House passes buck

I try to follow health care on this blog, along with green, traditional medical, and ecological issues, not political issues. So I’ve decided to breach that schism when it comes to the health care vote in the House of Representatives.

Much remains unclear as to what the final bill, still to be passed by the Senate might contain. I’ve got some initial conclusions and prediction below. I think the CBO numbers and common sense back the idea the bill will cost a lot, too much as a matter of fact.

Must we allow the private health care insurers to come between us and our health care? I mean wouldn’t the more efficient solution to be deliver health care through a single payer? More and more, it seems if the solutions gov’t provides to problems in the private sector contain massive handouts for those with the most influence with the administration and Congress. The financial industry and health care insurers profit by cronyism and influence with the White House and Congress.

Time will tell whether the bill’s an effective use of taxpayer money or, to be more accurate, borrowings based on future taxes on our children’s future labor, + interest.

I’ve posted a comment over at OpEdNews.com, where I’m active. It follows:

“I don’t know about this. This bill will grow increasingly unpopular. I think it has some good changes, but this is an inadequate fix. Better it may be to let the health care system deteriorate as soon as possible, to make clear the incompatibility of capitalist profiteering and good health care.

Where does the gov’t think it’s going to get the money for this? To make it deficit-neutral (a silly promotional play), taxes will spike and Medicare to be cut badly. In order to make that status (the bill’s much maligned CBO estimates calculate a reduction in gov’t spending), yet to cut Medicare will alienate seniors who are too rich to qualify for Medicaid and now must face higher co-pays with Medicare supplemental insurance (an indirect method of passing on the cuts.)

As I’ve written, the gov’t seems to actually being cutting its obligations under Medicare through this bill. It’s poor and eager to discharge as much of Medicare’s huge liability on taxpayers, and the elderly receiving care (and those who pay for supplemental insurance for their retirees, etc. The bill targets Medicare recipients.

Way I see it, the bill’s cost and bureaucracy, coupled with continued high health care premiums and expenses (which remain largely unchanged  under the CBO’s estimates) could cost Obama a second term. Angry seniors will vote their higher out-of-pocket health care costs.

 If the Senate loads it down with additional unrelated spending bills (which I believe student loans to be), then people could cringe what else gets into the final bill, which we don’t know will contain.”

End comment. I think this so-called health care reform package will be a massive political liability for Obama and the Democrats. Maybe it will provide enough of a patch to delay the inevitable switch to single payer.

The status quo may dominate a while but not too long, as fiscal discipline and eventually solvency appear less solid with this bill’s passage. We’re on a track to ruin financially, and our monetary system will pay the price of overspending as we monetize the debt (for lack of creditors willing to buy our debt, outside of our own banks through the Federal Reserve-with money borrowed from the Treasury no less.)

Paradoxically, financial necessity and budget priorities may force change later rather than sooner. If this bill can’t reduce overall health care costs (of which gov’t is only one actor) and Seniors vote their anger, it could cost a lot politically and deliver nothing except more of the same: higher premiums and reduced benefits for those with Medicare.

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One Response to “House passes buck”

  1. Jbpeebles Says:

    Cross-posted the following at commondreams.org, in reference to an article about the deficit by Janine Jackson on commondreams.org:

    I agree with everything in this comment except the reference to “Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and unemployment benefits…all of which have already been paid for…”
    This is utterly untrue. The amounts paid for Social Security were put in a “trust fund” which was subsequently raided by President Clinton in the 1990s. Result: social security payments must come out of general revenues year-by-year. In other words, not only has social security not been paid for, but every present payment now must come out of taxes (competing with other pressing needs.)
    I don’t know how closely the article author follows our spending, but now every third dollar we spend is borrowed. If the spending trend continues–for whatever reason, whether it be social security, obamacare, wars, whatever–more and more will be borrowed because we’re spending beyond our means. This will put younger people under a lot of financial stress as they age, wondering if gov’t (and the dollars it issues) will be fiscally solvent to meet its promises.
    Sure it’d be great to live in a fantasy land where social security taxes were actually kept for you when you retire, but that’s not the case. And being that we have a demographic time bomb, the amount of social security payments is ALREADY exceeding the contributions.
    Health care is even worse. For anyone who’s actually read the details of Obama care, over $500 billion of Medicare benefits are being reduced starting this year. Now Medicare will simply leave more costs to supplemental insurance–that’s right, the insurance that elderly must pay for because Medicare and the government CANNOT meet their promises. That’s right, you’ll have to pay a chunk of your social security in order to pay for Medicare, which still won’t cover you fully when you are over 65.
    These reduced payments will make supplemental insurance much more expensive and companies that help pay will unburden themselves of rising retiree health care expenses, another disgusting hallmark of the neoliberal health care “reform.” Look for elderly to pay more because the gov’t can’t be trusted to pay its bills (not in twenty years, but now.) And to think people don’t know this–of course it’s ignorance that fuels the retirement Ponzi scheme. Otherwise younger workers wouldn’t pay in, knowing they’ll be defrauded.

    /end comment

    I just added a response to aussidawg, who replied to the above comment at common dreams. My reply follows:

    aussi, appreciated your cogent reply. I take it you’re on of the lucky ones who can get Medicare to pay for a portion of your health care bills. Most of us can’t get the gov’t to pay for any portion of our health care. Mind you, I guess I’d have to suffer a disability, for which you have a demonstrated and justified need for health care paid by our government.
    Unfortunately, I think Obamacare will set us against one another; a defining characteristic of this gilded age where the elite manipulate and the sheople obey. Those receiving benefits will do so at the expense of another recipient of Medicare. This will set grandparents against grandchildren, brothers against sisters. Who deserves to get health care? We all do. Truly we’ve become a two-class society, or that is the intent of the elites and their agenda. The elite may intend to bankrupt us-health care is the number one reason for bankruptcy.
    We can either pay for health care now with borrowed dollars, continue to pay in, not knowing what we’ll get back, based on a thinning degree of trust in the future solvency of our government and its obligations.
    BTW I find it absurd to criticize the hyper-deficit-spending. If we were to face the consequences of our actions in overseas wars, we’d leave. But we don’t and can’t and therefore run our fiscal ship into certain disaster. Focus needs to be on the money, not on the media.Otherwise the progressive community won’t have the fiscal needs to meet the health care and other needs of the population. (See more on the conservative’s intention to “starve the beast…”)http://jbpeebles.blogspot.com/2009/05/war-spending-is-800-lb-gorilla.html

    /end second comment

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