Hi I'm Todd Watson, an Independent candidate running for United States Senate.

Our party platform has three key philosophies compared to a traditional campaign agenda. First, we believe that the party system in Washington is broken. Second, we believe in a foundational return to the spiritual heritage of our country. Third, we believe it is time government act selfless and not selfish with the future of this country.

We have great passion to be part of a larger movement under God of real change in this country. Enjoy the site and let’s MOVE! Learn why all individuals who interviewed Todd of the York County GOP leadership committee endorsed Todd Watson for US Senate.

This site is designed to give you the information you need quickly while yet thorough enough to move the dialogue of the debate to “How” from “What”. “Todd’s Stances” has quick positional stances (read the bold if you have no time). Second, we have three Philosophies with quick excerpts to learn more about our beliefs. Finally, we thoroughly blog on any given topic to give those passionate about a subject details they can depend on. The details in these blogs gives you a roadmap to solving problems and details on specific views. You will rarely find disclosure of this level of detail as well as belief structures. Campaigns want to be general to appeal to the most voters. We fundamentally believe in giving specific guidance to move the debate forward and show we are serious about solving problems–not being popular.

Thanks for your support!

The Watson Campaign Team

Lowering Healthcare Costs Part II: The Medical Loss Ratio – Incenting Higher Rates

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loss_ratio

When you look at the Medical Loss Ratio policy you really have to question how our current policy leaders think. This provision in Healthcare is one of the most troublesome to me but most popular (due to the false joy of rebate checks).  The ratio is simple—it requires health insurance companies to pay 80% to 85% of their premiums on health related procedures. They have to pay overhead, commissions, and make their profit on 15% to 20% of the premium.  What they don’t spend has to be refunded to customers.  Sounds good on the cover.  We want health insurance companies paying for medical procedures not fat bonuses for executives.  Rebate checks in the mail the first year—beautiful.

Not so fast my friends (my apologies to Lee Corso)!  Let’s look at the backdrop of the problem before the Affordable Care Act and then we will shift our focus to the Medical Loss Ratio to discover why these rebate checks are fooling the American public that they are getting a better deal.

The backdrop to the Medical Loss Ratio law should be understood.  Historically, we have so little competition in our markets.  These insurance companies have to go through plenty of hurdles and red tape just to be able to offer insurance in a certain state (this costs money and is passed on in your premiums).  Health providers work their lobbies hard to set minimum offering levels at the state level for insurance companies to operate under.  It takes a slew of administrators and actuaries to work through the legislation and new requirements.  Big companies can afford these professionals—small companies are at a disadvantage.

Second, setting up networks and negotiating rates takes time.  Large health insurance companies have the networks and resources to overcome the large upfront costs and regulations to exist.  Smaller and new insurance companies have a distinct disadvantage and thus you historically see very few new providers in any given state.  This system needs fixing (primarily through reducing red tape regulation) to invite more competition.  Competition is the key to lower prices.

The Second Problem:  Under this backdrop of few companies with large payouts–the new medical loss ratio is created.  The medical loss ratio may be the most dangerous and short sided law that is going to and has already started created doom in health insurance rates.  Most everyone has woken up to the fact that the Affordable Care Act is not affordable with the medical loss ratio being part of the problem.  The problem is only going to get worse.

New and small insurance providers can’t take the risk to enter the market on 15% to 20% margin (especially when sales people have to be paid out of that 15% to 20% to sell the new plan).  This game is set up for the big companies to continue to thrive.  This monopoly of providers is dangerous to medical providers as well as subscribers.  This rule poises the market for massive premium and provider service rate increases.

If you are in the business of making money and you can only make $1 dollar on $5 dollars charged–what incentive do you have to control costs?  You don’t.  Would you rather charge $5 and make $1 or charge $10 and make $2?  Providers want $10 to be charged so they can make $2.

I was talking with my good friend who is a Chiropractor here in Lincoln.  He told me how the insurance company has already asked him to raise his price.  They believe his rates are too low.  They told him they would like to show their company is offering a bigger benefit in savings to their consumers by having their insurance show a bigger discrepancy in the price to payout.  This is partially true but it should be noted they want a bigger rate as well to increase their premiums to increase profits.  These insurance companies have no stake in the game to keep prices lower (especially when everyone is forced to buy it).   We have insurance companies putting the pressure on to make prices rise (when prices are already astronomically high) so they can make more money.  We need more insurance companies in the market who are free to operate to work at putting together packages that keep the price down while yet insuring a healthy profit (not an evil word).  Better yet, we need consumers making this choice on the smaller items without insurance and leaving insurance for the bigger items only (part of what is happening with astronomical deductibles).  In fact, we should empower individuals to negotiate their own cash price and allow that negotiated price to be applied to their deductibles.

For those who like examples, I can speak to buying a brace for my back.  The parts provider specifically asked if I was paying cash or using insurance.  The price is triple under insurance then cash as the game is set up for them to flourish under insurance.  This higher rate stimulation hurts our system.  We have put this incentive into play with the medical loss ratio and it hurts consumers.

Controlling costs is the biggest problem with today’s insurance companies (topic for another time).     The marketplace and healthcare policy has to be setup to the point where cost control is an important element to profitability for insurance companies.    Limited options in hospitals and insurance companies is a problem to achieving this goal.  We need to debate how to make markets work where emergency and hospital services are limited.  There is wisdom outside of this paper on the debate but that is for another place and time.  However, these debates should be listened too.

I believe capitalism works in lowering prices.  We need more competition in healthcare.  We need more insurance companies competing for your dollar to keep costs down.  We need to create a streamlined marketplace in insurance to encourage more entities to enter the market.   Excessive regulation hurts competition in the marketplace and the medical loss ratio incents poor price negotiating behavior by the industry.  These two punches are hurting the market and the Affordable Care Act is the knock-out blow.

The Affordable Care Act needs to be repealed.  Democrats need to understand this country does not want to be socialist and needs to start changing their ideological approach.  However, the Republicans better get off their duff and get serious about working the capitalistic system.  We discussed the problem of Republicans taking drug company money (3 to 1 to the Democrats) to the destruction of the Medicare system—(see first blog on Lowering Healthcare costs where our country pays double than any other developed country for the same drug).  Taking negotiation rights of buyers of drugs (the government in the case of Medicare) is about as socialist as you get and that was a Republican controlled Congressional bill.  They better get out of the special interest pockets and fight for a system that doesn’t play favorites.   Our people cannot afford either of these two non-free market systems anymore.  Capitalism works but don’t look at historical Republicans to find them working that system.   Being paid off with lobby money to work for an industry should not be part of capitalism either.

The system needs an overhaul.  We need to bring back a marketplace to the system and discuss the appropriate way to solve the health care crisis for those with preexisting conditions (probably through the old Medicaid system).

Let’s craft commonsense solutions that work!

This blog is not meant to solve the whole healthcare system in one paper.   However, it is one backward policy we thought we would highlight to show we are serious in attacking the healthcare problem.

Tort reform and published prices will have to be discussed another day.  However, this is just one more example of how Todd Watson for U.S. Senate in Nebraska is serious about attacking the problem of healthcare costs.  Proposals and solutions not tag lines.  We are here to discuss, debate, lead, and solve problems.  We are not here to pitch popular emotional taglines without details to be elected.

Please change your voting behavior as well.  Think Independent.  Be a problem solver!  We need your support to attack problems not be a part of the problem.  All the best Nebraska!

Posted in Healthcare | By

The New GOP Message – Building the case for Todd Watson for Senate!

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304753504579280084264850074

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas.  We are getting back into the groove today with our writing and will be hitting the campaign trail again next week.   We are thankful for the incredible numbers we are pulling the last 3 weeks.  We thank you!  Keep the grassroots effort up!

Today’s article continues to build my case and should continue to sway conservatives that the Republican Party is no place to be electing a conservative to represent your values this next year.  Some of my quotes are coming from the print edition as opposed to the online message above.

The percentage of people who express negative feelings towards the party is at a 23 year high of 48%.  Shocking on why the party is in disarray and compromising values to get back to “popular” again.   You can read the article for your own consumption but let me make a few observations on the article.

“The Republican “LEADERS” (again not to beat a dead horse but this is why I can’t go Republican) and their corporate allies have launched an array of efforts aimed at diminishing the clout of the party’s most conservative activists and promoting legislation instead of confrontation next year.  GOP House leaders are taking steps to impose discipline on wavering committee chairmen and tea-party factions.  Meanwhile, major donors and advocacy groups………….are preparing an aggressive effort to groom and support more centrist Republican candidates for Congress in 2014’s midterm elections.”

Translation—if you are not going to pull the centrist party line you will not be placed into powerful positions in the party.  Second, limiting the tea-party faction.  This is a direct assault on the “balanced budget” people.  This message was received in the house and it is why you had roughly 75% of the House supporting the latest budget that did nothing to work us towards balance.  Principles die easy when you value your party power positioning/support over your convictions.  This is why you need to vote candidates with conservative principles outside of the party.

The more you give this party power—the more you are not going to achieve your goals.  Nebraskans are clear—we want a balanced budget.   In my opinion, the Republicans have nothing to give up and that is why the party wants a “centrist” message.  I’m open to compromise on how we get to a balanced budget but I’m not willing to compromise to a message of not balancing the budget.  The reality is this country needs to give on both sides of the isle and sacrifice.  People who are familiar with my material know I’m critical of the party power fighting that goes on.  Let’s look at what John Boehner is threatening his own party members with:

“In the run-up to the budget vote, Mr. Boehner’s deputies warned chairmen who were tempted to oppose the deal that doing so could jeopardize their committee posts.”

Translation—pull the party line of the budget (poor compromise—see previous posts) or be prepared to lose your party power positioning.  Talk about putting party members in a choke hold!  Friends, we need conservatives free from this party to get something done.   Their party is going to erode their positioning to get their new “recast message” out and elected to the White House.

Let’s move on, the next quote is from the print edition of the WSJ on A4.

“Six chairmen had voted against an initial version (see earlier farm bill post where we cite the original bill was better than the second) of a farm bill earlier in the year, causing the legislation to collapse on the House floor.”  It is amazing to me that our farm lobby is continually fooled to support the Republican Party.  Call your trade groups and ask what party they support and why?  Ask them if they are aware of the record of the party leaders with the farm bill. Give them a wake-up call!  The Republican committee leaders killed the farm bill earlier in the year. 

Finally, the rest of the article dives into money issue after money issue.  They have the majority of American’s passions there.  However, I’m comfortable in standing on my own in this issue.  The change in our country is going to happen when we put our emphasis on God and not money.  I’m not saying economic policy is unimportant—it is very important.  We will spend plenty of time debating economic policy but I will not let the message of returning to our spiritual heritage be overshadowed.  Declaring the order of what is important is a statement we need to make and I want to be clear we need God’s strong hand on our country to make this place work.  Again, I can’t control what people believe but I can declare my underlying belief to that message of God dependence.  I can go toe to toe on money as one that has worked in the private sector as an entrepreneur and CPA for my working life.  However, let me be the first to say our return to our spiritual heritage and an ethic of hard work is going to lead us back—not policy.

Friends, you are not going to lose your conservative ideals with me.   You may have candidates that support conservative values but remember their own party is going to be fighting their influence—just read the article for yourself. Please vote for Watson!  This is a vote for principled conservative convictions without the obsession with and freedom from political party power.

Posted in Accountability, Bipartisan Compromise, Budget Cuts, Distrust of Parties, Nebraska Interest, Religious Liberty, Tea Party | By

Merry Christmas Nebraska!

Isiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Merry Christmas Nebraska!

Posted in Uncategorized | By

Know Your Role!

My wife has been amazing this campaign in picking up the slack as we visit numerous people, communicate the campaign, and write on important policy.  Sometimes I can get so narrowly focused on what I’m doing that I can miss being a part of bigger things God is doing that day.  I’m thankful He can still tap me on the shoulder so I don’t miss it.   I was reminded today in prayer…sometimes you need to be the leader and sometimes you need to be the follower.

If we are fixing a car….better be a follower.  If we are building policy….better be a leader.

In my wife’s case she is amazing with hospitality.  To be fair I would not know how to throw a good party even if it hit me upside the head.  If we win this election I have bad news for you…..it has the potential to be the worst election party in the history of mankind.  Thankfully for you….it will not be planned by me and we will have a good time!

The gift of hospitality is amazing and something God has not revealed to me.  One of my less complicated questions I ask God is –“How does this hospitality gift work?….I don’t have a clue God”.  I’m still waiting for the answer….I’ve got a feeling it may be one of those items He reveals after I’m gone.

Long story short, my wife has it and we are the best team with opposite spiritual gifting.  As we descend on this Christmas week and friends and family gather here in Lincoln from all over the country, we are slowing down to remember our Savior and be with our family and friends. The closeness of family and friends is important to our family and I pray for each of you to have that special time with your loved ones and our amazing Savior, if you believe.

For some people the holidays can be the roughest time of year.  I pray for His peace and hope to descend on you this Holiday.  Our family personally wants you to know we are thinking of you too.  Although fortunate to be a part of a loving family, we have been around those that struggle this time of year and empathize for those that feel pain.  We are praying for you.

Personally, I’ve been caught up a lot the last 3 months with the campaign and work but God let me know He needs more of my attention here this week to help my wife and my kids.  Her events, plans, and parties and time with others this week is going to make the difference — not me working on legal policy.   My job this week is to make sure I’m at her side making things happen with her plans like she makes things happen in my plans.  I’ll be toning down my work this week to aid in others making the difference for Christ this Christmas and to ensure our family breathes in the reason for the season.

Knowing your role is important.  Some think they need to be the leader all the time and in every single subject.  I think the smart leaders know to surround themselves with experts with a diversity of expertise and talents (like hospitality) to make the entirety of what we lead better.

When it comes to hospitality–I listen to my wife and take cues.

My wife makes eternal differences in people’s lives with her spiritual gifts and I need to support her this week.

God is big everyday — but isn’t a birthday just a little extra special!  Warm personal relationships make the difference during the Holidays–not proclamations of policy.  Hospitality should rightly trump legal policy this week and God will trump them all.

I know my role–I’m going to be the soldier this week and soak in the amazing birth of our Savior and the wonderful gift of family and friends!

I will write when time presents this week but I will have little time for big meetings.  I hope you do the same!

Have a Merry Christmas!  May God bless your Christmas and your New Year!

Todd

Posted in Religious Liberty | By

Healthcare Part I: Market Initiatives to Lower the Cost of Drugs

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/12/18/outrage-at-the-increasingly-high-cost-of-cancer-drugs/

Let me reiterate my position, I’m dead serious in attacking Healthcare costs.  I’ve received 2 e-mails mocking my healthcare cost line as if I’m saying the line to check the conservative box on passing the buck in Healthcare.  Let me rebuke these letters—I’m dead serious in lowering costs–I have ideas and plans.  I believe it can be done.

I don’t believe in defeating the Affordable Care Act (which I stand against) is good enough for our Healthcare system.  We must push forward with proper reforms to get the cost of healthcare down and make the system affordable to more people.  I hope you enjoy this read–it is another specific example and not a tag line this campaign is committed to providing.  Other campaigns say what you want to hear.  This campaign has original thought, the guts to stand for tough positions, and the desire to change things for the better.

Let’s look at one detailed drug example and one overarching piece of legislation that is one step (big step) to lower costs.

Above is a story done by ABCnews on the cost of a specific cancer drug that the expert calls “game changing”.  This drug is vital for the survival of their patients.

First off, I completely understand these sentiments people have.  However, we must also be appreciative of these companies and their scientists.  They gave people the opportunity to live!

There is one sentence that stuck out to me in the story – “Sprycel and other top-tier cancer drugs cost twice as much in the United States as they do in parts of Europe, China, Canada and the United Kingdom, where the government sets a limit on pricing.”  There is no doubt the American drug consumer is being ripped off or subsidizing the drugs of the world.

Read that again.  Our government (usually subsidizing the drugs through Medicare) pays twice what most other developed countries of the world pay.  The reason–lobbying.

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2013/02/11/12175/opinion-big-pharmas-stranglehold-washington

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharmaceutical_lobby

$2.6 billion of lobbying money has been spent in congress from 1998 to 2012.  According to Wikipedia, drug companies give money on a 3 to 1 scale to Republicans.  What do they get in return?  In 2003 when the Republicans had complete control (thanks in part to generous campaign contributions from the drug companies) they passed the Medicare Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003.  Legislation was expanded in 2006 (last year of dominant Republican Control).  This legislation stripped the rights of Medicare to negotiate with the drug companies. Card carrying capitalists like me believe in giving buyers negotiating rights.   Why would the Republicans take that away from the buyer (that is a rhetorical question–lobbying is the answer)?  Don’t buy the lie that this is a socialist action.  Governments negotiate prices on a lot of things–period.  Negotiation is part of a Capitalistic system–the Republicans should know better.  Why on earth would we take that power away (second rhetorical question)?

The results of this legislation prevents the government from negotiating prices with drug companies.   Buyers need to negotiate prices and the citizens of this country need their pocketbooks spoken for.  Again, you can settle for a big money politician but you are going to pay for it in everything you buy–especially healthcare.  The CBO estimates that we can save $112 BILLION if Medicare could negotiate prices.  This would help reduce the sacrifice our older Americans would have to make to Medicare to return the program to long term solvency.  This would reduce the cost of drugs to us all.

As a point of emphasis – Drugs are not Doctors.  Products and services are different.  Please do not parlay this stance on puchasing drugs to pricing Doctors.  They have very different purchasing behavior decisions.  We will address this in a later topic.

We need a business plan with Medicare to deal with these drug companies and we need drug prices in all plans in this country that reflect the world rate.  I believe the government should pay the average rate the drug company charges the rest of the world–no more, no less.

Back to the one drug example—If $50k for the drug Sprycel works in Britain — $50k should be acceptable here.   I respect the drug companies’ ability to make money but they are not going to take the American buyer for a ride to subsidize the world system if I have anything to say about it.

The cost of the drug is the drug companies business.  However, they should price their drug to the world (especially the developed world) at an equivalent market rate.  If the drug company is willing to sell the product to Britain for $50,000 that is clear evidence that this is an acceptable price for our citizens to be paying.  I’m personally not walking off the car lot and paying double than the guy next to me.  I will not let the United States subsidize these companies any more than any other world citizen.  If the facts of the story are true, which I believe they are, we would reduce the cost of Sprycel by $50,000 per year per patient if we paid the average world rate over what the government pays.

As your Senator — I would repeal the horrendous legislation passed by the Republican controlled congress.  Republicans should be the first to know you don’t eliminate negotiating rights of buyers in a capitalistic system.  Passing a tab of $112 billion (for one decade) to the American taxpayer for $2.8 billion in political contributions is an embarassment.  We need the party to understand how true business should function.  The first step Republicans need to understand is negotiating price is a basic tool in America that supports Capitalism.

I did a little more research on the drug and the company claims on Sprycel.  They have issued more than 175,000 prescriptions the last 8 years.  If we do our math this is roughly 22k prescriptions of Sprycel per year (assuming year 1 was like year 8).  If we were to save $50,000 per prescription (assuming a prescription lasts 1 year)–this would save the American taxpayer (assuming Medicare picks up all the tab) $1.1 billion a year and cut the cost of this particular drug IN HALF!  This is only one drug for 22k people!  Imagine what we could do if we expanded negotiation across a broad range of drugs that affect the majority of the 314 million Americans!

The government should not be in the business of setting prices–that is the drug companies’ job.  However, the government should not be in the business of being taken advantage of either.  The Medicare system must be able to negotiate.  If the market rate to the world is 50k then this country should pay 50k through Medicare or private insurance.  This country is a bulk buyer and we should not be paying more than smaller bulk buyers of other developed countries.

I realize 50k is still a lot of money for the drug.  I don’t want to come across as ignorant to the staggering cost of these powerful drugs.  However, I wanted to hammer home a point — We can save money by implementing common sense pricing strategies and repealing legislation spearheaded by the Republican party.  You do not need to accept these prices from these insurance companies and/or government as gospel.  The world works a better deal and it is time we do the same.  At the same time liberals who love the socialist approach should recognize that true capitalism can lower Healthcare costs.  This failure to lower costs is the massive reason why the Affordable Care Act fails!  The misconception is that the Republicans are going to attack lowering healthcare costs as well.  They are deeply in the pockets of the drug companies.

I’m dead serious in attacking the problem and I thought this example that took 2 hours of work would save over $1 billion on one drug and $112 billion for Medicare on a variety of drugs.  Think what I can do as your Senator for your pocketbook if you give me the full time job!  I need your help today to fight this battle to serve you.  I need people to get off their duff and really put this campaign to work if you want to see a change in Washington.

How much more could we save if we seek a better price on all our drugs–not just Medicare drugs?

This is where you come in…It is first going to take the voter to remove the big money candidates that oblige the drug company money to get elected.  People voting for big money candidates just contribute to the problem.  These Senators and parties on the whole support the interests that support them.  Voters get mad and complain about Washington but they can just blame themselves as far as I’m concerned if they don’t vote or do not change.  They are ignorant to vote for these big money party guys.  It is going to take the electorate to wise up and vote for an Independent candidate that doesn’t take the big party money from the big money industries.

As your Senator, I will work for the common interest of all and not the interests of my political contributors.  I can save the country a lot of money, but I need the voter to change their behavior first.  I can’t help you unless you help me.  I need you in this campaign shaking hands, signing the petition, giving your time, sharing and liking these posts, giving your talent and money to the campaign.  Please do more than read and consume.  This campaign needs you to give of yourself to grow the message.

I need you to quit believing big money party candidates are going to improve this country.  Your big money politicians and parties are funded by these drug companies.  How else do you think price gouging is allowed to continue?

I implore you to get your head out of the ads and into the details of governing.  You can ask me if I have the $10 million to win.  I’m going to ask you if you have the brains to know what you are paying out of your own pocket if you vote big party/money guys in.  You are going to have to be brave and act/vote different.  The failure of our government and system is on the voter if they don’t change.  I believe we can make a big difference in the lives of all Americans.  I need you to volunteer for this campaign today.  I will not win alone.  I need backers like you stepping up to volunteer, give, promote and campaign!

Vote Watson for United States Senate! Vote Independent!

Posted in Healthcare | By