2017-07-05 / Editorials

Mike Reese

“I was just thinking”

I was sick a few days last week and spent a large portion of my days and nights in the smallest room of our house.

I caught up on some reading, though. You’ve probably had one of these days. Toast was mostly my diet.

So, when I wasn’t in my little room, I made a feeble attempt to check my idiot box to see if the Republican senators were successful in passing their version of “Repeal and Replace” health care. When I turned on the box the first thing I saw was “Breaking News” splashed across the bottom of the screen. I decided that I’d take a look long enough to find out what the “Breaking News” was about. Nowadays, “Breaking News” can be anything from another 9/11 down to a Panda bear had a baby in some Chinese hamlet. The words “Breaking News” are there to get your attention, hoping to keep you watching long enough to force you to consume a few car commercials. Stupid! Except it worked on me, because I hung around to see what the “Breaking News” was about.

And the “Breaking News” was that the Republican senators didn’t have enough votes to pass their version of “Repeal and Replace”. I was surprised at that, so I stayed with them for a while and what I heard from both Republicans and Democrats as to why the bill failed, and why their plan would work better, made me even sicker. Their “bag of wind” explanations called for a return trip to my little room.

Here’s a sample of terms I heard in their discussions of American health care: the health care cost curve, CBO scoring, comparative effectiveness, deficit neutral, insurance exchanges, opt-in plan, opt-out plan, and sin taxes. These few will give you a taste of what I heard in about ten minutes. There were many more gobbledygook terms.

Listening to this baloney made me think back to when Ray Garvin, many years ago, came to our house one evening to talk to Janice and me about buying a health insurance policy. We sat around our kitchen table. He understood, and most importantly, we understood everything that was discussed. Our only real decision was deciding on which deductible we wanted. The deductible choices were $100, $250, and $500 with no discussion of the cost curve or exchanges. We signed the application, gave him a check, shook hands, and voila! We had a health insurance policy that we were confident would keep us out of bankruptcy. Nowadays, you’re lucky if you understand anything about your health insurance, except that you had to choose between a $5000, $10,000, or higher deductible in order to afford the policy.

I say enough! Let’s send Ray Garvin and 99 other retired health insurance agents to Washington and bus the President and the entire Congress to Trump Tower, and I can guarantee that those retired agents will have understandable and affordable health plans ready in no time, but without sin taxes. Good! I couldn’t afford the sin taxes.

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