Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Road Map to America's Future?

I'm not much of a political person. From time to time I hear or read something that seems to make some sense, only to read or hear something later that suggests what I read previously was ridiculous. It is a good thing that I am not in politics or in charge of making decisions for other people, I waffle. I live life with what sometimes becomes a debilitating perspective. That perspective is that I actually have a very poor understanding of what I like. Why? Mostly because I have tried so little, been to so few places, and experienced only what I think that I want to experience.

During the years of the Bush administration the only thing that would get me more frustrated than the Iraq war were the people who were against it, but had no real alternative message (other than-let's just go home). I was always against the war. It never seemed quite right (what with the misplaced WMD's and constantly evolving reasons for being there). But I also could not deny some real issues in Iraq that needed to be dealt with. But how? I don't know. Thus, I was always frustrated by the whole thing, I didn't like it, but I didn't know what else we could do, go home I guess. But would that really fix anything? Then I'd hear a politician speaking out against the war (a message I could identify with) but in a tone that was clearly meant for grandstanding. They had no real message, no alternative, it was: let's just not do what we are doing now and mainly because my political party is not in charge.

Today, we get the same thing from most Republicans. Their message sounds eerily similar: "Let's just not deal with the Health Care issue and maybe it will go away." Or worse yet, "lets kill any bill in order to make the President look bad." A better, more responsible, approach is to propose some alternative way to bring down the deficit without abandoning the Gov't services that we all depend on. And you do depend on the gov't, unless you live in a glass ball with no infrastructure. It is easy to think we don't, but we do. This is why I like the recent plans put forth by Paul Ryan, U.S. Congressman from Wisconsin. You can find more information here: http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/
http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/UploadedFiles/factsheet.pdf

First off, I'm not exactly sure that I'll continue to like it in the future, but I do now (remember I waffle). The main reason I like it is because it makes some pretty major changes to how the primary Gov't expenses are handled (health care, medicare, social security). The rest of the federal budget appears to remain relatively intact, thus preserving the services we all currently benefit from.

The main premise is that people need to choose and pay for their own insurance. That is the only way we can actually see what various procedures cost, because we handle the account. I remember when Halene was born, the ultrasound technician asked us real casually, "Would you like the standard ultrasound or the 4d?" We didn't know we had an option, or what the cost difference was. The technician suggested the 4d because it was really neat. We got the 4d, it cost our insurance provider $3,000 more than the standard and made our child look like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. I don't see any way to bring down health care costs without making the costs visible. To offset the cost of buying our own insurance, we get a tax break of $5,000 to $11,000 per person or couple respectively. In the end, it is expected that costs will be reigned in, people will be in charge of their care, and all will be covered. After all, weren't those the goals of health care reform in the first place? I like what I've read so far, what do you think?

Note: I truly do not have a strong opinion on this matter and welcome debate.

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