Hurting by fixing: Health care version

It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders..

Imagine a child trying to nail two boards together. He takes off his shoes and bangs the nail with the heels.

What should you do to help?Image result for shoe hammer

  1. You simply could take his shoes away, denying him of protection for his feet.
  2. Or, you could give him a hammer or use a hammer yourself so the job would be done more easily and properly.
  3. Or, you could add handles to his shoe’s heels and metal to the soles, so his shoes would be more effective as hammers, but less effective as shoes.

This parable describes Congress’s methods for dealing with America’s need for health care insurance.

Donald Trump’s, and much of the GOP’s, method is #1, simply to take the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) away. Of course, that would deprive poor Americans of health care. They would have to go “without shoes.”

Or, you could have the federal government provide comprehensive, no-deductible, fully funded Medicare to every man, woman, and child in America, which would be the sensible corollary to #2.

Today, however, Congress seems to have decided on approach #3, a complex, convoluted, bipartisan non-solution to the problem.

Here are excerpts from an article that appeared in the 8/2/17 issue of the Chicago Tribune:

Senators may try bipartisan approach
A shift on fixing health care law emerges as repeal push fades
By Noam N. Levey and David Lauter Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Even as President Donald Trump renews his threat to undermine the Affordable Care Act, senior Republican and Democratic senators announced plans Tuesday to begin work on a new bipartisan effort to stabilize the 2010 health care law, also known as Obamacare.

Some of the GOP, recognizing they would be punished in the 2018 elections, have instead decided, along with their Democratic co-conspirators to apply some Band-Aids© to a deeply flawed law.

The stated purpose is to “stabilize” (whatever that means) the ACA laws that forever will be hard to justify and always in flux.

The move — by Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the committee’s senior Democrat — signaled a new willingness by Republican senators to begin work on fixing weaknesses with the law rather than trying to roll it back.

In a statement and a series of messages on Twitter in which he set the schedule for the Senate for the rest of August, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., notably didn’t include health care.

McConnell, whose one stated goal of five years ago was to “make Obama a one-term President failed spectacularly, now is smarting over the failure his other stated goal, the elimination of ACA.

As a proven failure, he cannot bring himself to help solve America’s health care problems.

“Any solution that Congress passes for 2018 stabilization package would need to be small, bipartisan and balanced,” Alexander said as he invited the committee’s Democrats to participate in the process.

Translation: “We’ll put small handles and cheap metal soles on the shoes, so they still won’t function as hammers, and won’t be shoes, either, but we’ll be able to tell the voters we did something, and anyway the Democrats are to blame.”

Texas Sen. John Cornyn said, “We are forced to work together to try to solve these problems, and I think frankly bipartisan solutions tend to be more durable.”

Translation: “Bipartisan solutions tend to be more blameable.  When things go wrong, or the voters get angry, we can point at the Dems.”

In addition, McConnell rebuffed Trump’s demands that the Senate change its rules so it can pass a health overhaul with a simple majority vote. “It’s pretty obvious that our problem with health care was not the Democrats. We didn’t have 50 Republicans,” McConnell said.

No, it’s pretty obvious the GOP problem with health care is it didn’t create a health care plan.  It only created anti-Obama plans.

In the House, where a group of Republicans and Democrats — who have called themselves the Problem Solvers Caucus — have begun meeting to talk about fixes to the current law.

There are no fixes to current law that will solve the problems, any more than fixing a shoe to be a hammer solves problems. Obamacare is a complicated law based on the Big Lie, the lie that federal taxes fund federal spending.

If Congress ever were to acknowledge the simple fact of our nation’s Monetary Sovereignty– the federal government’s unlimited ability to fund any expense denominated in U.S. dollars — all the problems with Obamacare instantly would disappear.

Most patient advocates, physician groups, hospitals and even many health insurers have been saying for months that targeted fixes to insurance marketplaces make more sense than the kind of far-reaching overhaul of government health programs that Republicans had been pushing.

Patient advocates, physician groups, hospitals and health insurers either do not understand the realities of Monetary Sovereignty or are afraid to tell the truth.

So-called “targeted fixes” merely will add more wheels, levers, and rules to the Rube Goldbergian, Obamacare machine.

The GOP approach was not an “overhaul,” it was a sledgehammer smashing the gears, an effort to render the entire process ineffective.

Rate hikes and the decision by many insurers to exit markets amid the current political uncertainty in Washington have threatened consumers’ access to health plans.

Rate hikes and insurers exiting markets would cease to be problems if the federal government funded the whole process. Rate hikes would be unnecessary and there would be little need for insurance companies as middlemen.

One critical step is funding assistance through Obamacare to low-income consumers to help offset their co-pays and deductibles. This aid — known as cost-sharing reduction, or CSR, payments — was included in the original law.

But the payments have become a political football as Republicans during the Obama administration successfully argued in federal court that the aid can’t be provided without an appropriation by Congress.

Now Trump administration officials are threatening to cut off the payments, a threat the White House renewed after last week’s Senate votes.

Congress could put an end to that uncertainty by voting to appropriate the CSR money, an idea supported by many lawmakers.

Or, Congress could end the entire controversy by voting for federally funded Medicare for every man, woman, and child in America.

Most insurance experts and officials also say the federal government must create a better system to protect insurers from big losses if they are hit with very costly patients.

Question: Which is more important, protecting health insurance companies or protecting the health of the American people? Ask your Congressperson that question.

Many GOP lawmakers continue to be interested in rolling back Obamacare and dramatically cutting funding for health care safety net programs such as Medicaid.
Three Senate Republicans — Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Dean Heller of Nevada — have been talking about a new repeal plan with the White House in recent days.

But polls indicate that Americans now hold congressional Republicans and the Trump administration responsible for the fate of the nation’s health care system.

Lisa Mascaro in Washington, D.C., and Associated Press contributed.

The GOP is divided: Whether to destroy anything attached to Barack Obama or to provide their constituents with health care and gain their votes.

Hurting by fixing or just plain hurting:  It’s a real problem for the “Party of the Rich.”

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty


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.
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 (Economic Bonus)) 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.
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.
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.
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.


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