Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Public Option Health Care?" Hell, everyone LOVES their Medicare!

The "Health Insurance Reform" debate, as its been renamed, is becoming more and more contrived and feverish as the days roll on. I don't know what the problem is; how can anyone not get behind a 4 ream bill that makes life better for all?

The "public option" seems to be the biggest bone of contention. Have you noticed that one of the favorite ways of plugging this option is to say that "it's just like Medicare, and everyone loves their Medicare!"

As an example, just the other day, I ran across this passage from a Paul "Pass the Koolaid" Krugman in a column of his on health care reform from August of this year.

Again, you hear a lot of horror stories about such systems, most of them false. French health care is excellent. Canadians with chronic conditions are more satisfied with their system than their U.S. counterparts. And Medicare is highly popular, as evidenced by the tendency of town-hall protesters to demand that the government keep its hands off the program.

That last sentence is a partial truth, conveniently portrayed as a complete truth.

As I've related before, I spent my entire career with a single company, a very fine one. When I hired in, the company provided group health insurance, and if you stuck around to qualify for retirement, they committed to keeping you in the group plan once you retired.

Medicare did not exist then. When it was created, I think during the "Great Society" years, the landscape changed. My employer, and thousands of others across the country I'm sure, decided they were off the hook for retiree health care at age 65, because the Federal Government had graciously stepped in to provide that coverage for "free."

Why would they do anything else? Such a deal.

So, two years ago, Mrs. Poppycock and I became Medicare clients. Simply put, we had no real choice. The legacy coverage offered by my employer terminated at age 65; it was costing nearly $1000 a month at that point just to stay in their group pool.

Medicare, along with the various supplements offered in addition, was the only practical choice we had. While I don't know all the details, I assume that anyone else who came from the private sector found themselves in the same boat: Medicare or nothing. Some choice.

I'm guessing that only public sector employees, and not even all of them, have the option to stay with their original group plan, rather than be defaulted into Medicare. This is one of the root causes of the huge unfunded liabilities that states carry on their books, just as Medicare is a huge unfunded iceberg for the Feds.

Surely our senior elected officials, like congress-critters, are separately cared for with inviolate plans that celebrate their sacrificial "public service."

Back to how the folks love their Medicare. Of course we like ours; it's the only realistic coverage option available to us! It's not nearly as good as the private sector coverage we had, but that's a moot point.

And when "town-hall protesters (to) demand that the government keep its hands off the program," it's because our benefactors say they plan to pay for much of the huge new program's cost by "savings in Medicare" and "restructuring Medicare Advantage."

In other words, they're going to make things better for others by making things worse for those who have no other alternative. What would you do in such circumstances? Wouldn't you say "keep your hands off?"

Let's try an analogy. Suppose they passed a law that said you had to give up your personal means of transportation at age 65; that is, no more car or truck or other motorized vehicles for you. But to make life easier, the government would make available centrally controlled and funded transportation to get you around. You'd get, let's say, 5 taxi rides a week, government provided.

After a lifetime of having your own vehicles, you'd become totally dependent on government transportation. And since you'd have no other choice, you'd probably be very concerned about losing it, even though it couldn't match the years of having your own vehicle.

So when the government decided they needed to expand the transportation program for everyone, regardless of their age, and said they'd pay for it in part by finding savings and reductions in services for those over 65, I guarantee you your reaction would be to say "keep your hands off the program."

Does that mean you love the program? Of course it doesn't; it simply says you don't want the government provided rides, the only option you have because of prior government actions, to be rationed or your remaining mobility to be otherwise compromised.

This is not at all the same as the false pretense that Krugman the propagandist and the other shills describe. Could we please have a little honesty in this discussion?

And you should be getting as tired of the balderdash being slung our way as I am. Especially when it's slung by a Nobel Prize Winning superhero of big-government academia in the New York Times.

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