Sunday, August 23, 2009

Analogy (Health Care)

While pondering the health care issue being debated vociferously between the Democratic Administration, Democratic controlled Congress and the minority Republicans, for some reason a statement made by General Patton came to mind.
His 3rd Army had been making great progress pushing into Germany when the decision was made to cut off all supplies including fuel and ammo for his tanks. He had just arrived at the scene of an all night battle. He noticed the Germans were using carts. The statement was that he had the right instrument (3rd Army) at the right place at the right time. Nothing could have stopped him except the decision to give full support to General Montgomery as he drove up the coast. The V-2 rockets were creating havoc in England. Patton was not allowed to use his full resource and the moment passed by. The Germans had time to move their forces and the drive once resumed met heavy resistance.
The majority of American voters put the Democrats in charge expecting the “change” promised. There are only 18 months left before mid term elections. Traditionally the party out of power gains seats. The overwhelming power the Democrats have now will vanish. Nothing of great importance will be accomplished particularly in health care. Their time is now. They have the power and the issue. In my humble opinion they are blowing it. They have caved in to the mega health industry with only a possibility that a public option could be part of the package. No other major country on earth has allowed the private sector to reap obscene profits while denying care as best they can. The cost for most American families is prohibitive. Many do without protection because the cost is out of reach.
Let me make this point clear. I want Doctors, Nurses, hospitals, clinics, and all other health providers to make a good living or profit. The investment in education and facilities must be rewarded. When the original concept of insurance was created the thought was to pool resources to lesson the impact on families and companies. Somewhere along the way the industry realized they could increase their profits by denying care for pre existing conditions, delaying payments and vastly increasing the cost with their incessant paperwork.
It is obvious to everyone by now that the minority party will not agree with any proposal put forth by President Obama and his co-horts. It is time to fish or cut bait as the saying goes. Go all out for the best and lowest cost proposals which will at last provide care for all our citizens. This will cause serious downsizing of the private insurers. Perhaps the blow could be cushioned by letting them handle the paperwork. Their problem is of minor importance as compared to citizens. They had their chance and like the huge banks they blew it with their lust and greed. Tough.
We as a nation cannot continue the irresponsible excessive spending that started with Bush and continues with Obama. If this continues we will become a third world country with only our military to create the premise that we are a super power. In other countries the individual taxes are the source of funds. Pretending this can be done by just taxing the rich and business is nonsense. Maybe a referendum is in order. Let the people decide to increase taxes to pay for health care. We must remove this burden from business to give them a fair chance to compete worldwide. Good paying American jobs will solve our debt problem and pay the costs. Another source of funds could be any of the following;
Cancel the Bush tax cuts for the super rich which are scheduled to expire a year from now anyway. That is assuming the Administration and Congress has the guts to do so.
Bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, these are wars which can never be won.
Eliminate the “No child left behind” program; this is only a paperwork nightmare which only improves the student’s ability to pass tests. It does nothing to improve learning.
Make drastic cuts in funding for the CIA, Homeland Security, Star wars, stop the installation of the missile system in Poland, cut funding for the Energy and Education Departments, cancel the Senior Drug program, replacing it with our government using it’s leverage to lower drug costs across the board, etc, etc. These could lower annual costs by a trillion or more.
The Democratic proposals are seriously flawed. If approved, as much as a trillion dollars will be added to the national debt. Why can’t they just create the process and let it be implemented piecemeal. In the 60,s President Eisenhower got legislation approved to build a super highway system. Fifty years later look what has been created. He knew that once started no subsequent administration or Congress would ever be able to stop it. The same would be true for health care. We already have the superhighway built. Its names are Medicare and Medicaid. I have proposed this before. Start lowering the age of eligibility from the current 65 and at the same time move towards covering the children who are still without coverage. This would be relatively easy to do since the procedures are already in place. As to the question of these programs and Social Security running out of funds, the simple solution is to create a committee charged with advancing solutions which the Congress can only approve or reject without amendment. That is how it was done before.
No one has to re-invent the wheel.

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