The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

‘TILL DEBT DO US PART

The wrangling, name calling and finger pointing continues apace in Washington with all parties blaming each other for everything that has gone wrong in human history since Eve tempted Adam with that non-GMO-modified apple.  It’s gotten even uglier than usual with people openly speaking out their venom in such terms as “terrorists,” “hood,” “thugs,” “radicals,” and, of course, everyone’s favorite term, “suicide bombers.”

As one might expect from his four and one half years as the Chump in Charge, Obama is leading the armies of name callers with his S. S. commandants rallying their respective platoons, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid filling in the gaps when vitriol from the White House abates as the Prez and his corps reload the tubs filled with boiling oil.

Yes, my fellow Americans, we are again at the precipice described as the “cliff over which there is no return,” or, more accurately, we are at the first of two as we prepare to catapult over the first cataract and into the second.

This sort of behavior would be unacceptable if it were being enacted by teenagers – and it is beyond comprehension when it is played out by those who are not only presumably adults but who are elected officials.

It’s somewhat difficult for me to understand how the Senate Majority Leader, Mr. Reid has the gall to excoriate the GOP for waiting until the last minute before we approach the September 30th deadline for having a budget (which the chamber he has led has failed to pass for three years) or to pass a Continuing Resolution that would allow government to continue to dysfunction.

My calendars, (I have two of them), both indicate the date of September 30th quite clearly as, I am sure, do the Majority Leader’s.  Given his concern that we might not reach a resolution in time, I cannot help but wonder, with his sense of urgency, why in the absence of a solution, Mr. Reid did not eschew his and his senate colleagues’ five weeks vacation and attend to the important business at hand.

It is somewhat difficult for me to understand how either Mr. Reid or his House counterpart, Nancy Pelosi are now so impassioned.  If you have ever had the misfortune of listening to either of them speak, perhaps, like me, you have been tempted to call EMS on their behalf to shock them into having a pulse.  They both exhibit about as much emotion as a clam on its way to being shucked.

But putting personal feelings aside, I suspect that, in some form or other, this drama will get resolved successfully by being put off a few days or weeks when the far more serious issue of the National Debt Limit must be dealt with before it is breached, according to Treasury Secretary Lew, on October 19th.

I wonder if Obama remembers how he excoriated George Bush, when he was running for election,  for being so wasteful by increasing our national debt.  When Bush left the White House, the “official” National Debt stood at $10.7 Trillion.  Candidate Obama vowed that “If he were unable to cut the debt in half by the end of his first term, he didn’t deserve a second one.”  Today, five years into his and his colleagues’ mismanagement, we are butting our heads against $17 Trillion.  We should have taken his 2007 campaign statement at face value.  There is little that he has said since which deserves that much regard.

Among the many fiscal problems is the granddaddy of them all, Obamacare.  As the numbers are now being released as to what it will actually cost for forced participation in this plan, it is evident that the name of the Affordable Care Act should be changed to the Unaffordable and Unworkable Care Act.  This first stab at socializing medicine will undoubtedly further accelerate our adding to the already burgeoning National Debt.

Like any good used car salesman who counters the prospective buyer’s observation that, “the tires seem pretty worn,” the Prez responds that having flatter tires makes for a softer ride.  That is pretty much the spin that recently came out of HHS Secretary Sibelius’ mouth when she spoke about how “pleased she was that the actual cost of insurance is going to be less than her department’s first estimates.”

The problem with that statement is that nobody pays from an estimate but from the actual bill.  And it is evident that for most Americans, particularly for those who are younger and healthier, most premiums will increase – and most coverage will decrease.  The one thing that I have yet to hear any official discuss is the actual cost (not just the premiums) of being insured.

Health, like auto insurance has two components.  Well, actually three.

The first is the actual cost of coverage – how much the policy owner pays in premiums.  That component is, in a rational marketplace determined by a number of factors, the most important of which is the amount of coverage that is selected.  Another important factor is your actual driving experience.  If you have had a substantial number of accidents or traffic citations, the insurance company is going to consider you a higher risk and charge a higher premium to cover you.

By forcing insurers to cover all people of the same age at the same rate, including those with serious pre-existing conditions and mandate they are as insurable as a healthy person, Obamacare effectively eliminates the basis of intelligent insurance underwriting.  Naturally, this will cause great losses for insurers and the only way they can make these up and still stay in business is to overcharge those (typically younger clients) higher premiums than they should be paying..

The second component which determines your premium is how much risk you are willing to accept and how much you want the insurance company to underwrite on your behalf.  A driver who selects a comprehensive deductible of one thousand dollars will have a lower rate than the driver of a similar vehicle who chooses a one hundred dollar deductible.  A higher deductible is a money saver for the careful driver who is not involved in accidents.

The same principle applies to health insurance – a point which is omitted from Sec. Sibelius’ statements on “premium cost.”  The department made the statement that a “bronze plan,” the most minimal one available under Obamacare, will “only cost a healthy, young male about one hundred dollars per month.”

What she fails to point out is that the person who owns this plan will be responsible for the first five thousand dollars of medical expenses out of pocket before the plan pay a single cent in benefits.  So a person who selects this coverage, should he encounter a medical situation, will effectively have paid over five hundred dollars a month before he receives a dime in benefits.  This is government “accounting” and lack of honesty at its finest.

But I referred to a third point – and, perhaps this is the most important one in the discussion.  Let’s assume, for the sake of discussion that Tinkerbell suddenly pays a visit to the United States and sprinkles pixie dust over all of us.  In a moment, we all decide to sign up for Obamacare and there is not a single uninsured American left in the country.  Who is going to service all these people?

We are seeing a decrease in the number of physicians and medical staff; we are seeing hospitals close or consolidate; and to this smaller group of providers we would see a massive increase in the number of patients.  How can the system possibly handle this?  The answer is, it can’t.  Not unless medical services are rationed.  That is precisely what has happened in every country that has socialized medical treatment.  That is why people like Sarah Palin call the bureaucracies that are being created, “Death panels.”

So what does Obamacare have to do with the debt ceiling?  Even its proponents admit that in the “first few years” it will add to the amount of debt.  But the “real cost savings” show up a few years down the road.  In other words, we’re going to sink deeper into debt but “later on” Obamacare is going to “more than pay for itself.”

Having yet to see a government program that actually worked the way it was sold to the American public, I have only one comment, brilliantly expressed by comedian Bill Cosby in his routine, “Noah”.  That word is, “Right.”

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Comments on: "‘TILL DEBT DO US PART" (3)

  1. It almost seems that Western politicians have forgotten they are supposed to be running a country and presenting codes of ethics to model what an ideal society should look like. Unfortunately your lament goes far beyond the USA.

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