insurance companies, medical device companies, hospitals and municipalities instead thrive, gain value and provide more effective treatment, faster and more cost effectively and more preventatively, while identifying and solving the most important medical problems, then, the difference between Trump-care and Obamacare could make something great that was not before.
Previously some of the insurance companies did things their way, and never achieved the market capitalization they achieved under the Obama Administration. Though still, the state of medicine is poor. There are many excellent people, who are intelligent, who do awesome work for their communities. To maintain and restore health and be the difference between quality of life versus pain, suffering and death. Then there are groups that see money associated with healthcare and try to figure out how they can take as much of it for themselves, while doing as little work as possible and not understanding any of the material. Not even realizing that if they were made to have to do what they proclaim they do, but don't really, they'd go up $100 a share. While the opponents throw a tantrum and exclaim that, all of that: Having to do what they say they do, having to go up $100 a share, is so unfair.
Disclaimer: This article is not a recommendation to buy or sell. Please consult a qualified financial adviser to determine proper allocations, if any to investments.