Monday, November 18, 2013
While there are serious problems with our healthcare system, the "Affordable Care Act" (ACA) is not the solution. Republicans are correct to oppose it. I served several years on the State Board of our professional insurance association. We learned that, in working with the Legislature, you can't merely oppose legislation. You must offer a possible solution. The Romney campaign's failure to do so was costly.
Permit me to outline some ideas that could help address the issues of cost and also
help the involuntarily uninsured.
Allow individuals to deduct insurance premiums on their tax returns.
Allow a person to keep their health care policy when they move from one state to another.
Allow a person who loses group benefits to have an individual policy with the insurer covering the group. Allow alternative benefits that a person losing a job can afford, rather than just the same and temporary benefits under COBRA.
We need tort reform, not tort elimination. Limit malpractice lawsuits. Establish medical courts. The medical community needs to do much more to police their profession regarding malpractice.
Strengthen Medical Savings accounts so that the insured has a stake in the cost of their care. Consumers need to be able to shop for health care and know the costs of what different providers offer. Note the effects in the laser eye surgery market.
Have pre-existing open enrollment periods, as offered by Medicare, rather than enrollment after the event, like the ACA allows.
Withdraw mandatory free care in hospital emergency rooms for non life threatening situations. This is the biggest and costliest abuse.
Allow insurance companies to offer a variety of programs for consumers to choose, not just coverage mandated by the government (such as maternity coverage). Competition drives down prices. Provide liability protection for insurance companies and agents regarding consumers who claim ignorance after signing state approved contracts. Consumers must be responsible for their decisions.
Open subsidized clinics for the poor and those on Medicaid. Give Medicaid folks spending accounts so that they are responsible for how the money is spent.
I understand that some in Congress are working on these ideas. None of the above ideas require a massive increase in bureaucracy, regulations or the costs associated with complying. The ACA simply is a massive wage and price control project. In the 70's, Nixon tried wage and price controls and, of course, they didn't work. The Soviet Union and its former satellites were the premier laboratory
for wage and price controls. Human nature will find a way around them. Individuals need to be allowed to make their own decisions, not government planners. The free market works.
Like the system before it, the ACA is full of special deals and benefits for the politically connected. We need solutions that benefit everyone equally. If we can offer solutions and show the public how they can work, people will listen and accept. That will be a refreshing change from the snake oil that has been peddled for the last four years.
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Some sincere citizens in Morgan County have written letters to the editor and also have contacted me, asking me to sponsor legislation to allow West Virginia unilaterally to impose term limits on our federal legislators.
Although I support term limits on all elected officials and have responded in great detail to those inquirers, it probably also is prudent to point out that, among other judicial findings of fact in multiple other jurisdictions, the United States Supreme Court ruled in 1995, that, in the absence of a Constitutional amendment, neither the States nor Congress may impose term limits on elected federal officials.
This decision upheld a 1994 ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court on the same issue.
Those who wish further information on this issue may do their own research.
Meanwhile, as a state legislator, I have introduced legislation and will continue to advocate on behalf of term limits for our elected state officials.
Footnote: Contributions for the re-election of Delegate Kump should be mailed to "Friends of Larry D. Kump". P.O. Box 1131, Falling Waters, West Virginia 25419-1131.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
The following letter to the editor recently was published in a local newspaper:
Larry currently represents District #59 (Berkeley & Morgan counties) in the West Virginia House of Delegates. I know him and trust him to continue to do the right thing for West Virginia and the Eastern Panhandle. He understands the U.S. and state constitutions and believes laws must conform to them. He favors smaller, responsive and responsible government at all levels. The Panhandle needs Larry's intelligent, temperate and experienced vote in Charleston.
Charles A. Aston
Footnote: Contributions for the re-election of Delegate Kump should be sent to "Friends of Larry D. Kump", P.O. Box 1131, Falling Waters, West Virginia 25419-1131.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
The almost overwhelming grief and anger, directed against those who wantonly abuse and even snuff out the lives of others, wreaks a terrible toll on all of us. It even is akin to an emotional cancer.
Similar events have happened in my life, inasmuch as I also have lost both family members and others dear to me from vile acts of abuse and murder.
In one case, Jeffrey Wroten was one of those victims. Jeff was a correctional officer coworker at the prison where I previously worked. He was a close friend, a loving Father, and a brother in my faith. His agonizing murder at the hands of a violent criminal in his custody continues to haunt my heart.
Further, as a former prison case manager, part of my duties and responsibilities also was to endure court and open parole hearings, wherein the families of victims testified and were forced therein to re-live the memories of those awful acts.
Even so, my opposition to capital punishment remains and for the reasons outlined in my original email (see below).
More simply put, supporting the death penalty is a dark place to which I refuse to go.
To me, this is not just a matter of my personal faith. It also is a profound position of my political policy principles.
I replied to this email last month when you sent it originally but just discovered that you never received it. I'm trying again. Hope you get it.
Regarding your three sobering observations;
1. It's hard to restore a murder victims life.
2. We'll never have to worry about our wives/daughters being raped and murdered by Ted Bundy.
3. Looking at the government money spent on programs like planned parenthood that murder more children in a year than we'll execute in a thousand, it's money well spent.
Original email from West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump ("More Horrendous than Halloween"):
With Halloween arriving soon, there already are too many scary and dangerous folks on the prowl (not counting a few of our elected and wannabe elected leaders).
A number of these scary and dangerous folks even commit crimes, and end up serving time in prison.
While some sincere folks favor the death penalty for those who are convicted of heinous crimes, the morality of authorizing our government to take the lives of others for criminal convictions simply is a hurdle that just is too high for me and my personal faith.
Moreover, my seventeen year servitude in the bowels of a high security lock-up, working as a prison case manager, taught me three other sobering lessons about the death penalty:
* It does not provide restorative justice.
* It is not a deterrent to the commission of crime by others.
* It costs taxpayers more to execute convicted felons than to imprison them for life. (This may seem counter-intuitive and contrary to conventional wisdom for many, but this is due to the tremendously expensive and lengthy appeal provisions guaranteed by the 8th Amendment of our United States Constitution.)
Nonetheless. it is a sad and sobering fact of life that it is necessary to imprison many convicted criminals, in order to protect public safety on behalf of us and our families.
Further, I also frankly favor the lack of parole eligibility for horrendous offenses.
However, some good people have asked me, "But, what about parole for those who are falsely imprisoned?". The answer to that concern is that: Parole consideration for convicted felons is not about their guilt or innocence. That is determined by the courts. Those who feel that they are wrongly convicted have the right to appeal their sentences in our judicial system.
And so, the bottom line for me on the question of the death penalty is that, giving our government the authority to deprive citizens of our most fundamental right (to be able to breathe in and breathe out), simply scares the screaming bejeebers out of me, much more so than innocent Halloween frighteners.
Monday, November 4, 2013
She wondered why government makes so many rules that interfere so much with our right to make personal choices in our own lives.
After we talked, she simply said, "That isn't fair!".
That's why it's my personal political passion to work for individual liberty, personal accountability, and personal empowerment.