Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why Is It Easier to Spend Other People's Money?

A recent conversation bears out the truth that it is easier to spend other people's money.  Governor Haslam is trying to push his ObamaCare scheme to expand Medicaid down Tennesseans’ throats.  On a page of citizens who are against this scheme, a couple of individuals spoke up in favor of his scheme.  Their “logic” is priceless and shows what we are up against.

First was a lady who claimed that she is usually for anything conservative, but we’ve got to pass Insure TN because our rural hospitals are closing, so we “must” do something.  The rural hospitals closing are the threat that Haslam and his cohorts are using to cram this scheme thru the state legislature.  She claimed that her husband was an administrator for one of said rural hospitals.  She has a vested interest in the hospital not closing because it would directly affect her livelihood.  I can appreciate that.  The problem is that Insure TN is really a scheme to get more federal crack money ~taxpayer funds~ to flow into Tennessee because of how ObamaCare has cut Medicare and Medicaid payments to the states.  When challenged with this information that is spelled out in this Forbes article, this woman mysteriously disappeared from the conversation.
Here is how the provider tax works– hospitals take money out of their right pocket in the form of a “tax” and send it to the state, it cycles through state government in order to look like state spending but it is returned to the hospital’s left pocket. Why do they do this? This “state spending” triggers additional federal taxpayer contributions, driving up spending in the program. 
What does this mean for Tennessee? For every new dollar Tennessee collects as a “tax” on hospitals for Obamacare expansion, taxpayers will pay more than $5 to those same hospitals and an extra $8 to other medical providers. 
This funding scheme means Tennessee hospitals will pay roughly $1.7 billion in new taxes over the next decade. But the expansion, made possible by these taxes, forces all federal taxpayers to kick in another $22.5 billion. This ultimately allows hospitals to collect up to $9.3 billion in new Medicaid expansion revenue. 
This gimmick certainly isn’t new: Tennessee already receives a third of the “state share” of Medicaid spending from provider taxes and funds from local governments. But while this may seem like a clever budget gimmick, there’s only a slim chance that this scheme will survive much longer.

Next up was a gentleman who claimed to be a grad student studying architecture who needed to have his tonsils removed and couldn’t afford it.  I’ll call him Mr. Smith ~not his real name.~  He “needed” help.  When I asked him why it was the responsibility of taxpayers to pay his medical bills, he came back with the typical class warfare response of “If you can afford it, sure you can pay my medical bills.  Just write me a check.”  He also asked for a solution so I gave him two.  The first was the fact that hospitals and doctors take monthly payments; and the second was that maybe he should go down his block to his neighbors and ask them to help him with his medical bills.  He’s expecting me a total stranger to help him, why not go to his friends for help?  Needless to say, he “left” the conversation ~or at least didn’t comment anymore.~  He hung around because he was “liking” the next gentleman to foray into the conversation.

Another gentleman soon jumped into the conversation.  I’ll call him Mr. Green, although, again, that is not his real name.  He started out with insults and name calling.  He used the typical big government do-gooder shtick of how we conservatives hate the poor, the elderly and only care about unborn children.  Mr. Green is of course compassionate because of his good intentions.  His quote was “If just one child, can see a doctor instead of an emergency, ACA/Insure Tennessee is worth it.  If myself or some rich guy has to pay an extra dollar, good.  Consider it be the one good thing you’ve ever done.”

The problem is that ObamaCare and Insure TN isn’t going to require taxpayers to just pay an extra dollar, but I digress.  I suggested that Mr. Green could help Mr. Smith with his surgery that he said he needed.  He could simply message him and get his address.  Mr. Green tried to tell me how many jobs Insure TN was going to create in Tennessee, all by getting more federal crack ~taxpayer~ dollars.  He also claimed that I didn’t have a better alternative.  That’s really funny because I had already suggested that he could help out Mr. Smith. 

I asked Mr. Green if he thought that DC had a magic money tree.  Maybe the state of Tennessee has a magic money tree.  I asked him if he had helped Mr. Smith get his surgery scheduled.  Mr. Smith could put him down as the guarantor for his medical bills. 

Mr. Green responded that I needed to leave Mr. Smith alone.  He then proceeded to hurl insults at me again.  I pointed out that Mr. Smith had inserted himself into this conversation with his claim that he needed help with his medical bills.  I was just offering a solution to his needs. 

Good intentions don’t trump the laws of economics.  The hypocrisy of the big government do-gooders is that they aren’t willing to spend their own money.  They want to spend ours. 


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