One of the biggest burdens for corporations and municipalities alike, is the cost of Health care. So much of what we do in our fiscal budgets is based on how much is left after the mandatory expense of contracted health programs, both for current and retired workers.
With the economy in the slump that it's in, Americans suddenly seem willing to consider sensible ideas that other developed countries have done to solve problems. Problems that have baffled us for generations.
It looks like we are going to have a temporary Nationalization of our major banks. Many feel this is far more prudent than handing over billions of dollars greedy bastards who wrecked the financial system in the first place.
Privatizing Social Security is history. Who knew just a few years ago the push from the White House for privatization would be so evidently wrong. Even a money guru like Alan Greenspan, just shakes his head and wonders where they went so wrong.
So President Obama has convened his "Fiscal Responsibility Summit". What was in it surprised many on both sides of the issue; A cognitive plan to deal with the swelling price of health care for the retiring generation of baby boomers and its effect on Medicare and Medicaid. This is considered to be the biggest threat to America's future solvency.
The rate of cost increase per beneficiary combined with the sheer numbers of the Boomer Generation is what threatens the system. I found this article to be most helpful by Ezra Klein on the American Prospect website on February 23.
After the abuse of tax shelters by the super-rich, and the absurd rip-offs by military contractors, the biggest money is in the health sector. The collusion between the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry have not only drained our individual pockets, but have devastated our municipal budgets.
Here is a chance for a new direction bringing reform to the way we finance and deliver medicine. This is central to the Obama Administration's fiscal plan. He's looking to other countries that provide quality care to all of their citizens, spending less than half what we do and achieving better outcomes.
Those countries have shifted their focus on funding their resources into energy and education programs while we try to keep our hospitals open. We witnessed the long struggle to merge Benedictine and Kingston Hospitals only to be saddled with the higher bills anyway.
I realize that change will come slowly. Its human nature to resist change, especially for those of us in the Boomer population. You'll agree that the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies don't want this reform any more than the oil companies want alternative energy development. But I look forward to the day when our private and municipal pockets are less burdened with the rising costs of healthcare. Americans are more open to these progressive alternatives.
Most of every tax increase we experience in Kingston and Ulster County is a result of the these untouchable entitlements, so when the method of healthcare shifts to a more manageable and less expensive program, I expect the masses to rejoice.
So, as I wade through the hours of cable news and witness the banter on this issue, I can only hope the Obama Healthcare Plan succeeds against the entrenched "Party of NO" and that the legislation has teeth.