“Affordable” Healthcare Act

Finally! A piece that honestly looks at what the legislation does and doesn’t do!

I am NOT the guy who says, “Hey, we have a great healthcare system as it is.” I don’t. I am someone who fits right in that gap of 24 million people who STILL won’t have “affordable” health insurance even if this legislation is enacted.

I AM one of those folks who has several things not in my favor:

1. I am not wealthy, so I can’t buy off a politician.

2. I am not “poor,” which would help me get some sort of tax credit to pay for really bad coverage.

3. I do not work for a large corporation that is able to take advantage of decent pricing to provide health insurance.

4. I am part of a denomination that is “Creationist” in its Genesis 1 theology, but Darwinian in its policies to help each other. (In other words, they take a “live and let live” approach to caring for their ministers.)

But what has been hidden from Americans through this mess is that this act doesn’t solve any issues, really. We can say, “Well, it helps more than before.” What a nice feeling! We can all feel good and go home now. But, if it helps the numbers go from 30 million uninsured to 24 million uninsured, guess what? There are still 24 million uninsured.

If you can’t tell, I’m a bit passionate about this subject.

Yet, I’m not in the camp of either liberals or conservatives. I’m in the camp that says, “The whole system needs a fresh overhaul,” and no one wants to be in that camp. If you’re in that camp you realize that everyone has to give up something and in our country, no one wants to give up anything. 

We are a long way from a solution on this matter. We are a long way from true solutions on a lot of matters because no one, and YES, I mean no one, is willing to think long term anymore. We are selfish, short-term thinkers and feelers. Mostly feelers. Not many thinkers.

You would think it would warrant a call to your congressman, but unless you’ve forked over some serious money for their re-election campaign, they aren’t listening, either.

My name is Mr. Smith and I’m running for president.

“Affordable Healthcare Act”

I make a feeble attempt to jump into the fray about healthcare. The Supreme Court heard arguments this week on the “Affordable Healthcare Act.”

My current thought is this: It’s like saying “Holy Roman Empire.” It’s a misnomer. The Holy Roman Empire wasn’t Roman, not really “holy”, and not much of an empire either.

The operative word that is deceptive is “affordable.” Even with everyone “in” as the government wants, premiums will still be out of reach for me AND what I could “afford” won’t really be “healthcare.” It will be “avoiding disaster and bankruptcy” insurance.

It’s a pathetic misnomer keeping us from really wanting to SOLVE anything. But the beat goes on.

Healthcare (non)Reform

This is yet another gripe on healthcare (non)reform.

Let us review so I can properly tick off my conservative AND liberal friends:

1. I am not for repealing healthcare reform back to what we have. What have is lousy. If you need examples, I am a living one. So are other members of my family. Don’t get me started! ;)

2. I am FOR working harder to accomplish something far better than what is about to go into play.

3. I am NOT for universal healthcare. Not single payer. The examples in Europe that everyone touts are not the panacea we make them out to be. (For instance, in Germany just the healthcare portion of their income tax is 15% per person. That is what Merkel is proposing to help pay for a system that is being crushed by deficit spending. Add other income tax on top of that and it’s a disaster.)

But what gets my blood boiling today is seeing how bigger companies are beginning to respond to the current (non)reform and what that will mean for me and my family.

I have a friend who works at a major corporation. They are switching all of their healthcare options to HSAs next year. Why? Because the (non)reform plan is going to tax the “cadillac” plans. 3M is going to change how they give benefits to their retirees.

More companies will be making the same moves.

Why? Because they don’t want to fork over the taxes and there is no need to make them. They are big enough to shift the game.

I am NOT saying we tax the major corporations anyway. I am attempting to point out a major flaw in the current (non)reform plan. It’s this: When you try to tax one part of the plan to pay for another part of the plan it blows up. You can’t tie your revenue source to a part of your plan you want people to NOT be involved in! Why does the government keep trying this?!?!

In my city we have a great bus system. Yet, during the time when gas prices were $4 a gallon they lost money while ridership was up. Why? Because their main source of revenue is tied to the gas tax. So here is a system that is trying to get people off the road, but their main revenue stream depends on people being ON the road. Go figure.

So, let’s review.

The healthcare (non)reforms wants everyone in. To do that they are going to form these “exchanges” so they can come up with “affordable” plans for people like me who can’t afford anything right now. How will they make it affordable? They will subsidize it. How will they subsidize it? By taxing “cadillac” plans that major corporations use for their employees.

EXCEPT… the major corporations are now figuring ways to dump major portions of those “cadillac” plans. The result? I still won’t find an affordable plan and I will be FORCED into a system that will cost me MORE money!

So, what are Republicans running on this fall? They promise to repeal the current plan. Their plan? The mantra of “We have the best healthcare system in the world.”

Democrats are trying to tout how good this plan is.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… I’m working a full time gig, two part-time gigs, with my wife working part-time, and no place to find affordable health insurance. And I’m “middle class.” Oh, and I live in a state that is about to elect a governor who’s only plan for raising revenue is raising income taxes.

Let the good times roll!

Healthcare Reform, the Kansas Jayhawks, and the Apocalypse

All was not lost on the weekend. Joe Mauer signed a long-term deal with the Twins. We’re pretty happy about that.

That came hours before the final vote on healthcare “reform,” so it helped soften that blow.

Couple that with the crushing defeat of the Kansas Jayhawks  in the NCAA tournament, and, well, it’s a wonder the Apocalypse didn’t sweep us all away!

So, we have this new healthcare bill. It does not signal the end of democracy as we know it. Some would disagree. As I have said before, and will continue to say, this was a bad bill. It does not come out of a belief that our healthcare system is fine. It’s not. It’s horribly broken.

This doesn’t fix anything. But, that’s the way it goes.

What is missing from politics is reasoned discussion. My friend, Lance, and I can sit for hours in a coffee shop and discuss this issue and walk away friends. We will not agree fully on this subject, but we can have a civil discussion on it. I deeply admire his passion and respect his views.

But beyond two guys in a coffee shop, we can’t seem to have any civil debate anymore in this country and that is a crying shame.

One thing I know: It does not matter what type of government I live under. My allegiance is far past whatever human government I live under. I love my country. Yet, the sea change we are experiencing does not change me. I am so thankful for the Kingdom and the King I serve. It keeps me in a true state of content.

That’s good news when I consider the Jayhawks are sitting home and I have no compelling interest to watch the NCAA tournament anymore.

The Politics of Power

For years I have had the realization that American politics is ONLY about power. I have carried no delusions about my party winning and then God would bless America once again. It is straight up power. They can yack about how they have the will of the people in mind, but when they get elected… game over. It’s about power.

David Brooks hits the nail on this head in this column. He says it far more articulately that I ever could. This paragraph is spot on:

“…populism is popular with the ruling class. Ever since I started covering politics, the Democratic ruling class has been driven by one fantasy: that voters will get so furious at people with M.B.A.’s that they will hand power to people with Ph.D.’s. The Republican ruling class has been driven by the fantasy that voters will get so furious at people with Ph.D.’s that they will hand power to people with M.B.A.’s. Members of the ruling class love populism because they think it will help their section of the elite gain power.”

Home run, Mr. Brooks.

On the Republican/conservative side (which is the source of my political upbringing), it was about saying to the right people, “Vote for us and abortion will be illegal. Vote for us and we’ll defend marriage.” Guess what? Nothing happened. They controlled the White House and both houses of Congress and did nothing on either issue.

On the Democrat/liberal side, it was about saying to the right people, “Vote for us and the poor will be taken care of. We will have healthcare reform. We will end global warming.” Guess what? Same story.

It’s about power. Their power. Now, with the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing corporations and unions to pour millions of dollars into campaigning for their candidates, you really need to know your voice will never matter again. We will just shift from PhD’s to MBA’s and back. We’re the tennis ball in the rich boys’ tennis tournament.

News Round Up

We get the doomsday forecasts so we are ready for self-preservation.

We get the middle of the night votes from the Senate. No biggie there. The House did it a couple of weeks ago. Will anyone EVER read those monstrous bills? I bet the good senator from Louisiana may not read all of it, but she has a few paragraphs she probably likes. (As do a lot of other senators who will get a few million for their states in exchange for their quiet submission.) My only regret is that my Minnesota senators will already vote YES on this healthcare “reform” package, so the state will get nothing new in the way of dollars.

I need to get this all out before it becomes illegal to complain.

Life may hand us tough things. Life can be crazy. This I know (without wanting to be trite in saying it): God is good… ALL… THE… TIME.

More on Healthcare “Reform”

I have a tab on this blog with more thoughts on healthcare “reform,” but I needed to add this update from Chuck Colson.

I know there are people applauding this legislation. It’s becoming the liberal version of “patriotism.” Remember the “old days” of the Iraq War when the liberals got upset when Republicans challenged their “patriotism” because they opposed the war in Iraq (after voting for it)? This is the liberal version. Somehow, if we oppose this silly piece of legislation we are not caring about healthcare reform and want status quo. Get a life!

The House bill calls for 111 new government agencies. It gives tax breaks to certain groups (when this bill didn’t pass through a tax committee). The biggest laugher is this: most of our congressional representatives haven’t read this thing.

Lest you think I am just for status quo, please read my full posting under the “Healthcare Reform” tab. This system is broken. But this bill ain’t fixin’ it!