Dear Readers: Today, I turn the Shrine over to the lovely, gracious and wise Professor Athena, with her thoughts on the current status of the healthcare reform package.
AP wires reported pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly victim of a massive theft of an estimated $75 million in antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs which it appears were stolen from a warehouse in Enfield, CT and loaded onto a semi-tractor trailer truck. My first thought was that this was clearly a shipment hijacked and bound for the U.S. Congress.
The newest health-care-and-higher-education entitlement expansion bill now in its all-in phase of liar’s poker has been much in the news, and reports of its death have apparently been greatly exaggerated. I will leave the dubious legality of such legislation passing into law without both houses of Congress actually voting on the specific legislation to members of the legal profession who are expert in these areas.
But the fiscal impact of this train wreck of an entitlement expansion is an area worthy of address as far the recent changes impact financial markets and with respect to U.S. job growth.
First of all, the recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine:
This report has some extremely damaging findings from doctors who were surveyed. Perhaps the most telling is the finding that 46.3% of primary care physicians (family medicine and internal medicine) feel that the passing of health reform will either force them out of medicine or make them want to leave medicine. This area of care represents an already-scare service due to malpractice premium costs for these care providers. And which of course the Democrats’ health care “reform” leave unaddressed. In being currently under-served, if close to 50% of physicians in this area quit medical practice, health care rationing is inevitable in a sector which is vital for public health. Who gets the internist when they most need it will become similar to who is next in line at the DMV. And a whole sector of medicine and corresponding contribution to jobs will have to be “absorbed” by the government at the cost of taxpayers.
At which point the cost estimate of the bill is worthy of commentary. The estimates from various groups inclusive of the CBO put the cost of this bill over a decade in the range of 1-3 trillion. But what the estimates fail to address is the cost of an expansion of entitlements exponentially. In other words, what we charge on the credit card now accrues interest. This basic point is one that Congress seems unable to grasp, and which estimates cannot possibly address. We don’t know what the borrowing cost will be a decade from now for an expanded sector of federal entitlements. Similar to Medicare and Social Security, we are borrowing today to pay entitlements with the couplet of future workers’ earnings. If something happens to reduce that cash flow through either demographic attrition or (as we have presently occurring) a recession, then a deficit borrowing for these entitlements means we will be unable to fund them without a large increase in taxes for everyone.
Another new aspect of the current bill is its inclusion of expanded Pell grants and student loans to be made and serviced by the federal government. This is “slush money” for universities who are in favored status, and in addition a problem for taxpayers because it represents another substantive entitlement expansion. Apparently in “America by Liberals”, you have a “right” not only to free health care and education birth-to-12K, but you now have a “right” to higher education. “Free” (quotation marks intentional) federal entitlements mean an increase in use of service, according to tracking of public vs. private funded services (i.e. health care). Which makes common sense, when you realize that it is difficult to put value on something you have paid nothing for. Further, the sheer size and bureaucracy of the federal government and their uh…shall we say lack of oversight and management…makes prompt funding of application and administration difficult over what exists now in the private sector, and the quality of servicing (collection) of the loans is dubious when you look at the government’s track record on other types of loans currently serviced at the federal level over similar private loan servicing. Basically, banks are in business to service their customer’s needs in order to keep them happy and turn a profit, whereas the federal government is apparently there to tell you to wait your turn because they are “on break”. More private-sector jobs replaced by government ones means an increase in the ever-growing pension sector for unionized public employee jobs, a bullet point not lost on the likes of the SEIU. This inclusion in what began as a health care bill will result in tuition increases for higher education, because this type of funding will make cost of administration rise in a mirror of rising administration costs for hospitals and doctors who administer Medicare. Universities will raise costs to compensate for a reduced margin over cost for this sector of students. This is math reality. This is an expensive lesson already learned in Medicare 101.
A majority of Americans clearly don’t want the current healtcare proposal to be passed, especially in the manner in which the U.C. Congress intends to pass it. It seems there is an AP report that insurance premiums will rise if this monstrosity becomes law; most Americans sense the truth of this report, so are not buying any of the fantiasies from the progressives in Congress. Business enterprises are not banking on the success of this supposed reform either — Walgreen is so under-impressed with the Medicaid system that is the basis for the Obamacare proposals that they are no longer going to take new Medicaid patients. It seems a few stalwart Democrats are no longer going along for the ride, either. The projected route of the bill’s passag, as well as its content, is anathema to most Americans. Should the current “deem and pass” route be taken by the Democrats this weekend, it will be a bill that no one voted for and no one wants.
MUT’s News and Views:
Professor Athena’s post is an amazing summary. She added this link, which will further clarify the “deem and pass” rule and how it is not used for controversial legislation: “Deem and Pass” Not Typically Used for Controversial Legislation I will note that the Landmark Legal Foundation is poised to challenge the legality of the bill’s passage if the “deem and pass” procedures are implemented.
I will only add that we Americans must be poised to handle any outcome. By blogging icon, the Anchoress, had this thoughtful piece, which I will share. Should this monstrosity pass, I urge all my readers to review it for consolation: “Fear is useless, what is needed is trust.”
We read “fear is useless; what is needed is trust.”
That does not mean that when we see injustice we do nothing. It does not mean that if we see our government tumbling, we sit back and let it tumble.
But it does mean that we look at what happens around us with a Godly eye -with a genuine and faith-filled trust toward that longview that we cannot see, but which is full of God’s creative intention.
The HillBuzz Team took the time to light candles and offer prayers for our nation: click here for an inspirational post. Then, if you are so inclined, light candles this weekend in support as well.