What Healthcare Crisis?

Tonight, ABC will broadcast from the White House “the plan” for resolving the healthcare crisis.  What crisis?  I was totally unaware that people were dropping dead in their tracks in a plague-like manner on our city streets.  But lets look at some of the facts.

The first point that is always made is that there are 46 million people in the United States that do not have health insurance.  But do the facts actually support these numbers?  From a February 2007 article at Renew America:

Number 1 — Roughly 20 percent of the uninsured in this country are not citizens. Ergo, 36 million Americans lack insurance. Immigrants without insurance are a serious problem. But that is an immigration issue, not a health insurance matter.

Number 2 — Only about half the uninsured Americans at any given time are without insurance 5 months later. In our mobile society, 84 percent of the uninsured are without coverage for less than 24 months.  Or as Gratzer puts it: "The executive who leaves his corner office at Citigroup to look for greener pastures may soon join the ranks of the uninsured…If the gentleman lands a vice presidency at a rival bank, we would consider that a success story. Yet, statistically speaking, he became apart of the group of "uninsured Americans."

Number 3 — The uninsured are not a relatively homogeneous group — poor. The single mom with three children is not uninsured — she has Medicaid — as do her children and their neighbors.

Number 4 — Many Americans are uninsured by choice. Some of these are eligible for Medicaid, but choose not to sign up.

Number 5 (bottom line) — "A full 93 percent of Americans either are insured or could afford insurance."

So the remaining 7% is a crisis?  No, not really, unless you are one of the 7% and are ill.  And it is those people that need the help without the political grandstanding and rhetoric.

To cover those remaining 7% with insurance, President Obama via the Kennedy Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee is now wanting to create a government-run health insurance entity, a single-payer if you will, to compete with the existing health insurance companies to “keep the insurance companies honest.”

OK, so let me get this straight – Government is going to keep government honest while making sure everyone else is to.  If you can say this five times and keep a straight face, then you should try your hand at acting or politics…  As Wes Vernon stated:

Or more to point, how do we know that making the government both a "competitor" and the ultimate regulator is not a surefire way (if not a deliberate scheme) to put the government in the ultimate driver’s seat — running the entire health care system?

Some of Obama’s fellow liberals have openly said that’s what they intend. At least they’re honest. Others in his camp wink and tell the socialist ideologues to cool it — that they will get what they want. Just give them time to lull the booboise into thinking a government plan is not the Trojan horse to knock private sector insurers out of business so that we can have a "single-payer" system. They want to run America’s 1300 health insurance companies out of business. If you watched Glenn Beck on Fox News the other night, you saw clips of them saying exactly that.

"Single payer" sounds so nice and warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it? How about "single-regulator?", "single dictator?", "single judge" as to whose life is worth saving?, or "single decider" — not as to whether health care will be rationed, but how to apply it without arousing the anger of the great unwashed until it’s a done deal?

So we have a big problem that rears its head before we can even enter the metaphoric room for a national conversation on the issue of health care reform: The president of the United States is not leveling with us. He is not a stupid man. He knows very well that when you create a government-entity to "compete" with private insurers, it takes no brain surgery to conclude that as long as government is both player and referee, the government is in a heads-I-win/tails-you-lose situation. End result: a government health care monopoly.

Costs and care are big sticking points with any government-run program.  After all, look at the shining examples of Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security and one wonders why we would let the government control anything as important as our health choices.  In fact, given the track record of our own government and the track records of health care systems in Canada & Europe, why would anyone think that this would end up being anything but a disaster?  Because Obama says so?  Horseradish!

The cost, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would be $1 Trillion over the next decade and would cover approximately one-third of the so called 46-million.  There are other estimates that estimate the costs at $1.5 Trillion, although the CBO warned that health care costs are extremely hard to accurately estimate.  This is on top of the stimulus bill already passed earlier this year.

Do I need to reiterate the horror stories from patients in Canada, England, and other European countries with government-run healthcare systems?  These are examples that we need to understand as to why government-run healthcare is not going to help alleviate “the crisis,” no matter what good intentions there are nor how much money is thrown at the “problem.”

But I also know that our current system is not perfect.  There are horror stories here too, and they are being used as reasons for reforming healthcare in this country.  And I know of some people reading this blog have been affected adversely by this system.  So instead of scrapping the current system and burdening the taxpayer more with another bureaucracy to support, let’s try to make things a bit easier.

One of the plans that shows some promise calls for a credit or voucher system.  The proposal is called the “Patient’s Choice Act,” and is summarized by The Wall Street Journal:

Four Republicans in Congress — Sens. Tom Coburn (Oklahoma) and Richard Burr (North Carolina) and Reps. Paul Ryan (Wisconsin) and Devin Nunes (California) — will today introduce a bill that moves away from federal centralization. Aptly called the Patients’ Choice Act, it provides a path to universal coverage by redirecting current subsidies for health insurance to individuals. It also provides a new safety net that guarantees access to insurance for those with pre-existing conditions.

The nexus of their plan is redirecting the $300 billion annual tax subsidy for employment-based health insurance to individuals in the form of refundable, advanceable tax credits. Families would get $5,700 a year and individuals $2,300 to buy insurance and invest in Health Savings Accounts.

Low-income Americans would get a supplemental debit card of up to $5,000 to help them purchase insurance and pay out-of-pocket costs. They would have an incentive to spend wisely since up to one-fourth of any unspent money in the accounts could be rolled over to the next year. The combination of the refundable tax credit and debit card gives lower-income Americans a way out of the Medicaid ghetto so they can have the dignity of private insurance.

Perhaps this is a better proposal, one that works with the current system without tearing it down.  And it seems to be less of a burden to the taxpayer.

I would much rather help people who really need it than create another mind-numbing bloated bureaucracy with a matching voice menu spouting the line “Please stay on the line – Your call is important to us.”  If some people have their way, there would only be one place to go, and that would be government.  And that, my friends, that is an extremely scary thought.


About Tom Roland

EE for 25 Years, Two Patents - now a certified PMP. Married twice, burned once. One son with Asperger's Syndrome. Two cats. Conservative leaning to the Right. NRA Life Member.
This entry was posted in Government, Health Care, Social Engineering and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to What Healthcare Crisis?

  1. Debbie says:

    It’s better for the pro-government health care folks to omit a few facts and figures when making their point. The illegal aliens are a big part of what’s draining our health system now.

  2. My gripe is with the health INSURANCE industry. Some of that money which Mr. AOW and I, along with our employers over the years, should have gone into some kind of escrow so that we don’t have to pay rape rates now, as we’re approaching age 60 with pre-existing conditions and have had to convert to private policies.

    Mr. AOW and I didn’t “go naked” when we were young and healthy. We have paid in and paid in and paid in. In my view, our precautions and monetary contributions should count for something!

  3. Addendum: Mr. AOW lost his job precisely because he had opted for health insurance. The employer replaced him with an employee who opted out of the plan, thus saving the employer thousands of dollars a year. Mr. AOW had been with the company for 12 years!

  4. Low-income Americans would get a supplemental debit card of up to $5,000 to help them purchase insurance and pay out-of-pocket costs.

    Mr. AOW, partially disabled and with multiple pre-existing conditions, earns about $8000/year. This year, his health-insurance premium is $6000 a year. $5000 would be a big help. In a few years, however, Mr. AOW’s premium will be at least $1000/month. Of course, by then, he’ll likely be on Medicare disability. I’m sure that he qualifies right now, but he WANTS to work and not be a burden.

  5. Angel says:

    great piece but dont expect libs to fess up till its too late Tom!:(

  6. Tom says:

    Debbie – Politicians will always leave out facts that do not support their position. The problems with providing health care to illegal aliens is well documented in border states such as California and Arizona.

    Angel – I too am waiting for the “gotcha” when they get done.

    Always on Watch – I was keeping your situation in mind when I wrote this post. Your situation is shared by my parents (who are in their 80s). Mom has major problems and Dad isn’t too far behind. They are watching their nest egg drain away due to health insurance and medical costs.

    I think we all have problems with the insurance industry. Health insurance is a lot like term life insurance – you pay the premiums but don’t get any credit toward future premiums when it runs out. And when the time comes, we are driven to the most cost-effective solution for the insurance company, and not necessarily the correct course of action for the patient. From listening a little bit on the “Prescription for America” love-fest last night, I don’t think that would change a whole lot with the government offering their options.

    It is your husband and people like him that would benefit from some of the proposals that are out there, but I really don’t think another government bureaucracy is the answer.

  7. Indigo Red says:

    Two other uninsured groups are the young workers who feel themselves invulnerable and those with sense would would rather pay off their college loans than pay health insurance. Many people have chosen to establish their own health care accounts that earn money while not being used for immediate health care.

    I remember when the HC issue was first broached. The idea was for people to be responsible for usual care like office visits and prescripption fulfillment. The idea was CATASTROPHIC care that is generally above the ability of most folks to pay. Like the man I met yesterday. He’s ready and willing to work, but was forced onto total disability because that’s the only way he could obtain his place on the liver transplant list. I am now facing similar decisions. My arthrogryposois is not getting any better and it’s increasingly difficult to find empolyement that I can physically do for eight hours.

    Obama said at his Rose Garden presser held indoors because his make-up would melt in the sun, that Medicare and Social Security -both gov’t run programs from inception – would be bankrupt soon. So for some non-sequiter reason, we need to give full responsibility for health care to the gov’t, the same gov’t that has bankrupted the health care programs they already run.

    And you’re right, Tom. There is no “health care” problem. It’s all about health insurance. We can all get health care without health insurance. No one likes paying insurance when nothing is wrong, but we’re so very happy we’ve got it when something does go wrong. I once heard insurance explained like this: The insurance company is betting I won’t be hurt. I’m betting I will be hurt. And we’re both hoping the company is right.

  8. Tom says:

    The uninsured groups that you are referring to are Numbers 4 & 5 – people do take risks, and sometimes the odds don’t work out in their favor. And even if they do have insurance, sometimes there are limits to the amount of coverage.

    Government run social programs just do not work. The history from around the world proves this.

    I just applied for life insurance because I’m no longer covered by my work. Health insurance will last until September – all part of my buyout. After that, we’ll see…

  9. Tom,
    It is your husband and people like him that would benefit from some of the proposals that are out there, but I really don’t think another government bureaucracy is the answer.

    I agree.

    I’d like to see a public audit of the health-insurance companies. Also, are you aware of the Doha Agreements? Mustang tells me that those agreements play into the problem.

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