Talk of millions, billions and trillions can make one lose perspective. One number we have heard a lot is that 50 million people in this, the wealthiest country in the world, lack health insurance. That often means they delay going to a doctor to avoid bills. When they do go, they have gotten sicker so the bills are higher. Sometimes something that was curable no longer is by the time a doctor is visited. So, what is 50 million people? For comparison there are 309 million people in the country so it is one out of every 6 people. Fifty million is equal to the combined populations of of Oklahoma, Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, Kansas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Utah, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, West Virginia, Nebraska, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, Vermont and Wyoming. That is 25 states. President Obama tried to improve on this situation but got no help from the Republicans - not a vote. Remember, the majority leader of the U.S. Senate - Mr McConnell of Kentucky - said after Obama was elected that his main priority was to make sure the President did not get a second term. He has stayed on task by using the filibuster a record number of times to stop anything that the President might get credit for. He has been joined in this effort by Republican leadership in the House. What is derisively called Obamacare is not a perfect plan but it is a start. It would have provided insurance for 30 million of the 50 million. Just before the vote on The Affordable Care Act, the Republicans finally made a proposal that was so incomplete that the Congressional Budget Office could not predict how it would effect the deficits. It was estimated that it would provide coverage for only 3 million of the 50 million. They have since said “Repeal and Replace”, more often than not just saying Repeal. Does anyone know what their replacement would be? We learned a little from the Ryan Budget which would turn Medicaid into block grants and replace Medicare with a voucher which could be used to try to buy insurance from a private insurance company. Does anyone know what private insurance companies would charge someone with pre-existing conditions or an elderly person with medical issues? Until now, they have made a science out of not insuring those types of people.
Other numbers in the news are that the wealthiest 400 people in the country own more wealth than the bottom 185 million. Four hundred is 0.0000035% of the population. To get to 185 million one has to add to the states to get to 50 million the additional states of Louisiana, S. Carolina, Alabama, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee, Arizona, Indiana, Massachusetts, Washington, Virginia, New Jersey, N. Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and the District of Columbia. And you would still be a few million dollars short. The wealth of the equivalent to the combined population of 44 states plus the the D of C would not equal the wealth of of the equivalent of 2/3 of the population of Davis Junction. That is the result of over 25 years of trickle-down (soak-it-up) economics. Conservatives are giving us the hard-sell to stay the course. After their Citizens United decision in the Supreme Court they are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the election to convince us to continue on with trickle-down. Those are investments - they expect a return on their money. With the economy in dire straits, the country asks the wealthiest “Hey buddy, can you spare a dime?” Except for a few like Warren Buffet, the answer is an emphatic “No!”.
This fall we will have a choice of which approach to solving the problems of this country we want to buy. Purchase carefully. Sometimes the company with the most advertising does not have the best product. Make the effort to be informed.