Wednesday, October 30, 2019

“The Point’s Demon-Guarded”

     Remember this famous proto-prog anthem?

     Kansas was a trailblazing band in its day. The titans of Glass Hammer hold their music in high regard. Forty-two years have passed since “Point Of Know Return” was first recorded, and it remains striking and compelling far beyond the greater part of the popular music that’s followed.

     A point of no return is always “demon-guarded.” That’s why there’s “no return:” the demons forbid it. (Ever tried arguing with a demon? A word of advice: don’t bother.) In politics and public policy the demons are especially fierce:

  1. They look human (some actually claim to be human);
  2. They wield terrifying weapons (e.g., fines, imprisonment, seizures);
  3. They can induce you to become dependent upon their demoniac emissions.

     For my money, condition #3 is the worst of the lot. If a policy can induce dependency in the populace, such that the people cannot imagine ever going back to its pre-enactment conditions, they’re in for the proverbial world of hurt.

     That’s the sort of condition politicians avid for increased power over you will strive with all their evil ingenuity to create.

     I’ve been sitting on this article for a while:

     While the Democrats continue their impeachment pantomime war dance in the mirror-clad corner in order to keep up their spirits, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is ginning up a much more fateful danse macabre on health care. He has promised to force a vote this week on various Trump Administration directives that have injected flexibility into Obamacare. As The Hill reports, “Senate Democrats plan to force vulnerable Republicans to vote on legislation that would overturn a controversial Trump administration directive on ObamaCare.”

     The idea is that Democrats can force besieged lawmakers such as Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Martha McSally (R-Arizona) to take a stand and make an unpopular vote on the issue that voters consistently identify as the most important: health care.

     President Trump and the genuine Republicans in the Senate have struggled to undo ObamaCare. (“Genuine Republicans” is meant to omit the late John McCain, who, unless he repented most fervently before his passing, is surely burning in Hell for voting to protect that obscenity.) They’ve chipped away at it with some measures, including the “1332 waivers” mentioned later in the article. But the Democrats are determined to preserve it. Why? Because government control of medical care is a point of no return: a measure that induces popular dependency upon the State. No nation that has enacted it has ever managed to repeal it. It quite literally gives the State the power of life and death over every man under its sway.

     Admittedly, ObamaCare – strictly speaking, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 – doesn’t go all the way. Doctors and nurses are still private citizens rather than involuntary employees of the State. Medical products are still made and vended by private companies. And citizens can still buy their own medical insurance. But it narrows the gap between the previous, largely free-market system for acquiring medical care and the Democrats’ ideal, in which the State stands between the patient and the provider in all things, including payment for services.

     ObamaCare achieves that narrowing by fastening D.C.’s claws upon the method by which most major medical expenses are defrayed: through insurance. The PPACA sets stringent rules upon what a legally permissible insurance policy must cover, under what circumstances, and subject to what limitations. It came close to giving an unelected, unreviewable bureaucracy the final word on what procedures an insurance policy is required to finance. (Remember the debate over “death panels?”) And it caused patients’ out-of-pocket expenses, both for premiums and for medical care, to shoot upward.

     But it also created an iron triangle: a subsector inside the Department of Health and Human Services, a cartel of major medical insurance providers, and a significant community of beneficiaries who could not previously afford medical insurance. And of course the Democrats purely love it.

     In fact, they want to go much, much further:

     I’m with Bernie on ‘Medicare for all.’ And let me tell you why. I spent a big chunk of my life studying why families go broke. And one of the number one reasons is the cost of health care, medical bills. And that’s not just for people who don’t have insurance. It’s for people who have insurance.

     “Look at the business model of an insurance company. It’s to bring in as many dollars as they can in premiums and to pay out as few dollars as possible for your health care. That leaves families with rising premiums, rising co-pays, and fighting with insurance companies to try to get the health care that their doctors say that they and their children need. ‘Medicare for all’ solves that problem.

     “And I understand. There are a lot of politicians who say, ‘oh, it’s just not possible, we just can’t do it, have a lot of political reasons for this.’ What they’re really telling you is they just won’t fight for it. Well, health care is a basic human right, and I will fight for basic human rights.”

     That’s the Dishonorable Elizabeth Warren speaking. She’s currently a front-runner for the Democrats’ presidential nomination. And she’s not alone in her advocacy of government-controlled medical care.

     To the extent that the 2016 elections were about Supreme Court justices, the 2020 elections will be about medical care. The United States is an aging nation. Our national fertility rate has slipped below the ZPG level, which means the population is growing slowly older every year. That causes the subjects of medical care, its availability, and its affordability to become steadily more important.

     The Democrats want you to fear that you won’t be able to afford the care required to keep you alive without the supervision of the Omnipotent State. They want to persuade you that without D.C.’s close control of all things medicine-related, you’ll be left without medical care, whether because you can’t afford insurance, or because the insurance company will arbitrarily deny you coverage for your treatment.

     A lot of Americans have already bought into ObamaCare. Some of them probably believe that without it they’d be uninsured, and therefore helpless.

     The insurance companies that have labored to conform their offerings to the PPACA’a dictates have resisted the idea of going back. There’d be a lot of work involved. And they’d have to offer policies customers would purchase voluntarily. Unthinkable.

     And the bureaucrats in HHS can be counted on to favor it – and to vote Democrat next year.

     Be afraid.


pc-not said...

The most obvious example of "the point of no return" is the implementation of the modern welfare state instituted by LBJ's Great Society. It's many negative repercussions are textbook examples of the law of unintended consequences. Liberal good intentions resulted in a chain reaction of culture degradation and criminal behavior. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, not a right wing neocon, lamented the flaws in that piece of legislation. Trump, putting forth common sense solutions to mitigate the bureaucratic leviathan that is responsible for so much destruction, is demonized on every level.

Linda Fox said...

Ironically, one of the most competitive insurance markets in health care is Medicare - which has found that its private competitor, the Medicare Advantage market, is growing by leaps and bounds. The government said, "We'll give you X dollars, which represents the amount per capita that we spend on Medicare, and if you can make a profit, you get to keep it. If you lose money - tough. You have to take the loss".

They did, and were - in a VERY regulated market - very successful. So successful, that many more insurance companies are getting into play, as well.

They have plan with ZERO premiums and ZERO cost to see your doctor, and are still making money. Kind of gives you an understanding of how badly the bureaucracy of government handles the process, compared to the private market.

FredLewers said...

A lot of expensive care is rendered to people close to dying... And when people don't have a satisfying relationship with their creator they want to extend their time in the physical realm as long as possible. Maybe they think that this lifetime is all there is. Maybe they fear coming face to face with God and being accountable. Maybe they realize that they've squandered all their timeand they're desperate for a chance to make different decisions (they can't/won't unless they deal with their strongholds and baggage).
Regardless of the why's... People are perfectly willing to spend as much insurance money and government money as they can pursuing instinctive self preservation.
I've pondered a lot of the issues perplexing our nation and ALL THE ISSUES plaguing America can be traced back to the lack of a moral compass.
Want to bring medical costs down, get people comfortable with meeting God.
Want to get insurance costs down, deal with the greed. Both the company's greed and the customers greed...
Want to get America out of bad foreign entanglements? We're unequally yoked and people lust for power.
I could go on and on but the problem is that we as a nation have no moral compass that keeps us pointed to God...
End rant