Beyond the Cusp

February 10, 2014

Obamacare has not yet Begun to Strike

We seem to hear of a new calamity attributed to the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, every week if not every few days. One of the latest is from the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) which predicted that there will be two-million fewer full-time workers by 2017 and 2-million-five-hundred-thousand fewer full-time workers by 2024. What has been even more disturbing than the CBO’s reported bad news has been the attempts to soften the impact of the report by the Obama administration and Democrat Party leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The main underlying explanation that this large number of full-time job loss is that it will free people to pursue their other interests since they will no longer be required to hold a job in order to have healthcare. Also on the jobs front, a report from the retail sector found that the average hours worked weekly fell dramatically more and faster than had been expected. This report also predicted that the average retail position will be a twenty-eight hour a week job in order for retail employers to avoid the requirement to provide health insurance for their employees. This is expected to be an epidemic problem most prevalent at the lowest end of scale of hourly workers such as in retail, food service, hospitality industry and other positions which normally pay the minimum wage or slightly above the minimum wage as these employers feel they will be unable to afford to provide health insurance while making a profit without needing to drastically raise prices as higher prices would make their enterprise no longer competitive.

 

The known big lie which President Obama claimed almost incessantly when selling the public his healthcare plan was, “If you like your doctor/health insurance, then you can keep your doctor/health insurance, period.” Less stressed was the other big lie repeated almost as frequently when President Obama exclaimed first made during a State of the Union speech when referring to his healthcare initiatives he stated, “Nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime.” President Obama was actually correct but not in any manner that could be framed as a good thing as Obamacare was predicted by the GAO (Government Accounting Office), a nonpartisan agency tasked to be the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the United States Congress, to cause a six-trillion-two-hundred-billion dollar addition to the national deficit. That is definitively not a single dime; it is over sixty-trillion dimes. Then there was President Obama’s promise that insurance premiums would be decreased by his healthcare initiative by two-thousand-five-hundred dollars per family per year. The unfortunate truth has been estimated that the average family healthcare premiums have increased by at least three-thousand dollars. When both the Obama prediction and the reality are combined, the result is that healthcare premiums missed the President’s predictions by a mere five-thousand dollars per family per year, a full two-hundred percent under actual cost error for the President. No matter which way one looks at the costs of Obamacare it has been nothing short of a disaster which promises to make the initial problems appear insignificant when the entirety of the law has been allowed to be implemented.

 

That brings us to another problem, implementation of the legislation which was approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the President and then it has been selectively applied with some of the most damning requirements and implementations being put on hold or even repealed due to the financial consequences of allowing them to go into effect as demanded by the law. President Obama has deferred the application of some aspects of the Affordable Care Act such as the employers’ mandate, passed out exemptions to unions and certain other groups who have special access to the President including Congressional staffers if their Representative or Senator saw fit to exempt them, or outright cancelled such as the section which pertained to extended care coverage which proved to be so fiscally demanding that it had to be dropped using a clause injected in the bill by some republicans that demanded that the extended or long time care insurance had to be proven to be deficit neutral or it had to be eliminated from the legislation. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius tried every which way she could find and was unable to make this provision come even close to deficit neutral thus it was quashed. It really is a shame that such a clause was not placed in the Obamacare legislation covering the entirety being rescinded if it proved not to be deficit neutral.

 

There is another time bomb ticking away in Obamacare that is also being spun as the opposite of what will inevitably be the result of the clause. Insurance companies supported Obamacare for one very good reason; it provides them with a win-win situation. There is a reimbursement clause which sets up a situation where the insurance providers make an estimate within certain relatively liberal criteria of their expected payout each year. Should their actual payouts exceed their estimates by a certain percentage, then the government will compensate the insurance company for eighty percent of these losses. The clause also has stipulations that should the insurance companies have payouts sufficiently below their estimation, then the government applies an excess profits tax and this is intended to mitigate the payouts. The extended predictions through 2024 show that the government will pay out eight-billion dollars while over the same period the government will take in sixteen-billion dollars which results in an eight-billion dollar profit for the treasury. Excuse my serious reservations but I always get suspect of figures that fit so nicely together that they balance so perfectly and results show multiples of one-hundred percent as this prediction does. Also, does anybody really believe that the insurance companies have accountants, some of the most meticulous and exacting people in the universe, who would produce estimates of expenditures to insured parties knowing that their company will receive an eighty percent reimbursement for any payouts over their estimate and a penalty should payouts fall short of their estimate set their estimate at the higher? Of course not; they would low ball their estimates by as close to ninety-nine and ninety-nine-one-hundredths percent towards the low end. For an example, if the range under the guidelines provided in the Obamacare legislation calculated that their annual payouts could be estimated to be between a low end of five-hundred-billion dollars and a high end of ten-trillion dollars, where would you as an accountant for the insurance company place your estimate, at nine-trillion dollars risking an overestimate and penalty or closer to five-hundred-fifty-billion dollars and most probably receive a bailout reimbursement for excess payments to insured account holders. My suspicions is that there will be very few if any insurance company financial predictions of expected payouts that will be an overestimation rather than an underestimation. Expect the Federal Government to be reimbursing health insurance companies by very significant amounts year after year without ever bothering to investigate how such a situation could have come into being. They set this in the legislation knowing full well what the end results were going to be and honestly expected to use this as exactly what it is, a bribe to get the insurance companies on board. We can also expect at some point the government to withdraw this safety net leading to numerous health insurance companies either going out of business or nearly doubling already higher premiums in order to assure they do not go broke any faster than avoidable. That is not to claim their health is expected to be good enough for them to survive in the long run as the real aim of Obamacare is to destroy sufficient amounts of the healthcare industries as to make a government run, single-payer healthcare system appear desirable to the majority of the American population.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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September 28, 2013

Is Healthcare a Right, and If So, What Else Could be a Right?

President Obama this past week once again in his stump speech referred to healthcare as a right in any advanced industrial nation. President Obama was making the argument that all the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was accomplishing would be to usher the United States into the elite group of advanced industrial nations as finally healthcare would be guaranteed for every citizen by the Federal Government. President Obama has often spoken of his healthcare plan as affording Americans another right which should have been among those guaranteed from the outset as the United States strove to be among the most forward nations. This was also part of President Obama’s criticism of the United States Constitution as it being an improper document because it listed restrictions on what the Federal Government was permitted to do instead of listing those things which the Federal Government had to do, particularly those things the Federal Government was required to provide for the people as justification for its existence. The problem with this line of reasoning is that it steals from the people their dignity, self-worth and responsibilities replacing the latter with so-called rights.

 

The difference between responsibility and rights is very basic and, once understood, quite frightening. Responsibilities are those items which the individual is tasked with providing for themselves and where government is restricted from imposing limitations or obstructions between the people and fulfilling their responsibility to whatever extent they desire. A right is something the government provides and defines exactly what makes up each right, even to the point of denying government’s responsibility, or even forbidding the individual’s right to provide for themselves forcing them to be subservient to government and within those restriction put in place by the government. Obviously, when healthcare is classified as a personal responsibility then each individual is free to provide for themselves and their family as much healthcare as they decide. Often when something is treated as a personal responsibility, the argument goes, there will be those individuals unable to provide for themselves or their family and that is why the government must step up and make it a right so they can receive it from the government. The truth is that without government interference there would be charities which would assist people in need, relatives who would assist in the care of their more needy relatives, and many hospitals, especially those run by religious organizations such as the Catholic Healthcare Systems which provide care at a reasonable cost proportional to a person’s ability to pay while still providing the very best of care. When government supersedes charitable organizations and generosity of the religiously run hospitals and insists on imposing their oversight the level of care is degraded while the cost and time invested in simply documenting and performing to the relevant compliance level the government demands is wasted time which could have otherwise been utilized to treat more patents. When the government replaces the individual’s right to provide for those things which are their responsibility and instead insists that government can accomplish the same level if not a higher level of care than the individual, it will inevitable prove false and result in degraded levels of care across the board with some levels resulting in refusal of care as it would not prove cost effective on the whole to provide everybody with every conceivable level and intensity of care.

 

But let us simply agree that healthcare should be treated as a right which The Federal Government is required to provide, even though all the government will be providing is health insurance coverage initially, what other items in our lives could just as easily be reclassified as rights instead of being our personal responsibility. The people will have been relegated to a judgment of being incapable of deciding or procuring a level of care sufficient to provide them with a decent quality of life.  If we are to believe the argument that healthcare is so important to the individual’s quality of life that it must be attended to by the government in order to guarantee that they receive a minimal level of care adequate to meet government set standards then what else would also meet such standards? It very easily could be argued, especially with the obesity levels in the United States, that food must be regulated and the decisions made by those qualified to make proper nutritional decisions. President Obama could appoint his wife Michelle to be the Nutritional Health Czar heading a new Cabinet level agency responsible for providing every individual with the appropriate calories, nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and everything else tailored to match their lifestyle and individual requirements. The health benefits of such a system would more than pay for themselves is lower demand upon the government provided healthcare. People could be placed on special diets as recommended by physicians who could work closely with the U.  S. Department of Nutrition and Dietary Health. Every argument given for the need for the government to provide for the people’s healthcare also apply to dietary care and food delivery.

 

Another necessity which in some ways has already attempted to be provided by the Federal Government with varied amounts of epic failure is housing. Despite the absolute disaster that came along with Federal Housing projects, the arguments remain that people require shelter if they are to maintain a level of healthy living and comfort for which the government could easily set as a standard. Furthermore, housing would also be of immeasurable assistance when the government provided the government chosen, prepared and delivered food for each person’s daily consumption. A person must also have a certain level of shelter from the elements of nature in order to maintain the degree of health desired for each citizen by the government. Then there is a personal need for clothing which is fitting for the season, meets the requirements of their occupation, and has a sufficient level of style to impart at a minimum a modicum of pride and self-respect. To be honest there are very likely solid arguments which can be made for the government to assure almost anything or everything in life meets a minimal level for each individual and consider it a right. But by doing so it would remove every ounce of freedom and personal choice. To put it as simply as possible; individual responsibility produces freedom and independence while group rights produces dependence and enslavement. It comes down to which you would prefer to be, a ward of the government or an individual free to make their own life choices. Be careful what you choose as once you surrender your responsibilities over to the government and expect them to be treated as rights they actually become privileges which the government could just as easily take away as they initially claimed they were capable of providing. So, choose either responsibility for one’s self or surrender to the whims and edicts of what will soon become an out of control government. History has proven this as republics devolved into democracies which inevitably lead to fascist oppressions and enslavement to the state.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

July 31, 2013

Obamacare and the Slippery Slope

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), aka Obamacare, was first passed it was Democrats against the Republicans and passed purely by the Democrat unstoppable majorities. The Democrats had a large majority in the House of Representatives and a filibuster proof sixty vote majority in the Senate. This was used by many in the Republican Party as their campaign cry which blew them through the midterm elections allowing them to take the House of Representatives and ended the Democrat domination in the Senate. The call was that the Republican politicians were going to kill Obamacare by hook or by crook. Well, here we are after another Presidential election and approaching another midterm election and Obamacare is rumbling towards the people unabated. Even with President Obama overstepping his constitutional limitations granting exemptions to preferred friends, large campaign contributors, unions, and other friendly entities and just recently granting a one year reprieve for employers from the Employer Mandate requirements, he has already proven there is no limits to what he will do, legal or not, to fulfill his dream of Government mandated healthcare. After losing the Presidential elections and only controlling the House of Representatives, the Republicans have come up with a different way to prevent Obamacare being inflicted upon the American populace, either by depriving funding by omitting it from any budget or from any continuing resolutions or if they are unable to pass a budget which specifically excludes any funding for Obamacare, then shutting down the government until such an agreement can be forced through the obstinate Democrat majority Senate.

 

But there are problems developing in the Republican ranks as many recall the Gingrich government shutdown that reflected poorly on the Republicans as President Clinton used it to berate the Republicans and demonize them. What makes matters even more complicated is that there is another faction within the Republican Party who believes the best way to put Obamacare in its grave and make any future ideas for the Federal Government to enter the healthcare industry bring back memories of the worst blundering fiasco ever produced by mankind is to allow it to be implemented and fail. Their obtuse plan is to allow Obamacare to proceed to implementation as it stands and allow it to collapse, implode, fly completely out of control or catastrophically fail as an example of government gone horribly wrong. So, which would be the best route to address the monstrous, government expanding, cataclysmic program; prevent its release on the American public or allow it to be inflicted upon the American public and allow it to flail as it displays the worst side possible of government gone wrong. With the health exchanges scheduled to be deployed this October 1 and the remainder of Obamacare rolling out at the start of the New Year, any actions to prevent the actual attempt to implement Obamacare needs to start immediately after the August recess at the very latest.

 

The very first step requires the Republican Party to decide on which way they want to address Obamacare from the options they are currently considering. The Republicans cannot afford to be split with separate factions going in one direction while others are off in another direction. This is especially pertinent when you consider that some decide that the best plan would be to prevent Obamacare by any means necessary while others want to allow it to be implemented and utterly fail. These two plans are about as incompatible as possible. The Republican leadership has a proven track record of being absolutely unable to solidify the rank and file behind a singular approach. This means that the only thing that can herd the Republicans into an organized group behind a singular approach is by the American people speaking up loudly and making their desires heard. This means that the 9/12 groups, the Tea Party groups and the individual precinct captains all get out, organize and make some noise. It might also be advisable for the leaderships of these separate groups to get together and get behind a singular mode of attack. Of course such efforts are only necessary if the desired end is to prevent Obamacare from being deployed as if anyone simply agrees with the let it loose to fail away, then there is no need to do anything as that is the default position which will happen without any interference. But to stop the disaster before it is loosed there is plenty of work to be accomplished and not much time in which to implement the plans. But there is one more group that needs to join with the Republicans if Obamacare is to be prevented from destroying the United States, those Democrats who also love their country and know that this monstrosity will bring down the United States just the same as government provided centralized healthcare eventually bankrupted much of Europe. If the people do not stand and make sure they are counted now, then they will have no honest right to complain once Obamacare has been implemented. And for those who are claiming that they have decided to let it fail gloriously and use it as an object lesson, name one failed Federal Government program that upon failure was not simply propped up by throwing more and more money at it? Face the truth, the Federal Government never admits they failed, they simply bellow out their call of last resort, “It just hasn’t been sufficiently funded, throw more money at it and it will work, you’ll see.”

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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