Fear mongering over the Senate health care bill

Chances are extremely high that you will see in the upcoming days some politician warn you about how bad the Senate health care bill is. A senator from my state decided to go on a little tour yesterday meeting with people and talking about how damaging the supposed cuts to Medicaid will be. I have heard some lawmakers warn us that people will die because of the purposed legislation to fix or repeal Obamacare. Yes, the sky will fall if we pass the bill, right? The crux of the controversy over this bill lies with the effort to reform Medicaid. As with any entitlement, any attempt to cut back on it will bring about folks who claim people who support these cuts are evil and cruel individuals.

For those who do not know what Medicaid is about, it is in simple terms, assistance in paying for health care to those low-income people who cannot afford it. You could say it is another form of welfare. Millions of people depend on Medicaid to help them pay for their medical expenses. The problem with Medicaid is that it is a very expensive entitlement for both the Federal and State government. Millions of taxpayer dollars go into the programs and it is a very unsustainable program. Reform must take place soon. The rate of growth must be stopped. I know in my state of Minnesota, the growth of our health and human services budget always go ups nearly 20 to 30 percent per year. That is simply unsustainable to continue in the future. Any type of Medicaid expansion will bankrupt our state eventually. We will not have enough money for our schools or roads. To me, Medicaid reform and slowly the growth down seems to be a very logical thing to do.

Unfortunately we have many politicians and this does include members from both parties who are crying over these so-called cuts to Medicaid. Why these lawmakers cannot see that Medicaid reform is highly needed is beyond me! Do these people think that the states and the Federal government have some endless reservoir of cash for this program?

People need to understand that the alleged cuts to Medicaid are actually to slow down the rate of growth. Medicaid expansion will still occur. We just need to slow down the rate of growth to a sustainable level. Also, it would be great if states actually did audits on the recipients of Medicaid to see if people who were receiving benefits actually needed them. I read a story that 8000 dead people in Illinois were still receiving benefits, that is insane!

Besides getting rid of some of the needless mandates and working towards increasing competition, Medicaid reform is a crucial part of any health care reform bill. No, people are not going to die if this bill passes, perhaps people will die if we continue on the same unsustainable path that is part of the current system.


A bi-partisan health care bill anyone?

The other night, I had a dream that was quite shocking in nature. Congressional leaders of both parties gathered for a news conference to announce the new bi-partisan American Health Care Law. Although the leaders had admitted that they had many differences, they agreed to compromise and come up with a bill that would ensure all Americans receive fair and adequate as well as cheaper  health care coverage. Unfortunately, I woke up and realized what a far-fetched scenario this will ever be. There are some things that are absolute guarantees, death, taxes and both parties failing to agree on important legislation that affects millions of Americans and is responsible for 1/6 of our economy.

When President Obama was elected back in 2008, one of his first priorities was to shove Obamacare down our throats in an extremely quick fashion. Many lawmakers even admitted that they had not read the bill, yet they voted for it. Not one Republican voted for it, it was a purely partisan bill. Now Republicans are promising to repeal the bill since they have majorities in both the House and Senate. Funny but the Republicans as it turns out are split over how to proceed with repealing this bill. You just cannot make this nonsense up! Here they have had 8 years to figure this out and the divisions still exist. Getting back to the Democrats, they of course are adamantly opposed to any efforts to repeal the bill. Many of the Democrats want health care reform to consist of some big government entitlement program which in the long run is not sustainable. The fighting will only get worse in the next few weeks when this new bill comes up for a vote. As it is right now, I don’t see how it will ever pass.

Is it that hard for members of both parties to sit down and hash out their differences over health care reform? Why are Democrats continuing to support health care reform ideas that have proven not to work? I would be a total state of shock if some Democratic leader admitted that Obamacare has been a failure and we need to take another direction. The new plan supported by many Republicans looks like a slimmed down version of Obamacare, still not sufficient enough. Will any leader have the courage to stand up and say that we need to totally scrap the whole plan and come up with a new plan? When you start talking about taking away entitlements from people, that becomes a huge issue. It doesn’t matter that the entitlement is unsustainable for the future. Taking away those entitlements for something else is a huge challenge for the Republicans at this point.

Anyone who has any knowledge of Economics should understand that any kind of reform needs to center on the word “competition”. If I have more chooses for my health care, the better. That may mean having the ability to shop on the internet and pick out a plan from an insurance company in some other state. Furthermore, we have to look at my many insurance companies are jacking their premiums up so high. Well duh, if an insurance company has to cover a host of new people with pre-existing conditions, that would probably mean that they will be forced to raise their rates. It is just simple and basic economics. Why some lawmakers cannot understand this is beyond me. It is crucial to understand the consumer and insurance companies positions before you even begin to think about reforming health care.

Sadly, I have a feeling that this cycle is just going to continue forever. The next time the Democrats control things in Washington, they will want to repeal Trumpcare and we will be at square one again. I just want to see a day when both parties can come up with a plan that puts the American people first before their own political differences. Is this possible? I doubt it. But we can always dream about it.

Health care reform and personal responsibility

There has been a lot of discussion and debate in the past several weeks about reforming health care and how to go about it.  These discussions have triggered some very heated debates among politicians and people all around the country. Unfortunately, we have a few elite politicians in Washington who think that they can try various forms of reform with  a proven track record of failing. But aside from the debates about how to do it,  one thing that is often overlooked is each person being accountable for  his or her own health.

A study came out last month which pretty much summed up most of our health problems. Nearly 2 out of 3 Americans are overweight. Now I know that many health problems can be out of our control, since they are largely heredity in nature.  There are many cases when a perfectly healthy person can develop heart disease  or cancer. But what we can control is our lifestyle and how we eat and exercise.

Those stats about the number of overweight Americans should come as no surprise. Go into any restaurant or fast food place and look at the menu.  The amount of fat and sodium grams in many of their products runs off the charts! Imagine how many fat grams a triple whopper has? There is always a huge temptation to overeat at any of these places.  I personally struggle with overeating at times. We all like to eat, but many folks do not have enough discipline to resist that extra serving of  food.

Exercise is another issue which many folks have a problem with.  I get sick of hearing the same lame excuse that people do not have time to exercise. That is hogwash! All you need is to donate 1/2 hour a day in your schedule to get some form of exercise. If a person is too busy for that, then they have some scheduling or priority problems. Sometimes it is just a matter of spending 1/2 less in front of the television or computer.  A good time to exercise or work out is right away in the morning. I like to get in a workout right away to start  my day.

Many of the health problems that this country faces are from poor lifestyle choices. People with poor health habits tend to be constantly running to the doctor and have a much greater chance of getting a chronic disease. In the process, they are the ones largely responsible for running up the premiums on everyone. Imagine if everyone in this country did not smoke, exercised and ate healthy. Those insurance companies would not have to shell out so much to cover those people and rates would probably be lower.

Real reform really comes from looking in the mirror and trying to live a healthy life. You will not only benefit yourself  but help out others in your insurance pool. That is my view on what real reform should be about.

Obama wins but at what cost?

A few House Democrats were on cloud nine the other night when they finally passed the health care reform bill. Despite having a majority in both the Senate and House, the president had a difficult time passing this piece of legislation. In fact, there was bipartisan opposition to the bill and several other Democrats had to be bribed in order to vote for it. Personally, I think it is disgusting to see a process come to this when so much is on the line.  In fact, the whole bill makes me sick, pardon the expression!! I find it really hard to believe that this is real health reform! To me, it is more about political ideology rather than actually making health care better.

I heard many people crowing the other night about how this will now insure about 32 million more people. This was one of the major goals of the reform. My question is, out of those 32 million, how many really cannot get health care? Many people are uninsured because they simply chose not to buy health insurance. It is not because they cannot purchase it. Some people, especially those who are younger, simply cannot afford it and chose not to have that added expense.  I think it is very unconstitutional to force someone to buy health insurance. Just another expense that many people will have to pony up to and forced to by the government.

It is true that there is a small segment of the population that cannot get health insurance due to preexisting conditions. According to this bill, those folks will be placed into a Medicaid program which is just another program  run poorly by the government. Imagine having a larger pool of people into an already struggling program. You can be sure there will be some rationing going on for sure! Due to budget problems, some of these folks may not get the type of health insurance they need which is exactly what reform is suppose to be about. So they are back to square one.

If  32 million more people are getting health insurance, how many more doctors will we hire? Imagine the wait that someone will have to experience if more doctors are not hired? I heard that many doctors are unhappy with the overall and are planning on leaving their practice. The waiting period to see a doctor might go dramatically up! Patients who need immediate care will be forced to face other alternatives. This scenario is more than likely to happen. Is that really good and improved care?

The real issue of health care reform should be the cost of health care and I see very little that really addresses this issue. Insurance companies have to jack up their rates because the cost of  getting a procedure done is increasing. What is being done about making these tests and procedures more efficient? Many doctors perform several tests for litigation purposes. I cannot understand why tort reform was not included in this bill. In my opinion, that is a huge mistake.

While on the subject of cost, how are we going to pay for this 1.2 trillion dollar bill? There will be several new taxes coming up in the next few years and unfortunately, some will hit corporations and businesses. Raising taxes during a time of recession is a horrible idea. Get used to seeing that unemployment rate stay at 9-10 percent people! In fact, I would not surprise me if that figure went up next year. I believe this bill could be a big time job killer. And of course, certain medical devices will be included in the new tax increases thus increasing the cost of procedures.

With many people out of work and the unemployment rate nearing 10 percent across the country, why is isn’t jobs creation a higher priority? Many families are suffering because of unemployment and need help. However, this current administration would rather focus on health care reform and seems to have their own little agenda. The economy and putting people back to work should be their number one focus.

Sunday night was a good night for several Democrats and they had their time to celebrate. Come November, the people of America will have their say and it is time to issue a few pink slips starting with everyone who voted for this piece of garbage. Get new leadership in who will not bribe people  and who are willing to work in a bipartisan way for the people of this country.  Maybe a few years later, we can vote Mr. Obama out of office if he keeps up this nonsense.

The health care bill is no Christmas present for Americans

Just a short time ago, members of the Senate passed their own version of health care reform with the vote being strictly partisan. Several Democrats boasted that this is indeed, a true Christmas  present for many Americans who cannot afford health insurance. While this may be true for a few and very small minority of Americans, what about the rest of us who really like our health insurance?

When I think of reforming something, I always think of  making a particular process or product better and I fail to see what exactly will be made better with this bill.  The first glaring thing  I noticed is that 25 million people will still not be insured. I thought the primary goal of this piece of legislation is to make sure all Americans are covered? If that many folks are still not covered, then there are some serious flaws in this bill.

The price tag of this bill is another thing that jumps out. So how are we suppose to pay for this sweeping reform? I still have a very hard believing the cost of insurance will actually go down with this bill. In fact, I can see just the opposite. Premiums are bound to go up for many folks, especially the younger people who are the ones with the least need for coverage. And of course, cuts to Medicare will have a great impact to those who need health care the most, our seniors. For those who think cutting the waste out of  Medicare will be enough to pay for this bill and not affect seniors, you guys are extremely delusional! I simply do not trust that a bunch of politicians and bureaucrats will accomplish something like this.  Does anyone out there really believe this will happen?

Probably my biggest concern about this health care reform is what will become of the quality of care in this country.  With many more people having access to health care, can you imagine the wait that one will go through just to see the doctor? Believe me, just ask the folks in Canada what it is like to wait for a simply procedure to happen. It is bound to happen here in the states as well. I simply cannot believe that our quality of care will actually get better. It will be a total nightmare with long waits to see the doctor and a strong potential of having government rationed health care due to a lack of funds.

There are so many other concerns I have about health care reform but overall, will this make our system much better?  I have serious doubts and all Americans should be concerned about what is happening with this debate.  We will all be affected by this and it is unfortunate that a few Democrats are not listening to the voices of the American people.  60 percent of Americans do not support this bill. It seems like this debate is more about a power struggle of ideologies in Washington instead of truly reforming health care. For those Democrats who voted for this bill and especially Ben Nelson, you guys all deserve a big lump of coal in your stockings this Christmas. And come next November, some of you will get deservedly get voted out of office.

Is Government health insurance really the answer?

There has been a great deal of talk in the past week about health care reform and what to do with the ever increasing cost of health care in this country.  I definitely agree that it is a problem and some solution must be made.  I know that for many businesses, the cost of employee health care is rising and many employers simply cannot keep up with the ever increasing costs. This fact alone really affects our economy with fewer workers being hired.

But does anyone out there really believe that the solution to cut costs is to have a government led health insurance plan such as the one proposed by the president? Since when has a universal health system really worked?  I would like someone to give me some examples.  It has created several problems in Canada and England and  few states in this country have tried it only to get rid of it after a short time.  Why try something that has a proven record of failure? I just do not get it!!

The argument for this plan is that it will give people more choices and that people can still keep their own insurance plans. I find that very difficult to believe.  Do you think that private insurance companies can really compete with a government backed plan?  I personally feel it will knock out many plans and give us fewer choices.  Soon, the only plan left will be the government’s plan which will be forced on people.  Imagine what it would be like to have that sort of plan.  Having a bunch of bureaucrats determine what sort of coverage I need is not what I want or need.  What if I was an senior citizen who needed heart surgery but the panel determined that I was too old and heart surgery would be too costly?  These type of scenarios are almost guaranteed to happen under this proposed plan of  President Obama’s.

Part of the goal of this plan is to insure all Americans including the alleged 50 million people who do not have health care.  If all 50 million people suddenly get coverage, are we going to start hiring more doctors to cover the sudden onslaught of patients?  I have heard horror stories about people having to get onto some sort of waiting list in order to get treatment. If I have a problem, I want it treated right away!! I do not want to wait for 6 months. By then, the problem may get worse and more costly to treat.

The whole reason to get health insurance is for any catastrophic thing that may happen to someone.  A big problem with many health insurance plans is that they are mandated to cover so many little things by law and that really drives up the cost.  I am a healthy, non-smoking male who needs very little insurance. I do not need coverage for when I break my toe nail!! I believe strongly that we as Americans need more options for our health coverage.  It should be just like purchasing anything in a capitalist society.  By having more competition and choices, prices are due to be held in check. It is one of the great benefits of capitalism.  Instead the government has to step and ruin everything.

In summary, I hope this plan of the president’s fails and is it seems people are waking up to  his scheme.  It is costly and will not help control costs at all.  In independent studies, there has been no proof that it will control costs.  Our country cannot afford this silly plan. There has to be a better way.