Thursday, September 18, 2014

ObamaCare in Perspective

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD)

These days I am spending a lot of my time trying to keep things in perspective.

I am watching the excellent PBS series on the Roosevelts and the different perspectives on Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican Progressive. and Franklin Roosevelt, a Democratic Progressive, both pitting their parties against the rich, and I am reading Karl Rove, “Why A GOP Majority Is Still in Doubt,” WSJ, September 17. The reason, says Rove, is that Democrats have more money and are outspending the GOP $109 million to $85 million on negative TV ads.

This discrepancy makes me wonder, who is the party of the rich?

My aim is to keep matters in perspective, rather than going off half-cocked.

It isn’t easy.

Take the ISIS beheadings of 3 innocent hostages. The beheadings are gruesome, but they may not foretell of the unraveling of Western civilization, an argument advanced by Robert Cohen of the ew York Times )”The Great Unraveling, September 15).

Or consider today’s Scottish referendum whether to declare independence from England. I doubt this is the end of Scotland if they vote Yea ( Niall Ferguson, “Alone, Scotland Will Be a Failed State," The Telegraph, September 18).

Or, for another matter, take the ObamaCare political situation. The three beheadings, ISIS aggression, and speculation about troops on the ground have pushed ObamaCare into background. ObamaCare, say the pundits, has become a nonfactor in the Senate election (David Nasher, “ObamaCare from Game Changer to Background Noise, “Politico, September 17).

From my perspective, the Senate outcome may or may not seal the fate or keep ObamaCare alive.

• Whether Democrats or the GOP wins the Senator or a tie occurs, given Obama’s veto power, gridlock will continue for the rest of the Obama presidency.

• As pointed out in yesterday’s blog, ObamaCare exchanges cover only 7 million Americans, just 3.2% of the population, and even if 5 million are added in the next enrollment go-around starting November 15, only 3.8% will be insured. If ObamaCare goes as predicted until 2013, 30 million of 9.5% of Americans will be left uninsured.

• The American public opposes ObamaCare but does not want it repealed and wants certain changes kept (young adults covered under parents’ plans and coverage of those with pre-existing conditions). To date, the number of uninsured has been reduced a scant 2%.

• Despite all the hubdub, we sometimes forget a nation’s health system accounts for only 15% of a nation’s health status; life style is 30% and other factors – poverty, inferior education, income differences, and lack of social cohesion ofor the other 55% (Satcher, D, and Pamies, R, Multicultural Medicine and Health , McGraw Hill, 2006),

We forget too that since 1965, when Lyndon Johnson declared the war on poverty, we have spent $15 trillion on poverty and the rate of poverty remains at 15%, the same as it was then.

And finally we tend to neglect the fact that under President Obama, income inequality between the rich and the poor has widened, and income of the middle class has fallen 10%. To paraphrase George Orwell, despite progressive politics, all humans are equal but some remain more equal than others.

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