It was during a weekend. We were driving downtown in our city and spotted a young couple with two small children standing on a street corner. The homeless community here is plentiful, but it was obvious these were not part of it. They had some issues.
We decided to make the block, stop and talk with them. They were from south Louisiana, had lost their job, and were headed to Dallas to start a new job. Their only vehicle had broken down on the Interstate and could not be repaired until the following week. His new job started Monday morning. They were stuck. We decided to help them out.
That street corner was just two blocks from the Greyhound bus station. We took them there, purchased them bus tickets to get to Dallas where family were located, would pick them up and get them ready for a new start. The looks of relief on those two parents’ faces were rewarding. I could only imagine when we were young with three small children and how I would have felt under similar conditions. Fortunately theirs was a happy ending. But not so much for many folks.
Sometimes bad things happen to good people. And good people want a way out of bad circumstances. But some people because of human nature find ways to take advantage of opportunities in the wrong way. My question is are we approaching in the nation a tipping point where those who are using the system outnumber those who honestly create opportunities for the less fortunate? That’s a dangerous place for a nation to be. Thomas Jefferson (although this statement has never being absolutely confirmed as his) said : “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” One can easily see the glaring truth in the statement. If/when in any democracy there becomes more taking than giving, that democracy immediately becomes unsustainable. So are we a nation of givers or a nation of takers?
This brings up a BIG question: do we owe every American citizen free (or subsidized) healthcare? The Constitution does not guarantee it — it guarantees “fair and equal treatment under the law.” That means “access to” if it actually applies at all to healthcare. But there is NO constitutional mandate for government paid healthcare. And before you go postal and bring up Medicare to me, Medicare is paid for by recipients by paying into the system for many years. In many cases recipients pay more into the system than they will ever receive through medical procedures and/or treatment. By definition, Medicare is NOT an entitlement — it’s a type of “savings account” as is Social Security.
Enter the Healthcare overhaul proposal of the GOP. It overhauls what is essentially an entitlement health system. Why? The current program, Obamacare, has its costs largely underwritten by taxpayers through massive subsidies that come from taxes and penalties. Costs not covered by those are subsidized by inflated premiums forced upon others. Obamacare is just one step away from the Nirvana of socialist Leftists — a single payer healthcare system with total government control — kinda like Canada, the UK, Germany, France, etc.
The GOP has introduced the American Health Care Act: the proposed replacement for Obamacare. I will not argue the point-by-point pros and cons — the book is still out and the arguments are underway on the Hill. But what I WILL discuss is the substantive, fundamental differences between Obamacare and the AHCA — and they are significant.
A political premise that has stood for decades is that if the government gives Americans any entitlement, it can never be taken away. Entitlements are “giveaway” programs by the government that are underwritten totally by taxpayers. Examples are Welfare, Aid for Dependent Children, Medicaid, etc. These and other similar programs are “one way” programs: top down from government to citizen. Could they ever be stopped? Technically they could. But realistically by the nature of human nature mentioned above, doing so would be devastating and would be soundly rejected by millions of Americans. So….entitlements stay in place.
There are elements within Obamacare that are absolute entitlements just like in Welfare programs. The horrendously escalating premiums for many are subsidized by the government — an entitlement. Changing the program in any way is being targeted by Leftists as “cutting healthcare.” Those claims are false, because in the AHCA, tax credits for those in every financial class makeup any shortfall there may be for premium payments. The difference? Tax credits are NOT entitlements. Historically tax credits have been given, adjusted, increased, and even done away with from time to time. Those subsidies are considered by recipients as being “mine” — money given to me that is owed to me by the government. The recipient feels, “They give me that because I’m owed that,” even though that is not so. Remember: perception IS reality among Americans.
Here’s the horror of what we are seeing play out on Capitol Hill. It’s not yet a fight between Republicans and Democrats. The new proposed law is still in committee hearings. The fight is between Republicans! You would think that with 7 years of promises by the GOP to Americans that “with the Congress and the White House we will repeal and replace Obamacare,” they would have written, hashed and re-hashed a replacement bill and would have simply with Donald Trump’s election put it on his desk to sign. But……D.C. politics kicked in. Today I saw one GOP Congressman say about the new proposed law, “It will not reduce premiums, it will not repeal taxes, and it will not take care of pre-existing conditions.” Less than 30 minutes later another Republican Congressman was quoted as saying, “It will reduce premiums, reduce the budget deficit, do away with all taxes and will allow for pre-existing conditions.” So what are Americans supposed to believe? Add to all this “noise” is that of the CBO who issued their scoring of the new bill yesterday that contains very mixed reviews. And even its results are being argued much in the same way among those in the White House and Congress.
There ARE some facts we need to concentrate on: Obamacare is an utter failure. Everything we were promised by the previous POTUS about the program have been proven to be false: under Obamacare Americans CANNOT keep their plan, their doctors, their premiums have NOT been reduced by $2500 per year per family. The plan cost taxpayers $1 trillion more last year than what we were promised! And, it is unsustainable.
With all this noise, we need to step back, let them scream at each other, and let the process play out. After all, it is out of our hands as voters. Remember: Congress did not need us to pass Obamacare by the votes of ONLY Democrats in the House and Senate. Those voters didn’t even read the plan before voting! And they don’t need us to take the actions on healthcare that are pending now.
You know what I suggest they do? Step back and let Obamacare implode — which is about to happen. Within the next 12 months it will complete its death spiral. And the truth of this debacle that devours 20% of the U.S. economy will be done….at the feet of the Democrats. Then Congress can start again rebuilding what was the greatest healthcare system in the World! If they had only left the original healthcare alone and made a few simple changes, we would be light years ahead of where we are. Instead they have probably destroyed it because its success was and is dependent upon the private sector. And insurance companies were forced as were we to accept the Obamacare lies without the ability to negotiate with Uncle Sam.
Let the Democrats continue to take credit for Obamacare. We’ll let them take credit for its death.
By the way: what do you think about their plan to “fix” Obamacare? They don’t have one.