Sunday, December 13, 2009

This Deck Is Stacked

Harry Reid already knows what's on that card that we can't see. He's the crooked dealer who laid out this hand. And what's on that card is his "Medicare buy-in" for people aged 55 to 64 who are not currently eligible for Medicare. But there's more than that involved. It's worse than the former public option that was supposedly gotten rid of. It is, in fact, the first step to full nationalized single-payer health care.

The Democrats are flailing about trying to get themselves a Christmas present. They're desperate. And they're shooting wildly. But that doesn't mean they might not accidentally hit something. This new scheme may be a non-starter, but it is dangerous enough to be worth discussion. With the parliamentary tricks and rush votes they've been ramming through, I'm beginning to think almost anything's possible. Remember, you got gay rights hate-crimes legislation because it was attached to a vital defense appropriation bill. Damned clever, these socialists.

The sneaky compromise that is slowly becoming public after Reid announced that he had found a plan that the Blue Dog Democrats (and perhaps a few Republicans) could accept is the sneakiest path to socialized medicine that the left has yet come up with. Medicare already proves that for anyone who isn't a millionaire, the government program simply kills any possible competition from private insurers. Medicare is about two steps away from complete bankruptcy, and is accepted by fewer and fewer doctors because of all its restrictions and price-fixing. But many reputable doctors will still accept the plan because they can simply offset the losses they take on their over-65 patients with private payers and better payments from insurers of people who are under 65.

With the "buy-in" in place, another huge portion of the population will drop their private insurance for the "free" government plan, thus pushing more competition out of the market while putting Medicare deeper in debt. Along with lowering the eligibility age, the plan would increase the income requirement to qualify for Medicaid, driving even more people into the creaky Medicare system. And who gets to pay for all of this? The taxpayers. This comes behind Obama's promise that his plan, whatever it turned out to be, would not increase taxes by one thin dime.

And what about that cash transfer? The offsets that doctors and hospitals are doing to accommodate current Medicare patients ipso facto means that they must charge more for private payers and insurance companies. That means that nationwide, the providers must charge billions of dollars more for the real payers to offset the losses from Medicare. Add those millions of people who will opt for Medicare because their costs of private payment or insurance coverage have now become prohibitive, and you have have a fixed card game that virtually guarantees that the government game will shortly be the only game in town.

Medicare already pays doctors and hospitals at a rate that is far below that of the private insurers, and frequently below the costs incurred by those doctors and hospitals. That may work just fine for government liars, but doctors and hospitals have to pay their bills. Private businesses simply can't survive if their costs continually exceed their income. And unlike the government which does it all the time, they can't start printing money.

But more importantly, how is this a "buy-in?" You've paid a small portion of your income into Medicare all your working life. But like Social Security, Medicare payroll deduction payments were intended to cover future retirement and illness for seniors because there would always be so many more young people coming into the job market than there were seniors going into the programs. Wasted money, outright thefts from both funds, and pure bad accounting aside, the younger population which is supposed to support the care of the retiring seniors has not grown at anything like the rate necessary to support either system.

The "buy-in" plan as currently proposed doesn't actually require the new enrollees to pay anything more than they were already paying from those inadequate payroll taxes. The coverage for all those aged 55 to 64 therefore won't be "free," but it will certainly be cheap enough to kill any competition since current Medicare payroll payments are quantum leaps smaller than private health insurance.

The liars who keep telling us that Obamacare won't cost us any additional money have recently admitted that there would be a tax increase necessary to cover some of the costs. But nobody there is talking about the billions heaped on billions of dollars more this "buy-in" would cost. How are these fools planning on cutting Medicare costs while adding millions of people to the Medicare rolls? And this doesn't even mention that employers will have the option to simply drop private medical insurance coverage for anyone age 55 or over. They're already taking out the payroll deductions for Medicare, so their legal obligation is completely fulfilled.

Medicare solvency is already hanging over the brink of complete collapse with the huge influx of new Medicare patients reaching age 65 from the Baby Boom. And now these idiots are proposing to add millions of new clients to that disaster.

You might think that this is just another jury-rigged political ploy to get enough formerly reluctant Democrats on board to reach that critical 60 votes in the Senate. After all, if the Democrats pass a health care bill, any health care bill, they get to crow about their success. But I'm not so sure that this may not have been the real plan all along. Knowing that pure socialized medicine, and even a modified "public option" was a loser, Reid had a backup plan that he could sell as a smaller intrusion into private matters which is in reality the hammer that will kill private insurance and private payer options entirely within a very short period of time. This is a first, and huge, step into single-payer government health insurance. And once the private sector has collapsed, the quality of care and doctor-patient relationships go down the drain. In short order, the profligate government, now completely in charge of your health care decisions, will decide what's "too expensive" rather than "what's necessary to make this patient well" And they laughed at "death panels."

We can't let this slide. It looks relatively innocuous on its face. It purports to eliminate the public option, thereby deflecting objections to government-run health care. It could bring those Blue Dogs on board. And it's worse than anything yet proposed. There's a thing called a "tipping point." This proposal is that tipping point, disguised as a "moderate increase in the Medicare rolls." Medicare is itself socialized medicine that works (sort of), but only because the doctors and hospitals can offset their losses by regaining their profit from the much larger private sector. This increase in the number of people moving out of the private sector and into Medicare is in fact an economy buster. And it's a private enterprise destroyer. Let's hope that enough Democrats can see through this scheme and call it what it really is--the beginning of totally socialized medicine. Unless, of course, they were on board with this all along and were only pretending to be protecting the public with their objections to the public option.


AndrewPrice said...

I've been seeing several ads on television trying to save the rear ends of several Democrats around here, and those ads are stunningly packed with lies. I'm not talking about differences or opinion either, but flat out lies.

I hope this health care "reform" ends up being the end of the Democratic party. They deserve it.

Unknown said...

Andrew: We're getting them here too. Of course in San Francisco they're just preaching to the choir. But there is some hope out there in the adjacent counties, and I hope they can sift out these outright lies for themselves.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--This is a good indication. Joe Lieberman has said this option is a public coption that he won't support, and Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) who has pushed back against the excesses of total government health care has said this option is a "deal-breaker." Based on what you and Andrew have said today, I hope that means "no deal."

Unknown said...

HamiltonsGhost: We're not there yet, but that sure doesn't hurt. We need to hear this from about fifteen more Democrats before I'll be sure that this isn't being manipulated behind our backs by "the most transparent administration in history."

Unknown said...

Lawhawk, Apparently this was tried once before in the 2004-2005 Congressional sessions, but was beaten down like a feeble chihuahua. That was in the time of "we're only slightly nuts," but before "hope and change."

Unknown said...

CalFed: Indeed it was. But that was when Democrats could make grand gestures for making "Medicare more available for the weak and downtrodden," without any possible chance of it passing. Now they have to be sneaky because they actually think they might pull something off. I still think that all things considered, this latest mad scientist plan will go the way of all its predecessors.

Tennessee Jed said...

Question - What is it that blue dog democrats fear most? Losing their power, of course. It takes guys like Law Hawk to put a spotlight on this, and it is critical it gets taken to the voters in key blue dog constituencies.

Skinners 2 Cents said...

Great points, it would explain some of their blindness to reality. Their clumsy looking efforts haven't ever really made sense. Why call a vote when you know you don't have enough yea votes to pass it?

Just when we think we've dodged the socialism bullet they reload and aim again.

I hope this is Reid's and many others final salvos in the Senate and the House permanently.

Democrats treachery seems to know no bounds.

Unknown said...

Tennessee: Why, thank you, sir. The Blue Dogs do have consciences, but they're too easily compromised. Still, this proposal is truly toxic, and it's getting noticed by conservatives in all the right places. It doesn't take long for it to go from the conservatives to the independents, and that't where the Blue Dogs know they're already in trouble. They may be the ones who squelch this loser proposition simply out of self-defense.

Unknown said...

Skinners2Cents: I see it partly as "fighting this war with the last war's plans." The Democrats just don't seem to realize that they have to work with Republicans and Independents, so they go right on with their grand useless gestures as if they were still in the minority party. Shouting "health care for everybody" in a crowded room is just fine when you know it won't pass and you can pick up support from your base in the minority party. It doesn't work when you're the majority party and can't come up with anything acceptable to those outside your base. For a party that claims to be "progressive," the Democrats are certainly behind the times.

StanH said...

It seems this latest scam is falling by the wayside. It’s my understanding that Medicare is already a 35 trillion dollar un-funded mandate. This is beyond a tipping point, but a vicious collapse of a system. This as Baby boomers are getting ready to retire in masse and will make a bad situation worse. Being a bit cynical, I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that the government has over promised, and has used Social Security, and Medicare taxes as a personal piggy bank. Now in a panic Washington (statist) is searching for some kind of solution to kick this looming problem down the field. And hopefully us Baby boomers will do the right thing, and perish, before we begin to collect from a system that we’ve paid into for 30, 40, 50, years. It’s a “trust fund” don’t you know …wink-wink-nod-nod!

Unknown said...

StanH: I was being kind by only calling it a "tipping-point." You're absolutely right, it's broke, broke, broke. Repent--the end is near.

No matter how devastating any version of nationalized health care would be for the nation, the Democrats know that if they come up completely dry, it will be even more devastating for them after having, as you said, "overpromised." What amazes me is that they don't see that succeeding in getting one of these crazy, outrageously expensive bills passed will be even more devastating for them. In passing one, they won't solidify their leftist base (they want more, more), and they'll lose the center.

DCAlleyKat said...

The Pelosi Christmas present most Americans don't want...I hope she liked my Christmas card.

Individualist said...

Medicare is in the red this year so the fix is to increase the number of people in the system. This is a scam. They are unable to admit the system is broke and so they coopt more individuals into the government roles to cover the costs they owe now. This whole thing is a pyramid scheme that would make MAdoff proud.

After one year of Obama God I Hope we have a Change soon.

Unknown said...

DCAlleyKat: You sent her one too? I hope yours was nicer than mine. LOL

Individualist: These deficit numbers are so outrageous as to be nearly incomprehensible. And yet the left continues to propose programs which will make those deficits look like child's play. Medicare is already billions in debt and about to go under. So let's add 30 million people to the program. What kind of logic is that?

HamiltonsGhost said...

I'm hearing news this morning that the public option and Medicare add-on option are dead. True?

Unknown said...

HamiltonsGhost: It does look like those two options are gone. But Joe Lieberman says that even though he would not vote for a bill with those options, still he is anxious to vote for some kind of bill. So we're still likely to see that battle to get a bill by Christmas go on. Joe prefers his governmental fixes in small doses.

It finally hit me recently that Joe Lieberman is the mirror image of John McCain.

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