Friday, December 9, 2011

The rich like socialism so much that they don't want to share

The EU is moving toward a Federal system with today’s vote in favor the Fiscal Discipline Treaty by all 17 Euro zone countries, and the likely acceptance by the rest of the EU nations except the UK. The British PM said the treaty wasn’t in the best interest of the London banks. It’s pretty obvious who David Cameron works for. This begs the question of whether this means the EU intends to rein in its banks, or are the banks reining in the EU? With Greece and Italy already being run by un-elected bankers instead of elected prime ministers, I guess we know.

More cynical observers are saying that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has accomplished with bankers what Chancellor Hitler could not do with Panzer tanks. Since the European Central Bank thinks this new stranglehold on the weaker EU countries is a grand idea, it would appear the cynical view would be the correct one. Now that the peripheral European countries are under the thumb of the German banks, and are being forced to accept grinding austerity, you can look for low wage manufacturing jobs to move to these countries from China.

Here at home the number of Initial Unemployment claims dropped sharply by 23,000 last week to 381,000. This is well below the magic 400,000 number indicating jobs are being created. BUT, this was a so-called “seasonally adjusted” number. The real number jumped by 150,000 to 525,000. Still this is 60,000 less than a comparable week this time last year. Since we are living in those proverbial “interesting times” it’s hard to know what to make of these numbers.

For the good news: Obamacare had one of its most important features kick in a week ago today. From now on insurance companies must spend 80% to 85% of premiums on healthcare instead of the common 60% with the rest going to profits, multi-million dollar salaries and corporate bureaucrats to kill you with neglect. The 85% rate applies to large group plans the 80% rate to individuals and small groups. They can no longer refuse adults for pre-existing conditions but individuals not in a group can be charged more until the “mandate” kicks in.

The Republicans have been screeching about the mandate as if it were a tax increase or your that rights are being taken away. It’s neither. You will simply get a tax deduction if you have insurance the same way you get a tax deduction for having a home mortgage. What the Republicans are actually upset about is something else entirely. Remember the whole idea of mandating insurance was originally a Republican idea (a gravy train for the insurance industry).

What they are really upset about (besides limiting profits) is how the Obama plan is to be paid for; by a 3.75% tax on income in excess of $250,000. That income level puts you in the top 2% of earners. But what really frosts them is there are no exceptions for how the money is “earned”. Wall Street pirates can’t get out of paying it, those billionaires that Obama spoke of who are only paying one percent will have their taxes quintupled. (oh the humanity!)

Now for the best part of all this: under the requirement to spend 80-85% on patient care, there is no longer any incentive to withhold treatment. Any leftover money must rebated to policy holders, so the more healthcare the companies provide the more dollars they get to keep. No more having a clerk in India poring over your records to find an excuse to dump you. Need an expensive procedure? The more the merrier.

There is of course the problem of bill padding and the practice of unnecessary medical procedures that this would create an incentive for. This is the reason for government regulations on the quality of care and determining the effectiveness of medical procedures, what the Republicans call death panels. They never mention that rich Republicans all go to the few hospitals like the Mayo Clinic that don’t do “fee for service” care.  These hospitals pay all of their Doctors the same salary with bonuses for successful outcomes.

It seems the rich don’t like having unnecessary, painful and ultimately life shortening procedures done to them. They’re just fine with that being done to you and making you pay through the nose for it. We peasants live and die under the capitalist system while they go to the “socialist” hospitals. Now we get some of that socialism, and the rich through their Republican shills will do anything possible to take it away.


Dave said...

I've heard these fantastic stories about healthcare in other countries! You need to go to a doctor, and you go, and they treat you, and they don't hand you a bill.

It's not free really but since everyone pays into the system, the costs aren't that high. It's like they have everyone sharing the risk of having poor health at some point in life.

Wow. . .such incredible stories! They couldn't possibly really be doing that, could they?