Browsing the blog archives for May, 2017.

President Trump, the baby killer…

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President Trump’s proposed budget has been released and the left is already attacking it for the “deep cuts” it makes to social programs. In reality, the budget does not reduce social spending, but rather proposes a 10-year rate of growth slightly lower than the current projections. In the socialist lexicon, any attempt to rein in costs is a “deep” or “draconian” cut. This is politics and to be expected.

But some on the left aren’t stopping there. NYC major De Blasio claims children will die if Trump’s cuts to children’s health programs are enacted. This isn’t the first time such charges have been launched at Republicans, but it’s still shameful discourse. It’s tempting to laugh and move on, but this argument can easily be turned on the Democrats.

Their reasoning is simple: Spending “less” on government healthcare for children means that some will die because they won’t get the care they need. The evidence for this is debatable at best, but let’s take it at face value. If spending less would kill kids, then wouldn’t spending more save some who are currently dying from a lack of care? If no, then the current, arbitrary level of spending must be the perfect amount, benefitting all children and harming none. Few if any would make this claim, as there’s simply no way to verify this.

Most progressives would respond with a resounding YES, but herein lies the intellectual dishonesty. Since current spending levels were endorsed by President Obama, then he must have also killed kids by not spending even more. Perhaps Obama “did the best he could” in negotiations with a Republican Congress, but the current level of spending on children’s health programs is higher than what Democrats endorsed when they controlled both the House and Senate in 2008 and 2009. That lower amount didn’t seem to kill any kids then. If their argument today is accurate, then we must also indict Democrats for supporting substandard spending in the past.

Of course, progressives always want to spend more on social programs, claiming that people will starve or die if their demands are not met. The current level—if previously endorsed by the left—is always the bare minimum, just enough to keep from doing harm. Even when they get the increase they want, progressives refer to the expansion as a mere “move in the right direction.” While some progressives attempt to debate the issue in a reasonable fashion, those like De Blasio who resort to scare tactics and hyperbole are appealing to ignorance.

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Who pays for health care?

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There’s an elephant in the room on the health care issue—who pays for it.

This problem is illustrated in an exchange, a version of which I’ve heard several times this week:

Democrat: The health care plan passed by Congress doesn’t protect those with preexisting conditions.

Republican: It certainly does. The plan provides $100+ billion for high-risk pools so the insurance companies won’t have to cover these folks in the same plans with everyone else. That way, everyone else won’t have to pay for those with preexisting conditions.

Excuse me? Where does the $100+ billion come from? Republicans and Democrats alike talk as if such “pools” are created out of thin air. This approach is probably a modest improvement over the status quo, but someone must pay the bill.

People are simply demanding health care without a mechanism to pay for it. It’s time to call the bluff. Republicans should propose no frills, bare bones universal coverage to be financed entirely with a payroll tax (perhaps 5%) from all Americans—not employers—on personal income up to $100,000. If you opt for private insurance instead, 80% of the amount you pay in this new tax would be credited toward your premiums. While those who earn more would have to pay more, everyone would have skin the game.  Nobody would be excluded. Coverage, deductibles, and copays would be rationed accordingly.

I know my proposal is simplistic, but here’s the point: Democrats (and some Republicans) would run from this type of proposal because it removes the illusion that undisclosed parties—corporations, the top 1%, or government printing presses—would pay the freight. It would change the conversation from health care as an entitlement to health care as a transaction. Everyone would get basic coverage. Those who trust government to manage the process would get their wish, but they still must pay the tax. The rest of us can opt out and stay in the private system.

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