Blogging from Phoenix–If democrats had proposed “Medicare for any American who wants it” or “public choice healthcare” or any of the two dozen other focus group phrases, healthcare reform with robust consumer choice would have had a chance. The truth is both democrats and republicans have conspired in plain sight to hide the truth. It’s not the insurance industry that prevents you and me from enjoying affordable health care. The real culprit is Grandma, yes dear old Grammy, the one sister Sarah and Senator Grassley want to protect from the death panels.

Most seniors get Medicare coverage at less than a hundred bucks a month and who amongst us paying twelve grand a year for a policy wouldn’t switch to Medicare in a heartbeat? But if we did a realistic means test on Medicare for seniors most would end up paying more. To be sure many seniors and disabled can barely afford what they pay now, but praise Jesus under Medicare for all, they would actually pay less. It’s the majority of seniors who have healthy incomes that would end up paying four and five times what they are charged now for health insurance. From their perspective it would suck, but why would it be unfair? Someone who draws forty, fifty and sixty thousand dollars a year, most in tax free income should pay five hundred dollars more a month for insurance. You pay on average a thousand, earn less and have fewer sick days. They sleep late, have already paid off the mortgage and enjoy lots of free time to complain about the lack of respect the younger generation pays them.

God bless President Barack Obama but like his immediate predecessor George W, he seems to be suffering some serious senior staffing issues. I fear like the fellow before him he values loyalty over competence and changes will be too little when he finally accepts they are already long overdue.   

The reform that will emerge prohibits insurance companies from denying you healthcare for pre-existing conditions, but if the insurance company is permitted to demand you pay twenty times the premium your neighbor without pre-existing conditions is charged, is that really the kind of reform that helps you out. 

Democratic legislators have already begun making the rounds of the cable shows, to sow seeds of how blessed we should feel when a bill, any bill is passed. They lament on what a shame it is “their” ideas didn’t make the final cut, how terrible a process that includes every major resolution the republicans demand despite pledges to vote against it anyway.

When it’s all said and done, the GOP will have deftly maneuvered them into crafting a bill that actually makes the insurance industry more powerful and profitable at the expense of the middle class. And they will make sure Americans shouldering the burden of subsidizing healthcare for everyone remember it at the polls.  

But Medicare for anyone who wants it would have created a larger pool of members and lowered premiums for everybody, provided the financial inequity in Medicare was corrected. Fair and free competition is the only way to control cost, if the insurance industry faced even the possibility anyone could buy a Medicare policy at half of what they charge, they would lower their rates by the close of business and still predict substantial growth in revenues.

But the dirty secret democrats and republicans decline to reveal is competition would also force those who administer Medicare to compete with the private sector. Big or small government is after all faceless democratic or republican appointed bureaucrats and czars with large budgets and power which explains why the Medicare that so many seniors demand the politicians leave alone is so cheap.  

I say it’s time to make Grammy pay her fair share or assemble those dam death panels, that’s my view yours may be different. psburton@bloggernations

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