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Robert A. Mills

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From now on, this weekly Newsletter will be called ROBERT A. MILLS'S OP-ED COLUMN. Access it and enjoy!
Newsletter Dated: 5/19/2012 4:40:58 AM

Subject: MEDICARE - May 19

MEDICARE – May 19

Both my wife and I are not directly involved in the dispute over President Obama’s Health Care Reform (we suspect the ancient mother-in-law who lives with us is the sort of elderly and misinformed American who would like to see it repealed).

Christine and I both have Medicare with an Advantage supplement for which Social Security currently docks us $1,273.40 annually, and that takes care of our basic health insurance needs, at least the rudimentary aspects. We have to pay out-of-pocket for co-pays and drugs, which rarely runs us more than a few hundred dollars a year. Yes, old age does have its advantages, so to speak!

Yet, it is a fact that we live in a country where 5% of the entire population pays more than 50% of the nation’s health care costs! Yes, you heard right: 5% pays more than 50% of our health care costs! (Look it up. And at the same time, tell me why the rich get all bent out of joint when asked to pay their fair share in taxes!)

But listen, we are not a Third World nation — we just treat our citizens like we are.

True, we are neither Taiwan nor Switzerland, but if the Supreme Court follows the GOP’s agenda and shreds Mr. Obama’s health care plan, we never will be. We can demean Great Britain and Canada about their so-called cradle-to-the-grave socialized medicine— even Sweden and Germany, too — all we want, even until hell freezes over.

Or until the United States finally realizes that hospitals, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies are not in business to fleece unfortunate Americans who do not feel well, and certainly not while the Supreme Court (or any other entity of government) feels it has the right to dictate how and why a duly appointed branch can exercise a moral duty to provide some degree of indifference to a national plight — until then, we should maintain our prerogative to bitch about the predicament in which we find ourselves.

A free market is what every American, as a bona fide capitalist, certainly desires and expects, but the need for unrestricted health care should never be confused with auto insurance, cereal, home ownership, the pursuit of an education, equality, ketchup or even broccoli. Health care should be as sacrosanct to the American way of life as political and religious choice.

Is the president’s health care reform bill without flaws? Heavens, not by a long shot! But at least it’s a step in the right direction and long overdue.

And it should include everyone who is a legal, law-abiding citizen. We could then at long last do away with Medicare and Medicaid; the savings would be astronomical!

Furthermore, any American who is either physically or mentally ill would be given the very best care, seen by the best and brightest doctors of the patient’s choice at any authorized office, clinic or hospital, staying as long and as often as necessary, enjoying every facet of required treatment — and the patient would be seen, no matter what his complaint, as quickly and efficiently as possible — within minutes, not days.

And the U.S. government would pay the TOTAL COST of this care, even for prescribed pharmaceuticals.

After all, since this has nothing to do with Defense, Homeland Security, Education, Commerce, Infrastructure, Foreign Policy, the IRS et al, we can certainly afford it. We can even afford to pay our doctors, psychoanalysts, veterinarians, and hospital operatives commensurate wages compatible with their education, expertise and overall value.

The Supreme Court could go back to doing what it does best: interpreting the viability of the Constitution and its Amendments. And Congress would no longer be relegated to the ignominy of political scheming and skullduggery. The president could do, then, what Presidents are elected to do — lead citizens in the paths of righteousness for an entire tenure.

Does all this ring of Utopianism? You bet it does!

But that’s what First World governments are supposed to ring of. Isn’t it?

Then we could enjoy the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown horserace on TV later today from Pimlico in Maryland, without fear of toppling over from a heart attack, like I almost did two weeks ago while watching the Kentucky Derby, when my nag, ‘Union Rags’, got boxed in far back in the pack and finished 7th. He otherwise would have won handily.

Unfortunately, his misfortune cost me a King’s Ransom. If ‘Union Rags’ pays 750 to 1 to win today, I will break even. How about the schmuck on TV who bet $100,000 (someone else’s money, I hope) on ‘Alpha’ to win? Came in 12th. Smart move.

Of course, thoroughbred horse racing is not a sport at all and, like dog racing, should be outlawed. Then fools such as I would be spared the agony of defeat.

Just remember, ‘I’ll Have Another’ hasn’t got a prayer at Pimlico today, just a shot-in-the-dark for any 3-year-old glue-factory candidate with an entry fee burning a hole in its saddlebag.


Copyright©2012 by Robert A. Mills, all rights reserved


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