Friday, June 28, 2013

Finally! My book is now available in print on Amazon as well as Create A Space.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


 I just finished watching a commercial sponsored by a College extolling the value of a college education in today’s economy. It occurred to me as I watched how out of touch they were with the actual marketability of a college degree in our post recession workforce. While there is no denying the overall value of a degree, to pitch this sheepskin as a valuable tool in securing a position is pure hype. Undoubtedly there are certain positions requiring a higher education for which there are an inadequate number of candidates, and I would urge anyone with the skill set needed to pursue both the education and the positions. However to broadly insinuate that in order to succeed you need a college degree is pure bunk. There are states out west that are offering huge hiring bonuses for welders, drillers etc for which experience and on the job training is far more valuable that a college education.

 When America was in her greatest years, before we became too proud to work, get dirty and produce goods that we sold to the rest of the world, our educational system rather than belittle physical labor as a losing cause, was equipped to train everyone who passed through it, to not only pursue their dreams but to do so in an area for which they were best talented and equipped. Who but the oldest of us can remember high school woodworking classes, or yes even home economics which if nothing else trained our young women how to maintain a household budget? Trade schools were everywhere, teaching auto mechanics, welding, carpentry, machining etc. Today the goal is to load everyone with useless information required to pass an entrance exam to a college where in most cases they will waste the next four years of their lives going to parties, while accumulating debt which they will struggle with for years to come. Not to mention the tax dollars going to subsidize and guarantee these “low cost loans”.

 It’s time to go back to that time when we produced the best automobiles, airplanes, refrigerators and televisions to name a few, putting millions of people to work at middle class wages. Let’s give up on the pipe dream that everyone in this country will work a thirty hour week, make a quarter of a million dollars a year, drive a Ferrari, put their kids through the best private schools and belong to the most prestigious country clubs just by getting a college degree. “It ain’t gonna happen”. We used to be the most innovative country in the world with the strongest and best trained work force producing products the entire world clamored to own. Isn’t it time we quit attempting to equalize everyone. There will always be people who thanks to a great gene pool will be the movers and shakers society needs and conversely there will always be a need for others to support their efforts. That’s just what makes the world go around. We desperately need to get our manufacturing abilities back on track if we ever again hope to dominate world trade. We aren’t going to do it with technology alone and expect everyone to have a job.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

According to our government, our healthcare system as it exists is completely broken and needs to be reconfigured and controlled by the same people who currently operate the IRS and the Postal Service. I realize that no amount of common sense will alter the minds of people currently benefitting from government largesse i.e. transfer of wealth, however for we the responsible grownups who pay the bill, I would like to share a recent experience. Let me add that I am not against helping people who are in genuine need of assistance through no fault of their own. We have Medicaid providing help, hospitals providing service for which they will never be reimbursed and likewise medical professionals. I do believe however that it is incumbent upon everyone to provide their own healthcare. When given the choice of big screen TVs, fancy cell phones etc. or medical insurance, it becomes a question of responsibility. Medicaid should be reserved for the truly needy and not for those simply too lazy to provide for themselves.

Several months ago my wife was diagnosed with renal cancer after extensive testing and diagnosis by our wonderful medical community. At the time her tumor was discovered, her health insurance was provided by her employer with very little monetary participation on our part. In a very short period of time the pain resulting from the bone lesions accompanying the tumor took their toll on her ability to perform her work functions and she was forced to resign her position. Your immediate thought would be that health coverage would be dropped and we would be on our own to supplement it. As a result of her employers sense of compassion and I suppose as a reward for five plus years of faithful service, this employer not only continued to supply coverage but paid for it for several months after she left her position. I know this doesn’t support the theory that all employers are out to screw their employees at every chance they get but it is nonetheless what happened and I suspect happens daily in the real world. As she is no longer employed at this company we will be converting to and paying for COBRA, allowing her to maintain the same levels of coverage until we are able to provide comparable insurance on our own. We have no expectations, nor should we, that our government will provide the necessary coverage. Why should we expect tax payers to provide our healthcare?

Our path to recovery and hopefully a cure led us to the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL Here we experienced what I can only describe as the pinnacle of Patient – Provider interaction. If there ever was a group of more devoted, and caring healthcare individuals I don’t know where you will find them. From the valets who park your car upon arrival, to the experienced and specialized physicians to whom you ultimately are introduced there can be no finer. I am confident that Moffitt is not singular in the service it provides but it certainly has to rank among the top in the country. Altruism is certainly the driving force in this wonderful corporation. While undoubtedly a for-profit hospital they depend additionally on charitable donations to pursue the ultimate cure for this deadly disease.

My point is that we went from discovery, to treatment to hopefully a cure without the aid or assistance of our government. The only obstacles along the way were in fact those put in place by the government, liability insurance providers as well as the ambulance chasing attorneys who tremendously inflate the cost of doing business. This is the same government to whom we are shortly going to entrust management of our healthcare. Would they have allowed this wonderful hospital to treat her? Would they have made the reimbursement process so tedious as to discourage the great and total care they provide? Would they otherwise interfere in the treatment protocol in order to economize based on some criteria which remains unknown?

IMHO our current system needs some tweaking and adjusting but we should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. In order to contain costs and to allow the medical community to continue providing outstanding service; we need to work on deregulation, fraud, as well as tort reform. These are the primary drivers of our spiraling healthcare costs. We should make every attempt possible to overturn Obamacare and replace it with other more meaningful reforms. Minus government rules and regulations, the free market system is quite capable of providing us with the care we require at an affordable price.

Richard Charron