Critical Thought

Stuart Shepard adds some insights to the aforementioned Dave Ramsey video in this short Stoplight. And he cites a couple of points I’ve run into in debating with people about the healthcare law. Sadly, people who I know are intelligent, almost seem to cover their ears to the opposition when it comes to Obamacare. Is it because they just don’t want to hear anything that might change their mind? Or is it because deep down they know there are big problems on the horizon, and don’t want to admit it? I trust that if you’re reading this, you are open to new information and critical thought. And especially if you tend to disagree with me, please consider what Dave and Stuart have to say.

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Math

You may have seen this video recently on social networks or blogs.  Dave Ramsey lays out a very reasonable, rational explanation of what Obamacare is going to do to insurance rates.  And he does what I seek to do, but oftentimes fall short of.  He doesn’t start with the political angle.  He looks at an issue critically and describes what he sees will be the logical result.  Such is what I have been trying to do in telling others of Obamacare’s effects on their lives and the country.  Putting aside the political ramifications, this law will do incredible harm to people, even those we claim to want to help.  It’s not a political argument.  It’s simple math.

The disaster is almost here

Do you have health insurance? You will soon be required by law to have it. And its cost may be more than you can afford to pay.

Beware of government promises, and promises by politicians seeking your vote. Those promises have a funny way of evaporating before you get what you thought you would. And don’t we usually decry this? We disparage smooth talking politicians who make promises they cannot possibly deliver. Yet we continue to believe them, and to elect them.

I believe we are headed for a disaster very soon because of Obamacare. As people begin to realize that the law says they must buy health insurance or pay a fine, and as the cost of insurance continues to rise, the economy will take a major hit. As the economy slows down, more people will be out of work, yet still be required to buy insurance.

I know there are many who have the absolute best of intentions when it comes to their support of the “Affordable Care Act.” They genuinely care about helping the poor and needy, and they think laws like this will help. But my contention from the time this bill was being debated is that it will do far more damage to those less fortunate, to the sick, to the elderly, and even to the middle class than it will ever do to help them.

Some saw problems with our healthcare system and automatically believed that any proposed fix would be a good one. Especially one that supposedly promises to provide health insurance to those who don’t have it. But Obamacare doesn’t do that. It simply says you have to buy health insurance. “If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house,” argued…Barack Obama during the 2008 democrat primary. “In some cases, there are people [in Massachusetts] who are paying fines and still can’t afford [health insurance], so now they’re worse off than they were. They don’t have health insurance, and they’re paying a fine…” And he had a good argument. Yet this is the centerpiece of his own healthcare law, its funding mechanism, and the chief reason the law was challenged all the way to the Supreme Court last summer.

And the scenario Mr. Obama pointed out in Massachusetts will be happening across the country, as many will lose their existing health insurance plan from their employer. Either through having their hours cut to part-time or through their employer dropping coverage, many will have to go to the exchanges, where they may or may not be able to afford to buy. Should they not buy, they must pay a fine, and now they are – as our President said – “worse off than they were”.

To be fair, there will be some who will be helped by the law; some whose situations will – in the short term at least – be improved. But the reason I opposed the bill, and why I still support the law’s repeal, is that the bad will far outweigh the good. In a nut shell:

– It will dramatically drive up the cost of insurance for families already struggling to make ends meet.
– It will result in many people’s jobs being cut to part time or eliminated entirely.
– It will result in less available care and poorer quality care for Americans.
– It will cause the rationing of care, meaning many sick or elderly will be denied access to healthcare that could improve their quality of life, or save it entirely.

We have already seen the first two in action. Companies across the nation have been cutting employees’ hours to avoid the heavy cost of Obamacare. I personally know a young man whose hours were cut in half directly because of the law. And the cost of insurance is going through the roof. President Obama often likes to cite individuals’ situations when showing why laws he’s signed are good things. I’d like to cite one family’s current situation.

Andy and Amy Mangione of Louisville, KY are a middle class family with two boys. Because of Obamacare, their premiums are tripling next year, from a little more than $300 a month to nearly $1,000 a month. And their plan includes a high deductible, meaning they are assuming a good amount of risk as it is. Now they are going to have to find a way to cut over $600 from their budget each month just to afford the insurance that the law now says they must have. May I ask, could you afford an extra $600 a month out of your pay check?

As this kind of situation happens more over the country in the coming days, can you imagine the affect it will have on the economy?

In a move to limit costs, many insurance companies are beginning to limit the number doctors a patient can see. This gives less freedom to patients and limits their options.

And finally, Obamacare created the a bureaucracy known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). These 15 people have been given the power to essentially say what care can be given to whom, and by default what care can be withheld from whom. Simply put, these will be the people in charge of health care rationing. The ones that will be affected most by this horrible system are the most vulnerable: the sick and the elderly. Even advisers to the President have been public in their call for these “death panels” (as they call them) as part of a solution to the high cost of healthcare. I think it is despicable for the government to have the power to deny someone life saving or life improving care.

Why do so many oppose this law? It’s not because we’re just meanies who don’t want to help the poor. On the contrary, we see this disaster making many more people poor, and keeping the ones who are already poor from getting out. Get prepared, this could be a very rough ride.

Freedoms

The freedoms we enjoy in America are unbelievably wonderful.  Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are nothing short of a miracle.  Yet our perspective has led to a lack of appreciation for them.  Having known them all of our lives, many of us don’t understand what we have.  And that will continue until they are gone.  The movement to remove them is underway.  Our post modern culture, where there is no right and wrong, and the only standard we should all live by is to issue no moral restrictions on anyone’s behavior, will soon lead to societal collapse.

Stuart Shepard very clearly and succinctly explains what true freedom and opportunity – guaranteed by the First Amendment – looks like in this video.

This is Stuart Shepard’s latest “Stoplight” commentary. I want you to focus not so much on the words of the President, but on the struggle by so many companies to be allowed to live their convictions.

Let’s be clear

Tough Times

It’s been nearly two months since the election, and I’ve had some time to reflect and to think about all the debate and discussion that was, and to think about what lies ahead. But mostly, I have been mourning. What I see on the horizon has me fearing that a great country is very close to self destruction. The 2012 election was, I think, our last chance to stop the decline before it leads to great damage. I do not believe we cannot recover from it, but I firmly believe very difficult days are ahead very soon.

There are four major areas that I see as crumbling; four pillars of an America that for more than two centuries has been the beacon of freedom to the world, as well as its envy, that are now eroding. These are in no particular order, as they are all important.

Our economy has been weak for more than four years, and it is about to get worse. What drives our economic engine is freedom, and that freedom is being taken away. Success is being punished, and the Obama Administration is attempting, through their tax policy, to close off the opportunity for the middle class to advance beyond it.

One of the first things Mr. Obama wants to do is to raise taxes, which is why I believe we are going over the “fiscal cliff.” Obama knows that if we do, the media will not blame him or his party, but will blame the republicans for “not being willing to compromise.” The republicans could give him everything he wants, but I believe he would refuse it, much like he did in the 2011 debt limit talks.

With taxes raised and people having less money to spend, the economy will begin a quick slide. Businesses will have less money to hire workers, and some will have to lay off workers to pay the extra taxes. Who knows how bad it will be, but I think most people have no idea the economic difficulty that awaits.

Secondly, with Obama re-elected and the democrats still in control of the Senate, Obamacare will be fully implemented, beginning in 2014. This, too, I believe will severely harm the economy. Most people still do not know what the law requires. They are beginning to see the cost of insurance go up rapidly, but wait until the companies they work for begin to stop offering healthcare benefits to them, because they are too expensive. They will then be forced – by law – to go buy health insurance, whether they can afford it or not, or be fined and even jailed. When Americans have even less disposable income because they are having to pay so much to stay in compliance with the law, what do you think the economic result will be? Not to mention the number of companies who will have to reduce their workforce to pay for the new federally approved insurance or the fines for not doing so.

Social issues is another big problem for America. With Barack Obama in charge of Supreme Court nominations for the next four years, it is almost certain that abortion will remain the law of the land for another generation. Can a nation that kills more than a million of its children each year in the womb expect not to face Providential judgment eventually? So called “gay marriage” is also on its way to the Supreme Court, where it could be made the law of the land. If it is, citizens – and especially professing Christians – are in for a very rude awakening. Organizations, even religious ones, will no longer be able to hold to an open view of disagreement with the homosexual lifestyle. They will be forced to hire those who do not hold to the same core values of their organization. Religious adoption agencies will be forced to close or to violate their convictions.

Speaking of being forced to choose whether to violate one’s convictions or close up shop, the Obamacare contraception mandate threatens many businesses and even hospitals across the country. Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the Administration to stop the forced coverage of abortion inducing drugs in insurance policies. If the courts do not strike this down, you could see many businesses close, and even Catholic hospitals and charities close their doors. What will this do to the economy, and to the health of the nation?

Finally, our national defense is of great concern. Mr. Obama has said he wants to draw down our defenses, especially our nuclear weapons. The “fiscal cliff” also will ensure deep cuts in defense. The United States cannot afford to weaken itself in the face of growing threats from other nations, especially from those who would seek to misuse nuclear weapons. The current Administration either does not understand the threats we face and the need for a strong military or they do not think it necessary. This would be a terrible error if they continue down this road.

As I said before, I do not think the damage is irreversible, but it will be quite difficult to fix. It will take a willingness on our part to awake from our slumber and to begin to get involved. Maybe the damage that is coming will be enough to bring such a willingness. I can only hope. Get ready, America: The next four years will be very difficult.