World Cup Cricket 2011 Grand Tournament

February 19, 2011

By Padmini Arhant

The World Cup Cricket grand tournament begins on February 19, 2011.

Bangladesh hosted the spectacular opening ceremony with fireworks amid 25,000 cheering cricket fans gathered for an up close view of their favorite sports heroes.

First match between India and Bangladesh held today in Dhaka, Bangladesh resulted in the Indian side winning by 87 runs.

Heartfelt Congratulations! To team India on the brilliant start with more to follow until the end.

Cricket is religiously followed in the Indian sub-continent. The mega sports event is the most popular and in some quarters revered by the cricket enthusiasts fervently praying and desiring for their respective home team to clinch the world title.

The sport that was once considered the ‘Lords’ Game’ – a legacy from British empire is now played in every nook and corner of South East Asia especially in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Similarly in other parts of the world – West Indies, South Africa and Zimbabwe, notwithstanding western nations like England, Australia, New Zealand along with relatively new entrants – Ireland, Canada, Netherlands and Kenya have significant admirers and young cricketers competing to surpass the native legends’ records.

In India – the passion for the game is contagious with cricket lovers idolizing their favorite player and cricket season marks the beginning of sports carnival.

The current world cup competition involves 14 international teams playing 49 match games over 43 days in 14 different venues spread across India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

It is a one-day cricket match with limited overs set at 50 for each side unlike the test match that continues with 2 innings played by both teams over minimum of 3-4 days for conclusion.

Undoubtedly the world cup kicked off with a promising trail from the successful opening ceremony in Bangladesh to the recent victory for the Indian team.

There are other formidable challengers with similar aspirations and their performance will be a real treat to the spectators and sprawling cricket fans worldwide.

Since each team will strive to dominate the show – the audience are sure to be entertained to their heart content.

Cricket craze is pervasive and the multinational caliber pronounces the effects during the fixated moment of world cup championship.

Ethics and economics aspect – The stakes are high in the tremendously appealing sport not devoid of controversies and scandals related to match fixing leading to emerging talents’ abrupt end of the career.

Similarly the crime investigation on the sudden demise of a foreign coach not long ago caused a maelstrom within the prestigious sports circle.

Sports are enjoyable at any time. However maintaining discipline and prioritizing high moral conduct would not only enhance individual image but also promote a positive message to several million impressionable minds preparing to enter the enthralling sport as professionals.

There are no losers in a contest for the participants share the glory in sports spirit.

On that optimistic note – Wishing phenomenal success to every contestant in the World Cup Cricket 2011.

Best Wishes to all sports stars of the riveting one-day international cricket.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Mexico Massacre – Drug Warfare and Arms Trade

November 2, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

Mexico has been terrorized by the drug cartels with the civilian massacre rising by the day.

The drug warfare is taking toll on the innocent lives and draining the national economy.

The drug gangs target is not limited to the local population. As mentioned earlier the brutal killings of 72 migrant workers in late August at Tamaulipas state near the US border shocked the nation and escalated crossfire between the perpetrators and the security force.

Among the drug networks, the Zetas are considered the most notorious and ruthless having claimed responsibility for many gruesome atrocities across the country. They are also dreaded for the indiscriminate violence against the vulnerable population.

The Zetas are characterized as the renegade cartel wreaking havoc across the nation right now.

Their reputation in inflicting carnage and destruction ranks high in comparison to the splinter groups held responsible for similar crimes.

The Zetas have aroused interest and scrutiny leading to a new revelation.

According to the latest reports – the founders of the Zetas were extraordinaire Mexican troops and acquired training in the early 1990’s from Americas 7th Special Forces Group, also known as “snake eaters” at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

Apart from the navigational and communication skills, the training apparently involved the basic to extreme weaponry use such as machine guns and automatic firearms.

The US Defense Department former national director and Pentagon Special Forces commander, currently a professor at the US National Defense University, Craig Deare confirmed that –

“The Zetas are none other than the US trained Mexican Armed Force from the Airmobile Special Forces Group (GAFE) regarded an elite division in the Mexican military.

Further, Professor Deare elaborated on the specific US training to the Mexican personnel comprising ‘counter-insurgency and ironically counter-narcotics operations’ with the exclusion of the advanced commando techniques that are regularly taught at Ft. Bragg.”

The reports suggest an interesting factor in this respect for world attention.

Ft. Bragg provides training for armed forces from worldwide. Hence the Mexican personnel receiving counter-insurgency maneuvers are not regarded as unusual.

However, the ex-military officials’ and general perception is the particular skills attained by the Zetas during their US training prepared them as professional narcotic dealers and mercenaries.

The Mexican President Felipe Calderon has committed 50,000 troops to combat the drug kingpins of various organization but the Zetas remain a force to reckon with especially after an estimated 30,000 lives lost in the past four years.

Grotesque violence includes decapitation and torture defiantly displayed on the main street and cyberspace notwithstanding other form of criminal activities such as engaging poor migrants into flesh trade and fatally assaulting students during private celebrations.

Even the expectant mothers are not spared in the mass executions attracting detest from other drug traders condemning the GAFE militia otherwise the Zetas for their abhorrent means in drug trafficking.

The ex-commander Deare reckons over 500 GAFE members had Special Forces training under the defined program drawing the Mexico Attorney General Office attention in 1999.

Laura Carlsen, the director, Americas program of the International Relations Center reportedly shared the information that subsequent to the US training, GAFE personnel relinquished service in the Mexico military to pursue the career as henchmen initially for the Gulf cartel and later set up their own organization – the Zetas, based on the Mexican top brass military radio code ‘Z.’

It was also pointed out that the Zetas show mercy to none in their violence against the general public.

In addition, the GAFE defections from the Mexican military is said to be significant raising an alarm for the Mexican government while the US trainers not surprised at the exodus.

The experts urge the US to investigate the methods used in the Special Forces training program for the Mexican armed forces contributing to the intriguing transformation in their human conduct.

In a similar context, the training from the Guatemalan Kaibiles, described as the unrelenting special operations force is equally found detrimental to the Mexican military personnel morale.

Within the state, the Mexican police are accused of protecting the drug cartels exacerbating the federal authorities’ battle against the narcotic agents.

Another observation being the Special Forces overseas training predominantly the US assignment combined with the meager salary in the military and police service are driving the individuals to inextricable occupation causing horrendous tragedies.

The Congress stalled $1.3billion US pledge under the 2007 Merida plan to fund the Mexican drug war is rejected by the population due to the inherent risks against its sovereignty and the potential threat to citizens’ rights.

Since nothing happens without a cause, it is essential to explore the underlying facts on the rebel groups’ emergence.

It is indicated in the reports that;

GAFE (The US trained Mexican Special Forces) was established in 1994 to curb the Zapatista rebels in southern Mexico.

The Zapatistas origin is related to NAFTA – The North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, USA and Mexico.

Zapatistas emerged in the same day as NAFTA – January 1, 1994.

Zapatistas, the native rebel group was formed to protest NAFTA – the most unpopular treaty is referenced as the “death sentence” on Mexican population because of the flawed agreement that facilitated subsidized US crops for entry into Mexican market identical to the trade imposition on the Caribbean nation Haiti in the same period that ultimately crippled the once self-sufficient Haitian economy.

Prior to signing the NAFTA agreement, it is noted that the affluent trade partners ignored the population concerns on this issue and,

Subsequently, the Zapatistas was formed to defend the rural farming community deprived of livelihood.

In 1994, NAFTA led to Zapatistas which in turn was eliminated by GAFE.

GAFE has evolved into ‘Zetas,’ the dangerous and feared drug cartel.

GAFE was strengthened with US training and support through exposure to drugs trade surpassing any NAFTA benefits. The drug trade incentivized with uncontrolled borders allowing among many goods the disproportionate illegal drugs that successfully displaced the rural community and pushed the starving unemployed youth to drug peddling for survival.

The phenomenal annual revenue from the booming narcotics industry is evaluated between $19 billion – $40 billion and proved to be potent in the terror recruitment.

Unequivocally, the Mexican government has a daunting task in winning the war against the drug cartel.

The Mexican President Felipe Calderon could review the strategies in the drug war and address them appropriately.

First and foremost – Identify and replace the corrupt sources in the law enforcement division, Mexican Military and security personnel deployed to fight the nefarious drug gangs.

Then maintaining decent salary for the police force, the Military and the security officials from top to bottom would deter accepting bribes and promote loyalty to the nation.

Serious problems lie in the Special Forces Training GAFE – techniques and the motive for defection require thorough investigation and stringent measures to reverse the course.

Prohibiting counterproductive training to the Mexican Special Forces by US or other groups is necessary to terminate the Zetas and other drug cartel’s growth.

National guards across the border to block drugs and arms trade activities for which the United States cooperation is paramount. It would effectively restrict the supply and ease the burden on the Mexican state.

State wide inspection and crackdown on illegal drugs and arms exchange should lead to major breakthrough.

Most importantly, redefining NAFTA from Free Trade Agreement to Fair Trade Agreement would improve economic conditions and create jobs for the struggling communities.

The concerted efforts by Mexico, United States, Canada and Latin America could expedite the inevitable victory in the contentious drug war.

Mexico must realize that it is not alone in the crusade. Poignantly, none are invincible and the drug cartels are no exception.

Best Wishes to Mexico for long lasting peace, security and prosperity.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


Masacre de México – Guerra de Medicina y Comercio de Armas

Por Padmini Arhant

México ha sido aterrorizado por los cárteles de medicina con la masacre civil que se eleva antes del día.

La guerra de medicina toma el peaje en las vidas inocentes y drena la economía nacional.

El objetivo de cuadrillas de medicina no es limitado con la población local. Como mencionado antes las matanzas brutales de 72 trabajadores migratorios a finales de agosto en el estado de Tamaulipas cerca de la frontera estadounidense impresionaron la nación y escalaron el fuego cruzado entre los autores y la fuerza de seguridad.

Entre las redes de medicina, los Zetas son considerados el más celebre y despiadados habiendo reivindicado muchas atrocidades espantosas a través del país. Ellos también son temidos para la violencia indiscriminada contra la población vulnerable.

Los Zetas son caracterizados como el cártel renegado que causa estragos a través de la nación ahora mismo.

Su reputación en infligir carnicería y filas de destrucción altas en comparación con los grupos disidentes sostuvo responsable de delitos similares.

Los Zetas han despertado el interés y el escrutinio que conduce a una nueva revelación.

Según los últimos informes – los fundadores del Zetas eran tropas mejicanas extraordinaire y adquirieron la formación a principios de los años 1990 de Américas 7o Grupo de Fuerzas Especial, también conocido como “comedores de serpiente” en Pies. Bragg, Carolina del Norte.

Aparte de las habilidades de navegación y habilidades de comunicación, la formación por lo visto implicó el básico al uso de armamento extremo como ametralladoras y armas de fuego automáticas.

El Departamento de Defensa estadounidense antiguo director nacional y comandante de Fuerzas Especial del Pentágono, actualmente un profesor en la Universidad de Defensa Nacional estadounidense, Craig Deare confirmó esto-

“Los Zetas son ninguno además de los EE.UU se entrenó la Fuerza Armada mejicana del Grupo de Fuerzas Especial Aeromóvil (GAFE) consideró una división de la elite en los militares mejicanos.

Adelante, el Profesor Deare se explicó en los EE.UU específicos que se entrenan al personal mejicano que comprende ‘la contrainsurrección e irónicamente las operaciones de contranarcóticos con la exclusión de las técnicas de comandos avanzadas que son con regularidad enseñadas en Pies. Bragg.”

Los informes sugieren un factor interesante a este respecto para la atención mundial.

Pies. El Bragg proporciona la formación para fuerzas armadas de por todo el mundo. De ahí el personal mejicano que recibe maniobras de contrainsurrección no es considerado como extraño.

Sin embargo, la percepción y general de los funcionarios ex-militares es las habilidades particulares alcanzadas por el Zetas durante su formación de EE.UU los preparó como distribuidores narcóticos profesionales y mercenarios.

El Presidente mejicano Felipe Calderon ha cometido 50,000 tropas para combatir los pernos reales de medicina de varia organización pero los Zetas permanecen una fuerza para calcular con sobre todo después de aproximadamente 30,000 vidas perdidas en los cuatro años pasados.

La violencia absurda incluye la decapitación y la tortura de modo provocativo mostrada en la avenida central y ciberespacio no obstante otra forma de actividades criminales como la contratación de especies migratorias pobres en el comercio de carne y fatal asalto de estudiantes durante celebraciones privadas.

Incluso las madres futuras no son ahorradas en la atracción de ejecuciones de masas detestan de otros comerciantes de medicina que condenan la milicia GAFE por otra parte el Zetas para sus medios detestables en el tráfico de drogas.

El ex-comandante Deare calcula a más de 500 miembros GAFE tenía Fuerzas Especiales que se entrenan conforme al programa definido que llama la atención de Oficina de Ministro de Justicia de México en 1999.

Laura Carlsen, el director, el programa de Américas del Centro de Relaciones Internacional según se informa compartió la información que subsecuente a la formación estadounidense, el personal de GAFE abandonó el servicio en los militares de México para perseguir la carrera como secuaces al principio para el cártel de Golfo y más tarde establecer su propia organización – los Zetas, basados de la radio militar de cobre superior mejicana cifran ‘Z’.

También fue indicado que los Zetas no son clementes a ninguno en su violencia contra el gran público.

Además, las defecciones GAFE de los militares mejicanos es dicho ser el levantamiento significativo de una alarma para el gobierno mejicano mientras los entrenadores estadounidenses no sorprendidos en el éxodo.

Los expertos impulsan los EE.UU a investigar los métodos usados en el programa de formación de Fuerzas Especial para las fuerzas armadas mejicanas que contribuyen a la transformación intrigante en su conducta humana.

En un contexto similar, la formación del guatemalteco Kaibiles, descrito cuando la fuerza de operaciones especial implacable es igualmente encontrada perjudicial a la moral de personal militar mejicana.

Dentro del estado, la policía mejicana es acusada de proteger los cárteles de medicina que exacerban la batalla de las autoridades federales contra los agentes narcóticos.

Otra observación que es las Fuerzas Especiales en el extranjero entrenando predominantemente la asignación estadounidense combinada con el sueldo pobre en el servicio militar y de policía conduce a los individuos a la ocupación inextricable que causa tragedias horrendas.

El Congreso se paró la promesa estadounidense de 1.3 mil millones de dólares bajo el plan de Mérida 2007 de financiar la guerra de medicina mejicana es rechazada por la población debido a los riesgos inherentes contra su soberanía y la amenaza potencial para los derechos de los ciudadanos.

Ya que nada pasa sin una causa, es esencial explorar los hechos subyacentes en la aparición de los grupos de rebelde.

Es indicado en los informes esto;

El GAFE (los EE.UU entrenaron Fuerzas Especiales mejicanas) fue establecido en 1994 para contener a los rebeldes de Zapatista en México del sur.

El origen Zapatistas está relacionado con NAFTA – el Tratado de Libre Comercio entre Canadá, EE. UU y México.

El Zapatistas surgió en el mismo día que NAFTA – el 1 de enero de 1994.

Zapatistas, el grupo de rebelde natal fue formado para protestar por NAFTA – el tratado más impopular es referido como “la pena de muerte” en la población mejicana debido al acuerdo defectuoso que facilitó cosechas estadounidenses subvencionadas para la entrada en el mercado mejicano idéntico a la imposición comercial en la nación caribe Haití en el mismo período que por último mutiló el una vez la economía haitiana autosuficiente.

Antes de la firma del acuerdo NAFTA, es notado que los compañeros comerciales abundantes no hicieron caso de las preocupaciones demográficas en esta cuestión y,

Posteriormente, el Zapatistas fue formado para defender la comunidad de actividades agropecuarias rural privada del sustento.

En 1994, NAFTA condujo a Zapatistas que por su parte fue eliminado por GAFE.

El GAFE ha evolucionado en ‘Zetas’, el cártel de medicina peligroso y temido.

El GAFE fue reforzado con formación estadounidense y apoyo por la exposición al comercio de medicinas que supera cualesquiera beneficios de NAFTA. El comercio de narcóticos incentivized con el permiso de fronteras incontrolado entre muchos bienes las medicinas ilegales desproporcionadas que con éxito desplazaron la comunidad rural y empujaron a la juventud desempleada que pasa hambre a drogar la venta ambulante para la supervivencia.

Los ingresos anuales fenomenales de la industria de narcóticos en auge son evaluados entre 19 mil millones de dólares – 40 mil millones de dólares y probados para ser potentes en el reclutamiento de terror.

Inequívocamente, el gobierno mejicano tiene una tarea desalentadora en la ganancia de la guerra contra el cártel de medicina.

El Presidente mejicano Felipe Calderon podría examinar las estrategias con la guerra de medicina y dirigirse a ellos apropiadamente.

Antes que nada – Identifican y sustituyen las fuentes corruptas en la división de aplicación de la ley, Militares mejicanos y personal de seguridad desplegado para luchar contra las cuadrillas de medicina infames.

Luego manteniendo el sueldo decente para la policía, los Militares y los funcionarios de seguridad de arriba abajo desalentarían sobornos de aceptación y promoverían la lealtad a la nación.

La mentira de problemas seria en las Fuerzas Especiales que Entrenan GAFE – técnicas y el motivo para la defección requiere que investigación cuidadosa y medidas rigurosas invierta el curso.

La prohibición de la formación contraproducente a las Fuerzas Especiales mejicanas por EE.UU u otros grupos es necesaria para terminar el Zetas y el otro crecimiento de cártel de medicina.

Las guardias nacionales a través de la frontera para bloquear medicinas y armas cambian actividades para las cuales la cooperación de los Estados Unidos es suprema restringiría con eficacia el suministro y aliviaría la carga en el estado mejicano.

Declare amplia inspección y medidas enérgicas en medicinas ilegales y el cambio de armas debería conducir a la brecha principal.

El más importantemente, la redefinición de NAFTA del Acuerdo de Cambio Libre al Tratado Comercial Justo mejoraría condiciones económicas y crearía empleos para las comunidades de lucha.

Los esfuerzos concertados por México, Estados Unidos, Canadá y América Latina podrían acelerar la victoria inevitable con la guerra de medicina discutible.

México debe realizar que no es solo en la cruzada. Conmovedoramente, ninguno es invencible y los cárteles de medicina no son ninguna excepción.

Felicidades a México para paz durable larga, seguridad y prosperidad.


Padmini Arhant

G-8 and G-20, 2010 Summit – Toronto, Canada

June 27, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

A warm welcome to the world leaders attending the back to back G-8 and G-20, 2010 summit in Toronto, Canada.

The G-8 summit held on Friday, June 25, 2010 appeared to focus on the common economic issues such as financial regulations, deficit reduction and economic aid to disadvantaged countries on the financial side.

International peace and security – the leaders’ discussions are expansive from Iran’s controversial nuclear program, disarmament of North Korea, war in Afghanistan, Pakistan including the tensions in the Middle East.

Also in the agenda is the African leaders outreach on economic progress.

Social issues are related to protecting women’s health viz. maternal well being and infant growth in the regions lacking in antenatal care.

It’s important to begin with the financial sector and the economy for this topic.

Congratulations! To President Barack Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and the Congress members for the bipartisan votes in the long overdue financial reform.

It’s a major milestone and a fresh beginning to avert future financial crisis responsible for the global economic meltdown with spiraling effects on the housing, credit and job market.

Other industrialized nations like Germany passed their financial regulation with a mandatory deficit reduction. The constitutional amendment by Germany to contain the deficit to 0.35 percent of GDP by 2016 provided the higher deficit not attributed to GDP decline is a trendsetter in curbing the economic recession.

Similarly, the United Kingdom, Japan and the hard hit economies with huge deficits are in the process of clamping down on the national debt through fiscal austerity and tax hikes.

The deficit reduction is the popular stance among the member nations in this summit.

Although, containing national debt is an immediate priority, the measures to achieve the desirable goal needs to be balanced, so that the vulnerable population like children, senior citizens and the people with disabilities or life threatening conditions are not deprived of basic services from the targeted spending cuts.

Maintenance of social services and programs availed by the citizens across the spectrum would prevent the inevitable outcome – For the elimination would lead to unsustainable economic costs impacting health, education, housing, consumer spending, states’ emergency units – fire and police departments.

Notwithstanding the potential increase in domestic crime rate that had been relatively low nationwide.

Likewise, raising taxes on health and environmentally harmful sources is a place to start due to the dual cause. It would protect the people and the habitat while generating revenue to pay off the accumulated debt.

In the United States, the legislation aimed at economic revival and federal aid to the states for essential programs is challenged by the opposition minority based on their national debt concern.

It’s a legitimate reason but the disapproval is directed at the nerve center of the society.

By denying unemployment benefits to the laid off workers and,

Blocking federal aid to the states is an erroneous decision. States’ employment would be affected leading to massive retrenchment resulting in tax revenue losses.

Already, some states have furlough hurting many American families. In addition, the states offer lifeline support to many contributing back to the system via taxes as wage earners and consumers.

Despite the reality, the ‘Nay’ vote defies logic.

There are ways to pay for these bills by reallocating the unutilized funds in defense spending and pet projects. Moreover, there cannot be anything significant than helping the workers survive and enable them to be gainfully employed yielding tax payments.

Ignoring citizens’ plight has much higher economic and political ramifications.

Therefore, the stimulus bills with guaranteed tax returns are the means to expedite economic recovery.

Since globalization is embraced as the twenty first century economic policy, the anomalies in the system beckon the world leaders’ attention.

There is an urgency to implement international labor and environmental laws binding on transnational corporations to safeguard the environment and the workers’ interest against exploitation, negligence including fair and equal compensation regardless of territories.

Even though, the child labor is banned in some developing nations, the practice is widespread in the desperate parts of the world often engaged by the established multinational companies from the industrialized nations.

Stringent strategies against financial investment firms’ speculative activities that led the Greece and the neighboring economies to the brink of collapse are quintessential in the sweeping financial overhaul.

Some have addressed the problem by enforcing strict rules on the ‘derivatives’ and hedge fund mismanagement in the financial reform. However, the global standard would strengthen the application.

Currency adjustments by the emerging economic power creating trade imbalance and subsequently influencing the rising deficit financed by the creditor is yet another matter to resolve in the present meeting.

Tax havens and withholding income from offshore investments by corporations are impediments to the struggling economies irrespective of stature. Again, cooperation from the G-20 partners facilitating such activities is to be sought on this occasion.

Clean energy to free mankind from fossil fuel and nuclear technology is crucial to replace the discriminatory civilian nuclear program paving way for nuclear proliferation.

Global terrorism and security – Coordinating with international intelligence agencies as opposed to militarization or deploying military personnel on espionage to collect information is a serious violation of the respective nations’ sovereignty. The clandestine military operation is bound to exacerbate the insurgency in the volatile regions forcing the local population to favor the militants reluctantly against the infiltrators.

The article titled “U.S. Military Espionage – Directive for Global Operation,” May 30, 2010 highlighting the inherent dangers of the provocative activities, was presented under the “National and Global Security,” category on this website for further understanding.

International Peace Agreements – Unanimous condemnation of Iran and North Korea nuclear capabilities and belligerent displays against neighbors is a positive step.

Similarly it should be extended to allies violating human rights through illegal invasion and occupation of land, prominently Israel and China viewed by the international community as the U.S and Europe’s ‘turn a blind eye,’ foreign policy.

Actions are effective and meaningful when they are universal and not selective in the enforcement.

Other nations like Thailand cracking down on civilian population with military might in public square deserve international isolation for successfully thwarting the democratic uprising against abuse of power.

Democracy has become a token political system undermined by excessive military involvement and constitutional monarchy as seen in Thailand.

Burma/Myanmar belongs to the league in brutality against its citizens by the military junta reportedly occupied with the nuclear activity.

Worldwide nuclear disarmament is the course to pursue for global peace.

In other humanitarian issues – whether it is women’s rights, social justice or dealing with hunger, poverty and disease, they are all related to the political power governing the nations.

United States, EU, United Nations, Arab countries and emerging economic powers have a decisive role in promoting democracy, peace, human rights, economic and social progress by remaining impartial and committed towards the noble mission.

Best Wishes to G-8 and G-20 nations attending the 2010 summit.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Chilling Facts on the Contemporary Health Care Costs

July 21, 2009

By Padmini Arhant – Forwarding Facts Presentation by NCHC

As per the thorough, insightful and informative presentation;

FROM: The National Coalition on Health Care – NCHC Cost Fact Sheet 2009 – Thanks



In 2008, health care spending in the United States reached $2.4 trillion, and was projected to reach $3.1 trillion in 2012. Health care spending is projected to reach $4.3 trillion by 2016.

Total health care spending represented 17 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Although nearly 46 million Americans are uninsured, the United States spends more on health care than other industrialized nations, and those countries provide health insurance to all their citizens.

Health care spending accounted for 10.9 percent of the GDP in Switzerland, 10.7 percent in Germany, 9.7 percent in Canada and 9.5 percent in France, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

U.S. health care spending is expected to increase at similar levels for the next decade reaching $4.3 TRILLION in 2017, or 20 percent of GDP.

In 2008, employer health insurance premiums increased by 5.0 percent – two times the rate of inflation. The annual premium for an employer health plan covering a family of four averaged nearly $12,700. The annual premium for single coverage averaged over $4,700.

Experts agree that our health care system is riddled with inefficiencies, excessive administrative expenses, inflated prices, poor management, and inappropriate care, waste and fraud. These problems significantly increase the cost of medical care and health insurance for employers and workers and affect the security of families.

Employer and Employee Health Insurance Costs

Premiums for employer-based health insurance rose by 5.0 percent in 2008. In 2007, small employers saw their premiums, on average, increase 5.5 percent. Firms with less than 24 workers, experienced an increase of 6.8 percent.

The annual premium that a health insurer charges an employer for a health plan covering a family of four averaged $12,700 in 2008. Workers contributed nearly $3,400, or 12 percent more than they did in 2007.2 The annual premiums for family coverage significantly eclipsed the gross earnings for a full-time, minimum wage worker ($10,712).

Workers are now paying $1,600 more in premiums annually for family coverage than they did in 1999.

Since 1999, employment-based health insurance premiums have increased 120 percent, compared to cumulative inflation of 44 percent and cumulative wage growth of 29 percent during the same period.

Health insurance expenses are the fastest growing cost component for employers. Unless something changes dramatically, health insurance costs will overtake profits by the end of 2008.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust, premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in the United States have been rising four times faster on average than workers’ earnings since 1999.

The average employee contribution to company-provided health insurance has increased more than 120 percent since 2000. Average out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, co-payments for medications, and co-insurance for physician and hospital visits rose 115 percent during the same period.

The percentage of Americans under age 65 whose family-level, out-of-pocket spending for health care, including health insurance, that exceeds $2,000 a year,rose from 37.3 percent in 1996 to 43.1 percent in 2003 – a 16 percent increase.

The Impact of Rising Health Care Costs

National surveys show that the primary reason people are uninsured is the high cost of health insurance coverage.

Economists have found that rising health care costs correlate to drops in health insurance coverage.

A recent study by Harvard University researchers found that the average out-of-pocket medical debt for those who filed for bankruptcy was $12,000. The study noted that 68 percent of those who filed for bankruptcy had health insurance. In addition, the study found that 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses. Every 30 seconds in the United States someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem.

About 1.5 million families lose their homes to foreclosure every year due to unaffordable medical costs.

Retiring elderly couples will need $250,000 in savings just to pay for the most basic medical coverage. Many experts believe that this figure is conservative and that $300,000 may be a more realistic number.

According to a recent report, the United States has $480 billion in excess spending each year in comparison to Western European nations that have universal health insurance coverage. The costs are mainly associated with excess administrative costs and poorer quality of care.

The United States spends six times more per capita on the administration of the health care system than its peer Western European nations.”


Keeping Democracy Alive

March 8, 2009

The new administration is still in the process of filling positions and since the beginning, there has been problems with some major cabinet appointments as the nominees had withdrawn from considerations to avoid political challenges during the hearing process.

Lately, it appears to be the nominee CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

It is evidenced in the following article;

Gupta won’t be next surgeon general

Neurosurgeon and TV Correspondent withdraws from Consideration

By Richard Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press – Thank you.

CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta won’t be the next surgeon general, the Obama administration confirmed Thursday.

Gupta 39, a neurosurgeon with star appeal, was seen as President Barack Obama’s first pick for the job. He would have brought instant recognition to the office of surgeon general, a post that has lacked visibility since the days of C. Everett Koop during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

An administration official said that Gupta had been under “serious consideration” but took himself out of the running because he wants to focus on his medical career and spend more time with his family.

“We know he will continue to serve and educate the public through his work with media and in the medical arena,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of nominations.

The official said there were no problems that would have disqualified Gupta, and it was his decision to withdraw.

The surgeon general is the nation’s doctor, and while the job doesn’t involve much policymaking responsibility, it’s a bully pulpit for promoting public health. Gupta could have helped Obama pitch his health care reform plan.

Initial reports in early January that Obama had approached Gupta about the job created a stir. The new president had not yet taken office. The chairman of the American Medical Association’s board said at the time it would be a boon to the government if Gupta accepted.

But Gupta would have had to give up a lucrative career. He hosts “House Call” on CNN, contributes reports to CBS News and writes a column for Time magazine. He also practices surgery at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital, which sees more than its share of trauma cases.

Political opposition had started to form.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., called Gupta inexperienced and circulated a letter urging Obama not to appoint him. Conyers is a leading supporter of health care reform that would create a government system similar to Canada’s and is particularly influential among liberals.

Gupta does have some Washington experience. During the Clinton administration, he served as a White House fellow and a special adviser to then-first lady Hillary Clinton.”


Washington Hypocrisy:

Strangely enough, with recent appointees for high profile cabinet positions involving decision-making on International crisis affecting billions of lives around the globe “experience” didn’t seem to matter to the members of the hearing committee.

Some were sworn in with a mere formality hearing and they were aptly called by the media a shoe-in appointment.

Also, there was swift approval of nominees considered “controversial” with tax issues, conflict of interest notwithstanding the nation’s critical cabinet post supposedly being “unconstitutional.”

However, an administrative post with none or minimal policymaking responsibility as cited in the above article, aroused skepticism in the minds of certain members prompting them to an all out campaign against the adequately qualified and nationally as well as internationally prominent candidate with White House experience, reveals the true colors of Washington Politics.

Last fall, history was made for a reason. People of the human race overwhelmingly came together  to convey a loud and clear message…

It is no longer the “red states” or the “blue states”, but it is the United States of America.

Apparently, like everything else it is being regarded a catchy campaign slogan rather than embracing and most importantly practicing to keep democracy alive.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant