Grassroot Perspective – July 28, 2003-Family Flexibility Act a Key Issue for Small Businesses; How to Solve Our Health Care Mess? Put Consumers in Charge

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“Dick Rowland Image”

”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– Dr. Charles Thomas Sell has been held in a brutal prison for over five
years, based on charges originating from a mere Medicaid billing
dispute. ”’He has not yet even received a trial.”’ The federal government
seeks to forcibly medicate him with mind-altering drugs, which he
refuses. The government says it needs to drug him in order to make him
competent to stand trial. He seems plenty competent to us.

With the assistance of our legal briefs. Dr. Sell has appealed his case
all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. A decision is expected next

Tonight at 9 p.m. ET (Friday, June 13), the popular NBC television show
“Dateline” is featuring Dr. Sell’s story. It should be fascinating to
watch. Check your local listings for the channel in your area. This
abuse of federal power may finally receive a healthy dose of public

“Never did we think our own country would imprison a peaceful defendant
for over five years without a trial,” commented AAPS General Counsel
Andrew Schlafly. “We used to complain when the Communists engaged in
such tactics, but now it’s occurring right here.”

Visit to read more about Dr. Sell.

Above article is quoted from Association of American Physicians &
Surgeons June 12, 2003

– Family Flexibility Act a Key Issue for Small Businesses

A key small business vote in the U.S. House is expected soon on H.R.
1982, the Working Families Flexibility Act.

This bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Judy
Biggert (R-IL) would allow hourly workers, through a voluntary agreement
with their employer, to choose paid time off as compensation for working
overtime hours.

“The law governing the private sector workforce has been frozen for more
than 60 years, locked in a time when women worked in the home, most
families had only one wage earner, and nobody went to kids’ soccer
games,” said Biggert, Vice Chair of the Education and Workforce
Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, which has jurisdiction over wage
and hour matters. “Times have changed, families have changed, and the
workplace has changed. Yet the law has not changed.”

“Workers in federal, state and local governments have been allowed to
use flexible work schedules for nearly 30 years,” said Biggert.
“Federal workers use it and like it. Police officers use it and like
it. Park District workers use it and like it. This bill gives
employees choice and flexibility — and that is what they want.”

Under Biggert’s bill, if the employer and the employee agree — or in
union shops, the union and the employer agree — to allow the employee to
start accruing overtime hours as compensatory or family time, the
employee has the option of banking up to 160 hours that he or she can
use at a later time as time and a half off. The bill allows an employee
to cancel the agreement at any time, and it provides protection against
employer coercion of employees to accrue or use comp time.

For more background on this legislation, go to: The Family Flexibility

Above article is quoted from Small Business Survival Committee, SBSC
Weekly Briefing on Business and Government 6/5/03

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

– How to Solve Our Health Care Mess? Put Consumers in Charge

By Greg Scandlen

WPC Adjunct Scholar

For too many years Americans have been divorced from the consequences of
their health
care decisions. Third-party payment has enabled us to see a doctor,
purchase medications,
and receive surgery, without a thought about cost. In some minds this is
a wonderful thing
— get all the health care services you need without agonizing over

But being unconcerned about affordability carries a price. If we as
consumers are not
worried about cost, we spend more than we would otherwise. That puts
pressure on the
people who actually pay the bills. If we are not worried about cost,
they certainly are.
They will not give us a blank check. They will limit our access to
services, one way or
another. Regardless of the kind of third-party involved, whether an
insurer, an employer,
or the government, they will decide what is worth paying for and what is
not. That is the
cost we pay for “free” care provided by a third-party.

Ultimately, there is only one way to put consumers back in the driver’s
seat. Give them
control over the resources, so they can make their own value judgments
and trade-offs
about their own health care priorities.

Getting from where we are today to a system in which people have control
over their own
health resources is not going to be easy. Fortunately tools are being
created to help us
make the transition. Many of these tools are relatively primitive, but
they will get better
every year. With experience, we can fine-tune some of the new ideas
listed below to help
limit the growth in health care costs and return control to health care
consumers. Here are
some of the ideas that are putting consumers in charge.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) enable workers to place part of their
salary into an
employer-sponsored account to pay directly for health care expenses. A
provision of FSAs
requires unspent funds to be forfeited to the employer at the end of the

Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) are actually owned by the employee in
with a high deductible insurance plan. Any unused funds stay in the
accounts and build
interest over time, similar to a 401(k) account.

Indemnity insurance, unlike a third-party payment system, is a
“two-party” contract in
which an insured person pays a premium for future protection, and the
insurer pays money
to the insured person when a loss occurs. The consumer is paid the
benefit directly, and is
then responsible for paying the health provider. There is no expectation
that the insurer
have anything to do with the provider of care.

Defined Contribution is a system in which the employer provides a fixed
dedicated to employee health insurance benefits, and workers then use
that contribution as
core funding for a variety of benefit plans or benefit structures, often
supplemented with
their own funds.

Opt-Out Provisions allow workers to take their employer’s regular health
contribution in cash and use it to supplement a spouse’s coverage, or
for both earners to
pool their funds to purchase coverage for the whole family.

Independent Physicians represent a growing movement in the physician
community to
opt-out of insurance plans and the Medicare program. Many doctors are
switching to a
cash-based system, either independently or as part of a network of
similarly inclined
physicians, like SimpleCare. These physicians are finding substantial
savings in overhead
costs, which enable them to charge their patients less for services.

New Information Systems allow doctors and patients to benefit from the
power of the Internet. Services now available online include doctor
quality and price
information, making appointments and getting follow-up care, online
billing, information
on treatments and finding disease-specific support groups.

Today there is a burst of innovation and energy going into creating a
new approach for health care financing. The new era will put patients
back where they belong — in the driver’s seat of the health care system.
After all, health care is not primarily about doctors, hospitals,
insurers, and it is certainly not about employers and the government.
Health care is about people. The best way for people to express their
needs, values and desires is through a market-based system that gives
them the power to spend resources in a way that reflects those values.

Washington Policy Center Adjunct Scholar Greg Scandlen is director of
Galen Institute’s
Center for Consumer Driven Health Care.

”Evergreen (Today’s Quote)”

“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the
individual who can labor in freedom.” — Albert Einstein

”’Edited by Richard O. Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 1314 S. King Street, Suite 1163, Honolulu, HI 96814. Phone/fax is 808-591-9193, cell phone is 808-864-1776. Send him an email at:”’ ”’See the Web site at:”’