A Change Would Do Us Good


America’s two-party political system worked remarkably well until recently.  Unlike most nations who have gone through all manner of revolutions, rule by despots, booms and busts, the USA has been (save for the Civil War) stable and improving since it was founded.

But something feels different now, not only culturally, but also politically.  50 years ago the Democrat and Republican parties were both made up of conservatives, moderates and liberals.  Cross-party coalitions were not only possible, they were routine.  Policy moved forward, generally in the best interests of the majority of citizens.

Think back – president John Kennedy was a conservative Democrat who believed in free markets, small government, exploiting natural resources, and peace through a strong military.  Nelson Rockefeller was a liberal Republican who served as Gerald Ford’s vice-president.  When America elected a president, all of our citizens coalesced behind him, regardless of party, presenting a united front to the world and joining forces to advance the well-being of all.

Those days are gone.  Today’s Republican party is still made up of a few liberals, a few conservatives, and the rest moderates.  Because of these ideological differences, and the fact that Republicans are a more independent lot, they will never vote as a bloc.  But the Democrats have adopted a tactic that requires monolithic devotion to their hard-left leadership.  They must bloc vote against anything proposed by Republicans.  Last week’s votes on the future of health care are proof.  Until the Republicans can muster a core group that outnumbers the bloc-voting Democrats, there is no chance of meaningful policy change.  And that won’t happen any time soon.

This state of affairs was inevitable as money became a greater influence over congress than the will of constituents.  As voters became less engaged and knowledgeable about government, party bosses learned that political offices can be bought, through slick and often dishonest campaign advertising, and also through policy that patronizes voters who don’t pay taxes with largess from those who do.

Money now rules politics, and the party bosses control the money.  A house campaign costs a minimum of $1 million these days, and candidates for senate offices will spend $5 million and up.  And these numbers ratchet up exponentially with every election.  Spending more than the competition does not guarantee a win (Hillary Clinton reportedly spent $1.2 billion on her losing campaign), but failure to raise a war chest usually promises defeat.

The few voters who are engaged can’t contribute this kind of money, and the low-cost old-school practice of door-to-door campaigning just doesn’t work like it once did.  The Democrats find themselves having to pay for “protestors” to advance their messaging.

With few exceptions, anyone who wants to become a congressman or senator (and stay there), must have the money that only K Street, deep pocket donors, and the party leaders can provide.  As a result, true representative government is totally dead in the Democrat party, and barely breathing in the GOP, thanks only to the life support system known as the House Freedom Caucus.

The situation has the Capitol, the press, and a good portion of the general public totally disoriented.  On top of that, our executive branch, elected on good intentions, can’t seem to stay on task.  Meanwhile, our treasured public institutions – schools, churches, military, media – flounder around in a fog.

We know from history that when there is disorientation and discomfort with the status quo it can’t and won’t continue.  Change is inevitable.  Something is going to happen, probably something nobody has anticipated.

It might be a direct change forced upon our system of government.  More likely it will be an unanticipated outside event – a war, a new technology, a financial disaster, an epidemic.  Who knows?  Maybe a space ship full of little green men will land in front of the Capitol.

My life experience has shown me that there’s no point getting too upset about the way things are, because things will change.

And right now, a change would do us good.  As long as it’s not the change that happened to Russia, China and all the other socialist failures.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

I’ve been thinking ’bout catching a train,
Leave my phone machine by the radar range,
“Hello it’s me, I’m not at home,
If you’d like to reach me, leave me alone.”
A change (a change) will do you good!

Sheryl Crow – A Change Will Do You Good

Interesting – watch this great amateur video of Sheryl live from the front row.  The instruments and vocals are picked up from amps and stage monitors, not the big main cabinets the rest of the audience hears.  This is what it sounds like to the performers on stage.


Obamacare for Dummies



The Affordable Health Care Act


In March of 2010 the Affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare) became law.  The bill passed the House by a vote of 206 – 212, and the Senate by 60 – 39.  Not one Republican congressman or senator voted for ObamaCare.  70% of Americans were opposed to the new law.  But hey, the Democrats are smarter than everybody else.  They know what’s best for us.


  • If you like your insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan.
    • Well, maybe not.  But you will have many good plans to choose from.
      • Unless the exchanges collapse because the insurers are bleeding money from mandated cost items. Actually, you will probably get stuck with very few plan choices from very few (maybe only one) insurance company.
  • If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.
    • But that’s only if your doctor chooses to accept your new insurance plan that pays him a lot less money and puts all kinds of requirements and restrictions on him.  It’s pretty unlikely.
  • Insurance premiums will go down $2500 per year
    • And then they will go way, way up.  Because
      • kids stay on your policy until age 26
      • people with expensive pre-existing conditions are welcomed to the pool
      • plans are required to provide more benefits, many of them for “free”
      • competition is reduced because only a few very large companies can manage the complexity and cost of implementing the government plans
      • new people on the plans, especially those plugged into Medicaid, will have much higher claims experience
      • oh, by the way, deductibles and co-pays will go crazy.  You may have to pay the first $14,000 of medical bills.
  • There will be no tax increases due to ObamaCare
    • The only way citizens can afford ObamaCare is if the government pays a huge portion of the sky-high premiums as a subsidy.  So the cost to the taxpayers is enormous.
      • But who cares?  The government doesn’t have to raise taxes.  They can just print more money and add to the national debt.
      • Oh, and if you don’t have insurance, you will have to pay a penalty.  But that’s not a tax.  Even though it is in the tax code, assessed and collected by the IRS.  The Supreme Court said so – it must be true.
  • ObamaCare will not add to the national deficit or debt
    • Umm, well.  Sorry.  That’s a fib.  See above.
  • There will be very few Americans who do not have health insurance
    • Unless healthy young people decide they can’t or don’t want to pay for ObamaCare and decide to just pay the fine.  Or not pay the fine.  Whatever.
    • And then there are the people who find enrollment in ObamaCare so complex they don’t even try.
  • ObamaCare will not be given to illegal immigrants at taxpayer expense
    • The government will, however, provide free ObamaCare to undocumented Democrat voters.

Conversion to HillaryCare in November 2016

  • The government tried, but ObamaCare didn’t work very well, so they are going to put you all on single-payer national health insurance like Canada.  They didn’t intend for this to happen. Really. It’s just one of those things.  But Hillary has a great new plan:
    • Long waiting lists for care.  This has been perfected by the VA Hospitals.  You may have to wait a year or so for that procedure.  This reduces cost because after a year many patients have assumed room temperature and no longer need care.
    • Your doctor will be a kid from Bangladesh who came here on an H1B visa.  He speaks English, but you still won’t understand a word he says.  This reduces cost because he will work for $20k per year, and you will give up trying to get well because you won’t know what’s wrong with you.
    • 80% of hospital wards will be converted to maternity units.  Our new undocumented Democrats do tend to have a lot of babies.

Quiz (True or False)

  1. Adding eight years of children’s coverage to a health care plan will reduce plan costs.
  2. Allowing people with pre-existing conditions to join a health care plan at the same premium level will reduce plan costs.
  3. Anything the government does will cost less and work better than it does in the private sector.
  4. Doctors don’t mind making less money or being told what to do.
  5. It doesn’t matter if premiums go way up as long as the government is paying for most of the cost (after all, if the government is paying for it, it’s free).

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side


Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard!




Mr. Trump, I Wrote a Speech For You. No Charge!

photo courtesy Salon.com

photo courtesy Salon.com

My fellow citizens, if you elect me, Donald Trump, to be your president, here are my domestic priorities for the first hundred days of my term:

Government Accountability and Reform

Government sector unions will be eliminated or restrictions imposed, such as:  Unions would be prohibited from contributing to political candidates or having any involvement in political campaigns.  Government employees would be employed “at will”, empowering managers to hire, fire, and discipline without union intervention.  They would be subject to the same payroll and benefit laws as the private sector, including social security, 401k, and Medicaid coverage or private health insurance allowance.  We can no longer tolerate a government where nobody is responsible for anything or ever gets fired.

Congress will establish biannual performance and zero-based budget requirements for every department and agency, and oversight committees will hold agency heads responsible for meeting goals, with the authority to discipline or discharge failing managers.  Redundant and obsolete services and programs will be eliminated from agencies and departments.  This is basic economics, understood by every American.

All elected officials will be subject to the same ethics standards and prosecution as private sector corporate officials, prohibiting insider trading, personal gain from transactions and decisions, nepotism, payoffs for campaign contributions, and any other breaches of trust.  Why should elected officials get away with corruption that is not tolerated in private business?

Congressional term limits will be established.  The power structure must be brought under control.

Congress will be required to produce timely budgets; continuing resolutions will be prohibited.  The job of Congress is to budget and appropriate.  If they don’t do that, we don’t need them.

Law and Order

My new IRS and FBI commissioners will investigate Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation for tax fraud and improper quid pro quo deals with foreign companies and governments.  This kind of corruption must be brought to light and stopped once and for all.

Sanctuary cities will be denied federal funding.  Existing immigration laws will be enforced at the borders and ports, and in all government offices and programs.  Officials who fail or refuse to enforce any federal law will be disciplined or terminated.  Without borders, we have no country.  And without law enforcement, we have anarchy.

Federal involvement in local law enforcement will cease, including the use of consent decrees to impose federal control.

Health, Welfare, Housing and Education

The Affordable Health Care Act will be repealed and replaced by a congressionally approved plan which includes a provision for a federal assigned risk pool for pre-existing conditions.

Federal funding of all means-tested welfare and assistance programs and all educational programs will be limited to block grants to the states.  Our Constitution intended the power of the people to reside in state governments, not federal.  This is the United STATES of America.

Government funding of private health care providers specifically including Planned Parenthood will be prohibited.

The federal student loan program will be eliminated and restored to the private sector.  Any program for relief from student loan debt will include provisions for clawback of public losses from the universities who received the student loan payments.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other government subsidized home loan programs will be phased out, restoring the mortgage industry to the private sector.

Tax Reform

Estate taxes will be permanently eliminated – it is double taxation.  Corporate income tax will be significantly reduced to encourage repatriation of assets and domestic production.  Personal income taxes will be simplified.  Loopholes and carve-outs will be eliminated for businesses and individuals.

Businesses will receive tax incentives for providing modern technical training programs that meet their workforce needs and result in direct sustained employment of individuals, replacing unnecessary and unproductive college time and expense.


Legal immigration rates and eligibilities will be revisited by Congress with impact analysis on jobs, the economy, security, and infrastructure.  Charity will not be a consideration, as it is not a function of government.  Illegal immigration will be treated and enforced as a criminal act.

These action items have the strong support of a majority of Americans.  If Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell fail to take action on these important tasks, I will use the bully pulpit of the Presidency to admonish and encourage and even embarrass them.  And if they still refuse to respond to the will of their constituents, as they have over the last many years, I will find other ways to give the people what they want.

Please vote for me, your humble servant, Donald Trump.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Well, it’s about time for things to get better
We want the truth, the truth and no more lies
We want freedom, justice and equality
I want it for you and I want it for me
Well, well
Give the people what they want!

Give the People What They Want – the O’Jays

Here’s a great song by the O’Jays – from Soul Train, 1975.  Check it out!

Sign Up Now for ObamaCar – Subsidized Car Insurance!

Cheech and Chong - Up In SmokeWhy fight it?  You know, when he’s right, he’s right.

This ObamaCare deal is sweet.  My friend Barack (he still calls me “friend” and asks for $5 every day) says we can all have better health care, it will cost little or nothing, and we can keep our favorite doctors.

Isn’t it great?  Instead of buying my own health insurance, he says I can get a subsidized policy for a lot less money that covers a lot more stuff – even stuff I don’t need, like birth control and drug counseling!  And nobody has to pay for it!  I think the money just comes out of his “stash”.

Most people have quit working now that unemployment checks keep coming indefinitely and disability is so easy to get.  A family of four can get $632 per month in free food — and heck, now they are all on the ObamaCare website getting free health care too through Medicaid!  My friends in Colorado are so happy, because they have more money to spend on those awesome brownies.

It’s great that I don’t have to face the risk of health problems any more.  In fact, ObamaCare is so cool, I’m going to call my friend Barack on my ObamaPhone and ask him for another new program.

What if somebody smashes my car?  I can’t afford a new one.  And my friends in Colorado might hit a light pole on the way home from work now that everybody is smoking weed on coffee breaks.  We shouldn’t have to pay for our own car insurance.  We need ObamaCar!  Free or subsidized Car Insurance!

You know, now that I won’t have to buy health insurance or car insurance any more, I’m going to move to Colorado, get on disability and food stamps, hang out with my friends, hire me a driver, and just cruise around all day smoking weed in the back seat of the low rider!  ObamaCar!  Woo hoo!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Baby you can drive my car
Yes I’m gonna be a star!
Baby you can drive my car
And maybe I’ll love you.
Beep beep, m’ beep beep, yeah!

Baby You Can Drive My Car – Paul McCartney

They Will Still Be Going To the Emergency Room

Emergency-RoomOur favorite young waitress was bringing us more sweet tea.  As she approached, my wife noticed a little “limp” and asked her about it.

“I got a rash on my leg yesterday and it’s worse today,” she said.  “It bothers me when it rubs on my pants.”

Assuming our customary Mom and Pop roles, we chatted about what the cause of the rash might be, considering possible medical solutions.  The young lady’s next line was a stunner.

“I guess I will go to the emergency room after my shift,” she said.

We gasped simultaneously – “the EMERGENCY ROOM?!  Why would you go there?”

Her response: “Well, I don’t have insurance so whenever I need medical care I just go to the emergency room.  They don’t make me pay the bill right away.”

My wife and I exchanged baffled looks and started asking questions.  We wondered how, on a server’s wage, she could afford to make payments on what must be an outrageously expensive emergency room visit.  Maybe she doesn’t pay at all.

“Why don’t you go to an ‘urgent care’ clinic?” we asked.   “There’s one across the street and it probably charges one-tenth of what the emergency room will charge you.”  She gave us a curious look.

We also suggested she could stop in at one of the many nearby drug stores who offer affordable minor-medical care and even free advice from the pharmacist.  She didn’t know there was such a thing.

Then we pointed out that our county provides a list of free and low-cost medical clinics.  But it occurred to me that it would probably cost her a day of work to even get in the door of a government clinic.

The young lady seemed grateful for the Mom and Pop advice, and hopefully she will seek out one of the alternatives we proposed.

Our short conversation with a hard-working young waitress reminds me how badly screwed up so many things are these days: the ridiculous cost of medical care, the failures of our education system, inadequate parenting, bumbling government, our crazy tax system, the challenges of employment, and more.  How does a young woman get to the age of 25 without knowing how to get appropriate minor medical care?  Where were her parents?  Her teachers?  Will she still be a low-wage worker ten years from now, or will she have moved up and out?  Why is even minor medical care so expensive it is out of reach for many workers?  Should restaurant owners pay higher wages or benefits?  Would that squash one of the few remaining industries (and employers) left in our teetering economy?

Our waitress will get a W2 from her employer at the end of the year and will probably take it to H&R Block because, like most Americans, she is afraid and ill-equipped to tackle even the simplest short-form tax return on her own.  And her tax preparer will tell her that because of the new Affordable Care Act she will have to pay a fine next year if she does not obtain a health insurance policy on her own.  I doubt she has ever heard of the ACA — it isn’t listed on I-Tunes.  She doesn’t really know what health insurance is, how it works, or how to get it.  If she did learn and understand the ACA requirements, would she choose to pay the fine or to buy the insurance?  Or would she just continue to use the emergency room?

Lost in the discussion of the ObamaCare mess is the fact that hospitals are still required to provide medical care to anyone who comes in the door, regardless of ability to pay.  And a large percentage of the people within our borders have no more knowledge or sophistication than to go, when sick, to the building where the sick people are.  The ACA personal “mandate” is a joke.

If there is one good thing about the ObamaCare fiasco, it might be that Americans will finally stop and think about the economics of health care in our country.  We only got to this point of helplessness and chaos because for generations we have been dependent on employers and/or the government for our health care.  The concept of shared risk for shared cost – insurance, by definition – is still very valid.  Sadly, that can only work in a prosperous free market economy, which may now be little more than a distant memory in the age of big government.   Every time a government bureaucracy replaces a segment of the free market, disaster results.  A train wreck, even.

The bad thing about the Affordable Health Care Act is that it makes health care more Un-Affordable.  It is clearly about control, politics, and big government, not cost.

The failure of our elected leaders to deal with the festering health-care issue a long time ago led us to the calamity we face now.   They, and we, had better get serious, because, contrary to the campaign speeches, we know there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Oh, speaking of lunch, the gyros were great.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

All over the country, I’ve seen it the same
Nobody’s winnin’ at this kind of game
We gotta do better, it’s time to begin
You know all the answers must come from within

Free Ride – Edgar Winter Group

If You Love Your Children, Hold Them Close

you can keep your children

via T Patrick Duffy

If our elected leaders will lie about the takeover of our health care system, about the deaths of Americans at Benghazi, about Big Brother electronic eavesdropping, about the use of the IRS and other federal agencies to manipulate elections, and about the corruption epidemic in our government – why would you trust their motives with your children?

President Obama, president-elect Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the elite progressive establishment really believe that “it takes a village” to raise your child.  They are convinced that you are not qualified to make decisions about your family’s well-being,  and they have an aggressive agenda that will continue to dilute parent’s rights and personal sovereignty.  Next on the list is mandatory government daycare/preschool for toddlers.

Parents, if you love your children, hold them close.  They are at risk.  Please learn about Common Core.  Read the textbooks and other materials they bring home and don’t be afraid to overrule the disinformation you find.  See how your childrens’ precious time is being spent at school.  Be active in your school district and school board affairs.

Do not allow federal programs to take over your local schools.  Take the time to pass on your knowledge, beliefs and values to your children.  Do not “trust” the school to raise, feed, educate, or protect your precious children – you must be involved at every step.

If you can home-school your child, you will do your family and your nation a tremendous service.  If not, you must fight for your family’s right to choose the approriate school and educational path.

Be aware of what is happening to our economy and our way of life.  Your children’s futures depend on you – nobody cares about your children as much as you do.  They can’t afford your abdication of parental rights to the government.  They can’t afford the insurmountable debts we are placing on them.  They aren’t able to defend their constitutional rights – we must fight on their behalf.

There was a time when we could trust our government to tell the truth.  We knew that our elected leaders had our families’ best interests at heart.  The American Dream was universally understood and shared.  Sadly, that time is gone.

I know you are busy, but is anything more important than your children?

If you are already aware of the dangers, and actively involved in protecting and improving their futures, please pass this on to someone you know who is not engaged.  On behalf of my kids and grandkids, I thank you.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Hold me tight
Tell me I’m the only one
And then I might
Never be the lonely one

Hold Me Tight – the Beatles

On a lighter note, here’s an old Beatles recording session including outtakes.  Note the Fender Bandmaster amp in the photos – I had one of these way back when, and wish I had kept it – they are worth a fortune today!

Another Letter From My Friend Barack

As you know, I am a friend of Barack Obama.  I get an e-mail from him every day (personally addressed to “friend”!  That’s me!) asking for $5.  He even gave me a cool cell phone, with 250 minutes a month, for free!

Yesterday the letter from my friend Barack was all about how much money he gets from these e-mails.   I’ll be happy to share it with you:

Organizing for Action
This is amazing: 355,367 people have chipped in to own a piece of this movement.
Our average contribution is $59 -- that's as grassroots as it gets.
We're standing up to lawmakers who are doing anything to stand in the way.
...like Senator Ted Cruz.
Shady groups are spending millions to scare folks out of health care.
Scary Uncle Sam.
But they don't scare us.

The other side will spend millions to maintain the status quo. We’re fighting for change —
chip in $5 or more to support OFA today.

Let’s do some quickie math (I learned that before Common Core).  355,367 people “chipped in” to fight for ObamaCare, times an average contribution of $59.  Hmmm, that’s about $20,966,653.  I have a question for my friend Barack.  Where does this $21 million go? Is anybody keeping an eye on it for you, so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands?

Barack, I know you’re worried about shady groups trying to scare people out of getting health care.  These groups are so scary that women will probably stay home and have their babies on the pool table in their rec rooms, rather than go to a hospital.  People will be so afraid of health care that they will fix their own broken arms with sticks and duct tape.

Maybe you should use the money to fix your website so somebody could enroll in your ObamaCare program!  Then they won’t be afraid, right?

Today I got a letter from Bill Clinton.  It said “Friend – send $3”.

I think I like my friend Bill better.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side Best Friend – Harry Nilsson


Surviving the Shut Down

Shut DownWe are in the seventh day of the federal government “Shut Down”.  By now, according to the dire predictions of the Democrats on Capitol Hill and the elite media, we should all be dead.

Actually, things don’t seem so bad.  If there are hardships, they appear to be rare and minimal.

Our federal employees are enjoying their paid vacations.  As I predicted, Congress voted unanimously to provide back pay for all 800,000 furloughed federal workers.  It isn’t enough that they earn double what private-sector employees do for comparable work, or that their benefit packages are far more generous than ours.  Now they are on extended paid leave, with no end in sight.  Children used to dream of being princes and princesses.  Now they aspire to be Assistant to the Undersecretary of Diversity for the Department of Sustainable Green Diaper Recycling.  Have a Corona for me, guys, and don’t forget the sunscreen.

Disappointed that Americans are not feeling enough pain, the Obama administration has worked diligently to manufacture some in the most unexpected places:

Each of these shameless, finger-in-the-eye provocations has been turned back by public outrage, but our shameless imperial leaders offer no apologies.  Many more insulting shutdowns are being revealed by the hour.  When the government spends tax money to shut down services or facilities that did not cost anything to keep open in the first place, their motivation is obvious.  This is nothing more than arrogant, childish bullying, and flat-out disrespect for the citizens.

Obama/Reid defenders claim these spiteful political actions are self-defense against the growing opposition to their train-wreck ObamaCare program.  We Americans are more than justified taking whatever action is necessary to stop this monstrosity – my health insurance premiums have increased by more than double (please check yours).  And we know damn well that a government who can’t even make a website work in three years is not capable of managing the complexities of our entire health care system.

Please, Congress stand your ground.  Our children will pay the price if we allow this insanity to continue.  If our government can no longer operate within a budget and a constitution, if it has nothing but contempt for the very citizens it pretends to serve, if it refuses to reverse its tragic mistakes and prevent more in the future, then now is the time.  Shut her down!  Somehow, I think we will survive.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Shut it off, shut it off,
Buddy, gonna shut you down!

Shut Down – the Beach Boys

Good Day To Be A Conservative

sunshineToday it feels good to be a conservative.  Heck I might even claim the Republicans again for the first time in a long while.

Last week John Boehner finally listened to the people and decided to stand his ground against the intransigent, ideologue Democrats.  Many weak-kneed squishy Republicans spent the last few weeks hiding under their desks, afraid to be “blamed” for fighting a program that they know is harmful to the nation – and even they have now sheepishly joined the fray.

Then Ted Cruz jumped to the front of the battle, his brave filibuster inspiring everyone on the right side to finally stand up.  Well, almost everybody – John McCain showed us why it’s probably a good thing he was defeated in his presidential run.  Cruz was still making perfect sense and a compelling argument against the Train Wreck after a physically grueling 21 hours on his feet at the microphone.

How refreshing to finally see some leadership in the GOP.  It’s about damn time!  Where were the Ted Cruz’s during the last two presidential elections?  Will we ever learn the futility of running milk-toast candidates?

Today the federal government is shut down.  Oh, we know that it’s a charade.  We aren’t really going to stop, or even slow federal spending.  In a few weeks the federal employees who are now furloughed will receive full back-pay – it’s just another paid vacation to them.   The grants will still flow, the cronies will line up at the trough, and we conservatives will still be branded as hard-hearted meanies and racists for even questioning the insanity.

But today there is big-time symbolic significance.   Finally somebody has gathered the fortitude to Just Say No.

It’s a good day to be a conservative in America.  There may be hope after all.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Good day sunshine!
Good day sunshine!
I need to laugh, and when the sun is out
I’ve got something I can laugh about!

Good Day Sunshine – the Beatles

Dental Work: $8k in US, $500 in Jordan

On a visit to North Carolina last week, I took my wife’s car to our favorite local shop for some work.  It is owned and operated by two brothers from Amman, Jordan.  They emigrated to the US in the turbulent 1980s when the Jordanian government confiscated their successful business under martial law.  At the shop I always enjoy animated conversation with the brothers about families, world politics, current events, and automotive stuff.

While Jordan is still not exactly paradise, life there has improved dramatically in recent years under King Abdullah.  But that’s not the subject of my post this morning.

I asked Sam, the older brother, why he was out of the country the last time I had visited his shop – did he have a medical problem?  No, he said, he just needed some dental work.  That piqued my curiosity.

Sam said he went to two local dentists, and each one quoted him about $8000 for the job.  They prescribed somewhat different procedures, including removing some teeth that were actually healthy.  Uncomfortable with their approaches, and the cost, Sam had the x-rays sent to his family’s dentist in Jordan for a “third” opinion.  “They’re crazy,” was the opinion of the Jordanian dentist.

So Sam flew to Jordan (the trip cost $1500) and had four crowns, two fillings, two root canals, and deep cleaning done there.  For $500.  And they left his good teeth alone.  When he returned, he had the work checked out by one of his local dentists.  “Nice job,” the dentist reported.  Sam had saved six grand.

This points out what is wrong with our American medical system – fee for service.  The more services that are provided, the more money the doctor makes.  And since most of us don’t pay for medical procedures out of our pockets, we don’t check – or care – how much our medical care costs. The other side of the dilemma – cost shifting.  Doctors provide free or under-compensated services via government programs or charity, financed by overcharging those who do pay.

Is ObamaCare the answer?  Oh, hell no!  Government takeover of the medical industry will result in gross inefficiency, incompetence, and rationing – the normal standard of performance for any government work.

But those who say our current health care system is the best in the world are naive.  Our nation has the wealth to do some things medically that other nations can’t.  But the cost is out of control and the quality is not what it should be.

Our next president will have to address the health care issue – it can’t be kicked down the road any longer, or soon many of us will be “medical tourists”.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Here’s an alternate health care plan:
(bet you haven’t heard this one in a while!)

Put the lime in the coconut,
And call me in the morning!

Coconut Song – Harry Nilsson