I went to church last Sunday, and made a special effort to sit where the pew behind me was full of people, end to end. I did that on purpose, for the ‘meet and great time’. As we turned to shake hands, I smiled and said “thank you, your share is $500”. Five hundred dollars for what they asked? Well, for my new truck! I said. What makes you think we’re paying for your truck? They said. “Well”, says I, “I need one and it only seems appropriate that you help buy it.”
It’s been said that the world is changing. Well, I don’t know, I do know that this country is changing. In 1933-34, the Democratic Government passed the legislation needed to force Social Security on everyone. That was designed to help those, as we attempted to come out of the Depression, with their old age. It was sometimes labeled at Old Age Insurance. You paid into the fund and at retirement you’d get “your” money back. It was goal to help you survive in you final years. Social Security couldn’t keep up with the costs confronting the older generation so, when I was a senior in high school, the Democratic Government passed the Medicare Act. The Medicare act was an attempt to help you cover medical expenses in your retirement. Again, it was a pay up front, get coverage later. Both plans gave the feeling of an annuity that you paid into with each paycheck. Coupled into the Medicare Act was the Medicaid portion to provide medical care for those who COULDN’T pay into to plan, the seemingly destitute.
When I started working in 1973, my employer gave me the option of paying into a Major Medical plan or no plan. If I wound up in the hospital I was covered, except for a deductible, all other regular costs were mine to endure. A couple of years later the HMO craze came on scene. We were all excited, a Health Maintenance Organization! We were given a choice of three (3) different carriers or the Major Medical. Well, a no brainier, the HMO’s premiums were a third of the major medical AND covered doctors visits, annual visits and every sneeze that you had. It wasn’t long, however, before HMO’s came and went, as profits diminished. Then the HMO’s gatekeepers became more strict. The gatekeeper is MY TERM. You see, as an HMO participant, you had to promise to use the HMO’s authorized medical personal. That requirement said you FIRST had to visit the ASSIGNED General Practitioner. The Practitioner, was the gatekeeper, you couldn’t go on unless he authorized it. He couldn’t be by passed, you couldn’t change doctors, you couldn’t see a specialist and getting a second opinion was rare.
So where are we today? Caught between forced National Health Care, with sky rocketing premiums, insurmountable deductibles, and increasing penalties on tax returns or ripping it apart and replacing it who knows what. How do you replace it? Sure, some say look at Canada. You SHOULD look at Canada, you’d better look at Canada. Their socialized health care system looks just like our HMO’s. Restricted use, gatekeepers, slow turn around, and patients dying on the door step. How can I say that? Talk to the Canadians wintering in Florida. If they get seriously ill, they’re required to return to Canada for treatment. XRays, and EKG’s taken in the United States are rejected in Canada, tests must be re-conducted by Canadian doctors. Treatment and Operations are scheduled six (6) to twelve (12) months out. If after age 70 a Canadian wants towinter in Florida, the the Canadian Health Care Premiums become so exorbitant as to eliminate their ability to be able to afford wintering anywhere. Their health care system nearly imprisons them to remain in Canada.
Obama Care was passed in 2010, purportedly to lower medical costs. Well, premiums went up, cost of medication went up, out of pocket costs went up, medical profits went up, the only thing that went down was coverage. Oh sure, some people that didn’t have coverage got it, and some people that were rolling the dice and decided a new car would be more useful than the medical insurance (you might not need) got coverage under Obama Care (because you and I paid for it). They got coverage because your regular premium went from $800 a month to $1400 a month. Your were told you’d have better coverage, but if your out of pocket costs (deductible) jumps from $3000 a year to $12,000 a year, where’s that better coverage? No, our current National Health Care looks like a cross between the old Major Medical and an HMO.
I’m afraid National Health Care is somewhere on the near horizon. I just know it’s going to stink! Maybe it’s time to merge Medicare, and Medicaid and making every citizen, President and congressman, senator, laborer and manager and business owner covered under the same rules.
The price of new trucks is going up, and my out of pocket costs are increasing, and no, no one agreed to give me the $5oo. In truth, I didn’t really ask anyone for it.