The lead to our recent posts never has been more appropriate than with regard to the current discussion of health care:
“It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders.”
Wisconsin Representative, Paul Ryan, the GOP’s version of an insurance genius, the man who came up with the latest “repeal and replace” plan, described his “Patients’ Choice Act” this way:
My plan, The Patients’ Choice Act, ensures universal, affordable health care for all Americans. Under The Patients’ Choice Act, patients and doctors would control their health care decisions – not insurance companies and federal government bureaucrats.
Of course, it does no such thing, because if you go to the “Short Summary” you will read the following:
“(My plan) creates State Health Insurance Exchanges to give Americans a one‐stop marketplace to compare different health insurance policies and select the one that meets their unique needs.”
According to the genius, insurance companies no longer will control health care decisions because you will be able to compare insurance policies. HUH??
(And by the way, why would you have to compare policies unless you will have to pay for less-than-complete coverage?)
“(My plan) gives Americans the same standard health benefits as Members of Congress, so all Americans have a wide range of choices”
See, it’s like this: Federal government bureaucrats will not control your health care decisions, because you will receive the same standard health benefits that federal government bureaucrats created and control for Congress. Huh??
Creates a non‐profit, independent board to risk adjust among participating insurance companies to penalize companies that “cherry pick” health patients and reward insurers that encourage prevention/wellness and cover patients with pre‐existing conditions.
In other words, Federal bureaucrats will tell insurance companies whom they must cover, what coverages to offer, and what to charge. Huh??
But it gets worse, much worse. The GOP insurance genius even is clueless about how insurance actually works:
Insurance 101 For Paul Ryan: The Healthy Are Supposed To Help Pay For The Sick
Obamacare is in a “death spiral” because the insured are sharing the risk, explains congressman.
By Mary Papenfuss
Paul Ryan is aghast that healthy individuals are paying into an insurance pot that’s used when people are sick. But … that’s exactly the way insurance works.
Twitter positively erupted Thursday to school Mr. Health Insurance on the concept.
Everyone pays into the pot and draws on it when they’re sick. Younger people, who tend to be healthier than older people, pay for health insurance like everyone else.
They’ll rely on it when they need it, probably more when they’re older and there are younger, healthier people filing in behind them.
It’s the same with car insurance. Some people pay for decades and never get into an accident and never collect on their coverage.
Yes, Mr. Ryan, that’s how insurance works — fire insurance, liability insurance, all kinds of insurance. Each year, we pay into it hoping we won’t use it this year.
O.K., so the Republican insurance genius says he wants to replace Obamacare with a plan that doesn’t allow insurance companies and federal government bureaucrats to control health care decisions — except that is exactly what his plan does.
And the insurance genius objects to young people paying for insurance they may not need, except that is how insurance works.
But it continues to get worse:
“Economic analysts across the political divide agree that the tax code is stacked in favor of the wealthy . . . (My plan) provides an advanceable and refundable tax credit of $2,300 per individual or $5,700 per family. “
Sounds swell, except the GOP insurance genius didn’t know about two problems:
- That $2,300 per person and $5,700 per family isn’t enough to cover even current, let alone future health care insurance of the quality Members of Congress receive, and
- It’s not even money; it’s a tax credit, and the poorest among us don’t benefit from a a tax credit. They need actual money. The whole point of Obamacare was to cover those who can’t afford health care.
And, it continues to get worse and worse, because the entire Ryan plan is based on reducing costs for the federal government (which being Monetarily Sovereign, has the unlimited ability to pay) and instead piling costs onto doctors, insurance companies, and the public.
“The Patients’ Choice Act would give every American the opportunity to choose the health care plan that best meets their individual needs.”
Except, few of us know in advance, what our individual needs will be. Accidents and sickness come unexpectedly. Do you know whether you will have a heart attack this year? A stroke? Cancer? A serious car accident? A rare illness you never heard of?
The whole concept of “individual needs,” when applied to health care insurance, is ridiculous and misleading.
“It will utilize state‐driven exchanges to facilitate real competition between private plans and give Americans—for the first time—a choice of health care plans. This solution will actually fix the incentives in the health care system so that health providers and insurers provide higher quality plans at lower cost.”
Said another way, doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies will have to cut costs while providing better service.
What does that tell you about the future availability of doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies?
Right. There will be fewer. So, services will be scarcer. And what happens when services are scarcer? Right. Quality decreases and prices increase — exactly the opposite of what the GOP insurance genius expects.
Obamacare, with all its warts (and it has many), was an attempt to provide health care to the millions of us who cannot afford to pay for health care. The Republicans — the party of the rich — hate it, not only because it is “Obama,” but because it narrows the Gap between the rich and the rest.
The rich don’t want that.
So the party of the rich proposes a plan that:
- Saves money for the only entity in America that has no need to save money — our Monetarily Sovereign federal government
- Burdens financially the private sector, i.e. the burdens economy
- Eliminates coverage for the millions of our poorest.
- Widens the Gap between the rich and the rest
The GOP plan truly is based on “the ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of our leaders.”
What should the plan be? See Steps #1 and #2 of the Ten Steps to Prospertity (below): ELIMINATE FICA, and FEDERALLY FUND MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE
The federal government can afford, and should pay for, what you and our fellow citizens cannot. That is the purpose of a Monetarily Sovereign government.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-mores and the have-less.
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.
Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich can afford better health care than can the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE A MONTHLY ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA (similar to Social Security for All) (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB (Guaranteed Income)) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE Five reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE FEDERAL TAXES ON BUSINESS
Businesses are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the federal government (the later having no use for those dollars). Any tax on businesses reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all business taxes reduce your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and business taxes would be a good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.