Wednesday, March 03, 2010

On Shaky Ground

The Bay Area experienced its second earthquake of the year this afternoon, a 3.4 magnitude which struck in San Jose shortly after midday. Meanwhile, scientists at NASA say the Chilean earthquake -- a magnitude 8.8 -- may have shortened the length of an Earth Day by 1.26 microseconds (1.26 millionths of a second) and might have moved Earth's figure axis by about 8 centimeters (3 inches). Not to be confused with our north-south axis, the figure axis is the axis about which Earth's mass is balanced.

I mention this for 2 reasons...

First, as many of you know, I'm a science buff. I love trying to understand how intricately interconnected everything in our universe appears to be... how simple yet totally complex life is... and the unlimited possibilities that exist because of how little we actually know -- about our planet, about life, about our universe. After all, did you even consider that a quake so far away could have an impact around the world?

Second, in a truly bizarre way, it reminds me of the health care bill being currently jammed through in Washington... a bill so unpopular that it could not be passed when the Dems had a super majority... and now being sandwiched through under the threat of "reconciliation" ...what some on the Hill call the "nuclear" option.

Polls keep swinging back and forth on the issue. The best results in favor tend to use very vague questioning... something along the lines of "should something be done to lower the costs of health care in this country -- yes -- or -- no" ....d'oh? Yes, let's clutch at that straw shall we? That seems to be the ONLY major issue everyone agrees on so it's not surprising that a large number would answer yes. No brainer, right?

The real question should be: Will the current bill being pushed through now lower costs of health care both for individuals and the industry as a whole -- yes -- or -- no?

The way I read it, the millions currently without health care are now going to be forced to buy it whether they want to (or can afford to) or not.... so I'm guessing that's one group for which it will raise costs. Not so fast. Supposedly there will be millions of people that can now get it free. Or do they? Jeepers. I'm not really sure. Are you as confused as I am on that point?

Those who are currently uninsured preferring to use "pay as you go" (meaning, pay the doctor when you see him/her for your check up, pay for tests as and when they are needed, etc. etc.) will now be forced to buy insurance. I'm assuming costs will go up for many in that group.

Our family used that method when we didn't have coverage and it was FAR LESS expensive than any family plan I've seen to date. We didn't burden the emergency room... nor did we ever get free health care... and frankly, the doctors and specialists seemed to like seeing that instant cash. Just imagine the paperwork they didn't have to file to collect from some insurance company or govt agency. I'm guessing it would be far less expensive from an administration point of view and probably increase cash flow since there would be no waiting for accounts receivables to roll in. I'm guessing when insurance is mandatory, costs both for purchasing it (where it wasn't purchased before) and administering it ...and the new cost of REGULATING it... are all going to increase... but I could be wrong?

Then there will come the day when our son reaches the age where he is forced to buy health insurance. I wonder how he (and his generation) are going to perceive this Administration? Or will the bill be repealed by then?

Canadians might complain about their health care, but I'm guessing you would be very hard pressed to find them jumping at a chance to have this mess and the related expense. I can just see my Canadian friends going to the doctor and having to fork over a cheque first to cover their deductable before the doctor will see them. Ha! They have no idea how terrible things truly are if you actually live down here.

If the Dems use the "reconciliation" option, going forward with a 51 vote in lieu of the standard 60 votes required for passing legislation of this size, I see it as Obama's first major earthquake... and the days for his party being shortened considerably.

A new gallup poll out says that just 37% want their member of Congress to vote for the bill.

But this Whitehouse doesn't listen to the polls. They keep chiming that they won the 2008 election, and therefor they have the people behind them. Have they turned around to look? I'm guessing they don't watch approval ratings either. Congress approval ratings have been in the toilet for a long time now and Obama is steadily sliding down.

If he pulls the same stunt with Cap and Trade... I see a major opening for a third party to rise up quickly.... because it will be the Dems who shove this country off a cliff into a double-dip recession... or worse, the next Great Depression. Think it can't happen? Stay tuned.

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