The U.S. Senate finally passed its version of the health care bill on Christmas Eve. Not exactly the present I was hoping for this year, but it was inevitable. Sometime this month, the House and Senate will appoint members to a conference committee that will work out the differences and find something that they hope a simple majority can vote to support. With all the wheeling and dealing done in the final hours prior to the Senate's passage, wonder how many legislators want their own deals or deals for their states included as well.
I am not happy with this legislation, nor the whole idea of a government takeover of health care. The federal government is way too big as is, and this is likely going to add additional layers to a vastly oversized bureaucracy.
I read all I can to try to figure this out, but nothing seems to add up to what is claimed. One quote from the president and other Democrats is that grandma should not be worried about her Medicare. They are going to continue to take care of grandma as this program unfolds, evolves and is funded. Well, I have learned that this statement is just another falsehood being feed to us sheep.
I had my annual physical earlier this week. Upon checking out, I learned that effective this month, my primary health care provider, my doctor, will no longer be taking Medicare patients. According to the answers to my questions, this is because of a substantial reduction in the amount doctors will be reimbursed for services provided. The reduction is in excess of 20 percent, and as such, they will lose money in providing services to Medicare patients. I am not grandma, but I turn 65 later this year and my current health insurance provider will require me to file for Medicare and they will then become my Medicare supplemental insurance -- a significant cost savings to them. This means that if I go to the same doctor's office for my annual physical next year, I will be paying out of pocket or else I will have to go to some other provider. Are other doctors doing the same? Yes, they are. Maybe I am wrong, but it appears that unless some things change very soon, I will be at the emergency room along with a great many more folks to get my primary health care.
I hope you noted that in a previous paragraph I referred to us as sheep. That is what we have been as far as being aware of what our elected folks in Washington were doing to us. We have quietly tended to our business at home while our elected folk in Washington have been quietly going about fleecing us by feeding us sound bites of information and ignoring the Constitution. It has been Republicans and Democrats alike, because their interests have been party power and control, re-electability and personal power, and keeping the great machine of government evergrowing in size, power and control. Not exactly what our founding fathers had in mind.
I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said, "A government big enough to provide all you want is also strong enough to take all you have." Thomas Jefferson also thought men could not be trusted over time in power. He said, "In questions of power, let us hear no more of trust in men, but rather bind them down from mischief with the chains of the Constitution."
Our Founding Fathers did not put their trust in men, but in law and created a republic. Under this form of government, those elected to office would be responsible to the people who elected them and would govern for the good of all following the rule of law, the Constitution of the United States of America -- a document that most have sworn to preserve and protect, but instead they quietly abuse and ignore.
My greatest disappointment, however, comes in us. Our failure to pay attention, to hold elected officials accountable and to insist on being heard is what troubles me most. Abraham Lincoln said ours was a country with a government "of the people, by the people and for the people." If you think that is still true, then you have not been paying attention. Our government today is by the people elected with the support of special-interest groups and political action committees, who can buy time on TV, who pay back those special-interest groups with favorable legislation and executive orders for the expansion of the great government bureaucracy to increase their power and control.
They are doing this passing legislation and spending money. Not yours or mine -- they already spent that. They are printing money at a rate never seen before in this country's history. They have gone through my children's money and have begun working on my granddaughter's money.
All three branches of the federal government have the lowest approval ratings of the people they are supposed to be serving in years. Do they care? Heck no! They have been at this game for some time and fully expect us to keep sending them back. The majority of the American people, according to several surveys, do not want a government-run heath care program. Are we going to get one? Most likely. Does our opinion count? Apparently not.
But this health care issue is not my main concern. My main concern is that our wishes and the well-being of our nation are being ignored by the people we elected to represent us. I am angry and a little bit afraid of where this is all going. I desperately want my children and grandchildren to enjoy the freedoms that I experienced. I want them to enjoy and benefit from the fruits of their labor. For these future opportunities to be there, our governing bodies must return to the rule of law, and the power of government must be vested in the electorate, not the elected.
Do your elected officials know what you think? Mine do. Make a resolution this year to get more involved in your government. Make sure they know what you think, and if they don't listen, then it's time to find some folks who will.
-- John Hooper