America, Going Downhill

Here I am, finally! I want to blog my little heart out every day, especially when I listen to the news or read the newspaper...but, I don't.

I always wonder who would listen to what I have to say. It doesn't matter that there are millions of people engaging the Internet, each with a list of personal opinions on these same topics. I just can't imagine anyone actually LISTENING to what I say!

I think this is an effect of long-term poverty, a level of forced social mentality that's hard to rise above.

Government Healthcare is going to destroy America -- that's what I want to say. I've been associated with the government's version of healthcare for more years than I wanted to be. Government insurance is not a great benefit, it's a costly tax burden. I don't know of one state that can provide adequately for the poor people that already turn to them for help. Medicare costs are going to rise with the increase in my generation. If Social Security and Medicare are in danger of default, how will State and Federal Governments bring medical subsidies to an entire country? There's just NO WAY the numbers will work. To make it sound like it can work, the current administration wants to FORCE American citizens to purchase insurance, either from it or another company. Is this what America stands for??? What will we be forced to buy next?

Forced insurance is not the answer. What happens when someone pays $100 in premium fees and then collects $25,000 in policy benefits? Millions and millions of people will become recipients of government healthcare. Even if you figure the cost of ONE visit to an emergency room, which would be at least $1000, the loss is $900 for each policy. The people who are most interested in a govenment backed healthcare plan are generally those with ongoing or catastrophic benefit needs, wanting to take advantage of new medical interventions. That kind of benefit plan won't be available through the government, and will cost a lot through any regular insurance company.

The government can't operate a company in perpetual debt any more than a private- or publicly-owned business can. Every disaster will cost more, every economic crisis will raise the the level of policy holders. Hurricanes, recession, terrorism, or everyday accidents -- guess who will pay?

We need to find solutions,
but perhaps the government is not the way to go.

It is a good and kind and compassionate thing to care about other people. That has always made America one of the greatest countries in the world. It is the foundation of every Democratic Welfare program. My understanding of Welfare is that it was originally created in war years to deal with the loss of soldier fathers and their unprepared widows. Welfare was suppose to SAVE the government money in juvenile crime costs, to allow the remaining parent to be a supervising parent. Government assistance wasn't meant to be a way of life, just a temporary help.

The truth is that Government aid is like quicksand. Every month you sink deeper and deeper into a vast financial pit ...probably because government assistance is always insufficient. If low-income households received enough money (or benefits) to actually provide what middle class American families are EXPECTING to receive, everything might have turned out differently. But we forgot about inflation, killed God, became a hippie generation, and turned in the direction of crime factories called public housing. The results didn't meet the expectations, and the problems just got bigger and bigger.

I know some things have changed since I was affiliated with Welfare programs, which is what is being discussed when you talk about healthcare coverage, but it's only the numbers that change, not the core process. The fact is, NO ONE likes government patients. No one likes the reduced payments. No one wants to be forced to take government patients. And they DON'T get the best of care! These are the realities of government healthcare.

As far as I can tell, the current discussions are GENERALLY focused on providing/expanding coverage to households with $40-$250,000 incomes. These discussions often herald the "same benefits that Congress gets," plan to raise taxes on anyone who has worked hard to have a higher income just to provide for a "SMALL amount of clients" Congress projects will utilize these awesome benefits, and it all REALLY SOUNDS SO WONDERFUL. Everyone should want this for America. It doesn't matter that they completely ignore the piper that eventually has to be paid. Just get the bill passed, it doesn't matter what it will do to our country. America has survived on a credit card mentality for years, why change now? Congress wants a blank check -- and no one knows what the real costs are going to be.

I had to laugh at the "opt out" provision I heard about the other day. Like every business and family isn't going to want to pay less for their medical insurance. What elected official in any state is going to "opt out" in the midst of election fury? It's just a political mirage. It sounds good, but it will never happen. And America will be stuck with a bill it doesn't want to have.

When I was on Welfare with my children, it was a relief to know I could go to a doctor if an emergency happened. We never faced a devastating illness that was covered by state programs, but childbirth and the occassional illness did rack up our share of medical bills. I lost two sons to addictions and their associated crimes, prison events, and other problems. One son was molested at the age of three in a daycare setting. But those services weren't covered by state medical insurance.

Right now, no one knows what the proposed government insurance would actually cover, but it wouldn't be EVERYTHING, that's for sure. Personally, I always wanted to get back on my feet and repay the government the money it cost them to help us survive our tragedies. I was never able to rise high enough out of the Welfare pit to accomplish that. I still hope to win the lottery someday. Then I can pay more taxes than I ever received in benefits.

While receiving Oregon benefits for homeless individuals, I have been unable to pay even nominal amounts as medical premiums. I was able to receive Food Stamps, but not able to pay a $6 monthly medical premium. If Oregon doesn't have enough money to cover the medical needs of its poorest citizens, how will it provide for even larger mandatory amounts of eligible people? Taxpayers are not an endless supply of funds.

At close to age 57, I am still in financial recovery. I don't have any retirement resources, other than a small Social Security benefit if I live long enough to collect it. I live in less than adequate housing because it's all I can afford. There is no car to drive, no insurance to pay for, no driver's license anymore. I don't have medical insurance or life insurance. Since I started working again, collection agencies have started to hound me on the phone, garnished my meager paychecks, and attacked my only bank account (jeopardizing everything I am trying to rebuild). My debts are medical bills, school loans, and unpaid consequences from homelessness and poverty. My body is dealing with physical limitations that didn't exist before. Last February, I had to go back on food stamps because I completely ran out of food.

Except for two or three paychecks in over three years, I earn Oregon's minimum wage (currently at $8.40/hour) working at a job with undependable part-time hours. Full-time wages at $8.40 an hour would GROSS about $17,472 a year, with no vacations or sick time. Half that amount would be $8736 a year. Will ALL my income sources counted, I finally managed to break the $10,000 mark last year.

But take home income is not the same as gross income. I think I read that the current poverty line is somewhere between 12 and 13,000 dollars. My last paycheck says I have earned $6019.97 so far this year. and paid over $1100 in mandadory deductions. I donate plasma for extra money when I can. That income may amount to about $1500, with taxes unpaid. My December seasonal employment may add another $750-$1000, I'm not sure. I don't know how may hours I will be able to work between both jobs. I may end up in the $10,000 range again this year.

My point is: people who are making $40,000 a year are not living in abject poverty. I would be so happy to make $40,000 a year. I can't imagine wanting or needing government interventions at that wage level. Maybe the problem is lifestyle choices. I don't have a lot of things because I can't afford them. It's just a fact of life I assume is the same for everyone. I don't always like the choices I have to make, but they are the boundaries of my life.

The bigger issue, in my view, is people who want the government to pay for interventions they cannot currently afford. Not familiar with the reality of government programs, they believe it will provide all that they want. Reality is that the government is a last resort, not a first option. I have said it many times, but I will say it again:
The more the government is involved in your life, the LESS free you are.

Maybe we need to think about that for awhile....