More comments on health care.

The 2010 Census provided a report on health care in the United States.  2010 health care statistics

The census counted our population as 304.8 million, using rounded numbers.  Surprising to me, only 38.9 million are 65 or over, a mere 12.8 per cent of the population.  Almost all of these folks are on Medicare or a government funded program such as TRICARE, FEHB -- the Federal Employees Health Program, or Indian Health Service.

The federal government fully funds Medicare, TRICARE, FEHB, the VA, and Indian Health Service.  It funds a major portion of Medicaid and SCHIP, the rest being paid by the states.  By funding, I mean that all the money is directly or indirectly derived from taxes.  TRICARE and FEHB charge premiums, but these are paid out of military and federal employee salaries and pensions.  The Medicare premiums are almost all merely deductions from Social Security payments.  In essence, the government carries the entire load.  Even out of pocket payments and deductibles paid by the patient can be viewed as derived from government money raised by taxation.

 The government funded programs won’t be changed (much) by Obamacare.  It focuses on the population which is less than 65 years old.  Many of those are poor and will continue to be covered under Medicaid and SCHIP.   

Politicians looked at statistics similar to these and said: “there are about 20 per cent of these folks who don’t have insurance.  We’ll make them buy it or else.”

Many of the 20 per cent were young, and probably thought they didn’t need insurance.  Tough.

Following convoluted logic, the politicians said, “once everyone is insured, premiums will go down (on average) because we’ll make everyone insure at the same level.” 

Perhaps they ignored the reality that doctors, hospitals, the pharmacy industry, and medical insurance companies must make a profit to stay in business.  With Obamacare, they seemed to be working against the survival of those entities.   “Must include” regulations abound in the 2000+ pages of the Obamacare legislation, which no Senator or Representative read before voting on.   Two of the biggest are against insurance – must insure pre-existing conditions, and must pay out at least 85% of premiums to claims.  Either rule can bankrupt an insurance company.  Obamacare may cut payments to doctors and hospitals as well – driving them out of business. 

Obamacare is also likely to bankrupt the country or destroy the economy with additional taxes.

Republicans weren’t consulted on Obamacare.  Not one Republican amendment was accepted by the Democrat majority.  Not one Republican voted for it.  Republicans want to repeal it, and will not willingly fund it.

What should replace Obamacare?  Reduce Medicare costs by means testing, and only pay for people who truly need it.  Allow insurance to be purchased across state lines, to increase competition.  Set limits on medical liability payouts, so that needless tests that now run up medical costs can be eliminated. 

Give serious consideration to replacing Medicaid with Paul Ryan’s voucher system.   Set up a similar system to replace Medicare.  Consider government funding for a major medical policy for the poor.  These are just some suggestions.  Anything would be better than the train wreck we’re going to have with Obamacare.

Finally, as long as we’re stuck with Obamacare, and let’s face it – as long as the Democrats hold all the power, we will be – there should be no exemptions.  Everyone should be treated the same. Unions, including the federal employees, are trying to weasel out of it.  Congressmen are trying to exempt their offices from the Obamacare rules -- the President decided to subsidize their employees, more than is given the average citizen, and has no authority to do so, but as usual, he doesn't mind breaking the law.  That’s flat wrong.  They are a bunch of hypocrites, but we’ve known that all along.