Compromise in politics is a fantasy

For the last six or more years the media has perpetuated the myth that in the 80’s and 90’s our senators and congressional representatives had functioned somewhat effectively through an effort to be cordial and polite with each other. The media contend that by this process or cordiality the politicians reached compromises on legislation that allowed our country to operate somewhat efficiently. I say Balderdash!

The secret was neither cordiality nor a group of reasonable people meeting elected commitments to the voter’s, it was and still should be “earmarks.”

Earmarks caused senators and congressional representatives to negotiate with each other for support on bills that would help one state in a quest to get favorable laws for their financial well being. In turn the recipients of those favorable votes would pledge their votes for favorable projects in other states. In other words one hand washed the other hand. Very logical and yet we the public clamored for the elimination of earmarks from congressional laws and bills. Why? The media kept telling us how this unethical practice of compromising in order to achieve advantages for many states on subjects of financial interest to them was screwing us all.

So some politicians took up the cause and helped to kill the earmarks. Now we have two parties who have the same opposing views as they did in the 80’s and 90’s but with no mechanism to negotiate a compromise. No state needs to “work” with another as they did in the era of earmarks to achieve state and therefore public policy interests. Hence the “intractable” signs hung on politicians who free of any chance to promote a special interest through earmarks hang firm with their ideological commitments to their voters.

The most recent example is Harry Reid’s efforts to get foreign investors interested in the Nevada Sahara casino complex into the county. He couldn’t do it by promising a bridge to “no where” to some state in exchange for that representatives promise to support Harry’s request for a special visa for potential foreign investors. I might add these are visitors that had applied for visas and been turned down by the administration because they were undesirables.

In stead of going to the congressional body for help Harry simply went to the administration department and demanded visa clearance for these individuals. The visa department bowed to the will of the majority leader of the senate and a powerhouse in the democrat party and reversed what is suppose to be a irreversible decision. Now it would appear the financing goes forward for the Sahara project. If earmarks were still in place these would have been a deal carried out in the back rooms of the congress and Harry would have received support from democrats and republicans not based on ideological basis but rather a business deal that might benefit several states in the long run.

I say; bring back earmarks and the illusion that our congressional representatives will compromise for the good of the country even though we know it will be in the common interests of individual states. Tell the media to go spit!

Success?

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a friend who said he had “finally” successfully navigated the ACA website and had booked insurance for his family at the same rate he was currently paying with coverage that he wanted. I wrote back and congratulated him on his success and wished him well for his family. I said that back in September I had said I would give the ACA program six months to see if it was successful or not. My friend responded; when does the clock start and I said it started on October 1, 2013 and that I felt we would know whether or not it is successful in April of 2014 after the insurance companies had a chance to calculate the actuarial tables based on the sign ups for 2014 establishing the 2015 insurance rates.

I would like to expand on the issue of rates by making the point that we are in a mad rush to have people signed up by December 23 of this year for implementation of health insurance policies for 2014. There is no way to tell whether or not the target of seven million sign ups for 2014 will be achieved or whether of not they will have the balance of 25 years olds and younger to offset the registration of older people who will need more health care services. I should point out that the government has recently changed the target registrations for young as 35 years old and younger but I don’t know if that is accurate or not. Health and Human Services has said that registrations for the ACA are “on target” but refused to state whether or not the people who are registered actually have health insurance.

There is no question there is an uncertainty regarding the information filed by applicants is getting to the insurance companies and the actual insurance process has been completed. Now these are issues that can and will be solved over the next few months. Much more important is the insurance company calculations for the rates our people will have to pay in 2015. These insurance companies will be able to project their costs and therefore our costs of insurance in 2015 based on the 2014 mix of age and health care need situations. It is tempting to say the costs will go up but we really don’t know.

Cost increase of health insurance and actual health services is an issue for today and the future. The administration has said that the actual costs of health care services have gone down because of their policing of health care costs but they don’t really offer specifics on how they achieved these costs reductions. I’m more inclined to believe that the bad economy [no I don’t accept the administration’s contention that the economy is “better”] has caused many of us to ignore or delay taking care of health care issues.

You may conclude by my comments that I think the ACA is inevitable and it is just a matter of fixing problems that will crop up over the next few years. You would be correct if you make these assumptions.

In September I wrote that I believe the ACA is crucial to the administration, the President and the democrat party. This power group cannot afford to have the ACA rescinded. The administration must have the ACA survive if the their contention that the American public is better served by government directed policy’s on major issues like health care, environmental issue and redistribution of the wealth. The administration cannot let their first effort at government control of a key part of the economy health care fail. The administration will look for special taxes to make up for “unexpected” costs like the five million people who were promised they could keep their insurance if they liked it, period and now the government will “subsidize” the majority of those that found themselves without health insurance.

What I believe will happen is if the insurance rates under the ACA go up substantially [and I believe they will] the democrats will turn to the theme they started this year, the republican controlled house [if it is still republican controlled] should try to help fix the ACA, not repeal it. If the republican want to be good citizens and not obstacles to good government for the country they will support “fixing” the health care laws by supporting the fixes financially. These translates into; approve new taxes that will cover the mistakes that have occurred because the ACA was not properly researched or “vetted” as the liberals like to call it to avoid shortfalls and mistakes that will in the end cost the citizens of the country more money to “subsidize” a poorly planned health care program. It is probable that those of us who receive a payroll check will have a special category in addition to the SS! Medicare deductions and that is an ACA tax.

There is a feeling and it is probably legitimate; once the American public gets a taste of the “free” aspects of the ACA like health insurance for children up to 26 and the elimination of preexisting health conditions as a reason for refusing health insurance they won’t give it up. The problem is that someone has to pay for the costs of covering people with cancer or other life threatening diseases or for that matter the costs of insurance coverage for children to the age 26.

If the ACA requires the kind of taxes I see to sustain the current program or address new unexpected costs the administration [if it is still democrat] the President [if a democrat] and the senate [if still democrat controlled] will try to quell the complaints about unexpected costs with a new proposal universal health care in the U.S. Universal health coverage is another story.