Dear Readers: As I noted yesterday, the insane Congressional proposal for sweeping healthcare reform DESPITE citizen push-back shows that it is a monstrosity that will not die easily!
Several citizens I know have very thoughtful responses. I am reprinting them below.
TWO Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition members write:
Dear Senator Blanche Lincoln (and to Olympia Snowe),
The so called “health care reform” bill you are considering voting for in
the Senate Finance Committee IS NOT even a bill yet! How can the CBO
estimate be anywhere close to accurate if they cannot base it upon
reality??? It is a ludicrous claim to say that we’re saving $81 billion by
spending $829 billion!
Please know that we citizens are following this VERY closely and we know
that this is a huge shell game being played on us by the Obama
administration. The “bill” you will vote out of this Committee is not what
we will wind up with and you know it! This is a DISHONEST way to move
something forward that at least 65% of Americans are against!
If you vote for this bill, you will pave the way for hundreds of billions of
dollars in new taxes and fees. Most Americans with health insurance will see
their premiums increase – THAT is the real problem in health care right now!
The measure would be paid for through a variety of tax increases and cuts of
hundreds of billions of dollars from seniors on Medicare who need care the
We implore you to stand fast and VOTE NO on this travesty of freedom!
(MUT Note: This letter is going to several other Senators as well).
And this piece today, from our beloved Professor Athena (who is a senior executive at a prestigious financial instition):
“You Get What You Pay For, or Why Free Can Be Too Expensive”
Everyone these days is talking about health care. You don’t have to go far, just mosey on down to the local Kroger and start eavesdropping. The fact is that people are worried. Among the worried people are economists. We understand access to health care and its inherent social benefits from developing nations’ statistical studies. We understand America’s health care represents approximately 17% of the world’s largest economy. We understand rising health care costs from inflation numbers, and the concern it imparts upon the well-being of every person it threatens. Most of all we understand the long-term implications of federal entitlement programs, and what it means when the federal government tells you they can make you a better deal.
Medicare is the current expansion of government-controlled health care going back to 1965, and is currently unfunded to the tune of about a $45-trillion liability. Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan was quoted in a New York Times article on April 22, 2005, referencing his testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, saying Congress must limit benefits for Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries “sooner rather than later” to stem an “unsustainable path” of increasing deficits, interest rates and borrowing in the federal budget.* Greenspan and other notable economists have further contended that, without action to reform the Medicare system, curtailment of benefits currently promised will be an inevitable reality. Welcome to the reality of that promise, as the Senate prepares to expand health care to some while reducing it to others. This is equivalent to your home being on fire, but you aren’t interested in working to save it. You are more concerned instead with saving a house in another city. The National Center for Policy Analysis reports on their website:
The 2009 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports show the combined unfunded liability of these two programs has reached nearly $107 trillion in today’s dollars! That is about seven times the size of the U.S. economy and 10 times the size of the outstanding national debt.
The unfunded liability is the difference between the benefits that have been promised to current and future retirees and what will be collected in dedicated taxes and Medicare premiums. Last year alone, this debt rose by $5 trillion. If no other reform is enacted, this funding gap can only be closed in future years by substantial tax increases, large benefit cuts or both.
The Democrats are currently working on the most outstanding thing they do—vote pandering—at the expense of every working, tax-paying American. They are cloaking their madness in promises of better health care for those who “cannot now afford it”, with the carrot-and-stick (you have to purchase it or be fined) common to federal money. We’ve seen this before, but not to this dangerous extent. This concerns both the long-term health of the American economy, which although no longer on “life support” is far from being discharged from intensive care, and the personal “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” embedded in the history of America. We founded our country on individual freedoms, apart from government dominance. The current drive to nationalize our health care (or further govern it through federal taxes on insurers and medical device manufacturers and care providers and pharmaceutical companies and higher-echelon taxpayers, et al) takes away our freedoms. This is why people are turning up at “Tea Party” events and at Town Hall meetings. Who wonders at the mistrust of a behemoth federal government that takes in our tax money to bail out banks and automobile companies, yet leaves Americans’ individual invested fortunes largely wiped out? Politicians are confused and even surprised by the anger. They shouldn’t be, because what they are doing goes against the very fabric upon which our personal liberties were stitched. Someone should tell them that we are not France, or Canada, or even Switzerland. The current Congress has literally thrown “everything but the kitchen sink” (or Ted Kennedy’s coffin) behind their contention that this reform bill should be passed “immediately” (aka before the American people are wiser to it and have time to protest it).
There has been so much written on this topic, it was unexpected to see the race card played as a reason to pass health care, but here it came, in form of today’s Wall Street Journal article, “Wider Health Care Access Pays Off’ (WSJ, Wessel 10-8-09).
David Wessel’s article, “Wider Health Care Access Pays Off” references very interesting and no doubt accurate studies of the upward trajectory of wider and more “abrupt” access to health care on part of African-American children from 1955-1975. In the economists’ studies he referenced, improvement in health care in young children previously excluded from “best of care” appears linked to improvement on standardized achievement tests. But the statistical data appears less applicable from a forecasting perspective for the United States, because as the author states, the U.S. has changed a lot since the 1950’s. As wider access to health care has become available across every demographic group, whether through private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, further improvement going forward should be what the current health care debate here in the U.S. is all about. The rationing of health care inherent in federal involvement where care is expanded to the currently uninsured may instead mean the poorest among us dominate the inevitable long waiting lines for availability of doctors, hospitals, and clinics.
Let’s not ride this trick pony. What every American expects and wants to see in the health care reform process is an improvement in full access to health care along with reduced cost, and not simply an expansion of government control and oversight that will accomplish exactly the reverse. Let’s not wipe out the years of progress we have made along with the vital ancillary benefits of an excellent health care system in the guise of nationalized “free” health care.
*New York Times, 4-22-09 (Andrews)
MUT’s Shrine News:
* The Anchoress breaks a vow! The news that Barak Obama is receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace is too huge to ignore, so she is doing a riveting analysis during “Faith Firday”. Needless to say, most of the citizens opposing healthcare have little regard for Nobel Prizes outside of the hard sciences.
MUT Note: The augurs indicate that he is receiving a bribe from the international glitterati to continue his diminution of the USA’s power and influence in the world, which will bring the exact opposite of peace.