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Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
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Frank Bernheisel
Posted 07.03.11
Just Outside Washington

FRANK BERNHEISEL

On Killing Medicare in the US

Dominating the US air waves, we have Paul Ryan who says that the way to save money and eliminate the federal government debt is to kill Medicare and turn us work over to private insurance companies. It's a joke, right?

Unfortunately, he is serious. Writer Paul Krugman points out that Medicare is not the problem, but that medical costs are. This graph shows the cost of medical care per beneficiary through both private insurance and Medicare since 1969.

chart

Note: Your federal taxes went to pay for collection of the data which allows us to make some rational assessments about the state of healthcare is in the U.S. and what it costs.

Paul Ryan's plan would give the Medicare money, in the form of a voucher, to the private insurance companies. Given what the graph says about relative costs this would result in an immediate reduction in services of 38 percent, if there were no increase in federal funding or personal expenditure.

All the talking heads say the Ryan plan is bold and thoughtful; CRAP. Even Newt Gingrich said that it was "right wing social engineering."

I sure hate to admit that Newt was right about anything.

Economics or any other system of looking at numbers and figuring out what they mean seems to be missing from the education of the members of the US Congress. This may be due to the number of lawyers who represent the people of the United States and make their policy decisions -- that is their laws.

According to Ron Paul's website, there are 162 lawyers in the House out of 441 members and 54 Senators out of 100.

As Thomas Jefferson said:

    " If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?"
So what we are getting on health care, the budget, the economy, and the US debt -- a lot of talk.

The sad thing is all 541 members of Congress believe they are right. Unfortunately, too many are True Believers, which Eric Hoffer described as; "the man of fanatical faith who is ready to sacrifice his life for a holy cause."

In the case of the True Believers in Congress, they are also ready to sacrifice the rest of us on the altar of a contradiction in terms: To wit, contracting the economy -- especially the governmental part -- will produce growth.

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