Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Seven Ps

      The seven Ps are often stated as: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance.  The word Piss is often substituted for the word Pitifully.  The seven Ps are applicable in both the public and private sector of our economy.  I believe it was originally a British Army adage:  Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. 
        “I wish I would have read the book before …” is a comment I often receive about my book, Business Fits; How to Find the Right Business For You!  Obviously, these people had started or bought a business without proper planning.  They have encountered problems they could have avoided if they had read Business Fits first.
Many mistakes are made with small business because entrepreneurs do not know what they don’t know and thus are not prepared.  I have a chapter in Business Fits titled “Myths about Starting a Business.”  The new entrepreneur often fails to hire the needed expertise because they think they can do everything themselves. 
        I feel the most important responsibility of any manager in the private or public sector is planning.  Crisis management is not good management.  If management is competent and a good system is in place there will be very few unanticipated problems.  I hate the copout statement often given in partisan politics: “What could anyone do differently at this point.”  The real question is, “Why do we put up with the incompetence that got us to this crisis?”
The small business manager is often the owner, and plans for the long-term health of the company.  That is not always the case with CEOs of large corporations.  Large corporations are owned by stockholders, but run by CEOs.  The CEOs are paid a salary and a bonus, and decisions to maximize their bonus are sometimes not in the long-term best interest of the corporation.  The bureaucracy of large corporations can give the small businesses an advantage because they can react to market conditions faster. 
The Peter Principle is another problem that contributes to lack of planning, poor management, and poor performance.  Laurence J. Peter with Raymond Hull wrote a 1969 humorous book called, The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong.  They first introduced the Peter Principle as the concept where people are promoted to a level of incompetence.  Often people are promoted on the basis of seniority, and not ability or qualifications for the new job.  This is a problem in both the private and public sectors.  In the private sector it is more of a problem in large corporations and with some unions.  It is also one of the reasons people want to leave the corporate world for self-employment. 
        The seven Ps are even more of a problem in the public sector.  We elect representatives that are likable, can give a good speech, and can raise a lot of money for their campaign.  These politicians often are totally unqualified for the job they have been elected to perform.  Why should we be upset when they fail to plan for the future of the country?  We elected them. 
        Appointed bureaucrats in the public sector are also a problem.  These individuals are often the supporters and contributors of the politicians that appoint them to the position.  Sometimes they are totally unqualified for the job.  The only explanation for their poor performance is often incompetence and/or a cover-up. 
        We can change the management of the public sector with our vote.  Don’t be taken in by a likable individual and false advertising.  Get the facts and elect an individual that is qualified to do the job.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Solutions To Affordable Health Care

      I did a similar blog July of 2012.  Now it is almost two years later and health care is in worse shape than ever.    The primary reasons for rising health care costs are huge service and administrative costs, and the lack of competition.  How do we fix it? 
The solution is simple.  We eliminate the majority of service costs.  This means taking the cost of filing insurance claims away from the health care provider, and eliminating the majority of the claims service cost from the insurance provider.
        We promote true catastrophic major medical insurance, and make changes to eliminate first dollar billing medical insurance.  It does not matter if there is a deductible. The cost starts with the paperwork.  We promote and encourage medical savings plans.  Medical savings plans will give people cash reserves to pay predictable, routine and preventative health care costs.  This will encourage competition and eliminate the cost of insurance company involvement. 
    How do we do it?  Actually, it is quit simple.  I think I could write the legislation myself and it probably would be less than ten pages long. 
1.          Make the practice of health care providers discounting to insurance companies illegal.  Individuals paying for their normal routine health care must not be penalized. 
2.          Make it illegal for any health care provider to have direct contact with any medical insurance company, or ask a patient for their medical insurance.  Service companies or accounting firms can provide this service if the patient desires, but it will not increase the cost of health care from the health care provider.  These companies can hire the displaced workers from the claims departments of the insurance companies and health care providers.
3.          Encourage true major medical policies with high deductibles of maybe $50,000 or more per injury or disease.  Deductibles must be per injury or disease and NOT annual.  These policies will have no benefit limit and no co-pay.  No predictable, routine or preventative health care costs will be covered with medical insurance.
4.          Individual medical savings accounts that accumulate over the years must be encouraged.  Money put in these accounts would be tax exempt if we continue with our present archaic tax system.  These savings accounts can be used to pay predictable, routine and preventative health care costs.  They could also be used for major medical insurance premiums in the event of an emergency.   
5.          A luxury tax will be imposed on any first dollar coverage medical insurance.  This will have to be implemented in stages based on a person’s age, as older people do not have the medical savings accounts in place.  Eventually this “Luxury Tax” should be as high as 100% of the premium. 
6.          Private charity and/or government run clinics and hospitals similar to the present VA hospitals and clinics will provide health care for the poor. 

 This solution may seem radical, but think about it.   It will work, and it will reduce health care costs.  The biggest roadblocks for this workable solution are politicians and medical insurance executives, which will fight the change, because it will cost them money and power.  Most health care providers will welcome the change.
 I believe this solution could reduce health care costs by 40% in the first year and as much as 80% when fully implemented.  It makes sense.  Do we want our healthcare controlled by the government?  Do we want affordable health care or more partisan politics?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Independent Payments Advisory Board

        The Independent Payments Advisory Board or IPAB is part of Obamacare.  The job of the IPAB is to make recommendations to limit Medicare’s budget by reducing payments to doctors and health care providers.  The IPAB is consists of fifteen members that are appointed by the President.  These members are neither elected nor approved by Congress.
        Under the Affordable Care Act, (what a joke that name is) the recommendations made by the IPAB will become law unless Congress passes legislation making equal or greater cuts to Medicare.  There is a very limited time that Congress can eliminate or change the IPAB or it’s recommendations. 
        Anyone benefiting from Medicare now or in the future should be very concerned with the power of the IPAB.  We may be forced to pay for the large majority of our health care out of pocket because Medicare will only pay for a small portion of the cost.  Many people have already seen examples of this. 
        Health care is a business.  Health care providers must be able to cover costs and make some profit, and doctors must be able to make a living or they will not accept Medicare.  Many companies providing home healthcare to the elderly on Medicare will be going out of business.  What happens when people on Medicare can’t get healthcare? 
        I believe President Obama has now delayed implementation of portions of the Affordable Care Act twenty-seven times.  I do not feel any President has the authority to take this kind of liberty in choosing which laws or portion of a law to enforce. 
This is especially interesting considering we had a government shutdown because Congress was asking for some of these same delays, but they could not be granted at that time.  Why the delays now?  Simple, we have mid-term elections this year and the Democrats are in trouble with Obamacare.  If Obamacare were fully implemented and people saw how badly it would affect them personally, they would be voting for repealing the Affordable Care Act.
        I am realistic enough to realize most people do not have the time and energy to get all the political facts, until they are affected personally.  It is natural to think, “It won’t affect me.”  Unfortunately, many people will not know how Obamacare will affect them personally until after the 2014 elections.  Obamacare will affect everyone in time, and not in a good way. 
        I think Obamacare is unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court got around this by calling it a tax.  If the penalties (tax) have been delayed, does that make it unconstitutional?  Even if it is legal, it is not fair, affordable, or workable.   If we don’t get rid of Obamacare, it will evolve into a single payer system and finally, government provided healthcare. 
        I get a little mad at Obamacare supporters saying no one offers any alternatives.  First dollar medical insurance and the government caused high health care costs.  The solution is not complicated.  It is simply catastrophic medical insurance with routine health care being paid out-of-pocket or from medical savings plans.  Obama care supporters make fun of this real solution.  They have to use ridicule because they cannot refute the option with facts and data.  Sounds like politics as usual to me. 
        I hope the lie, “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it. Period.” has affected enough people that we can make the needed changes before it is too late.  Some politicians think if they repeat the same lie over and over again, most people will believe it, and unfortunately, many people do believe the lie.  Get the facts and vote accordingly.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

FCC and First Amendment

     The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency of the federal government.  Congress formed the FCC in 1934 to replace the Federal Radio Commission.  The mission of the FCC is to regulate interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable.  The wire and cable part would include the wire services for newspapers.  Your favorite web site and the Internet are also under the FCC’s control.  The mission and scope of the agency was revised and expanded in 1948 and 1996.  The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau was added in 2006. 
Five commissioners appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for five-year terms direct the FCC.  The FCC has an annual budget of over $300 million with close to 2,000 employees so it is not a small agency.  The FCC performs a necessary function of the federal government as allowed and restricted under the Constitution and the Bill of rights.  

The First Amendment to the Constitution is most often referred to of the Bill of Rights.  It reads: 

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

        This is pretty simple.  Freedom of religion, which is often misquoted (and violated) as “separation of church and state.”  Free speech is simple as long as it is not libelous.  Freedom to peaceably assemble and petition the government are just as important, but not as often quoted. 
        Freedom of the press is where the Federal Communications Commission gets involved.  Our founding fathers felt the press played an essential role in keeping the public informed of what was happening in government.  This would insure the Constitution was followed, and prevent the political elite from turning the country into a totalitarian state.  Freedom of the press was and is essential for our great republic to survive.
        Here is the problem:  The FCC recently started to implement a program to monitor newsrooms.  What?  Isn’t this a direct violation of First Amendment?  Every news media in the country should have been in an uproar, but that did not happen.  To my knowledge it was not even covered except by that evil Fox News.  The FCC has now backed off and says the program needs further evaluation.  What a joke! 
Considering history with the IRS and NSA, do we want the FCC monitoring our news?  In addition to the obvious violation of the first amendment, this program would expand the size, scope and cost of the FCC thus increasing the size and power of the federal government. 
What has happened to our national news?  If you want know what sports team won, or the outrageous behavior of some celebrity, or who is wearing what at the Academy Awards, fine.  Don’t expect accurate news about the government and the political elite that may affect your freedom and the freedom of your children.  Most of our media has already become more a lap dog to government than a watchdog.  I normally refer to one of three lame stream television networks as the Government Network. 
We must follow the Constitution to protect our liberties.  The FCC has no business monitoring newsrooms.  We need a free press to protect our freedom.  The press is already too biased in my opinion.  We all have an obligation to get the facts about what is happening in government.  Considering history with the IRS and NSA, do we want the FCC monitoring our news?