Home Getting personal

Getting personal


Column by David Reynolds

May we get personal? I would like to talk about your body. Why not? Everybody else is doing it. Everybody is talking about your body. And mine.

I do not recall giving anyone permission. I know I did not. For I try to keep my clothes on. But it doesn’t matter these days. Washington does whatever it wants to strip us clean. And why not? Both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue think that they are playing with monopoly money. Maybe someday there will be a special commission to find out whose money it is. I can’t wait to find out.

Meanwhile, there is this debate going on in our land about our bodies. Of course, those doing the tough talking, those permanently encamped along the banks of the Potomac, do not wish to be caught looking through peepholes. So they have come up with a proper name in order to carry out a proper public discussion. Naturally, the “they” I’m referring are those who have said, “We won the election and . . .”  You finish the sentence.

Can’t the White House take a break from campaigning and try some governing?

I guess not. Instead of calling it a 2012 campaign issue over our bodies, they have decided to label it as a debate over (drum roll, please) – HEALTH CARE! It has also been called health insurance reform. At least it was last month. Or was it doctors? I’m sorry, I can’t keep the White House villains straight.

But if you think that today’s big talker is about how best to pay our doctor and hospital bills, think again.
Believe it or not, this nation has formed a few agreements on health care, such as, eliminating pre-existing conditions, providing catastrophic coverage, allowing for choice of one’s doctor, access for the poor and maintaining high quality.

So why the heated debate? Why don’t the congressional Democrats who are calling the shots stop firing, call this war off and let us move on? Simple. Because the debate is NOT over health care. It never was! If it were, Ms. Nancy and Mr. Harry would call off their troops up on the hill and march downtown to be backdrops when the president has his signing ceremony in the Rose Garden, with pens for everyone.

But, today, there are no pens for anyone. The “health care” debate has gone far beyond our bodies. It is a war over whether government should control another 18 percent of our economy. If it does, the public sector will be just under half (about 48 percent). Instead of defining today’s U. S. economy as mixed-capitalism, tomorrow it will be defined as half-and-half, half socialism and half capitalism. This “Half-and-Half” is not even good for your coffee. 

Yes, my friends, it is all about the gross domestic product and who will win the GDP war. Will it be the capitalists or the bureaucrats? I don’t know. But you and I do know which side is losing. Their headquarters was in New York. They have retreated to Washington.

Can I back up the above? Not completely. My research assistant is off this week. But, let me throw this out from my own files.

My wife and I have essentially the same health insurance Congress has. It has served millions for over a half century and is called the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). But it is not run by OPM – it is run by private insurance companies. That is why Congress does not want you to have it. It is privately run. 

It works like this. Beneficiaries pay 25 percent of the cost of the program. For 2010 annual household premiums will range between $1,704 and $7,476, depending on the risk pool selected and the level of benefits offered. The government’s cost can be adjusted without sacrificing the program’s principles. 

Sounds good, right? Except to those in our society who crave a single payer system. With FEHBP the government’s role is limited to setting fundamental criteria and a cost structure. Thus we discover three reasons why Washington does not want the rest of the country to have the health care plan I have. One, it is capitalistic. Two, it is highly competitive. And three, it is run by private insurance companies.

In closing, may I suggest you contract the Government Printing Office Bookstore, 732 N. Capital St., NW, Washington, DC 20401. Request a copy of HR 3906, “To Provide Affordable, Quality Health Care for All Americans, and Reduce the Growth of Health Care Spending: The Affordable Health Care for America Act.” That is just its title! The entire bill weighs in at 19.6 pounds for its 1,990 pages. (The word “shall” is stated slightly over 2,500 times.) That makes it 765 pages longer than “War and Peace,” and more than 691 pages longer than the King James version of The Holy Bible. There is a $73 charge. HR 3906 passed the U. S. House of Representatives by a vote of 220-215. How many of the 435 House members read the bill before they voted on it very late Saturday night is not known. If after reading the entire bill (preferably for bedtime reading if you have a sleep disorder), you are still unable to find its hidden agenda, please see a doctor. Before they all suddenly retire.


– Column by David Reynolds



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.