By Guinn Sweet
“Dost thou know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?” (Count Alex Gustavsson Oxenstierna, in a letter to his son, Brendt Grieve Oxenstierna, in 1648).
When a man who is so significant in the historical developmental history as was the Count Oxenstierna, chancellor of Sweden during the Thirty Years’ War, and who had personal influence on the outcome of that war and the ensuing governance of the European political system for many years, makes such a statement about government, it is difficult to turn one’s back to this obvious truth.
I was reminded of this quote by the Count when I decided to investigate some of the “governing” laws of our new executive administration, in particular regard to the “threatened” national health legislation now being tossed about in Congress.
I say “threatened” with tongue-in-cheek, but with some sobriety as well. If you have read the papers, watched the news on TV, or talked with your neighbors, you have no doubt received many and varied comments on what it will do and won’t do for those who are unfortunate enough to have no health insurance for their family’s benefit. You have also heard many differing ideas about how the program will be funded. When this latter issue became prominent in pre-lesson Sunday school conversations, I decided to look into it and see if it was even understandable. Here is what I found (or didn’t find if you have a negative mindset).
There are three health care reform bills which are being considered by several different committees. Out of the several have emerged three main bills which are scheduled to be up for debate in both House and Senate after the August recess. In the next few weeks, I would assume.
Of these three bills, there are several similarities and a few differences. All are in progress and perhaps change when the debates begin. Two of them, one from the House Committees of Education and Labor, Ways and Means and Commerce. This one consists, at this point, of 1,018 pages and may be read on-line (www.examiner.com/x-health), and one from the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pension) Committee and is 615 pages in length and may also be read online (www.examiner.com/x-health care Examiner/2009). The third is a summarized version as it appears on the Internet, being done by the Senate Finance Committee.
I have read none of them in their entirety, and don’t really want to. I have read some comparative studies regarding funding and find that The House bill and the HELP bill agree on funding by an exchange of public and private health insurance plans, although the HELP committee have no authority to claim funding from the public. The Senate finance people are planning a consumer run, not-for-profit cooperative. That means, I think, that them what uses it, pays for it. Not too imaginative. By the way, I could find nothing in the benefit comparison charts which specifically mention abortion benefits being available.
All three agree on primary care, prevention and wellness benefits and others, to include treatment for substance abuse, diagnostic services, emergencies, drugs, chemo and X-ray. So far, the broadest benefits appear to be offered by the Senate Finance Committee, with the users paying the costs. Not too much different from the group/employer offered plans.
In addition, the Senate and House plans offer subsidies to all households earning $300 and $400 above the poverty levels to assist with the costs of the health care that is chosen. Some rather complicated areas of funding have caused a lot of speculation and rumor, of which I am aware, but I failed to find any mention of the two most loudly debated at this point.
One plan, it is said, will be financed by “donations” of certain percentages of the income from families and individuals whose annual income surpasses $500,000. Another plan is said to charge according to a life-expectancy chart. Present age and number of years left on the expectancy charts will dictate the amount of charges for health care required for the remaining years of life. I was not told exactly how this will work, but since I have already passed the chart figures for white females, will I get a refund? It’s too complicated for me to figure, because I am no good at numbers.
Just from the little research and reading I have done, I am not sure that the national health care plan will ever become a reality, maybe because it will require genius to choose the best one, and more genius to make it work. My hat’s off to Count Oxystierana, and I figure that he must know what he is talking about if he was smart enough to spell his own name.
Looking for some healthy reading?
By Guinn Sweet
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