November Thoughts – Elections et. al.

This commentary was first distributed through The Powers Report on November 10, 2017. Please sign up here to receive my newsletter in your inbox! Link to the Newsletter here.

“I don’t mean to be rude, but when exactly are you going to finish your book?”

Thanks to my daughter for her sensitive query about the status of the slog…known to many of you as Health Care: Meet the American Dream. Paraphrased as Janis Powers: Meet Your Self-Imposed Deadline. I am almost done. Really.

I’d like to share some thoughts on some of the latest goings-on related to the recent elections and health care.

First, props to the Democrats for getting the vote out. As the Party attempts to build on its momentum, I am hoping that advocacy for a single payer system does not become part of its platform. I have devoted an entire chapter in my book to why this concept cannot work in America. We’re too big, too diverse and quite frankly, the government cannot say “no.” Saying “no” to voters loses elections. This is why the government has allowed insurance companies to be the Bad Cop. Unfortunately, some insurers aren’t just Bad Cops, they’re Bad Lieutenants. (I saw the theater run of this Harvey Keitel flick at the Angelika in New York in 1993. I’m scared to watch it again.)

As I’ve said before, my preferred answer to our current health care insurance predicament is to eliminate employer-based health insurance and force everyone onto the health care exchanges. That way, the healthy and wealthy folks can subsidize the care for everyone else. Then none of us would have to wonder just how many people are committing fraud when they apply for a government subsidy to cover their insurance payment. I looked it over today. Seems like my bank account could be chock full o’cash, but if my stated income is too low, I’d get a subsidy. I’d like to think that the healthcare.gov site is actually connected to the IRS database (or God forbid, Equifax) so they can cross-reference the information that applicants are putting in. Supposedly that’s going to happen once 2018 taxes are filed? And folks who  made more money than they said they would for the 2018 tax year would owe the feds money??? Too much bureaucracy!

On the subject of eliminating bureaucracy, you may recall that President Trump cut the funding for health care navigators that help people sign up for insurance. ACA advocates were concerned that without third party assistance, heavy advertising, etc., sign-up rates would plummet. Open enrollment started November 1 and – hold your hat – sign up rates are through the roof! That’s a win-win. The government spent less money helping people with something they were fully capable of doing all by themselves.

Shifting gears, I am thrilled to report that I had my best year ever selling Smart Girls merchandise at the Texas Conference for Women and the Texas Book Festival. (See chart to the left. The top line shows how much more I sold this year over last year on Sunday of the Texas Book Festival. Righteous!) I lowered prices to liquidate merchandise and was the beneficiary of terrific weather (for the Book Fest, which is held outside). Now the question is…should I shut down Celebrate Your Brain? If I hadn’t been spending time on the events, maybe I would have finished my book by now.

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