It's back. Fuzzy Math 101

Senator Ryan wants to take the Medicare program and turn it on it's ear. You see Medicare spends billions to care for seniors. But thanks to economy of scale, blackmail and a little reverse lobbying, those billions are pennies on the dollar from what we mere citizens would pay privately. He wants to give us those pennies...and let us buy our own care.

Granted the government doesn't spend wisely when it comes to Medicare. There are incredible redundancies, particularly in administrative costs. Nevertheless, they don't pay what we would.

For those who failed Fuzzy Math 101. Here's a refresher. Hypothetically.... I negotiate a deal with the guy who drives the ice cream truck to sell everything half price in my neighborhood. And I would pay the tab for everyone.

Now one day I decide I can't afford that anymore, but it's been going on so long, the kids would stage a revolution on me if I stopped it. So, instead, I give each child the same amount I paid the Ice Cream man and tell them go out and buy whatever ice cream they want, from whomever they like. More choices, more control. Yeah yeah.

Well, loyalists that they are, they go to the local ice cream man first. But now he charges full price. Offers only Vanilla. And it's pay as you go. But wait! They can join together! Bargain! Create a neighborhood Ice Cream union. Oh wait. We're in Senator Ryan's Land. AKA Wisconsin. No collective bargaining allowed.

Well, not so bad after all you think. They can still get some ice cream, right? Someone else will have their ice cream. In their flavor. At their price. It's called competition.

In too many places, it's called Walmart.

But Ice Cream is the metaphor here. The nice gentle one they use on the Right.

Let's lose the metaphor, shall we? Let's talk Insulin. Angioplasty. An Emergency Appendectomy. Imagine a new pay as you go system where all you have is those pennies on the dollar. And your only choice is the new Drive-thru surgical center at Walmart.  It's no surprise my daughter changed her career choice from Brain Surgeon to Medical Examiner. Seems it may be more lucrative and less worries on the Malpractice front. CSI vs MRI... seems like a slam-dunk.

Now let's turn our attention to Medicaid. Health care for the poor. He wants to cut that out too. Just give the states a lump sum and let them spend it wisely. Like here in AZ. Let's create 49 more death panels, shall we? Oh wait, it already works that way. Mostly. So really what he wants to do is change the way they are given the money so we can cut the Fed out of the administration costs. Not a bad idea. Oversight costs money. It's expensive. It's wasteful. Let's get rid of it. Except in Arizona, okay? We don't have qualified people to administer the program here.

Healthcare is expensive. And sometimes, yes, wasteful. And worth it. Not something we should be contemplating getting rid of.

A healthy society is productive. Healthy Citizens tend to sleep in houses not streets. They don't need to clog the Emergency Room for a sore throat. They have jobs. They send their healthy kids to school where they become educated. Crime goes down. All in all, we live a better life. Economically, we thrive when we are healthy. Those on the Right will fare better. Business owners will stop bearing the cost of an unhealthy, uneducated labor force. Culturally, we advance. Technologically, we advance. Ethically, we advance. Or we can just keep sliding down that slippery slope until we're living right next door to the Atlanteans. Or their spirits anyway. No one really knows what happened to them. Perhaps, they were indeed an advanced civilization. Once so advanced they had nothing to work for and became lazy. And greedy. And perhaps, just perhaps, they too lost sight of what was important for their people.

The Federal Government has lots of waste. Lots and lots. So much waste it would take a continent-sized landfill to store it. Unless we wise up. We can't be afraid to cut spending. Cutting the budgets in a variety of programs is not the same as cutting the programs. Those on the Left need to understand that and start proposing something other than all or nothing. And those on the Right...same goes.

There are far more of us in the middle now. And we want solutions, not the Terrible 2's. That's a metaphor too. For your two years in Congress that you spend saying No. Throwing Tantrums. And doing only those things that ensure your reelection.

Oh. And one more thing. This proposed plan doesn't go into place until 2021. 10 years from now. That does what right now? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Except maybe get him on the 2012 ballot.

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