Health is the War of the State

Unbelievably, and I mean unbelievably, John Kerry won’t go the f*** away, and insists on harping about the issue that cost him the election (and Democrats Congress for over a decade) by criticizing the President on… wait for it… health care. John Kerry now joins the 9-11 Families among those I am telling to shut the f*** up already, you’ve done enough damage to this country.
And what is Senator Kerry doing? You got it: picking random things he doesn’t like (like drug reimportation issues) and attacking the President, without offering his own reasonable, workable solution.
What troubles me is that ever since Saints Bill and Hillary first destroyed the Democratic Party in the early 90’s by refusing to be honest about their health care plan (employer mandates), Democrats have thought that national health care was an important issue, even though the voters have shown, time and time again, that they really couldn’t care less.
Which means, of course, that now that the Democrats are, thanks to Saints Bill and Hillary, deep in the minority in Congress and the federal judiciary and again out of the money in the executive branch, it’s time to come up with creative, workable solutions– in practical terms, though they are inconceivable in political terms (largely because Democrats will probably see to it that they don’t happen, so they can sit at the tough-guys’ table.)
With health care, it’s simply a matter of identifying the problem. The problem from a national standpoint is that there are tens of millions of people who are employed full-time, yet lack employer paid (or even employer subsidized) health insurance. Very poor people are covered by Medicaid; old people by Medicare, and the rest are either covered by private plans or their employer’s plans, or uninsured.
This is not hard: we are years overdue for a minimum wage increase. In lieu of raising the minimum wage to $8.00 an hour, the talking dog plan will raise the minimum wage to $6.00 per hour, plus $1.50 per hour to purchase a private health insurance plan, and if the employer doesn’t have such a plan, then that money would be paid into the same benefit plans available to federal workers (which would be available for… $240 a month, with a reasonably available and reasonably priced family plan available). Period. Oh– the minimum wage would henceforth be indexed to track social security benefit cost of living adjustments– just as my tax proposal will adjust to circumstances such as federal spending rates and recessions automatically, so my minimum wage proposal will reflect cost of living increases– automatically (including the portion paid for health benefits). And because wages will automatically rise, so will tax revenues (all other things being equal).
Insurers would have to compete for the new health insurance business, and my guess is, many of the newly covered workers would be relatively young and healthy… which means profitable to insurers. So there you have it.
I’m tired of hearing about complexity. I’m tired mostly of hearing from Democrats on this. Sure, the Medicare prescription drug benefit would be modified to require, rather than prohibit, the federal government from negotiating with drug companies for lower pharmaceutical prices. Medical malpractice costs are only 1/2 of 1% of the costs of the nation’s health care bill; I would remind everyone of this. Constantly. To the extent that we enlarge the rather efficient federal employee health care system (and make it the insurer of last resort, having now established how it will be paid for), we will see health care costs miraculously drop– because administration of private insurers tends to be the fastest growing cost (along with pharmaceutical prices).
Can our economy absorb the higher minimum wages? Well, it’s going to have to. My “flatter tax” should take constantly changing tax policy out of the mix, and automatically stimulate economic activity in down times, and collect a surplus to pay down federal debt in good times. BTW– social security is not in a current crisis, but a few more years of Bush-style borrowing, and all government programs, including social security, will be in peril.
The problem with this plan: it’s too simple. Democrats will thereby likely join with Republicans to gang up to kill it. We KNOW Republican policy is low-wage policy: make capital more powerful than labor at every turn, and lament all the jobs will be costing. Of course, EMPLOYERS say the number reason they’re not hiring is… health insurance costs! I say… ENOUGH.
Do I expect some marginal employers to stop hiring people? Sure. But McDonalds and Walmart (both of which usually already provide health insurance coverage for many of their employees, btw) will just have to suck it up– make us pay $8 for a television set from China instead of $6. And best of all, Democrats can stop harping on this loser of an issue, and get on with war and peace. I can dream, I s’ppose… so why not dream big?