This could be the big one. It’s why the Republican-America-Haters have boasted that this could be President Obama’s waterloo.
I call them America-Haters, because for all their talk of patriotism, it’s clear that they’d rather be “right” than see the country prosper. For all their crowing about how much they love capitalism, and equate that to the American way of life, they just as soon as see it run over a cliff than even consider anything they deem to stray from the path of capitalism.
And, driving off a cliff it is.
The statistics composed by the National Coalition on Health Care, which can be found in some variation from other sources, indicates that the current rate of health care spending is approximately 4.3 times the cost of national defense. In 2008 we spent as much as 17 percent of our Gross Domestic Product on health care. More than any other industrialized nation in the world. (Compare: Health care spending accounted for 10.9 percent of the GDP in Switzerland, 10.7 percent in Germany, 9.7 percent in Canada and 9.5 percent in France)
Now, this isn’t the worst part. The worst part is that this isn’t stagnate. These figures are on an upward trajectory. There is no end in sight for these costs. They will continue to climb, some estimates having the GDP dedicating 20 percent to health care costs as we enter the next decade.
Now. Before we go further. I’ll tell you right now. Republican-America-Haters will stand up at this point and say. “Stop comparing American health care to Canada or Germany. We have the best health care system in the world! Precisely because it is profit/capitalism based. The research which brings the best drugs, the most promising cures, and most advanced treatments comes because of our current system!”.
I wouldn’t argue this. We have the Cadillac if you will (in some regards) of health cares. However, we can no longer afford to drive a Cadillac. In 2008 the average employer paid for each worker covered $12,700 with each employee contributing on average, $3,700.
Under a plan where the U.S. economy continues to grow, and incomes increase, and property values climb and the GDP enlarges, and the overall productivity flourishes – this model could sustain itself for the foreseeable future. But we all know that today – none of these factors exist. In fact the enlarging costs of health care are exacerbated by the shrinking economy. Meaning – yes. We’re headed for a cliff.
People wonder what will we do if the State of California, the worlds 7th or 8th largest economy, fails or collapses. I would argue, what would we do, if the U.S. federal government follows behind it? We view the federal government as if were a savior for all our ills. The reality, our deficit continues to grow and not unlike a person who lives on their credit cards, someday the bill will have to come due. In no case can you continue to outspend your income for an indefinite period. At some point, the credit line will cease.
Such is the case with our federal government, and the economy as a whole. The model we’ve been using for health care insurance in this country is broken. It no longer works. It is dragging our hopes for the future down.
That is why we must rally behind our President during this critical time. The Republican-America-Haters are employing tactics such as shouting down town meetings and disrupting public forums where this topic is addressed. It’s a ploy they used in Florida during the hanging chad incidents. They paid congressional staffers and other Republican operatives to storm voting offices. This gives the impression that folks are against something. That they are riled up about something. It plays to the cameras well – and the average American sitting at home watching Katie Couric may think. “Wow. I must be on the wrong side of this debate if all these people are upset about this.”
Don’t believe it.
It is time for us to do our part and see these ploys for what they are. To ask those who would come to the table to ‘discuss’ health care, what their alternatives are. We need to ask the party of “NO” what they propose, what solution they offer – because the status quo, keeping things the same is not a solution. It may have worked in different times – it doesn’t any longer.
It’s time however too for our President to step up. I appreciate that President Obama has done an admirable job of attempting to court both sides of every issue. His approach seems genuinely concerned with all sides and making sure that he appears to be a President for all Americans. He seems to hope that all sides can come to an agreement – a comprimise.
This will be the President’s waterloo if he continues this approach.
When Congress comes back in session in the fall – I hope the President starts talking Turkey. I hope he lays out a specific plan, that addresses the MAIN concerns. (It won’t address every concern, it never can). And push for a vote. It’s clear, at this juncture that it may fall upon party lines. That Republican-America-Haters may appear to be left out of the dialog, but they are not. Crossing your arms, holding your breath, stomping your feet and uttering “no” is hardly a dialog.
The American people hired President Obama to get things done. If he fails to get this, the most important act of his presidency done, then he will not lived up to the promise and the task we set him upon. Americans want a better life. Americans need a better life. An overhaul of our health care insurance system is the most fundamental key to that progress. Without it, there will only be a steady decline.
So, I’m prepared to listen. I’m waiting to hear the specifics of any proposal. I’m waiting to see a genuine debate in the Senate on this topic. I don’t fear that President Obama is going to drive us into a ditch with any proposal he may offer. There’s little comfort in that idea – that he could drive us into a ditch. However, I’ll take my chances because we are assuredly headed for a cliff.