Apparently Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) will schedule a vote on a full repeal of Obamacare this week. He knows it will pass the Republican controlled House and will never be given a hearing in the Democrat controlled Senate. Similarly, the Democrat leadership of the Senate is talking about scheduling another vote on gun control legislation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) knows that it won’t pass in the Senate despite Democrat control. Even if it does it won’t be given a hearing in the Republican controlled House.
That pretty much defines politics in our nation’s capitol these days. Legislation is proposed not for purposes of seriously addressing a problem but rather solely for scoring points. And President Barack Obama, far from being the post-partisan president predicted by his adoring media, is the most divisive president to ever lead the nation. Every vote is more important for the next campaign than for solving the problem. There is never an attempt to compromise because this is about winning elections not about solving problems. This is disgusting.
Look, if the Democrats were serious about gun control issues they would find a way to address the actual problem that caused the recent high profile mass killings in Newtown, Aurora, Springfield, Clackamas and others – nut jobs with access to guns. In fact, a key vote against the last attempt at punishing the innocent for the sins of the guilty, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), has stated categorically that had the legislation addressed inclusion of a data base for those with mental health concerns – the cause of these disasters – he would have voted for the legislation. But no – the Democrats aren’t really interested in finding a solution; they are only interested in scoring points.
Likewise, if the Republicans were serious about repealing Obamacare they would include in the repealer a substitute solution. But no – the Republicans aren’t really interested in solving the problems and costs of healthcare; they are only interested in scoring points. And while these morons fiddle the nation is headed for what the chief sponsor of Obamacare – Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) – has described as a real “train wreck.” Mr. Baucus, likes his Republican counterparts on the Senate Finance Committee, has all of the tools necessary to correct the problems with Obamacare – including a full repeal and substitution of a more workable solution. But neither Mr. Baucus nor the House Republicans are going to do a damn thing about it because this isn’t about healthcare this is about scoring points.
To demonstrate how relatively simple a possible solution can be, let me offer some guidelines for a new healthcare law:
1. The solution should involve minimal government intrusion. We should not be required to hire additional 10,000 IRS agents to implement a healthcare plan.
2. The solution should remove existing governmental barriers including barriers to entry for healthcare providers and insurance carriers.
3. The solution should build on existing government programs since we already know the major flaws in many of these programs whether Congress has had the political courage to correct them or not.
4. The solution should not require a monumental amount of paperwork – not for the patient, not for the provider and not for the insurance companies.
5. The solution should require everyone to have skin in the game. That means that everybody should participate in funding the program.
6. The solution should recognize that those with resources might desire and acquire additional and/or better healthcare services. A two-tier healthcare system is plausible and probable.
Utilizing these guidelines let me suggest:
1. Everyone should pay a percentage of his or her gross income for healthcare insurance. The payments can be made into a federal government dedicated fund or waived upon showing comparable payments are made to a private healthcare insurance provider. Gross income will include wages, net operating income, tips, interest, and any form of government welfare payment. The percentage should be fixed – a standard percentage such as Costa Rica that requires seven percent. Those who are eligible for Medicare are exempt from the funding provisions.
2. All current federal and federal/state healthcare programs should be repealed, their administrative agencies closed and their funds transferred to the federal government dedicated fund. These should include Medicaid and the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). All healthcare programs currently administered by public schools should be terminated and their funds transferred to the federal government dedicated fund. (Schools are for teaching, not for healthcare, social programming or babysitting.)
3. The program should mimic the Medicare program subject to the following distinctions.
4. Each state will contract with an insurance provider(s) or healthcare systems – think Providence and Legacy as examples – for the provision of healthcare services. Allowances should be made that permit less populated states to band together to achieve more favorable rates from insurance providers(s)or healthcare systems. Block grants should be provided to the states from the federal government dedicated fund to pay for such services.
5. Issues relating to abortion, euthanasia and gender change can be decided on a state by state basis.
6. Medical malpractice litigation should include both actual damages and punitive damages. However, all amounts recovered for punitive damages should be paid into the federal government dedicated fund and no attorney’s fees should be permitted based upon recovery of punitive damages.
I appreciate that this is a rather broad outline. Moreover, I have no idea of what the costs would be because I do not have access to the data necessary to determine the costs – Mr. Baucus does, the Republican leadership does but neither is going to do anything about it because they aren’t interested in a solution. They are only interested in scoring points.