Thursday, March 23, 2017

A mansion on a sandy beach for everyone

Oh, to live in the Land of Plenty.  Where the streets are paved with gold, and everybody is nice all the time, and there is no evil, pain, suffering or want.  In this Land of Plenty, there is never a tear drop in any eye, and everybody has a mansion on a sandy beach.

Life is good in this Land of Plenty.

Of course, this Land of Plenty does not exist, has never existed at any time anywhere in the history of history.  And this Land of Plenty will never exist.  It is but the stuff of political promises.

We are now watching the legislative battles on Capitol Hill today, as the Democrats vow to keep Obamacare intact, the GOP Freedom Caucus vowing to scuttle the current Obamacare-Lite bill (The American Healthcare Act) because it is nothing more than the same thing we have now, only tweaked around the edges.  And of course, we have President Trump twisting arms to get his 216 votes needed to pass this latest pack of socialism wrapped in the American flag.

Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan have promised to repeal the massively socialist Obamacare program in favor of a kinder, gentler massive socialist program.  Speaker Ryan swears nobody will be left in the lurch, and nobody will have their current health care package go into a lapse of coverage.  

Everybody that voted for the GOP these last three out of four elections (2010, 2014 and 2016) wanted Obamacare gone, but wanted to retain the provisions of the act that covered pre-existing conditions and kids to remain on their parent's insurance until age 26.  Other than that, Obamacare stinks.  Right?

The pre-existing condition clause is nothing more than a naked transfer of trillions of dollars to those who need horrifically expensive treatment to survive.  There is just not enough money in the world to grant everybody a heart transplant or a kidney transplant that needs one, and only charge them a few dollars in co-payment.  These operations are hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

What the American voter and all politicians are saying is that these God awfully expensive medical procedures are a right, and not a priveledge (Ted Kennedy's words, they roll of the tongue, don't they?).  If money is no object, which clearly everyone agrees is the case when it comes to health care, why not grant every American the right to fly their own personal Lear jet?

And grant everybody in the U.S. a mansion on a sunny, sandy beach?  As a right?  We're talking about the same sentiment.  We just don't have the money to grant everybody anything their heart desires because some folks can afford it and some folks can't.  

That kind of talk is just mean spirited, just ask Chuck Schumer (D-NY) or Bernie Sanders (Communist - USSR).

This is not a mean spirited country, right?  Free shit for everybody!  As much as the Freedom Caucus is gumming up the latest works regarding passage of this latest free shit bill, they at least understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Or a free mansion on the beach.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What happened to all of this 'repeal and replace' stuff?




The announcements are in.  The conservative majority in the House and the Republican president who ran and were elected on promises of 'repeal and replace Obamacare' are now starting to weasel out of their promises.

This newly announced "American Health Care Act" still has many of the prohibitively expensive taxes and mandates that Obamacare had:

  • you still have to have insurance, but now if you don't have it rather than pay Uncle Sam, you pay the hated insurance companies.
  • The 'Cadillac' plan tax is still there, although deferred until 2025.
  • "Kids" still stay on their parent's policy until age 26.
  • Pre-existing conditions cannot disqualify anyone from obtaining insurance.
In other simpler terms, it has now accurately been called "Obamacare-Lite" or "Obamacare 2.0".  And for good reason: all of these provisions are unsustainable, and will never control costs.  The pre-existing conditions clause alone will bankrupt the system sooner or later, as taking on gravely sick people ('adverse selection') and not charging them accordingly is an actuarial unsound principle.  This is not insurance, it is something else.

This nonsense sounds nothing like their promised 'repeal and replace.'  It is bad public health policy.  I rarely agree with Utopian dreamer Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky), but in this case I have complete agreement with him: this is no better than Obamacare.  Costs will not come down, levels of care will not get better, deductibles and premiums will still be God Awful.

Heads have got to roll on this one.  At least The Donald has said that he is open to negotiation on this bill.  Nowhere in this mess is the allowance for insurance companies to cross state lines to compete in any state they choose to participate in.  This alone would do wonders for lowering premiums.  

Regardless of what we finally get out of this Congress and president, it will come up short of getting the job done: control skyrocketing costs of health care.  We started down the path of expensive health care bills when we as a nation no longer paid for services directly to doctors with cash money; a mere 75 years ago, our health care system had no government involvment, no insurance, no middle men, none of that.  Then Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided that things had to change.  And they indeed changed - for the worse.

Back in the day, we paid for health care ourselves, directly to our doctor.  Once we started putting middle men in between our doctors and patients, concern for costs became a thing of the past: why bother worrying about costs if everybody perceives that somebody else is paying for things?

Sure, when we feel like we don't have to pay for it, we'll have the Chateau Briand, the beluga caviar and the Maine lobster.  And keep it coming, damn you!  

And that's what things have come down to.  Nobody wants to have to pay for their health care, only a few measly bucks for a co-pay, but no more.  When did we start with this foolishness of mandating that doctors have to treat patients, regardless of their ability to pay?  That is killing us, too.  Free health care for everybody, woo hoo!

And this latest bill is not going to fix what is essentially wrong with our system.  Everybody thinks it should be almost free, and consume as much doctor's care as we can dream of.

It's killing us.  Some kinda health care, if you ask me.