Whatever side of the health care debate you may be on, let’s hope some logic prevails in the final decision making process. Democrats are taking a new strategy in pushing their reform proposals, again attacking the insurance industry, and now pushing the point that seniors will have their drug coverage improved and insurers will be prevented from implementing their various underwriting rules. Ok, then what?
What is the goal of all this? I like the words affordable, quality health care for all Americans, but what we are getting is expanding coverage here and there and reinforcing the idea that we can have everything we want without a cost.
While proponents of the Congressional proposals pound us over the head with their idealism, they ignore the facts. For example, they propose cutting Medicare payments by over one half a billion dollars and rather than capture those savings, they are to be spent expanding more government involvement in health care. In the meantime Medicare still struggles with its costs. One can rationalize this move as we clearly have a problem with the uninsured, but can we afford this strategy?
However, even more hypocritical is that proponents are trying to convince Americans they will have affordable health care at the same time the average Medicare beneficiary pays 20-30% of their income on health care. The AARP says 2-10% of income constitutes affordable health care. I am waiting for any politician to stand up and tell a family earning $70,000 a year that “affordable” means they pay what a Medicare beneficiary pay (even though they may be paying that now). There seems to be a lack of understanding that there are two elements to affordable, one is the premium cost and the other the out of pocket costs. If you lower the second you raise the first, if you keep adding benefits to the package you raise the first.
This debate has deteriorated into one party pushing a flawed approach that does not attack the real problems and the other party opposing anything simply for the sake of opposing. The loser is the American people.
Perhaps what is more disturbing, or should be, is that while we build up massive debt, fail to address known approaching financial problems like Social Security and Medicare, we keep increasing spending on things that rarely hit the news. There is no concern for our future; we are rationalizing ourselves into a debt burden (think more and more burdensome taxes) that will eventually inhibit the ability for many Americans to make economic progress.
Let me put it another way, our politicians like never before are pandering to an uneducated, uninformed populace and special interests with a shortsightedness that will eventually lower the standard of living with less disposable income for the great majority of Americans because they will be burdened for years with the debt and government obligations we are creating today.