Saturday, May 14, 2011

Skinning the Cat


The phrase, 'there’s more than one way to skin a cat' is hardly ever used these days and that’s unfortunate. You see it should be resurrected as a subtitle for the wonderfully wacky world of politics.
Simply put it means you can find many ways to do or say anything. And of course each of those ways will mean different things to different people.
Even placing the emphasis on different words in the same sentence will convey an altered meaning to the subject at hand.
Prove it to yourself by saying the following sentence six times emphasizing a different word each time.
“You want me to do that?” (My favorite is the third utterance.)
The above was a simple example. Now imagine a far longer sentence or better yet a complicated issue such as Medicare.

In the current fight between the two major political parties and one minor party the emphasis is on the cost and how it affects our deficit. But the cost should not only be a monetary one.
It’s easy to say that increased membership in Medicare caused by the aging of our society will increase our nation’s deficit but we should also note that drastically changing the system could increase our Nation’s death rate!
Unfortunately some of the people arguing the case sublimate that fact. They understand that the fewer people utilizing Medicare, be it from lack of need or death the less money will be spent. And the less money spent the more money to use elsewhere.
Do I hear the defense lobbyists lining up?
An issue as far reaching and multi-faceted such as Medicare cannot be explained in one line. There will never be a quick fix worthy of a satisfactory sound bite for us to hear on cable network news shows, at least not a real one.
But I herewith offer a streamlined view of one of the main points of contention between politicians from all sides of every aisle.
If a senior needs medical care they currently see their doctor and most of the costs involved come out of the government coffers. The coffers have that money as a result of contributions made by those seniors in the form of deductions taken from their lifetime of wages.
One could say the seniors are entitled to that money or at least the peace of mind coverage for which the money was paid all those years. Naturally the word ‘entitlement’ has been given a bad connotation by the same people who wish to rid the country of such ‘socialistic programs, but that’s another issue.
The ‘right’ wishes to privatize Medicare. They propose issuing seniors vouchers with which they may to go out and buy insurance on their own. This would remove the worry and expense of covering these elderly people should they get sick, and of course there is no disputing the fact that they will!
In order for the ‘right’ to save the government money in this scheme the amount of the vouchers must be less than the expected payment to cover the elderly in their hours of need.
Again there is no dispute on that fact.
So the ‘right’ will spin the issue and state that they are covering seniors and saving the government money. Who could argue against such a win-win conclusion?
But one need not delve too far into the facts to realize that if the government is saving money then less money is being spent and less money means less coverage.
Also the ‘for profit’ insurance companies will not be all that willing to actually cover the seniors to the full extent of their needs since they are after all for profit!
So the end result of the proposal by the Republicans on the ‘right’ higher profits for private insurance companies, possibly a slightly lower deficit assuming the small amount of money saved is not funneled into other non socialistic programs immediately, and a lower life expectancy for middle class Americans.
Doesn't this sound a bit like what the 'Conservatives' were chanting about a couple of years ago? 
There will be no easy solution to this problem as the majority of Americans enter into their supposed Golden Years. One might argue that a higher tax rate on the wealthiest among us must be considered and corporations, who have been given near citizenship rights by our Supreme Court, should therefore be included in that group. Certainly that would be a start but more is needed. And we need our leaders to stop posturing and, for lack of a better term, lying to our faces about the issues.
Remember that while it is only a euphemism, skinning the cat will result in the death of the cat. The problem is ‘we the people’ are the cat!

6 comments:

Olivia Emisar said...

What we need is for Medicare to be available to everyone. Pay the premiums everyone is paying and be done with privatization.

Medicare is a God-send. It covers almost everything, doctors and facilities get paid on time, no referrals required and no haggling with a $10 an hour employee who has access to medical history and will deny a second round of chemotherapy to save the company money.

We substituted the cart and horse for vehicles. It is time to replace private health insurance with national health care. It is the way industrialized nations take care of their citizens.

What we have to decide is whether we want a true democracy or a corporatist country. Kicking the corporations out of our government would resolved a myriad of problems and allow government to regulated fully, not in the half-ass way it has been done for decades.

Sorry for the rant. Good article.

Charlene said...

When you deposit $1000 into a savings account at a bank, you are entitled to withdraw that deposit plus any very small interest earned while it was deposited.

I deposited medicare and social security deductions as did my employer matching into government coffers, and I am entitled to withdraw those as needed if I live to the agreed upon age.

That is entitlment. Not subject to anyone changing terms of the deal set out on the first day I had funds deducted for that purpose.

The people who should be rising up and demanding this bullshit stop are those between the age of first deduction and those at the top end where the GOP says they are changing the rules.

Charlene said...

Olivia is right.

Medicare for all and all pay a premum. Go away health insurance companies. Take your capital and invest in solor energy or somthing useful.

Cousin Bruce said...

Charlene and Olivia, you are both absolutely right. And by bringing up two slightly different points on this issue you prove my main premise!
I will never understand how we allowed those who either do not need or who are being paid by those who do not need to turn the term 'entitlement' into a dirty word!
President Obama may have something up his sleeve but I still feel he 'blinked' when he ditched the "Public Option."
Medicare for all is the way to go and a fair Eisenhower like tax rate would help fund the thing!
Thanks for the comments.

train buddy said...

All I want to know is how the government things the elderly are supposed to pay for their medications on fixed incomes. Every year they are put into their "donught holes" and have to pay exorbitant amounts before reaching their deduction. Personally I know that my mom doesn't have thousands of dollars to pay out of pocket. Does that mean the government doesn't give a rats ass about the elderly?

Cousin Bruce said...

The government cares about the people, aka the voters. And the elderly are people. Therefore the government cares about the elderly.
BUT the government is made up of people who feel they can do good only if they are in office and that causes the catch 22 of the whole situation.
In order to stay in office the individual congressmen must win elections and to do that they need money and to get it they must SUCK UP to the ones with the money!
And the people with the money DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR MOM OR ANYONE'S MOM INCLUDING THEIR OWN!
N'est pas?
Thanks for the comment - I really do feel your pain, (and mine.)