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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Larry Simoneaux
Bio: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  July 27, 2009
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Topic category:  Other/General

Health care reform? Really?

I understand it. I really do. There’s something wrong when a trip to the hospital can bankrupt people who’ve done all the right things. Worked hard. Saved for a rainy day. Gone without to have a better future. All to get wiped out by an unexpected medical emergency.

I had my own scare. I took one look at the cost of my heart attack and nearly had another. I breathed a sigh of relief when my insurance program covered the majority of the costs.

Still, that bill was something to behold. Add the hip replacements my wife’s needed and, were it not for our insurance, we’d likely be living under an overpass.

Too, you’d think that we could come up with a plan to cover those who are - for whatever reason - without medical coverage.

Forty years ago we sent astronauts to the moon on a regular basis. These days we’ve got remotely controlled dune buggies running around Mars and phones that can do nigh onto anything up to and including making movies.

Given that, you can’t tell me that we don’t have people who could sit down and hammer out the basics of a good, reasonable, cost-effective system to get everyone under some form of medical umbrella were we to set our minds to it.

Not that such a plan could do all things for all people all the time. That would be impossible given the way any large system operates. No one group - no matter its title and no matter its makeup - could be expected to run “healthcare” and not make a monumental hash of it. Which is why any “reform” needs to have a large dose of private sector realism in it somewhere.

Backing that up is the fact that I’ve read letters to the editor in this newspaper that make more sense than anything that comes out of the smog factory on the Potomac.

Problem is, the people who wrote those letters aren’t in D.C. and one look at the people who are is enough to make despair the default outlook in your daily life.

Our legislators - having taken up the sport of passing laws without even reading them - are now trying to conjure up a major program without understanding what it would include and how we would pay for it.

More troubling is the fact that their basic mantra over the monster they’re creating seems to be summed up by the old Mad magazine slogan of “What, me worry?”

As for the cost of this thing, the basic rule I’ve learned over several decades of listening to political promises is that, if you want to know the cost of any government program, use the following formula:

Take the price that’s being quoted, multiply it by at least three, raise that figure one order of magnitude and, then, pray that it won’t go higher because you can bet that the cost will never come down.

As for our “leaders” coming together to discuss this thing rationally, argue in the spirit of doing what’s best for the nation, and hammer out a solution that wouldn’t be perfect but would be good enough to start with...having Hillary date Rush would be far more likely.

To get this done, you just want to grab all of them by their lapels and tell them to, for once: (a) Stop thinking about re-election; (b) Forget about party affiliation and the last interest group that funneled money into your campaign; (c) Dump your egos; and (d) Try to come up with something that’s actually good for the country.

Too, it’d be wise were they to ignore any self-imposed deadlines.

Someone once said that, when you rush something because you want it “bad,” then you can bet that’s exactly what you’re going to get - “bad.”

I think that if they push this one through - even after having been warned by the Congressional Budget Office that it’s a bag of snakes that can never be paid for - I truly will believe that (to paraphrase William F. Buckley) we’d be better off being governed by the first 500 people listed in any telephone directory.

Odds are that most of those 500 people would still have some acquaintance with common sense as opposed to the crowd now running the show in D.C.

Larry Simoneaux

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Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.

Read other commentaries by Larry Simoneaux.

Copyright © 2009 by Larry Simoneaux
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