Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Obama, The Democrats, And Common Sense

America is was a common sense nation....

From our earliest Colonial days, we were a nation that prospered, grew, and prided ourselves on common sense and practical values.  The hardships of the frontier life distilled a frugality and practical wisdom that defined us as a nation, almost until this day.  Thomas Paine, the firebrand of our Independence, even named his pamphlet laying out the principles of the Revolution, Common Sense.  He is quoted as saying "I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense . . ."  And that American common sense built a nation that is the most charitable, yet also, most powerful nation on Earth and the envy of the world.

Yet today, we seem to have lost that characteristic trait of common sense, and are seemingly floundering on a puddle of political rhetoric and demagoguery spewed out by the Democrats and Edmund Burke's so-called "Fourth Estate", the press.

We have allowed a neophyte radical, one who has built his life on ideas and notions contrary to our founding fathers and our Constitution, to become the leader of our great country.  And now he and his fellow travelers are in the process of dismantlement the pillars of our society.   This is not common sense.....far from it.

Tonight, President Barack Obama will deliver a speech to a special joint session of Congress.  I have no idea what he will say, but I do know that it will focus primarily on the current legislative action on Health Care / Health Insurance, and it will be an attempt to sway both legislators and the public to his desire for a bill that will enable a sooner-or-later enabled version of Government provided Health Care.  This has all been initiated and orchestrated under the guise of 'reforming' Health Care in this country, by lowering costs and expanding health insurance to those that do not have coverage now.  Sixteen years ago, the Clinton's attempted to create a similar sense of impending doom to our nation and our people unless the sudden crisis of health care was addressed by a similar solution....Government controlled Health Care.  They didn't succeed in their attempt to establish what has been the Socialist's / Progressive's goal in this country since the beginning of the last century.  And hopefully, they won't today.  American ommon sense prevailed.

Interestingly enough, sixteen years later, everything's still working.  How about that!  Sure we pay more for health care in the United States, but you get what you pay for.  And no one, even those without health insurance is ever turned away from essential care; not even illegal immigrants.  We have the best medical establishment in the world - this is where the rest of the world that can afford it, comes to get cured.

We can all acknowledge that the health care environment, as good as it is, should be, and can always be improved.  Usually when you really want to fix, or improve something, you begin with identifying and prioritizing the issues that need to be addressed, and then focusing in on those specific elements or issues, developing appropriate and best solutions for each specific individual issue.  Let's list what many feel are the the major issues, and the possible common sense solutions:

  1. Medicare and Medicaid are almost bankrupt due to rising costs and projected significant growth in enrollee's due to baby boomers.  Most economists attribute the skyrocketing cost of these programs to a phenomenon know as perceived free, or almost free care by seniors, and the States' use of funds to pay for the health care of illegal immigrants.

    Common Sense Solution: Put the seniors back in control of paying their bills so they'll be more cost conscious, just as they are with their other expenses; eliminate the significant overhead cost that the government imposes on both taxpayers and providers; initiate a reasonable means threshold for those who truly do not need the services; and eliminate coverage of illegal immigrants.  Instead, the Democrats are proposing that we basically expand these failed systems, and somehow that will cut costs.  Reminds me of the story of the storekeeper who lost money on every item, but thought he could make up the difference by selling more.

  2. Health insurance costs are going out of control for both employer provided plans and individual purchased plans.  Most economists agree that this is caused by a couple of things:
    - The largest customers (Medicare & Medicaid, aka - the Government) refusing to pay the true full cost of services from providers, who then charge everyone else more.
    - Doctors and hospitals practicing CYA medicine; employing excessive testing and procedures in order to minimize liability and the potential for successful malpractice lawsuits and excessive personal injury awards.
    - Very high, and dramatically increasing costs for liability insurance (see above item).
    - State-limited insurance, and State-mandated coverage elements eliminate the dramatic cost cutting that inter-state health insurance competition would bring, and mandated coverage elements dramatically increases cost for everyone.
    - Introduction of more effective, but costly new procedures, treatments, and drugs.

    Common Sense Solutions: Do not allow Medicaid and Medicare to avoid paying the actual cost of provider's services.  This will allocate true costs to the actual customer, and provide the ability to focus on real fixable problems, plus see #1 above - put individuals in change of making realistic choices regarding their health care expenditures; Initiate true tort reform to eliminate frivolous law suits and end excessive personal injury awards so that providers can practice cost effective medicine; Open up the inter-state marketing of health insurance and eliminate State mandates so that people can buy the coverage that they need and want.  We've already got a success model for this in auto, home and life insurance - duh!  Speed up and streamline the FDA processes so that new product development costs can be slashed.

There are countless other ways that the cost of health care could be dramatically be reduced, and coverage expanded to all, and none of them would require more governmental involvement, in fact, just the opposite.  Which is why, when the Democrats and President Obama only seem to have one solution....the Government single payer plan, common sense tells me that they're really not trying to solve a health care or health insurance problem, they're just attempting to grow the government and their control over our citizenry.

That government is best which governs least. Thomas Payne


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