Friday, August 31, 2012

10 Important Steps To Maintaining Your Valuable Networking Contacts

Many people spend hours mingling with other professionals or business owners during networking events, trade fairs or business conferences. You may collect a wallet full of business cards, but do you ever contact them once the event has finished? If not, you're certainly not alone. You may not feel comfortable dialing the number of a new contact without having anything to say.

Hence, I'm going to discuss some steps you should follow so you can utilise these valuable contacts at a later date. You have to remember that the steps you take before you actually follow up will determine how easy or difficult the task will be. If you want your new contacts to be available when you need them, take heed to the following 10 steps:

1. Direct Your Conversation To Meaningful Topics

Remember, you normally have a very limited amount of time to chat with other conference participants. Hence, you don't want to waste any time discussing non-important issues such as the weather. You can spend a few minutes breaking the ice, at which point you should move to more important topics. This will enable you to maximise your time spent with as many event participants as possible.

2. Inquire About Their Professional Interests & Goals

If you find initial conversations with strangers a bit awkward, you can always ask a question about the event you are attending. This will not only break the ice, but also lead the conversation in the direction you want. Two useful examples are "What did you find the most useful point you learned from today's conference"? or "What are you hoping to learn from today?" These types of questions will pave the way for more general questions such as their other goals or their profession.

3. Create An Excuse to Follow Up Soon After The Event

Another helpful tool is to create a reason for you to contact any new people you meet during a business event. For example, listen closely to the other person and advise them that you would be happy to send them a suggestion, call them with relevant contact information or email them a recommendation. This will make it much easier to contact individuals because they will be expecting to hear from you.

4. Create A Follow Up Reason That Creates Added Value

Make sure you find a reason to contact the other person that will actually add value to them, rather than just benefiting you. Hence, there is no point sending a person you recently met your company brochure or resume unless they have specifically requested these documents.

5. Obtain A Business Card With Complete Contact Information

Don't risk losing valuable contact information when networking by scribbling names, email addresses or telephone numbers on the nearest available slip of paper. You should always request a business card so you have many available methods to contact them.

6. Write Notes On The Back Of Your Own Business Cards

Instead of jotting down notes on the back of someone else's business card, try the reverse tactic. Make sure to write down some ideas or specifics that you will follow up with on the back of your own business card. This will jog the other person's memory when you decide to contact them at a later date. This is also an effective method of making you stand out in a crowd.

7. Make Sure You Contact Them Within 2 Business Days

If possible, you should follow up with your networking contacts within 2 business days. If you will be away for a few more days, make sure to call or email as soon as you return to your office. If you plan to be away for at least a week, you can send a short email message to explain that you enjoyed meeting them and will follow up when you return.

8. Don't Start Off Asking For A Lot

You risk scaring off new contacts if you start requesting big favours. Wait until you have established a more solid connection. Minor requests such as the name of a great real estate agent generally aren't a problem. However, larger requests such as an introduction to the head of their company or access to main customers should wait. Very few people are willing to risk their professional reputation for an individual they have recently met.

9. Continue To Add Value Whenever You Connect

If you establish yourself as an individual who continually adds value, you will quickly build up an extensive network of contacts. Continue to send information on relevant areas or offer your assistance if someone needs help or has a question. Another great way to build up your contacts is to send people customers who genuinely wish to purchase their service or product.

10. Be Specific & Provide Context When You Ask

When you're finally ready to request a favour or information, make sure you specify exactly what you require. Explain that you felt they would be the best person to contact. This reveals that you have taken the time to deliberately contact them which will increase your likelihood of receiving a favourable response.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Business Cash Advance - The Finest Solution To Combat Your Financial Crisis

Business cash advance have acquired immense popularity in the market and now are one of the mainstream resources in small business funding sector. A business cash advance can be an eminent way for a company to get the funding it needs and pay the lender in a timely manner. It provides the power to produce even more benefits. When the company cannot finance more development or chooses not to deal with more bank loans, the simplicity of a cash advance can be sought.

Business cash advance is the fast type of small business financing. A business cash advance will allow a company to obtain fast funding for purchases that are urgently required. In order to measure up for a cash advance, a business required only accepts credit cards as a form of customer payment for services. This is a general means of payment for any purchase; most companies can be eligible for business cash advances without any trouble.

An exemplary unsecured business cash advance refunded from future sales transactions through credit card purchases. There is no particular refund plan, repayment occurs automatically and follows your business revenue flow. Always ensure that you address the right lending institution, so that you don't get trapped. Collect as much information as possible and consult with your peers while accepting an unsecured loan for the progress of your business.

A company can savor freedom from the fuss of applying for traditional bank loans, struggling to repay a loan with high interest in a short amount of time, or damaging personal or company credit by risking yet another loan. A business cash advance is much less financially demanding and provide more peace of mind for the owner than the typical, high interest bank loan when based solely on already receivable capital.

The advantages of business cash advances are like application amount not required, no hidden fees; no closing costs, no financial statements, no tax returns and fixed payments are not required. In some cases it is a very minimal charge or fees. Else no expenses are required. The disadvantages of business cash advances are like high application fees, hidden fees in the small print that add up to thousands of dollars, high closing costs, your business financial statements are open to the business cash advance provider and high fixed payments every month regardless of your business cash flow.

There are specifications in a business cash advance that have to be respected even with a famous cash advance lending company. You want to have a lender that is versatile and responsive to your monthly traffic volumes and cash flow. For lenders requiring more documents on tax returns and financial statements it takes a few weeks instead of few days. You do not want to be stuck with a heavy payment every month when your small or medium business has slow or seasonal months to postulate with.

If you do indeed handle your business in a well manner to produce a strong cash flow in the future, you will easily pay off your business cash advance.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Payday Loans - No Need To Wait Till Your Next Pay Slip

We often constrict ourselves from participating in expenditure pertaining either to clearing bills or purchasing goods till our company credits our account with the next pay slip. A suitable and implausible solution to our recurring financial confinement lies in availing the advantages payday loans. These instant payday advance not only supply the borrowers with requisite cash, but also supply the borrowers with a tension free mind as the inevitability to think twice before engaging yourself financially is annulled via payday loans in UK.

instant payday loans are versatile and can be put to use for paying up overdue credit card dues, certain imperative purchases and household bills. Certain features of payday loans online, flexibility concerning the sum one can borrow up to and reimbursement options make these payday loans accessible by borrowers belonging to all sections of society.

As said before, there lies a high degree of flexibility attached with the borrowing amount, as these are small term advances. A smaller amount of money requirement can be accomplished by borrowing small amount of money starting from 80 till an upper limit of 1500. Reimbursement of such payday loans in 1 hour is obligatory to be completed within 1 to 30 days of the procurement of the money advance. Nevertheless, it is in the view of the lender to resort to severe legal action if the borrower is unable to execute the repayment as per the terms and conditions.

payday loans come with a bag full of benefits. The borrower can easily apply for such an advance and be certain about its prompt approval as the entire procedure is concise and time efficient. With the latest option of online transactions and fax less grants, payday advances are just a tick away on the net. The eligibility criteria are not rigid either .There are only four conditions the borrower must fulfill in order to avail payday loans.

The eligibility criterion spells the following four conditions. First and primarily, the beneficiary of payday loans must have UK citizenship. Secondly, the borrower should have completed 18 years on the date of applying for the loan. Thirdly, the concerned person must have a serviceable bank account in his/her name. Last of all, he/she must be an employee of a stable organization or owner.

Payday loans can now be transacted in the form of online transactions as well. So all you need is a net connection and a few seconds before your bank account is credited with instant credit.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Green Nicotine

GreenNicotine runs on the new, revolutionary, and award-winning camera allowing you someone to "smoke" in an other way.

What exactly is GreenNicotine?

In the past 14 months, the c's behind Green Nicotine have been product testing, and researching, possibly an alternative choice to smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes and is particularly currently introducing a ground breaking electronic "smoking" delivery device.

Will be Refill Cartridge?

GreenNicotine refill cartridges contain small quantities of nicotine together flavoring and common food additives that are in many of today's foods and medicines. Each refill cartridges is the same as two packs of traditional tobacco cigarettes. The refill cartridges appear in three with the world's hottest flavors; Western, Oriental, and Mint. The refill cartridges contain nicotine. All flavors can be purchased in high nicotine content (15mg) and medium nicotine content (10mg). Nicotine is usually a highly addictive natural alkaloid substance extracted from tobacco leaves and other plants that might contain nicotine. Oahu is the main substances that will make smokers enslaved by the smoking. During smoking, the nicotine enters the blood throughout the lungs within 7 to 9 seconds and various physiological reactions occur maybe a calming or even a happier mood experienced the smoker. The refill cartridges have the freedom from harmful substances for instance tar, carbon monoxide, and a large number of the chemicals related to traditional cigarette smoking. The virulence, or poison testing, to the refill cartridges conducted by many authoritative organizations has positively demonstrated safety of your ingredients.

Does a person desire a lighter make use of GreenNicotine?

No! GreenNicotine does not need a lighter. It does not possess a flame and cannot cause a fire as being a traditional cigarette.

Learn how to activate the GreenNicotine?

The microchip inside GreenNicotine runs a classy computer program that automatically turns the unit on once it has sensed a drag with the user.

How often do I need to charge the battery?

Battery own life is determined by how heavily it truly is used. In the event you smoke one and a half packs of traditional cigarettes per day, your battery should last you till early evening. Every GreenNicotine core kit incorporates two batteries. Simply, replace the used battery and continue "smoking".

Could there be a warranty while using the purchase?

Yes! GreenNicotine has a 6-month "limited" warranty on each of the parts. The warranty covers any manufacturer defects and it's void if defect is caused by user misuse. This warranty is outlined inside your owner's manual. GreenNicotine strongly suggests that all users thoroughly read their owner's manual previous to use of the product.

Is Nicotine damaging to my health?

Nicotine is really a stimulant similar to caffeine, but is more addictive. It is GreenNicotine is only appropriate for current smokers. Just like any stimulants, an individual should set personal limitations. However, GreenNicotine would wish to have the user conscious of nicotine itself is not a carcinogen. Some studies have shown, nicotine might make anyone more alert, focused, can enhance memory, to make the user 50 percent not as likely to get Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's. Nicotine can have its benefits, yet it offers also shown zinc improves blood pressure. As with all drug, seek professional guidance in advance of consuming.

Will be "smoke" that's released in the GreenNicotine?

The "smoke" that's released from GreenNicotine is a harmless vapor that evaporates via a flight in seconds. The vapor is virtually odorless. GreenNicotine leaves no residue rising, and results in no second-hand smoke.

Does GreenNicotine have a taste?

The taste of GreenNicotine resembles traditional tobacco flavors, but tastes much smoother and cleaner as there is no tobacco burning; therefore, tars, additives and other chemicals aren't released eliminating any bitter taste of your traditional cigarette.

May i use GreenNicotine anywhere?

Yes! Smoking bans do not affect GreenNicotine because it's not much of a tobacco product; therefore, it is often deemed 100% legal to get smoked in public areas since it won't release any second-hand smoke, only harmless vapor. However, please be courteous and respectful whenever using GreenNicotine in public places. Be willing to explain, and demonstrate, your unit doesn't contain tobacco, produce smoke, or fire.

Can anyone use GreenNicotine?

No! GreenNicotine is intended for uses by current smoking adults. GreenNicotine hasn't been evaluated through the U.S. Food. Statements made about GreenNicotine goods are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. GreenNicotine merchandise is simply an alternative choice to traditional smoking cigarettes. It is not designed or intended, being a stopping smoking device. GreenNicotine merchandise is suitable for use by persons of legal smoking age, not by nonsmokers or children, people sensitive to propylene glycol, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or persons with or in danger of cardiac arrest, high blood pressure levels, diabetes, or taking medicine for depression or asthma.

Is it possible to not spend as much using GreenNicotine?

Do the math!!! Whenever you find the initial GreenNicotine Basic starter kit, you will be paying .56 per pack equal to traditional tobacco cigarettes. Should you be looking to save cash, reduce your chemical intake, or possess the freedom to smoke anywhere, then its easy. GreenNicotine provides a chance to accomplish all three. So, Stop reading, start ordering, and commence relocating an alternative direction.GreenNicotine.The new method to smoke.smoke free.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Difference Between Online Payday Loans and Bank Loans

There are so many people trying to get a loan these days and a lot of them neither don't know where to get one nor have no clue which is the best one that suit for their situation. So if that is the case then you must continue reading this article for more details. We all know that there is no "free lunch" in this world and you have to work hard to find the right thing for yourself. But before that, you have to do a little bit of research and make yourself familiar with the market and educated yourself as well. Let's say we are going to borrow a loan, so which loan is best for us? Bank loan or online payday loans? what is the difference between them and what are the drawbacks of each? Let us explain it in details here.

For people who want to get a easy payday loans must understand what actually it is and how it can benefit yourself. First of all, this is not a bank loan and you can't treat it as a bank loan either. It is a type of short-term loan that can offer you simple and quick cash in a very short period of time in just one business day. Secondly, there is no complicated process and no fax required. All you have to do is to fill out an online simple and quick application and it takes less than 5 minutes to complete. All you have to do is that, simple! There is no commitment and you can pay off the online payday loans at any time. Make sure you have discussed this with your loan lenders to make sure you both agreed the terms and conditions before signing any agreements or contracts.

Sounds good of getting a advance payday loans huh. There are something more than that if you don't get a right and legit online payday loans company. Probably you may heard from someone that you know about how's their bad experience about easy payday loans such as having a high fee or interest that they didn't expect when they first sign the contract or something like the online payday loan lenders charge a big amount of pre-paid penalty if they pay off the loan earlier things like that. Once of the best ways to find a best lender is to ask someone that you know and see if they have use this type of loan before. Ask them if there is any easy payday loans company that they can refer you. Also, go online and search about the top 3 or 5 best advance payday loans company in the market, see how people rate it etc. Try to prepare and do some your own research before you actually go for one of these loan companies.

If you are in need of some cash then you should find no one but getting an advance payday loans. This is the best and easiest way that you can get the money fast without hassle. 100% online and secure. No more struggling and stress out, get what you need in just 24 hours and no more visiting the store and waiting in line. Find the right online payday loan lenders today.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Basic Things To Know About Cars

There are a few things to consider about cars. The first and most important of them is that they need gas in order to run. Being one of the most pressing issues these days, gas prices can reach a very high level, thus making people to give up driving their car in certain situations. The future looks promising, though, and the electric engine will soon replace the internal combustion engine.

Most of the time, people who complain about how much it costs to rent a car are actually unaware that they're able to obtain a discount. As such, they pay the full price and wind up thinking that travelling is something only for the well-to-do. They probably wouldn't grumble as much if they knew about car rental coupons.

Borrowing money has costs and you know it's not a cheap thing, but you don't have any other options. Having a clear idea of how much your loan is going to cost may be not so intuitive because there are fees, charges and the interest rates to consider.

You'll have to pay back more than what you got from the lender, that's the central concept of the entire mortgage industry. You'll be paying them back the amount you got plus interest rates and additional fees and charges.

Between a fixed rate mortgage or an adjustable rate mortgage loan there can be a huge difference in the long run in case interest rates are going to be adjusted a lot (and with such unstable markets you can bet on it).

Before purchasing car insurance, you need to know the basic facts about this complex topic as it poses a vocabulary that is unique to car insurance. This vocabulary makes understanding complex and makes it difficult for people to choose what is right.

It is always a good idea to think about what you will be using your rental car for before you make your choice. For example, if you are traveling for a family vacation, you will need something roomy and comfortable as opposed to something small and sporty

In Texas the minimum amount of liability insurance that you are required to carry to cover for bodily injuries you may cause is ,000.00 per person and ,000.00 per incident. You are also required to carry ,000.00 worth of insurance to cover any property damage you may cause.

Many people forget to research the factory stereo system provided in the car, before going out shopping for a new system. This is important for several reasons, but most importantly it's the size. When you remove the factory stereo, you'll want to find a stereo that has the same measurements. There are ways around this, but it could easily be avoided.

There are many features that can come with your stereo. There are all sorts of technology available. Again, these features will obviously help determine the price so decide what's most important to you.

All three companies make excellent products at very competitive prices. You can certainly buy a GPS system from anyone you choose. I just like to stay with the big companies. It's a personal decision. I want to make sure my device will be supported in the future.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

California Home Loan Mortgage Rates

If you have a few minutes, do read this article about California Home Loan Mortgage Rates. And believe us; these two minutes would be spent well. You won't be wasting them.
If you have been trying to find relevant information on California Home Loan Mortgage Rates, you have come to the right place. This article on California Home Loan Mortgage Rates is perhaps amongst the best written article on the topic and it is for you to make benefit out of it.

Reading articles is surely a very good way of increasing ones knowledge but for that you would have to search through a lot of trash. We think that some of your needs must have been satisfied through reading this article about California Home Loan Mortgage Rates.

The California Home Loan Mortgage Rates are low at this point of time. The California Home Loan Mortgage Rates are connected to the national interest rate and controlled by national housing market interest index. The national interest rate is controlled by secondary markets which are closely monitored by the Government since the whole economy depends on them. The economy at this time coupled with the housing market situation has brought about this change in California Home Loan Mortgage Rates.

The very fact that you are reading this article shows that you are interested in knowing about California Home Loan Mortgage Rates. Reading this article must have made you aware of the effort we have put into making this article worthwhile.

If you still feel that there was no need to read this article, we would have to concede that you truly know what all needs to known about California Home Loan Mortgage Rates, but if the answer is no, you must be glad of reading this article.

Home Loan Mortgage Rates in California do not rally appeal to a prospective buyer especially if he is from a different state. These rates can inject more frustration than excitement into his life since the cost of living in California is high in comparison to other states. It really takes a lot of intellect and skill to play around with different options to reduce interest rates and payments in order to make California Home Loan Mortgage Rates affordable.

Reading this article about California Home Loan Mortgage Rates must have made this clear to you that there are so many things that are generally not provided by your run of the mill articles.

The California Home Loan Mortgage Rates fluctuate daily. In order to get the feel of it, it is advisable to wait and watch and see the trend before making a decision. These mortgage rates come in with a variety of different options. There are interest only rates, standard fixed rates, adjustable rates and variable rates. All these rates have to be taken into account while making a decision in order to get the best rates possible.

Now when you are reading this article on California Home Loan Mortgage Rates you can yourself verify the veracity of our claim that we provide content in our articles and it should not be such a big thing but in comparison to what is generally presented on the net; that is a big thing for sure?

Interest only California home loan mortgage rates are the lowest since the buyer or borrower is paying only the interest component. This apparent low level of payment options makes it interesting and attractive to borrowers

A standard fixed mortgage rate gives the maximum security to the home buyer in freezing the interest rates, i.e. the interest rates will neither raise nor fall. They will have a consistent, preplanned repayment schedule throughout the loan term. The term comes in different sizes viz. 15, 20, 25, 30, or 40 years. A fixed California home loan mortgage rate follows the national housing interest index faithfully.

Mortgage rates that variable or adjustable carry a lower interest tag; normally 2%-3% lower than the fixed rates. They begin as fixed for a short period which is predetermined, usually 2, 3, 5, or 7 years, after which they start fluctuating in accordance with the current market California home loan mortgage rates. The borrower has certain options here; he can refinance for a new loan, sell the home, or start repayment of the new variable or adjustable rates. Buyers planning to invest in property for a short period often choose the variable or adjustable mortgage rate because of the lower payments they offer during the starting years of the loan.

Lower California home loan mortgage rates are always attractive to borrowers because they are mostly on the higher side due to higher cost of living. The best way to ensure a low California home loan mortgage rate is to possess a good to excellent credit score. These credit scores directly determine interest rates and the better the score, the lower the California home loan mortgage rate.

It is not that this article would land you up with a doctorate in California Home Loan Mortgage Rates. We just want to provide you with some common information about California Home Loan Mortgage Rates.
This article was just an effort to make you interested in California Home Loan Mortgage Rates and now it is for you to improve your knowledge about California Home Loan Mortgage Rates as much as you can.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Seeking Va Home Loan With Bad Credit: The Major Considerations

Veterans are not immune to financial difficulties. In fact, they face arguably more difficult challenges than we do since they must first adjust to life outside the military, establishing a new career etc. So, when it comes to seeking a mortgage, the challenge can be very big. Thankfully, the ability to secure VA home loans with bad credit offers a solution.

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) was established to help military veterans returning from conflict to return to civilian life, and finance is a major part of their efforts. With their support, veterans have a far better chance of getting approval, despite bad credit scores, and to ultimately buy the home they want.

What is more, because of the terms available, they are much more affordable than their civilian equivalent. Remember, the VA does not issue mortgages, only underwrites them. Nevertheless, a VA home loan still offers veterans and their families highly attractive options.

Qualifying for a VA Mortgage

It is no surprise that those seeking to secure a VA home loan with bad credit need to be former members of one of the branches of the military - either the US Army, Marines, Navy or Air Force, or the Home Guard, Reserves or Coast Guard. But there is more to it than that.

Applicants also need to have at least a respectable credit history. For example, prior to the date of the application, they cannot have defaulted on a loan for 12 months, or have been declared bankrupt for at least 24 months. To secure approval despite bad credit, the veteran needs to convince the lender, but the lenders is not the VA.

There are special circumstances considered too, with bankruptcy that was brought on by circumstances beyond the control of the applicant not viewed as seriously as bankruptcy caused by poor money management. A debt settlement does not affect the chances of getting a VA home loan.

Credit Scores Are Limited

Of course, there are ways to greatly improve the likelihood of securing a VA home loan with bad credit, with increasing the credit score one of the most effective. Taking out some smaller personal loans, and repaying them in full very quickly, has a definite benefit to these scores. Each time a loan is cleared, regardless of the amount, it pushes the score upwards,

If a bankruptcy exists on a credit record, as soon as the discharge is received, notify the credit rating agencies so they can remove it from the record. They will then increase the score to reflect the removal of that debt. Remember that getting approval despite bad credit is easier with a higher score.

Also, opening two secured credit card accounts, each with just small balances is another way to vastly improve credit ratings. Of course, paying the balances immediately after they are used is essential. Then getting better terms on a VA home loan is possible.

Secured Credit Cards

As mentioned, secured credit cards can help in securing a VA home loan with bad credit. But it is worth noting that the terms available from a VA mortgage make approval despite bad credit much more probable.

VA home loans come with terms where 25% of the mortgage is guaranteed by the VA. Because just 75% of the mortgage is unsecured, the interest rates are lower, and the repayments are more affordable. So, even with a slightly improved credit score, the savings compared to a normal mortgage deal can be huge.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Switch to CIGNA, The Lesser of Two Evils

Last year, the Miami-Dade County School Board, faced with a 13% increase in premiums from United Healthcare (who offered larger discounts than any other insurer in exchange for the district using them to cover all health plans offered to employees), tried to pass off a large chunk of those costs onto employees. Backlash from employees was swift and indignant; after all, getting the promised raise would be meaningless if all of it went to cover health insurance costs that had not previously been paid out-of-pocket. As a result, employees kept their health insurance plans at no extra out-of-pocket cost, and were denied their promised raises.

This year, the situation looks even worse. United Healthcare is raising premiums by 22% over last year--making last year's 13% increase look like small potatoes. The only other insurance company willing to negotiate anything less is CIGNA. Going with CIGNA is no bargain, mind you; it will still cost the district 16% more than the current rates.

But, forced to choose between the lesser of two evils (two evils being the only choices at all for the district), M-DCPS is, understandably, opting for the 16%-increase evil over the 22%-increase evil.

While details are still being ironed out, the teachers' union, United Teachers of Dade (UTD) assures its members that they are working their hardest to make sure that employees will not be forced to shoulder any of the increased cost of health care...for now. They warn that the district covering 100% of the costs of employees' health insurance has a limited lifespan, and that if premiums continue to increase as they have been doing for years, that sooner or later--and probably sooner rather than later--employees will have to start paying out-of-pocket for their own insurance.

The plan with CIGNA will operate on a "self-insured" model, meaning that, essentially, the district will cover its employees' health care costs, rather than paying premiums to United and then having United keep the profits made by what is left over of those premiums after paying out claims. CIGNA will process the claims, but the district will cover the cost of the claims, and will be required by insurance regulators to have a sufficient amount of money in the bank to cover claims.

Since CIGNA is, of course, a for-profit insurance company, they will be taking their cut from the deals. Taxpayers will be picking up the tab, since, of course, employees of Miami-Dade County Public Schools are paid with taxpayer money.

As the health care debate continues to rage on in Congress and across America, health insurance companies continue to raise their rates. Competition remains nearly nonexistent in the insurance market in most areas of the country, including here in South Florida. Although 65% of Americans, according to the latest New York Times/CBS poll, favor offering a Medicare-like government health insurance option to all Americans, for some reason (more often than not that "some reason" relating to huge donations from the health care industry) all Republicans and even quite a few Democrats remain opposed to any government insurance option.

They claim that government needs to "stay out of their health care"; that the government "can't do anything right" (though they would tar and feather anyone who suggested that our military--the foremost government operation--was anything less than the best in the world, and despite the fact that those on Medicare and VA health plans are the most satisfied insurance customers in the country); that offering such a plan would be "too expensive" (though those on the right making that claim are the first to support huge increased deficit spending to fund unnecessary wars in the Middle East to protect powerful American oil interests).

What they (often willfully) ignore is how expensive the status quo is. We already spend 17% of our GDP on health care, more than any other industrialized nation in the world--yet we are the only one that does not provide health insurance coverage for all its citizens. And we see concrete examples every day of taxpayers directly funding profits for large insurance companies. United Healthcare boasted a second-quarter increase in profits of 155% over the same period last year, but nonetheless chose to impose a 22% increase in premiums on a taxpayer-funded school system. By moving to CIGNA, the district can watch health care costs rise by 16% instead. What are the options in such a situation?

Well, there are not too many. One is that the district could pass the skyrocketing costs on to their employees, which essentially equals a pay cut in a field that already barely covers the cost of living for most South Florida residents. This would certainly be unlikely to help attract qualified teachers to South Florida, nor would it help persuade qualified teachers to stay in the profession instead of leaving in the first five years, as over half of new teachers do. Another option would involve the district continuing to pony up and pay the ever-increasing costs, but probably never in the near future agree to any sort of raise for teachers...again, a move unlikely to help attract or retain good teachers. Yet another option is one that is almost laughable, to the extent that Florida politicians would probably never even consider it: that one would mean raising taxes to cover both the exorbitant cost of providing decent health care to school district employees AND still paying them a living wage. The constant that remains across the board, in all of these "options," if you can call them that, is that the health insurance companies continue to make astronomical profits (and pay staggering executive salaries) off raising premiums and denying claims, all funded by the taxpayers.

The for-profit health insurance industry do not hesitate to thumb their nose not only at the working stiffs paying their premiums out of pocket, or the small business owners who cannot afford to cover their employees at all, or the large corporations who watch their health care costs increase steadily even amidst the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression--but also at local, state and federal governments, and, consequently, taxpayers. This constant applies not only to school districts, but also to city, state and federal government employees, and the military.

Stagnant salaries are not likely to go up in any significant way--not even to keep up with inflation--as long as health care costs continue to rise. And it is neither an accident nor a coincidence that the rise in health insurance premiums over the past ten years dwarfs the rise in salaries and wages...for average working Americans, that is; not for insurance company CEOs.

Yet despite the unsustainable cost of our current system on employers, individuals, families and taxpayers, hardly anyone in our government is advocating for the real solution to the problem: a single-payer system, where health insurance would be divorced once and for all from employers (thus allowing wages to keep up with inflation, reducing the part-time culture created in part by the astronomical and ever-growing cost of providing health insurance to full-time employees, AND allowing the United States to be competitive in world markets once again without putting workers on starvation wages or leaving them uninsured), where no one would have to worry about being denied because of pre-existing conditions, being dropped by their insurance when they need it most, being denied medical treatments they need by their insurance companies, or losing their insurance because of losing a job or changing jobs. For all the right's fear-mongering, 85% of Canadians are happy with their health care--a far higher percentage than the U.S. could claim. And Canada is not the best example of a single-payer system that works: France has an excellent system, as do Italy and the United Kingdom. No system is without its flaws, but other industrialized countries with universal health care do have better outcomes, spend less of their GDP and have higher rates of satisfaction.

Until all political campaigns are publicly financed, and politicians' "electability" no longer depends on how much money is in their coffers (which can be had in abundance from powerful industries), it is doubtful that America will achieve any such efficient system.

But in the meantime, the public option is the best tool that has been seriously proposed in legislation. And regardless of how it works for those in the private sector or unemployed, it not only should exist, but all employees of local, state and federal governments should be on it.

Taxpayers do not need to fund insurance companies' profits or executive salaries any longer.

And teachers badly need those raises they were promised back in 2006.