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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Obamacare vs small biz

Doing business on the islands is both costly and highly prohibitive. It gets doubly worse when the high cost of utilities kicks in. It’s one of the reasons foreign capital took an exodus from here in recent past.

Said a Japanese friend who also put up shutters and went elsewhere, “It seems our pioneering efforts aren’t appreciated on top of the fact it’s no longer profitable doing business here. Why should we stay around?”

Now, if you think the tsunami of assault against business has eased, then take a closer look at the overreaching health law known as Obamacare. I don’t recall the CNMI being exempted from any provision of this federal monstrosity. I say take a critical look because it’s another pile of taxes and fees that would do the finishing job with small businesses here.

The Manhattan Institute’s Diana Furchtgott-Roth explains how that works: “...if an employer offers insurance, but an employee qualifies for subsidies under the new health care exchanges because the insurance premium exceeds 9.5 percent of his income, his employer pays a penalty of $3,000 per worker. This combination of penalties gives a business a powerful incentive to downsize, replace full-time employees with part-timers, and contract out work to other firms or individuals.
“The new law will make it harder for small businesses with 50 or more employees to compete with those with fewer than 50 employees. When the employer mandates are phased in 2014, many businesses will be motivated to reduce or move workers from full-time to part-time status. This will reduce employment still further and curtail an already listless economy.”

It pays to take another ocular review of Obamacare before it shuts down more private industries here. The CNMI’s Washington Office must begin critical review of likely regulatory overreach from the hundreds of major regulations under the Obama administration.


Health: You’re the captain!

For years, we’ve nurtured the mindset that most things we do, including health, is somebody else’s responsibility. In the process, we live and let live until we’re in the ER, comatose as family members pray in fear for our recovery. It need not be this way!

Like a car, you’re the owner and so you ensure that your auto is serviced at least twice a year, registered every three years, four tires rotated or changed after four years, etc. In other words, you ensure your car is maintained to the hilt so it takes you places when you need it. You ensure it doesn’t sputter to a screeching halt, especially in an emergency.

Turn it around and look at your physical health. It’s time you take full charge. It needs daily maintenance like eating healthy food, brisk walking thrice a week, avoiding soda including diet drinks, among others. This personal maintenance ensures a healthy you!

In doing so, bring the family along so they too partake in their own personal health maintenance. Once this is inculcated (sinks into each family member) they’d be out on their own practicing healthy habits. In short, mom and dad, you’re the family pillar and model. Lead the way!



We all must deal with two health issues in our lifetime. They are genetics and lifestyle. I would venture a layman’s explanation on these issues.

Genetics: In our blood is found what’s known as chromosomes. It contains the history of your ancestors and their health. Thus, some of us have inherited what’s known as “genetic aberration” where you take after your ancestors with heart problems and diabetes.

When you’re genetically predisposed, i.e., born with chromosomes carrying cardiovascular defects, then it means that at some point between 40-60 years old you’d suffer from serious heart ailments. Trust me. I’m a not-so-proud recipient of genetic aberration with heart issues. What happens when you’re in this vicious cycle?

Even with being a relatively active athlete and careful with food consumption, my cardiologist said my heart problems had nothing to do with lifestyle. “It’s in your blood, sir. You came here with good weight, healthy lungs and others, yet you have this defect. It’s genetics.” I sat there and quizzed him about genetic aberration until I’ve come to understand it and the need to spread the word, given the fact that there are families here who’re also predisposed.

Being genetically predisposed warrants care as you head into your golden years—ages 55-90. When something’s gone wrong, two things happen:

1.) There are physical signs: you feel nauseated or dizzy, tightness in the chest area, tingling sensation on your fingertips, numbness in your arm, among others.

2.) No physical sign or discomfort: you feel nothing at all, though you’re marching toward the edge of a cliff. When massive stroke hits, you’re basically history! The latter was where I found myself, though fortunate to have caught the consistent decline in the pulse of my heart rate a little early. I wasn’t about to second-guess it. What can genetically predisposed do with this defect?

Firstly, it’s good to get an annual physical examination so your physician could assist you with issues associated with predisposition. Talk to him about getting a thyroid exam. This gland could trigger serious health issues if it isn’t checked. Please get this done so your doctor could assist you in dealing with hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

Secondly, it’s good to adopt healthy habits—not that it would deter defects in your chromosomes but at least you could help ease it versus neglect that translate into a more serious or catastrophic ailment. You can do it today and bring the entire family along with you. It’s good to know this, including who among your kids are likely to be afflicted with genetic predisposition.


“To cease smoking is the easiest thing to do. I ought to know. I’ve done it a thousand times.”—Mark Twain.

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