Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Don's Tuesday Column

      THE WAY I SEE IT   by Don Polson    Bluff Daily News   5/03/2022

             Trip down Obamacare memory lane

Our trip ventures back to the first “Thanksgiving” documented by Governor Bradford, as the Mayflower Pilgrims faced near-certain death from deprivation during their first winter. Their native neighbors provided invaluable help fertilizing corn; however, failure to produce the colonists’ needs ensued under a “collectivist” approach— “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.”

What each family created, whether clothes, crops or other essentials, was put in common storage and distributed as determined by the governor; skilled labor was assigned with no reward. Bradford: Thievery of various sorts occurred; single men resented that the fruits of their labor were assigned to families who could not produce their needs. They simply slacked and shirked work.

Further starvation loomed, so Bradford assigned plots of land with a mandate: Whoever will not work, will not eat; what each one produced was theirs to keep, share, barter or sell. Simply put: Their personal accumulation created an abundance that resulted in the memorable feast with native Indians.

Collectivist—or socialist, communal or communist—economic systems have created deprivation, thievery, misallocation and misery throughout history. The naïve and idealistic have continued for millennia to offer those solutions, hardships or not, as a century’s experience shows.

It has often been functioning nations like Cuba, Venezuela or former Soviet states that imposed Communism’s “dictatorship of the proletariat,” promising “fairness,” currently called “equity.” Karl Marx’s twisted vision failed in his native Germany but took hold in the eastern nation of deprived peasants, Russia, whose tsars ignored their people’s suffering, to their demise.

Reality-denying collectivist theory was shoved down the throats of deluded or misled masses, over 100 million of whom have perished under Communism’s brutality, from the USSR, Cambodia, China to Cuba. America’s and the free world’s millions of COVID-19 deaths derive partly from that same mentality with its imposition of top-down, lockdown, shutdown quarantining of the healthy, making most normal, free-enterprise economic activity illegal. Collateral deaths have amassed.

If the newly-formed “Ministry of Truth,” aka “Misinformation Governing Board” (in the Dept. of Homeland Security), can succeed in burying the truth of the last 2+ years of health policy failure—future responses to health threats will repeat those failures.

Witness Obamacare. The motives and plans of its advocates, including Barack Obama, made no secret of their ultimate goal: Single-payer, socialized medicine patterned after, not the Massachusetts health care plan, but on Canada’s system, or the UK’s National Health Service.

It must be corrected: No Republican fingerprints can be found on Obamacare. Put aside Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts’ system, or Vermont’s or Oregon’s failed universal health coverage—no Democrat national health care proposal contained Republican ideas or input.

Democrats’ national one-size-fits-all schemes contained, as seen with Obamacare, full inclusion by mandate. Most Americans were revulsed by socialistic, single-payer health care (nearly 90 percent liked their insurance plans). Democrats offered socialized plans like the “public option” of government-subsidized health insurance, and mandated Obamacare plans for all not exempted by the law (or be taxed/fined). Not even the Roberts Supreme Court could square Democrats’ refusal to call it a “tax” with the required “fine.”

America’s record holds no examples to scale up for nationalized health care: 1) The Veterans’ Administration; I’ll not burden readers by repeating why veterans have been failed by the VA (“wait lists,” hidden lists, manipulated data, non-fired bad employees) and often seek other options.

2) Medicare: fine as far as meeting seniors’ basic needs but the costs were wildly underestimated and “contributions” by workers/employers have never come close to covering expenses, meaning current workers subsidize current retirees, like Social Security. Doctors can’t afford new Medicare patients; supplemental coverage is a must for most seniors.

3) Medicaid: fine principle to compassionately treat the poor, not covered by employers. However, it goes against the Constitution’s federalism principle that states determine their laws and policies. Federal rules have denied states the freedom to implement effective but economical health care.

All single-payer systems require private options: For Canada, it’s America’s doctors; for the UK, it’s private and/or foreign medical care; the VA’s is private MDs. Otherwise, bodies and patients pile up and suffer.

Which leads to the relatively failed Obamacare record: Most of the supposed “expansion” of insured Americans came from “bait and switch” Medicaid mandates, inducing naïve states into the bargain by offering higher federal subsidies initially, only to shift the costs to state taxpayers. Innovation prohibited, again.

Defenders of Obamacare are on shaky ground. Before disputing, look up: “Obamacare’s Hollow Celebration—Twelve years after its passage, the landmark law has expanded health coverage only modestly—while raising costs, reducing choice, and doing little to improve outcomes.” (by Joel Zinberg)

“The ACA failed to increase insurance coverage as much as expected, imposed mandates that raised costs, reduced choice, and forced people to buy insurance that many neither wanted nor needed—all while doing little to improve health. Obamacare increased health-insurance coverage through highly subsidized individual plans on state-based insurance exchanges and by expanding eligibility for the Medicaid program. The percentage of Americans uninsured fell from 15 percent before the ACA’s passage to 9.7 percent in 2020.

“This gain, however—roughly 16 million Americans—was far less than the 25 million predicted by the Congressional Budget Office. And nearly all the ACA’s net coverage gains came from increased Medicaid coverage, which affords small, uncertain benefits and limited access to care.”

Fact: “American life expectancy was lower in 2019 than it was in 2013 [pre-ACA]” (Paragon Health Institute’s Brian Blase, advocate for free market health care policies).

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