2017 October 17

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Blackwater Falls State Park
Monongahela National Forest
New York State

October 2017
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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

One of President Trump’s better ideas is saying that health insurance should cost only $15-20 a month. I wholeheartedly agree with that proposal as many working families struggle to put food on their table, pay the rent, mortage, car and recreational expenses and shouldn’t be overly burdened with healthcare expenses. $15 to 20 a month seems like a reasonable expense for most people — except the most povert stricken people to pay for the healthcare.

While I reject the idea of greater government involvement in people’s personal lives, and think people should be able to choose the health plan they want, it’s obvious that $15-20 a month isn’t going to go very far when somebody breaks an arm when they fall off their four wheeler, or slip on a ladder. To say nothing of the common diseases of old age or poor fortune.

So how do you get to a system where health insurance costs only $15-20 a month but offers people choices on what plan they get and what benefits are included? What system can use market forces to encourage hospitals and doctors to economize but produce the care you need?

I think the solution is government-subsidized healthcare with private insurance. Allow private companies to sell insurance, and allow some flexibility in the plans beyond basic financial protection for people. But have the bulk of the money that funds insurance come from government taxation on the wealth centers of our country, e.g. Wall Street.

Healthcare is enormously expensive. The single individual who lives in a mobile home, works in a factory or more commonly a retailer like Walmart or Lowes, squeaks out a few extra bucks maybe raising some beef cows on their land can’t be expected to care the whole load of their healthcare. The kind of people you see on the back roads of Pennsylvania, Maryland or West Virginia. But there is enormous money out there in our economy — on Wall Street, the big banks, in various financial investments. The rich can and should take a haircut to ensure everybody can afford decent healthcare.

Obamacare tries to do this but it really under invests in our healthcare system, spending too little money and preserving too much of our employer based system. Quality healthcare shouldn’t be tied to one’s job. You shouldn’t have to work for a large company to have access to good care. Obamacare was an incremental improvement but more should be done. The solution is not to repeal Obamacare but to make it better — put more taxpayer money obtained from the wealth centers of our country — and use it to make sure everybody, including those in the backwoods of Appalachia can afford quality healthcare.

There’s Nothing Wrong with Rolling Coal

"It’s true that the black carbon emissions are among the more toxic air pollutants and also a major source of climate change. But rolling coal is not likely to have much of an environmental impact. Especially when compared to say, industrial factories, or deforestation, or the 3 billion coal and biomass cooking stoves that people are using worldwide."