Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’

Replacing Obamacare

October 10, 2017

President Trump promised to replace Obamacare, but so far has only suggested modifying it. He should replace the Obama approach to health care.

Medical costs cause the price of health insurance to be too high for some to afford. Obamacare attempted to deal with high insurance rates by forcing healthy people to buy health insurance.

A better approach would recognize that it isn’t practical for profit-making insurance programs to pay for expensive to treat chronic disorders such as those associated with alcohol or tobacco use. Special programs could be set up to cover such disorders.

Taxes on alcohol and tobacco should be used to fund programs for alcohol and tobacco related medical disorders. For example, a per gallon tax on alcohol products would go into a fund for treatment of alcohol related disorders. A doctor would certify that a person has an alcohol related disorder and health care providers would send health care bills for the patient to the alcohol fund in the same way bills are sent to insurance companies for payment. To simplify payment procedures all medical problems of a patient with an alcohol related medical problem would be paid by the fund because alcohol can reduce the body’s ability to handle problems. The fund would also cover medical costs of those who suffer injuries because of the actions of someone under the influence of alcohol even if the injury involved a preexisting condition. A police report that one of the drivers in a traffic accident was under the influence of alcohol would trigger payment from the alcohol fund even if the courts wouldn’t consider the drinking driver to be at fault.

Under the current insurance system people who never use tobacco or alcohol help pay for the medical treatment of those who have tobacco or alcohol related medical problems. Under my proposal only those who use alcohol and tobacco products would pay to treat medical problems related to alcohol and tobacco use.

Another type of health care fund would involve specific disorders, such as heart trouble or specific cancers that may be caused by various factors other than tobacco or alcohol. Government would use general taxes to finance treatment and conduct research. Other funds might come from non-profit organizations. Government might encourage non-profit funds by offering to match what they raise.

Each fund would operate in part as a research project. Paying for all treatments from a single fund would allow researchers to monitor and compare the success rate of various different treatments. Insurance companies are reluctant to fund experimental treatments because they can’t expect to benefit from them, but the federal government could benefit from knowing what doesn’t work as well as knowing what does work.

California’s Wacky Marijuana Question

October 24, 2010

Are you tired of all the negative ads featuring sneering voices?

California has a long history of wacky election questions and this year is no different. The marijuana question (Prop. 19) is a good example of a question that really doesn’t do anything.

Proposition 19
demonstrates the negative impact marijuana can have on the brain. The measure really doesn’t change anything legally other than possibly duping some marijuana users into making it easier for the government to convict them . The measure might potentially make it easier for hard drug sellers to escape arrest and make California more attractive to the Mexican drug cartel.

The measure cannot legalize marijuana because it cannot change federal law. The only change would be that the Drug Enforcement Administration rather than state and local officials would be enforcing the law against marijuana. State law enforcement might not be able to arrest anyone, but they could pass along names to DEA.

This measure could benefit those who sell stronger drugs like meth. Currently if an officer stops a van and notices marijuana the police may be able to get a search warrant for the vehicle and discover the cash and meth lab in the back. This change in law enforcement action could significantly benefit the Mexican drug cartels who could also benefit from any increase in the market for marijuana.

Anyone attempting to take advantage of the provision allowing growing marijuana in the backyard would likely be arrested by DEA for being a “commercial” grower of marijuana because the illegal crop would be in plain view. That might allow DEA to confiscate the real estate and possibly the vehicles and bank accounts of the grower.

The grower could also potentially face a civil lawsuit if some of the neighbor kids “harvested” part of his crop and tried smoking it behind the garage like their ancestors tried smoking tobacco behind the barn. The parents of any child who suffered health damage from smoking marijuana would likely sue the grower for everything he owned.

Supporters falsely claim that taxes on marijuana could help the state. California only collects about $900 million in tobacco taxes. That might be a lot of money in Alaska or even in Kansas, but California’s budget deficit is about 20 times the amount collected in tobacco taxes. Raising significant revenue from marijuana sales would require an extremely high tax.

Of course, only those whose brains had been fried by marijuana would actually pay taxes to the state. DEA could use a drug dealer’s tax record to convict him of selling without the need for actually arranging to buy drugs from the dealer. DEA would have an easier time obtaining such business tax records than obtaining individual tax records..

Supporters of legalizing marijuana falsely claim the action would reduce problems associated with the drug. Marijuana has to be a controlled substance because of its impact on perception and behavior and potential adverse affect on health.

Misuse of legal prescription drugs is a major problem in the U.S. Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson are among those who have died from misusing “legal” drugs. A Wichita, Kansas, doctor and his wife were recently sentenced to 30 years for improper prescription of pain killers that resulted in 10 deaths. Some over the counter allergy and cold medications have to be regulated because of misuse of some ingredients.

The nation’s biggest “drug” problem is the legal drug alcohol. Misuse of alcohol destroys families and kills people in traffic accidents.

The potential for drug addiction in Americans may be higher than in other countries. Drug addiction is often associated with possession of what is called the “risk taker gene”.

Possession of this gene could have made our ancestors more willing to take the risk of going to a new country far away from their friends and family.