Taking the complex and making it simple is something that often separates a strong leader, teacher, coach, or mentor from a weak one. Taking the complex and making it worse it what defines a politician and at this moment it fits the description of the GOP.
The great negotiator just had an epic fail and all he can say is it was the fault of Democrats, you know, the party that holds no majority in any branch of government. The party with all the say is blaming the party with no say over Trump, Ryan, and all the others in the GOP failing to create a new health plan to replace the one they promised to repeal and replace.
In their failure, the GOP has shown we are indeed a House, a Senate, and an Oval Office divided and as long as the GOP remains so, Obamacare, good or bad, is here to stay for the time being. To be fair, the Democratic Party is not all that united either. Other than their desire to run off Trump, theirs is a party filled with cracks and fractures that are held together only by mutual hate for any and all things Trump. In this sense, they are just like the GOP during the Obama years.
However, since neither party has enough leaders with the courage to strike out on their own and break away as an entirely different political party, the infighting will continue to fuel the political drama we see unfold hourly. And yet, from where I sit, I am either missing something or I am some savant who has all the answers to our health care problems.
The richest nation in the world can fund the largest and most powerful military in the world, but it can’t create an affordable healthcare system. I recently read an article touting why we now need to create a sixth branch of the military, the Space Force, just so we can police the galaxy. Meanwhile, roads go unpaved, bridges collapse, cities lie in decay, prisons are over crowded, and ER’s are filled with kids with a bad cough because parents have nowhere else to take them.
We do not solve any problem by creating new problems and nothing gets done in Washington without some form of compromise. Democrats want universal coverage for all Americans and Republicans want to see a return to the pre-Obama privatization of medical coverage. We can have both, but it means compromising.
Save your arguments, my mind is closed for the moment. The money is there to provide every citizen with blanket medical coverage in the form of something that equates to an HMO. Maybe it takes on the form of universal Medicare, but whatever it is called, it is funded by the tax payer.
Now, I am not a fan of HMO’s for reasons that I will soon explain, but they at least provide people with medical care even if they are a bit slow and require patience to navigate. True, doctors and hospitals do not like them because of how little return they see on their work, but this is just a starting point to ensure health coverage for those who cannot afford any.
The next thing is to offer all citizens who desire more than the universal, and yes, minimal plan, a shot at better medical coverage. Here is where the government steps away and the citizen pays. Personally, I want to avoid an HMO as much as possible. I do not like being told who my doctors are and have to wait for approval to see a specialist. It took me five months to get approved for back surgery recently and the only reason I got it done was I switched from an HMO to a more expensive PPO, something the medical world prefers.
I also recently went to my self-chosen primary care physician thinking I needed an antibiotic for an infection in my toe. I left her office minus one toenail. My PPO allowed her to make the call to remove it rather than my old HMO that would have required prior approval, a referral to a specialist, ex-rays, and, well you get the picture. I’d likely be still waiting for the procedure if I still had my HMO by the time my toenail grows back on my big toe.
For people like me, we would be free to shop for upgrades to the universal plan through private insurers who in turn would be free to insure me based on a variety of criteria; my age, overall health, lifestyle, and of course, how much I was willing to pay for added coverage. I would be free to compare rates, drop the secondary coverage when I wanted, or add to it if I desire. Insurance companies would be free to take the information they gathered about me to charge me a rate that they would be betting on will yield them a profit they can live with.
If I am male and I do not want to pay for coverage for female health issues, I can opt out in my secondary coverage. However, if the provider shows me a plan where it is actually cheaper for me to pay into that coverage, I can make that call. However, since we are all in this together as a united nation, we all pay into the same blanket government plan because we all deserve health coverage in some form.
The left will say my plan discriminates against the poor because they cannot afford to buy into a secondary plan. My argument would be a universal HMO is at least as good if not better than Obamacare, which you see as a victory. Also, since this is a truly universal plan, it includes our funding for Medicare, the VA, and any other group of people funded through our taxes.
The right will say my plan is calling for the federal government to fund what they will call “abortion clinics,” which is unacceptable. To that, I would offer an opt out. Yes, instead of paying taxes for a universal health plan that is affordable, you can opt out. Go without any coverage and take a tax credit to use that money for funding your own health plan, vacation, or man cave. I doubt there are many middle class citizens who will choose to pay the average cost of 50 grand per person for annual health care.
Now that we all have universal coverage, our employers will be free from being required to provide health care to full time employees, something that prevents some from hiring more full time workers. They can use that savings to hire more people or perhaps even offer pay raises, something many of us are longing for. They can also be the source we turn to when we purchase supplemental or secondary plans. Perhaps they can secure the individual a lower rate via a secondary group plan than if he or she tried doing so on his own.
So what am I missing here? Sure, we have to place the Space Force on hold a while longer. Some may see their tax dollar funding health treatments that do not apply to their gender or fall in line with their beliefs. The poor may only receive the minimal plan, but again, is an HMO better than nothing at all? Best of all, as a nation we send a message we believe in taking care of our own. We do not punish people because they are poor, old, sick, or young. We see the humanity in all and believe every person in this nation is entitled to a basic level of healthcare from the wealthiest government the planet has ever seen.
Health care does not have to be nearly as complex as Paul Ryan or any other government hack would like us to believe. As much as it is every citizen’s responsibility to protect this nation from an outside enemy, it is just as important we protect every one from the threat of spiraling health care costs.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.