How long will it take us to comprehend the very simple fact of economic reality?
Just a few weeks ago political leaders and the media were all agog over a proposed miniscule reduction in the increase in certain federal expenditures. It is quite possible this was a planned feint to direct attention away from the real problem – that being entitlements and specifically the unbelievable coming cost of Obamacare.
According to a survey by a Sunnyvale, California technology firm that “compares and ranks” health plans, only 1 in 50 current plans administrated by companies offers all the coverage mandated by Obamacare. Based upon this study of some 11,000 plans only a small percentage offered such required coverage as dealing with substance abuse and dental checkups.
This study includes such elementary statements as “consumers and the federal government will end up paying the cost of the new requirements through higher premiums.” Do ya think? This boondoggle will make other entitlement programs look like pikers. The old rule that the cost of federal programs will be a multiple of four compared to the estimate will almost certainly be broken.
When the Obamaites campaigned for this bill in 2009, the cost they threw out was 890 billion dollars. This month the latest estimate was 2.8 trillion. The chances are good this 2.8 trillion estimate will grow considerable as the years go by.
The reasons for such gigantic increases are obvious. Here are just a few of the services that are mandated by health plans offered to individuals and small employers:
1. Emergency services
2. Maternity and newborn care
3. Mental health
4. Substance use disorder services
5. Behavior health treatment
6. Rehabilitative services and devices
7. Preventive and wellness services
8. Chronic disease management
9. Pediatric services
10. Oral & vision care
11. And, of course, reproductive services
What most Americans want and should want is a plain vanilla plan that covers major expenditures and the premium would be only a small fraction of the proposed prohibitive costs. Instead we have a plan that uses the cradle to grave approach with no incentive for the individual to reduce or control costs.
Burgeoning costs can be explained by this example: For a family of four with income of $35,000 per year, the government tax credit protects them from paying more than 4 percent of their annual income. If that family’s policy costs $12,500 per year, they would pay only $1,400 leaving you, me and other taxpayers to foot the remainder or $11,100. Is it any wonder that this entitlement will be the country’s most extensive and expensive entitlement ever?
How long will it take us to comprehend the very simple fact of economic reality? Health costs will continue to rise to uncontrollable heights until we have a program that encompasses the concept that health care recipients must have “skin in the game”.
Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winning columnist for the New York Times, echoes our president by declaring we do not have a federal spending program. Let’s start with the quote from his column dated March 12, “People still talk as if the deficit were exploding, as if the deficit were on an unsustainable path.” What planet does this guy live on?
In fact, Krugman pleads for more money to be spent on stimulus programs until the economy has fully recovered. Nowhere in his column does he explain that government spending comes from only two sources – borrowing or taxes from citizens. Borrowing increases our federal debt to the unconceivable amount of 20 trillion dollars. Taxation simply takes the money from productive sources and wastes a giant portion through administration costs and questionable projects.
Our hero Krugman lectures us on how the deficit is actually coming down - instead of 1.4 trillion he predicts soon the deficit will be under 1 trillion. This is comparable to explaining to us hillbillies that a criminal burglarized 600 homes in 2011, but he is on the way to becoming a model citizen because in 2012 he invaded and robbed only 450 homes.
Nowhere in his critique on the deficit does he even mention the accumulated deficit, known as the national debt, is now 17 trillion. Instead, after using logic an eighth grader could tear apart, he concludes, “So we do not, repeat do not, face any kind of deficit crises either now or for years to come.”
Most of us can read Krugman’s column with disgust and pitch it in the circular file except for an underlying danger. Krugman along with thousands of college professors (Krugman teaches at Princeton University) are teaching our vulnerable college students that deficits are positive and the wicked in this world are those darn conservatives who are wrecking this country.
(Jerry Jackson of Heber Springs writes his “conservative viewpoint” column each week)