Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Health Care Application

I was just surfing the net and went to the web site to see what all the talk was about lately. That site referred me to the California web page which caught me a bit off guard with the length of the application.

Then from there, we go to the application for the first person and that is three pages plus. And if it is a 4 person family, there are a lot more pages to fill out---18 of them. I don’t see anyone wanting to fill this information out unless it is money in their pocket. Why even bother?

Page one, "Are you pregnant?"

Page two informs you;"If you don't file taxes, you can still qualify for free or low cost insurance through Medi-Cal."

Page three; "Do you have a job?"

What bothers me about the form, is the fact that you're not buying health insurance, you're documenting that you don't have the funds to pay for it. I've never had any trouble buying something I wanted. You usually want to know the price before you buy. I walked into a service station one time to get a tire repaired and the guy pulled out a notepad and started writing down all the charges and by the time he finished, the total was $24. Further down the street, another mechanic looked at me in the eye and said, "Pay me what you think it is worth." I got the tire fixed and paid him $15.

After you submit all of this information they will present you the monthly cost of your plan. You're not going to be able to tell them you don't want it because it costs too much. They have your name, Social Security number, cell phone number and the address of where you live. You will get the bill if one is generated. With the system armed with all of that new information, you could get nailed for wants and outstanding warrants, alimony and all sorts of other goodies. Do you get the feeling that the government is not being very transparent with this program? Put another way, are we being conned?

It kind of reminds me of when FDR started the Social Security retirement plan. Before that time if you owed taxes, they had no way of collecting; they didn't even know who you were. With the Social Security tax, they got your employer to deduct it from your wages before you got paid. From there taxation became a lot simpler for the government to execute; the employer had to follow the government directives.

So here is what it boils down to. If you don't have insurance, they will withhold the (Bronze, Silver or Gold--your choice) amount from your paycheck and you will have to fill out a form each year to get a refund for overpayment. Why do I think this will happen about April 15th every year?

The real question for this year, Can half of the people filling out the form complete it correctly enough to apply for benefits successfully? It sounds like a very simple task doesn't it? This is the real hurdle not fully comprehended or anticipated by the government bureaucrats.

As a post script, I don't have to worry about Obamacare, I'm 67 years old. The youth of this country (those from the age of 18 to 45) are going to enable Congress to kick the can further down the road with a whopping $4,000 a year tax increase. Call it whatever you want, the Supreme Court got it right, it's a tax.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Obama Care---Do the Math

Let’s just figure out, who is in a hurry to sign up for Obamacare? If you are at high risk from a previous or current health condition, chances are any insurance is unaffordable and this would supplement what health care you currently can afford. If you are currently collecting food stamps, we can assume that health care premiums are not a high priority from a budget stand point, but if it is free or highly subsidized, you mise well apply for it.

There are three health plans, Bronze, Silver and Platinum. If we look at the Bronze plan, it’s about $150 a month and there is a $5,000 deductible (the figures on this are all over the map, its a little like buying a car). If you’re broke and on food stamps, where does the $5,000 come from for the deductible? Better yet, where does the $150 a month premium come from?

So the flood of people that will sign up for health insurance, need help in paying for what they are already receiving. When you hear someone say, “I can’t pay for all of my medications and treatments, I need health insurance,” forget the words health insurance, they are past that. They need a government subsidy. The real definition of insurance is to pay over time for an event that may occur that you could not afford to pay for in a very short time. The idea that if you can’t cover the cost of your health care, the government should step in to make up the difference, is not what insurance is all about.

A majority of people who are uninsured and not sick, are in no real hurry to sign up for health care. Maybe it will be like taxes, the employer will withhold the monthly premium charge from your paycheck. Of course if you don't have a job, that's the least of your worries. Got Health Insurance?

Monday, October 14, 2013

The National Debt Disconnect

Many people are trying to attract the public's attention to the dangerous size of the National Debt. The trouble is, it doesn’t seem to be working. Congress has a big brouhaha every time it comes to raising the debt ceiling. It eventually gets raised and business and life go on as usual.

The real problem, is the disconnect between the average person and the national debt. The country has always functioned as expected and this debt has never interfered with day to day existence. If interest rates rise, the consumer knows they will pay more for borrowed money. If inflation increases, people are prepared to pay more for groceries. Big deal if Congress raises the debt limit, they’ve been doing it for decades. Many people in Congress have warned that the county could go bankrupt if steps aren’t taken to curb current spending and they have been feeding that “rant” to the public for years. None of the dire predictions has come true, so why even listen to these worry warts? You certainly won’t get elected to Congress promising your constituents a half a loaf of bread, when they expect a seven course meal.


The average person has no idea or can even envision the net effects of government insolvency nor do they even care. Their group solution would be; “Do what you did before to keep the government going, only do more of it.” Government Bankruptcy is so far from their real world of football, work and raising a family that it borders on absurdity. People look at government sequestration and the budget cuts, and are really surprised how much gets cut when you try to cut the budget by 80 billion dollars a year. Everyone get indignant when Congress shuts down the parks and monuments for lack of funds. And if lawmakers attempted to cut anyone’s benefits, God help whoever made the attempt.

The Tea Party Republicans are coming to the conclusion, they have nothing to lose by standing firm. If the Hoi Polloi can’t comprehend government Ponzi financing, then let’s take the government down the hard way and end the Mickey Mouse bookkeeping. It’s the Democrats that have the most to lose; the 17 trillion dollars of paper IOU’s (already spent money) could go poof because of a stalemated Congress. Wimpy ain’t going to bum another hamburger for payment later. As with any Ponzi scheme, there won’t be anything left for either party to give away.

A government collapse is similar to taking an airline flight. You wouldn’t get on a plane if you though there would be problems. Many years ago, my dad got caught on a flight that landed in Amsterdam. The airline had gone broke between stops. The pilot had to pass the hat for gas money among the passengers just to get to London. In this example the solution was simple, but it gets a tad more complex when the organization that supports and issues the currency, is insolvent.

The National Debt is like a giant candy store. The kid buying the candy has no concern over how the store owner runs the business. Therein, is where the problem lies.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

The Art of Compromise

I get a little fed up when I hear the President say no compromise on the budget. They are going to wait for the Republicans to cave in and agree to what they have offered. Rumors abound that, the Speaker of the House, John Boehner said that he would never let the Congress go so far as default on the national debt. Then you hear the Democrats state like a litany; "This will hurt the Republicans real bad when it comes election time."

Think about it for a minute. Any horse trader has enough smarts not to divulge his settlement terms. So if Obama thinks that Boehner is going to blink, he’s miscalculated. Another thing why would the Republicans lose votes? Voters, who want to give money out to every bleeding heart cause, don’t typically vote Republican.

We’ve had about 4 days of this mess so far, and if you listen to the Democrats, this is just horrible for the country. It’s as if we have been suffering through this for months when they describe the fallout. You’d think that half of the kids on the free lunch program have starved to death by missing 4 meals. A lot of government employees have been furloughed, but when things get back to normal, these people will get paid for the days they didn’t work --can you beat that?

Then if Congress lets this go on for two more weeks, we hit the debt ceiling. At that point it is no longer Democrat against Republican, it becomes a discussion on how many fairies can dance on the head of a pin. The concept borders on folly, but everyone is playing the game; “If we don’t write another IOU, the full faith and credit of the USA will be ruined.” How many free hamburgers does Wimpy get to eat with a promise to pay at a later date? This is what kicking the can down the road is all about, avoid the reality of spending beyond our means.

Is there a deal to be made where both parties can show that they got something in the bargain? Most probably. But if there is no compromise, both sides end up with nothing. In this case, both sides loose the ability to buy something with nothing while getting thanked by their constituents for doing it.

One thought to consider; the people with a solution for every problem, are usually a major part of the problem. Here’s hoping they can get together and come to a compromise.

Below is a picture that seems fairly straight forward until you realize that when you borrow money, they charge you interest. You could say from here, it gets real interest-ing. Kicking that can down the road is looking better every passing day. That doesn't say much for facing up to reality.