Monday, June 29, 2009

The Inconvenient Truth

The unwashed don't really care much about numbers or facts. Their political reality is simply redistribution of wealth. The basic concept is take from "them" and give to "me." With that imprint on your psyche, you need not confuse yourself with anything more complex.

The next big thing for the inexorable crushing of America is universal health care. I've already noted that the simplistic model of taking Medicare and extending it to everyone is ludicrous. Medicare works, sort of, because everyone who works pays into a fund which then provides healthcare funds for those folks over 65. Lots of people paying to insure a few.

If you extend the care to everyone, the funds don't cover it. That leaves two alternatives. More funds or less care. Nothing else is possible. Bleating about efficiency making it doable is fantasy. Top off your analysis of the situation with a probing question: Are people happy with Medicare coverage?

The answer there is usually not. Doctors increasingly are reluctant to accept Medicare patients. Why? Look at your next Explanation of Benefits statement. You get a medically recommended colonoscopy. The doctor bills $4500. Medicare pays the doctor $1800. You get billed another couple of hundred bucks. Doc is not happy, you are not happy and if you need another one within a couple of years, Medicare will not be happy.

To survive, most Medicare recipients pay for a supplemental health insurance plan. More payment, but coverage for the costs involved that aren't covered by your Medicare "insurance."

Now consider this:

No Free Lunch

That's what is on the table. Don't blow it off either. It is going to be a critical part of the healthcare proposal. You are going to be paying income tax on your employer provided healthcare benefits. Run some numbers on that and see how you like it.

What is your employer healthcare worth? Numbers vary obviously, but it isn't uncommon to see figures like $15,000-25,000 per year. If that gets taxed as part of your income, it will be on top of what you already list. In other words, that slug of "money" will be at the maximum rate which you pay. It will hit you in the 33% bracket, so your taxes will go up around $6,000 or $7,000 a year.

That should stimulate your economy!

But, remember, you'll have access to a lot less health care as the government sets costs and restricts access.

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