cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
The complexity of the coming Affordable Care Act (ACA) is being demonstrated as drafts of the proposed applications have been released by the federal government. The drafts show a series of forms that will likely stupefy many individuals who will want to obtain health insurance coverage. The federal government has yet to say that it will permit current health insurance agents who have the training and experience to be able to assist people in completing such applications. To the contrary, the government is giving signals that it will seek out “counselors” and “navigators” to be the assistants. There is, as yet, no indication what will qualify people to become “counselors” or “navigators”.
If we look to the “community organizer” experience that our President had in his past life prior to politics, we may be able to see what “counselors” and “navigators” will look like. They might very well look like the ACORN organizers we became familiar with a few years ago.
The need for these new “counselors” and “navigators” would not exist if the federal government would simply enlist the services of the tens of thousands of current health insurance agents whose daily work is that of a counselor or a navigator. These are people who are licensed by state insurance departments. These are people who are required to maintain their educations or lose their license to act as an agent. These are people who usually also carry insurance to protect their clients in the event that an error or an omission occurs in the process of assisting a client.
Why would the federal government not want to make use of this ready-made enrollment force that already exists in all fifty states? There is no good reason since the “counselors” and “navigators” will need to be compensated for the time they spend with people. Maybe the federal government believes it can somehow gain more control over people by limiting their access to knowledgeable advisors. Maybe the existing agent force represents a threat given its knowledge and its history in the health insurance industry. Maybe the federal government would rather make use of people who have no history in this highly technical field; maybe these people will be more easily fitted into the role envisioned.
Maybe this action would simply be punishment for this group of capable professionals who have resisted the implementation of the Affordable Care Act since they recognize how easy it will be to move from the ACA to a Single Payer plan where the federal government is then in sole and complete control of the health care arena.
We must be mindful of the current President’s statements made to labor organizations during his initial campaign for the office. He promised those organizations that he would work diligently to remake our health care system into that very model…a Single Payer model…because he thinks that is a more effective and more efficient and more easily controlled way to provide health care to the citizens.
While that may sound like ‘crazy talk’ to some, there is little doubt that government control over this segment of our economy (some 20% [and soon to be 25%] of the economy) would make government much, much more dominant in the daily lives of Americans.
Is that where we want to be as citizens? If we decide that is not the answer, we need to express our desires today. Once the current system of health care delivery and financing has been tossed aside in favor of the ACA approach, a Single Payer system is just a step away. Then the government could decide when end-of-life measures would be required, and not simply suggested.
Is this really where we want to be?