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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Monday, March 27, 2017

The one and only health care post

I am not going to pretend to be an expert on the misnamed Affordable Care Act, but I can see by observation it is a big failure.  Failure because it is supposed to be affordable, and if you think it is any more affordable than COBRA you are kidding yourself.  Good thing it wasn't called the "Easy Care Act", too, because if you have ever made the mistake of getting on the government website to price things, you quickly find out, in the great scam tradition, signing on means (to them) you are signing up.  The only thing I ever saw comparable to the " snare" is run by the sites that promise you next day loans at 30% interest- trust me, just looking means you have to call them and explain to them why you are NOT interested.  And why would the government want to set up an "exchange" like this?  Well, how about because the whole thing is a gigantic Ponzi scheme, in which young people pay in and the older and sicker reap the benefits.  Except that the young people were smart enough to stay away in droves, so that every passing year, the older and sicker pay more and more.

And God forbid that you work for one of the princes of industry like Wal-Mart, who deal with the odious requirements for employers by just not giving anyone enough hours to rate company-purchased health insurance.  Because then you can either pay between $200-500 a month for this state's plan, or you can watch your tax refund get gobbled to the tune of a $700 penalty.  Look, if I didn't have work insurance, I'd be basically working for rent, gas, insurance, and lights.

I get that it has helped some people out.  But a GOOD law would do it without screwing someone else.  So all it has accomplished is to play musical chairs with who's getting tooken.

And that brings us to the recent attempts to pass a better version.  Was it better?  Debatable.  While as it was written, Laurie would get back to feeling like the taxes she pays actually meant something, others would lose their "musical chair."  But it was a start.  And sometimes you have to take it one step at a time.  However, this effort tripped and fell face first without a step, and I'd like to throw out some thoughts as to why that was.

First, The Donald.  Some people are saying that he just learned a big lesson on deal making when you aren't the biggest dog in the room.  Some are saying he threw a typical tantrum and quit when he didn't get his way.  Some are saying he never WANTED it to pass, just to show that he tried so that when the Ponzi scheme finishes falling apart, he can lay the blame where it rightly belongs and say, I told you so, and start from scratch.  My thoughts:

If it is the first, one must consider it is also the second.  A much better bill SHOULD have been crafted, time should have been spent with all parties involved, and it should have been passed.  The whole "I'm giving you till Friday" thing makes me question his integrity in wanting it to pass in the first place.  Of course, that's giving him credit for not being a big bully and just simply picking up his balls and jacks and going home.  If it is the former, I have to say, I don't appreciate Washington DC playing poker with our lives and would just as soon someone drop a nuke on the whole shebang and let us start over running things from, say, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  If it's the latter, we're in for a very messy four years.

Second, Speaker Ryan.  I have to say that the good Congressman is rapidly approaching Boehner levels with me.  A good Speaker, say a Lyndon Johnson or a Newt Gingrich, knows how to work the floor- kiss the right asses, jerk the right lapels, and avoid embarrassing tableaus like this one.  Here we have to ask, was the task too great, the Speaker inadequate to the task, or did he really not WANT to work for it?  While the first is a possibility, I think the real debate here is over the second and third choices.  And I suppose it will depend on what we see from Ryan in the future to tell for sure.  Would I put it past him to sink the legislation in order to sink Trump?  Not on your life.  What better way to cloak himself in glory for a 2020 Presidential run than to say he saved the nation from the worst effects of a failed Trump Presidency?  (NOTE TO PAUL:  I'd sooner vote for Bernie Sanders right now than you.  Should this be your end game, don't expect your conservative base to fall all over themselves to anoint you.)

Third, the alleged Freedom Caucus.  All-or-nothing is just going to get everyone a big pile of nothing.  Do you really think you won something here?  A quick check of Wiki's latest list shows I have no one from Indiana to yell at- but Marlin Stutzman, I wouldn't bother trying to get your old seat back.  Frankly, I am sick to death of establishment vs Trump, sick to death of establishment vs conservatives, and sick to death of you.  If you can't quit playing The Game long enough to care about what YOUR PEOPLE really need, what's the point in voting for you?

Fourth, the Democrats.  Truthfully, I don't think they are qualified to even be considered here.  Start with Nancy Pelosi.  She said- and here's the full quote- “We have to pass the bill,” she said, “so that you can find out what is in it — away from the fog of the controversy.”  Matthew Yglesias of apparently thinks that is enough different from the "truncated version" we know so well that it holds up her integrity.  I DON'T.  The controversy was caused by the rush of the mammoth bill to a vote before any but the crafters knew what it was about.  If the only way to learn what was in it was to pass it and let it start screwing people, then it did not deserve to be passed.  But did ANY Dem have integrity enough to say, "Hey, whoa, pahdner"?  Nope.  Because Dems align right behind the party line, no matter what- thus Hillary could get away with co-opting the DNC, get away with massive security failures, get away with screwing Bernie Sanders, and they all just got in line and voted for her anyway.  The one thing that makes me mad about Dems venting about Trump is that they would have gleefully voted for him had he run as a Democrat against, say, Ted Cruz.  Because that's what Dems do.  When they show me an iota of backbone about what's right and wrong despite the party line, I'll give them due consideration.  Ditto the Freedom Caucus.  You guys want to become your own "little Democrat party"?  See how well that endears you with your voters.

So there you have it.  The media wants to know how everyone is "assigning blame" in this mess.  Well, this is how I'm assigning blame.  Number one, first and foremost, an American electorate that is THIS stupid.  How stupid?  Look at the people we have put up there to run for President lately.  George W Bush.  Al Gore.  John Kerry.  John McCain.  Barack Obama.  Hillary Clinton.  Donald Trump.  And experts want to tell me James Buchanan was the worst President ever.

Number 2, ANYone we have elected in recent memory.  Every last one of them would rather play The Game once they cross the Beltway than give a flying fig for any of us out here.

And number three, myself.  For not being rich enough, charismatic enough, good looking enough, to get myself elected.  For being too lazy, too uninformed, too afraid to stand up when I should have.  For being too willing to just say, fooey, it's just politics.  Because in the end, all you "me"s out there, we have no one to blame but ourselves.


  1. Not that I agree with everything you write in this post; but, you put it out there as you see it. I appreciate that.
    Some slamming here and there, but not overdone. (Not that I have ever done anything even remotely similar -- haha).

    1. You should invite Dale over- he'll drop dead away that I said something nice about LBJ!

  2. Chris:
    ---If I were to assign a letter grade to this post...I'd be lost for ONE simple reason:
    As reason and common sense go? fantastic.
    As politics go? Brilliant.

    You have managed to say HERE everything I (and I'm sure a LOT of other people) have merely thought), and you carefully took it apart and EXPLAINED it "by the numbers".

    I wish this were published in every major newspaper in the nation JUST to show people the facts and the truth behind what "we, the people" are having to deal with today.
    Yes, we do often cause most of our own problems...when we put our minds to it, don't we?
    (I choose to back away from such notions, for I have this nasty habit of critical thinking)

    Excellent post.

    Stay safe (with wisdom beyond your years) up there, brother.

    1. I don't know that it was a LOT of fact- just opinion, except for the Pelosi quote. I had her caught with her panties down- and NOBODY wants THAT!

  3. CW-

    My problem with every health care bill dating back to the Clinton proposal is that they are NOT health care bills.

    They are health insurance bills.

    Insurance is a transfer of risk. It is not something that should be mandated because everyone's risk threshold is different.

    Some people buy extended warranties on small appliances because they do not want to risk that their cheap made-in-China electronic may break.

    Some people do not.

    While I do not want to try to start a pity party for insurance companies, the truth is their margins are pennies on the dollar, so the myth that they are raping the public is just that.

    However, insurance adds cost to the system, as does malpractice, consulting, etc, etc.

    Setting aside whether or not the government should pass a health care bill, the way to do it (in my opinion) is to model it after the Canadian or European programs, which is a national plan.

    Will such a plan be perfect? Far from it. But if done right, it would produce the leanest cost structure and be the most affordable for the people who need it most.

    It would, however, add to the tax burden of the middle class. The other myth that goes around is that we can simply tax the rich and provide everything we want.

    The problem is, like most problems in this country, the answer is not easy, and every proposed solution has pitfalls.

    The other problem, you nailed-once these a$$hole$ get inside the Beltway, they change.


    1. I've always felt that that same thing happens with management at a job. A regular worker gets elevated, and they don't see it the same way they did moments before. Good point about it being an insurance bill. The only thing remotely related to health itself is pre-existing conditions.

  4. Health care in so many countries is so bloody expensive and complicated as well but at least we have good health care not like some people in some countries that do not, we complain and complain but it could be worse, that said it could be so much better.