Commentary on: The White House Blog Keeping the Plan You Like By Kathleen Sebelius, June 14, 2010
Kathleen Sebelius, our 21st White House Secretary of Health and Human Services, named by Forbes.com in August of 2009 as the 57th most powerful woman in the world offers (via her White House blog, noted above) “we the people” her confident assurance that under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), President Obama has made it clear that “we should build on the insurance system we have, keeping the parts that work and gradually fixing the parts that don’t”.
One might think that the very popular, former, two term Democrat Governor of typically Republican Kansas earned her popular approval ratings via a sincere honesty probably encouraged while a young, Roman Catholic school girl in Cincinnati, Ohio; or perhaps it was due to the unfortunate loss of childhood honesty so often strangled by the deliberate drumbeat of moral relativism, whereby the ends easily justify the means regardless the cost to human dignity or the lessons of history.
In either case, you may recall that the Senate version of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was passed on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2009 with all Senate Democrats and Independents voting for and Republicans against (60 – 39) Harry Reid’s deceitful Christmas hoax. The House version later passed (219 – 212) amid much back-room arm twisting on March 21, 2010 with the so-called Reconciliation Bill (± 2,400 pages) finally signed, unread, into law by President Barack Hussein Obama on March 30, 2010.
I thank Secretary Sebelius for her kind assurances, and hope for my children’s sake, they are accurate and honest. Common sense and Marxist history, however, suggest otherwise.
First of all, given that the august expression of nearly 5,000-years of Judeo/Christian societal experience and moral law, some portion of which is contained within our U.S. Constitution, has been clearly stated in only several concise, well written pages; any new law requiring approximately 2,400 pages to express itself less clearly becomes suspect. I was told once that if an idea can’t be stated in one paragraph, it’s most likely a lie; or at the least a waste of time. This PPACA legislation has a lot of paragraphs.
I don’t maintain, common sense aside, that all legislation must consist of one paragraph or less. I do maintain that 2,400 pages leaves a lot of room for subterfuge, ulterior motives and troublesome word smithing with regard to the possible undermining of freedom and individual liberty. Anyway, let’s take a look at our 21st Secretary’s assurance.
“The Affordable Care Act is designed to let Americans keep their health insurance if they like it while adding important consumer benefits to give businesses, families and individuals higher quality care at lower prices and more control over their own care.”
Today, for the most part a patient makes health care decisions face to face with their physician(s). Admittedly, and unfortunately, in many, if not most cases, likely financial limitations and/or care restrictions are imposed by insurance coverage and must be dealt with. This is true even if the patient does not have health insurance and is to be covered by a State Access program or some other mechanism. None the less, care is personal, is easily discussed and the two main issues of service availability and cost can be overcome.
Tomorrow, under 2014’s PPACA, depending on whose opinion you solicit, somewhere between 75 and 150 new government decision making agencies are to be generously staffed and impersonally inserted between the patient and physician(s). More than 16,000 new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents are to be hired just to monitor and I suppose interfere with and confuse, patient’s financial reporting. Actual budget analysis will be non-existent.
In other words, many thousands of new Federal government employees, none of whom exist now, are to be added to the government patronage feeding trough to dine and retire on your hard earned tax dollars. It should be noted that the average salary of these government employees will be around $73,000 annually as opposed to the paltry $45,000 earned annually in the private sector. This must be how some of the projected savings is to be achieved, although I don’t personally understand the arithmetic.
These new employees will require training, transportation, parking, office space, water coolers to chat by, coffee and other refreshments, break rooms, rest rooms, phones, computers, lights, electricity, heating and air conditioning, salaries, lunch, vacation pay, retirement benefits and everything else any highly paid government bureaucrat requires to survive. This is all “added cost”. If you wish to believe that the addition of this explosion of government agencies will expedite the provision of your family’s health care; or somehow personalize your patient/doctor relationship; and, of course, reduce your cost; well, great. I personally suspect not.
PPACA mandates private insurers to meet certain new requirements, such as, the elimination of all “pre-existing” condition clauses; elimination of lifetime or annual coverage limits; elimination of variable rates based on health factors, gender or other factors. Premiums will be allowed to vary based only upon age, geography and family size. This may be wonderful, but right or wrong, good or bad; the addition of these mandates will increase the number, extent and types of health care coverage required to be provided. These new coverage mandates are all “added cost”. For private providers to remain in business, insurance actuaries will have to estimate and prorate a much larger number of unknown, unlimited costs across their now very limited PPACA premium base. This is all “added cost” without regard to revenue and is certain to be a successful strategy, much like denial cures alcoholism.
The new Federal Health Insurance Exchange beginning in 2014 is to provide a marketplace for individuals and small businesses to conveniently comparison shop between private and government options. Supposedly, the government option levels the playing field as it is to be funded 100% by patient premiums. Has anyone ever heard of a Federal government mandate that was not accompanied by special interest subsidies borne by the tax payer? I certainly have not. Has anyone ever heard of a government program that could accomplish anything faster, better and less expensively than the private sector can? I have not. In fact, quite the opposite.
Common sense as well as economic history suggest that the new Exchange with its arbitrary rules, mandates, etc. will make it utterly impossible for any private provider to compete with the government option. Within a few short years of enactment, although Secretary Sebelius assures us we can keep our private insurance if we like it; there will be, in fact – no private insurance coverage available. The only future option will be the “government” option along with a budding new black market in medical services for the uber wealthy.
Once our government has illegally demonstrated that it can and will “unconstitutionally” force all private insurers out of business; and additionally and “unconstitutionally” force consumer citizens to purchase the government monopoly’s product; can anyone imagine a future business foolish enough to trust, believe or risk that it could do business successfully in this market at some point in the future? As a practical matter, once this intrusive, progressive, government monopoly is in place and has ground the pursuit of creative excellence to dust; there will no longer be a way or a path to fix it. When PPACA breaks…and it will predictably break, even before it gets started; it will remain broken forever.
After all, let us remember that the farcical PPACA financial proforma also conveniently not mentioned by Secretary Sebelius was predicated on ten years of funding against six years of operation and thereby deemed by the blind and hopeless as “deficit neutral”. This willfully misleading proforma would place any private corporation officers under SEC jurisdiction, whom might ignorantly have proposed it, in prison for fraud. Our Congress, however, shamelessly and I guess proudly, ignores their fiduciary responsibility to the tax payer without legal consequence. Welcome to collective utopia.
Much has been made of the “grandfathered” rights of existing private coverage under PPACA. Given that premium increases, benefit reductions and other coverage changes are a certainty under the proposed mandates, one can be sure that no private program will ever be “grandfathered”. This is Congressional smoke and mirrors; Marxist salesmanship; nothing more.
Secretary Sebelius further assures us under the new PPACA rules that:
“The bottom line is that under the Affordable Care Act, if you like your doctor and plan, you can keep them. But if you aren’t satisfied with your insurance options today, the Affordable Care Act provides for better, more affordable health care choices through new consumer protections. And beginning in 2014, it creates health insurance exchanges that will offer individuals and small businesses better, more affordable choices.”
Given the simple fact that 95% of individual health care costs are incurred during the last few years of life and given the aging demographic of the United States population; short of government imposed health care rationing, it is simply preposterous for any person to suggest that overall health care costs in these United States are going to decrease any time soon. There is no possible way this can happen; PPACA or otherwise. Secretary Sebelius’ claim that more affordable choices will be made available through consumer protections suggests that perhaps we should be prepared to bend over and grasp our ankles with an expectant smile.
For our Federal Representatives and Officials, elected or appointed, to claim overall health care costs are going to decrease over the next ten years constitutes a staggering level of dishonesty and a level of voter disrespect that is nearly incomprehensible. Surely this is moral sophistry, political deceit and financial chicanery at their very totalitarian best.
The voter has been told repeatedly, though Secretary Sebelius conveniently does not mention it, that no rationing of health care services will occur under PPACA. However, under the $830 billion unread stimulus bill passed in February of 2010, conveniently prior to the non-reading and passage of PPACA, a new Advisory Committee has already been authorized and is to be led by the Surgeon General or perhaps some new Czar sans Congressional oversight. I believe this committee was named the Federal Coordinating Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research. This is, of course, your European style rationing committee, or as Sarah Palin so rudely puts it – Death Panel; though it truthfully was not authorized under PPACA, but earlier under the so called and entirely unrelated stimulus bill. Another little dose of Congressional magic and moral relativism justified for the collective good of American society.
I sadly predict that if we continue working successfully toward the overall collective good of American society motivated by the shrill siren of social justice as opposed to equal justice; we will all likely perish painfully while grasping our ankles, smiling vacantly and waiting in line for Secretary Sebelius’ assurance to finally come to fruition.