April 26, 2013
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley [often go awry],
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain
For promised joy! -- Robert Burns
Blurting what has been giving Democrat politicians nightmares lately, Senator Max Baucus admitted to the president's Healthcare Czar (a.k.a. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius) he foresees "a huge train wreck" when the insurance exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act (better known as "Obamacare") open next year.
This is, of course, the Senator Baucus who permitted Barack Obama to manipulate his every move as point man in his scheme to concoct with shamelessly irresponsible haste and then arrogantly ram down the nation's throat a bureaucratic nightmare by which the federal government wraps its monstrously unapproachable, arrogantly unforgiving tentacles around a crucially important industry that accounts for 17% of the nation's economy.
And the same Senator Baucus who this week announced he won't seek reelection next year, a decision that frees him from suffering the arrows (not to mention rotted fruits and vegetables) Montana's voters were certain to sling his way every time he stooped to blow hard lies about his excellent service to them and the country.
Those realities on the table, the question that arises is this:
Does the powerful image the president's little marionette from Big Sky Country used to express his fears represent a self-serving stunt performed by a hypocrite who will continue to allow himself to be dangled by Obama's manipulations or a string-cutting act of bravery by a person dedicated to transforming himself from politician to honest human being?
Though my hope is for the latter, I wouldn't bet a cent on it because speaking the truth about healthcare requires not just summoning up the courage to criticize the lack of planning for exchanges but to admit that the entire decrepit, Great-Society-style scheme of Obamacare doesn't come within a million light years of the kind of smart, innovative, top to bottom reform every aspect of the current system desperately needs.
And because truthfulness also demands complete honesty about the enormity and complexity of the task, facts dictating that the reform can be accomplished only over a period of years, itself another disturbing verity given the wiring of the mind that impels humanity to seek the "joys" of present rewards, the future be damned.
Despite those obstacles, however, it is imperative we reform healthcare; for the alternative -- as repeatedly has been the case throughout history -- is waiting to have it done for us by an angry, vengeful Reality that bites with catastrophic consequences.
To every person of common sense, the need for reform becomes self-evident upon consulting the National Health Expenditures chart developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, where healthcare costs, 1960-2011, are shown relative to population and GDP on one convenient page.
Following are some of the facts found there, providing us with all we need to know about why reform of the current healthcare system must come first.
For the period 1960-2011, total healthcare expenditures increased by 9900% while population and GDP grew by 67% and 2800%, respectively.
"Too long and dramatic a period!" shout the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
Let's look, then, at the decade 2001-2011, during which healthcare expenditures increased 81% with population and GDP growing 9% and 46%, respectively.
"Give us the numbers for the five year period 2007-2011, which include the slowdown caused by the Great Recession!" growl greedy insurance bigwigs, including those of the AARP.
Fine. During that period healthcare costs increased 17.4%, population 3.3%, and GDP 7.5%.
Moreover, there is this, keeping in mind that for more than a decade the average American family has experienced zero percent net real income growth while for the past four years GDP growth has languished at less than 2% annually:
If, for the decade 2011-2021, we allow GDP and average family income to grow at 3% annually while permitting health costs to grow as they did during the '07-'11 period, we find that as much as 80% of the average family's cumulative increase in pay will be consumed just by the burgeoning cost of healthcare.
No matter how one twists and turns the numbers, then, the bottom line is that the rate of growth of healthcare cost in the United States is unsustainable.
Sadly, that mathematical reality means nothing to Barack Obama, whose stubborn devotion to liberal ideology put the decrepit cart of Great-Society-style entitlement before the vigorous, refreshing horse of reform.
That astounding act of power loving negligence explains why Senator Baucus frets publicly over an Obamacare exchange train wreck.
It explains why, aware of the trillion dollar lie Obama lied about the cost of his oxymoronic Affordable Care Act, 26 states have opted out of the exchange system, with cries of "Help, Uncle!" likely to come from many of those that didn't once Reality sinks its teeth into their budgets.
It explains why Democrat politicians shiver to the bone upon hearing of the huge health insurance rate increases predicted for next year by the Society of Actuaries.
It explains why the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers, which was deceived, among other things, about keeping its existing health insurance, has called for "repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act to protect [its] employers...industry...members and their families."
And it explains why regarding healthcare, the Election of '14, and the two and a half years before he becomes a completely lame, inconsequential duck, Barack Obama is likely to suffer considerable political grief and pain, though its mass will pale in contrast to the emotional and economic torment experienced by ordinary citizens, who always pay the dearest price for the actions of a politician who imagines a brightly shining star has beamed into his brain the megalomaniacal title of "messiah!"
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