Healthcare Armageddon 3: Washington Argues Over Grandma’s New Shoes.

It started with The House of Representatives’ symbolic gesture of their disdain of all things Obama-care. It continues with the current bickering over fiscal policy in Washington D.C. Thus goes a debate that is destined to lead the country nowhere because it does not deal with the core of the problem.The current movement to repeal Obama-care will not improve our current situation. Both because Obama-care is not the problem, and because Obama-care does next to nothing to address the real problem. Wanna know what it is?

Medicare spending is unsustainable . . .

There, I said it. I know, it’s a hard thing to hear, and neither am I advocating for anything radical like scrapping medicare. After all, my livelihood, and the health of most of my patients depends on it. But in order for us to really fix the problem,  it’s important to know what the problem is. And so I’ll flesh this idea out for you more in a future post.

But first, let’s take a look at what’s happening in Washington. As our fair representatives embark on healthcare debate Part Deaux, the fact that medicare can not be sustained on its current spending trajectory appears to be nowhere in the discussion. This elephant in the room, this eight-hundred pound gorilla, this monkey on our collective backs is so big, so  gigantically, enormously important that it pretty much renders all of the squabbling over other spending cuts essentially moot.

In order to relate to you how senseless the current fiscal debate is, allow me to humor you with an analogy. . .

Let’s say my grandma is broke, and can’t live on her own anymore,  so my family has her move in with me.  We of course welcome her with open arms, and make her feel at home. My family goes out shopping with her every weekend and buys her a new pair of shoes each time. But grandma’s got a lot of health problems, and her medical bills quickly rack up. Next thing I know, I’m on the hook for a hundred thousand dollars worth of medical bills. We realize that something has got to be done about the situation. We turn to our close family friend Joe Obama who recommends that, instead of buying grandma her new shoes every week, we’re gonna save that money and instead use it to buy  my teenage son Billy some new shoes. Now mind you, little Billy needs the shoes, he  says he deserves the shoes, he’s been going to school barefoot, poor little kid. Then again he does seem to go through shoes awful fast, and if he didn’t spend all his money on video games, he might be able to afford some on his own.  Meanwhile Grandma is a little irked about not getting her new shoes every week. She thought it was part of the deal when she moved into the house.

So she calls Uncle Boehner. Uncle Boehner thinks little Billy is a good-for-nothing juvenile criminal who doesn’t even deserve a pair of socks. Uncle Boehner thinks we should immediately give Grandma back the shoes she so rightfully deserves.

And this is what the politicians in Washington are currently arguing about. Whether Billy or Grandma gets new shoes. No where do we hear anyone talking about the unpaid medical bills piling up in the office, how we’re going to pay them, and how we can try to reduce the cost of taking care of Grandma.