Thursday, October 8, 2015

Wishful Thinking – Putin, Trump, and Medicare Premiums

Wishful thinking is thinking based on the belief that you will be pleased with what you imagine will happen rather than what is really happening based on evidence, rationality, and reality.

We are all victims of this misplaced optimism.

Examples are:

1) Putin’s aggressive actions in the Middle East. He can’t possibly mean what he says or does – confronting Obama and telling U.S. to get out of way, putting troops and military equipment in Syria to prop up that horrendous dictator, President Assad, the cause of 250,000 deaths and 4 million immigrants. Surely Putin bluffs. Surely with Russia'sfaltering economy and NATO’s condemnation, Putin knows he is stumbling into another Mid Eastern quagmire. Surely Putin will have second thoughts.

2) The media’s and the Republican establishments’ oft-quoted opinion that Trump’s presidential bid will surely end with a bombastic and dramatic collapse when people regain their senses. Given his narcissistic, assertive, and against-the-grain proposal he will surely self-destructive. But what will happen if Trump continues to lead in all the primaries and gathers enough delegates to win the nomination . What if Hillary withdraws from the race due to an FBI indictment or due to losses in New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina? What if Trump trumps Sanders, Biden, and Maloney? What then?

3) And what about those projected monthly premium spikes from $104.90 to $159.30 for individuals and $318.60 for a family? Surely that can’t be. Surely Democrats and Republicans alike will move to protect Medicare recipients, a vital voting bloc, against such 52% premium increases they can ill afford. Up until now, Medicare enrollees have been a protected species, insulated against rising health costs. Look at the bright side. Seven of ten Medicare recipients will continue to pay $104.50. Only 30%, among them new Medicare enrollees, those with incomes over $85.000 per individual and $170,000 per family, will have to cough up for premium increases. Surely goodness, mercy, political survival, and social justice will prevail over the health costs of longer lives, rising costs of prescriptions, and higher health costs for outpatient, preventive care, durable medical equipment, and ambulance rides. Surely we will get what we wish for.

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