Thursday, May 12, 2016

Medicare and Hollow Truths
A moral truth is a hollow truth which must be propped up with gold.
Edgar Lee Masters(1869-1950),  Sexsmith the Dentist

No one disputes the moral truth that health care ought to be a right for all  and that it ought to be free for all. 
No one also disputes the reality that making this moral truth work depends on a prosperous economy.
The trouble is, as Peter F. Drucker has commented , is three-fold.
·         Everybody expects universal health care to be paid for by somebody else.

·         That somebody else ought to be the “rich” paying for everybody else.

·         There are enough rich people to carry the burden of any general service,  ergo, the middle class must carry the load.
 In effect,  the money supporting any  general government service depends on general prosperity.   We do not have this in the United States.   The recovery from the 2008 recession is the lowest since World War II,   the latest quarter of GDP growth is 0.5% and 2.0% since 2008,  the effective unemployment rate is 10% not 5%,  and the national debt will be $21 trillion shortly after President Obama leaves office.  No wonder  65-70% of Americans are pessimistic about the economy.
 It will  take a prosperous economy to continue to finance universal health care’s stepchild,  Medicare, Medicaid, and ObamaCare,  which together already cost in the neighborhood of  $2 trillion.   Senator Bernie Sander’s  Medicare-for-all would run an estimated  $15 trillion.
 Put this $15 trillion on top of the current $19 trillion in national debt and a sluggish economy, and Sander’s proposal,  which  rests on the moral truth that  health care ought to be a right,  and you have an unrealistic proposal.   
You also have a choice between President Kennedy’s  truth, “ A rising tide lifts all boats, “ and the likely consequence of the Sanders’ proposal,” “ A falling tide sinks all boats.”
As you consider this choice, remember that Medicare and Medicaid are on the path to bankruptcy by 2032.   The choice then is between:  economy growth vs. Medicare  coverage for all  vs.  bankruptcy vs. entitlement reform.   High moral promises , such as keeping your doctor and health plan and having lower premiums,   and universal coverage,  are hollow unless one has  the gold to back up those promises.

And that is the moral truth, the hollow truth, but nothing like the economic truth, so help me GDP,

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