Thursday, December 17, 2009

Is Obamacare Dead?

Obamacare, Pelosicare, whatever you want to call it seems dead this year. It never made much sense, at least not the way Congress was approaching it. There was no true health CARE reform, but rather insurance reform. Some would argue that CHANGE is needed, and no doubt the current system is not perfect, but the change that was proposed was ill-conceived.

Here is a summary of what would have happened if reform, as envisioned by Washington, had become reality.

Reform was directed solely at the constantly debated figure of 47 million who are without health insurance. Not health care, but health insurance. At least one flaw in the number is the estimated 10 - 18 million counted in that figure that are in the United States illegally.

For chuckles and grins, let's just round it off to 35 million without health insurance.

The projected annual cost varies, depending on which version of the bill you want to use and whose numbers you want to believe, but the range was $80 billion to $130 billion. To keep it simple, let's split the difference and use $100 billion. That's about $2800 per year per uninsured man, woman and child.

That doesn't seem like much when you break it down like that and with good reason. It is woefully underestimated, especially when one adds in the NEW benefits mandated by health "care" reform including prohibiting health insurance companies from medically underwriting new applicants.

Even if you want to accept their fantasy figure, where would the money come from to fund this . . . change?

Eliminating fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid. No one ever answered why we need a new $100 billion entitlement program to eliminate fraud and abuse in existing entitlement programs.

Taxes. New ones. It was a constantly moving target but some of the ideas tossed out included taxes on tobacco, alcohol (the drinking kind), snack foods, taxes on individuals who do not buy health insurance, taxes on those who have too much insurance, taxes on business owners that do not provide health insurance for their employees. The list was constantly changing.

Personally, I am glad this "change" appears to be dead. Many, including me, asked why we should allow the government to take take over and manage health care (by way of controlling health insurance) for 100% of the population when they can't even manage the programs they already have for 30% of the population.

It seems obvious to me that more pressing issues would be things like reducing taxes, not increasing them, to stimulate the economy. Put more money in the hands of American's who actually drive the economy and create jobs rather than spending money we don't have on bailouts and pretend job creation programs through failed stimulus plans and cash for clunkers.

So while some will bemoan the death of health care reform, my guess is the 11 million plus that are unemployed would rather have a job than a new entitlement program. Just imagine, if the billions spent on bailing out banks, insurance companies and auto companies had been redirected to the citizens in the form of tax cuts, how many would now be back at work or better yet, would never have lost their job (and home) from the start?

Think about it.
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