To some, it's considered haughty to discuss politics and religion in social and more particularly, professional circumstances. I'm critical of such nonsense because I feel, along with most sensible people, that I'm capable of having a well thought out discussion predicated on a disagreement without feeling awkward or defeated in some way. I find social constraints of speech, opinion, and free thinking to be counter productive in the quest for knowledge and tolerance. For instance, a dear friend of mine-Let's call him Bob, told me a story about his involvement in the civil rights movement. He talked about working in soup food pantries and marching. He was proud to have been a humanitarian at a time when the path of least resistance for a white man with affluent family ties in the South was to look in the other direction. It was when he began to share his opinion about "Obamacare" that I thought the dynamic of his belief system was quite interesting. Bob was strongly opposed to the new health care bill. He believed it was nothing more than a failed attempt at copying examples of strained socialized health systems in other countries. I was curious about Bob's voting record. After all, he seemed to be an independent thinker. One who had strong convictions about right and wrong and wouldn't be swayed because of a popular opinion. Given his past involvements, he must have voted for Democrats and Republicans through out his life, I assumed...

Bob told me he has voted for Republicans his entire adult life- I'm assuming for about 50 years. When I asked him why he'd never changed his vote, he responded "My parents were always Republicans. So I am too. I always vote the straight ticket"
On the surface, it would be quite simple to brand Bob as an older, white man of means who votes conservatively, cares little for social programs, poverty and racial injustice. We're socially programmed to place people like Bob or someone who is socially liberal like myself, into separate neat little boxes in our minds. Then we're told to avoid any sort of meaningful discussion in the midst of perhaps some of the only opportunities we'll have to share our diverse ideas and experiences. The "no politics at the table" rule hinders enlightenment and further perpetuates fear of differences. Are we so intolerant that we cannot simply hear the other side without becoming personally offended? I don't believe so.

Many providers are afraid to express opinions in their blogs for fear of losing business. While don't believe there is a need for certain discussions in a session, I don't understand the fear in self expression on a one's own website or blog. Do our prospects really care about a differing opinion so much that they would opt out of a session because of it? I would hope not.

That said, I want to discuss why I feel the new health care bill will be abysmal if it's not carefully managed in such a way that it's able sustain it's self. Whether the Obama administration wants to admit it or not, they want to organize a system like that of other fairly successful health care systems in other countries, such as Japan and Switzerland. (To admit such a desire would be a marketing blunder, of course.)The problem with this fact is that if certain ideas are picked and borrowed from other examples, and the ones left behind are not replaced with something comparable or better, the system won't be nearly as effective. If one is baking cookies and takes out the sugar ingredient, one should then replace it with honey or a sugar substitute...

Japan has a health care system where everyone is covered. The poor, sick, disabled, affluent, and middle class have access to health care. Of course this is payed for with tax dollars. Those who are paying into the sysyem cover the indigent who cannot pay. People are allowed to opt out and a very small percentage decide to. The Japanese are extremely frugal with regard to costs. There is a strict, fixed rate set once a year on everything from medical supplies, to prescriptions. Some of those costs are then brought to the patient. They do have Co-pays, however they're incredibly cheap compared to what we pay here in the US. In fact, the hospitals are even strained because the cost of care and medications are so low. For example, the cost of an MRI in Japan is under $100.00- yes, that's right- 100.00 buckaroos. The Japanese see the doctor over three times more than Americans. They do, however keep visits down to a very short length of time in order to keep costs down.(I won't get into how much healthier they than we are because that involves many other factors involving diet and culture.) They've also managed to be the leaders of technological uses in medicine. All this is managed while maintaining 8.5% GDP per capita on health, nearly half of the United State's GDP. How is this relevent to our own health care "system? Right now, the  U.S doesn't have a system. We have a free market where those who are in a position to afford care will aquire it. Gross mark ups in medicine and care are perfectly legal and even encouraged making it difficult for a large percentage of the population to get preventative care. (Even when they have income) We're baking the cookies in order to fix this problem, but if we  pick and choose certain ingredients we think will be passable by opinion, we'll inevitably fail. One of those ingredients is a strict guideline by which the government must abide by while dealing with insurance companies, prescription costs, etc. If these organizations were told they were to receive a mere quarter less mark up for their goods and services, they would still make incredible profits and at the same time costs would be considerably more reasonable for patients.There are regulations in pricing pertaining to lodging, energy, and food. For some reason health care is viewed as part of a commodity market. Why is this so? Do we now value health the same as we value a court appointed attorney, for instance? Some may say that is the true essence of a free market system. Is it though?  Practically speaking,  how is 50% increase of bankruptcy due to medical bills a example of fiscal responsibility in America? I can't help but wonder how the profession of pharmaceutical sales in Japan compares to the palachial life styles of those in the U.S. My guess is if I asked someone who lived there, he would be very confused.