Like most Veterans Today writers I receive a lot of email, much in response to my views on a particular subject, but I just as often receive many ideas readers send me for subjects about which to write. There never seems to be an end to what needs to be opened up for discussion or issues that need to be brought to light, because it’s a sure-fire bet the political elite love their world of hidden agendas and secrecy.
In all honesty, I love to go out and drive for Uber these days, as the job is great for relieving stress, helps minimize writers-block, and is just plain fun. Eight to ten hours a week talking to Uber riders is all it takes to shed new light on a variety of issues, and picking up some extra money doesn’t hurt in this economy the government keeps telling me an 95 million people who aren’t working, is really doing great.
In Charlotte we get a lot of international visitors. They are among the most interesting, as Charlotte is surprisingly a big change from their home countries and vastly different from many of America’s large cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington DC. The first thing people notice are the friendly, smiling faces, and conservative nature of the people they meet.
My mother always taught my brothers and me, “never discuss religion and politics”, yet it seems that after seeing my old USMC window sticker on the rear window, they can’t wait to discuss those very issues as I deliver them to their destination. Doing Uber has been really helpful in selling the books I have authored, and I’ve seen an increase in the number of tips received . . . traditionally tipping of Uber drivers is not very popular among the usual clientele that call for rides.
This past week was a crazy one with the GOP primary fiasco, the Democrat “pre-Hillary coronation-ignore the illegal handling of emails by the media” primary debates, and the big to-do about Trump’s emergence as the Republican Party front-runner-to beat candidate. To outsiders we must look like the center attraction of Barnum and Bailey’s Three-Ring Circus.
The most asked about political issue travelers to American seem most interested in is ,”why the controversy over Obamacare”. As most the rest of the world has fallen under the spell of socialized medical care, they can’t understand America’s anger at the government take-over. In their countries they haven’t had the freedom over their own care nor the unprecedented quality of care we have in the United States which features more than 40,000 treatment protocols listed in the NIH (National Institute of Heath) registry.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, “Once the undisputed center of global innovation in medicine, the U.S. is steadily losing ground to Asia and Europe and will, if trends continue, relinquish its leadership in the coming decade. That is the conclusion of an analysis appearing today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“U.S. medical research remains the primary global source of new discoveries, drugs, medical devices, and clinical procedures,” said University of Rochester neurologist Ray Dorsey, M.D., M.B.A., a co-author of the study. “However, a decade of unprecedented growth in research activity has been followed by a decade of steady decline which now leaves open the possibility that other nations could assume global leadership given their increasing investment in biomedical research.”
Overall, medical R&D funding has declined in real terms by 13 percent, and has been declining since the economy collapsed in 2008, and with the anticipated rise in healthcare costs due to implementation of the aptly misnamed Affordable Care Act. Of the estimated $95 billion in total medical research being spent in the U.S., the NIH invests nearly $32.3 billion annually in medical research for the American people. The rest of the funding is provided by individuals and foundations not affiliated with the government.
“More than 80% of the NIH’s funding is awarded through almost 50,000 competitive grants to more than 300,000 researchers at more than 2,500 universities, medical schools, and other research institutions in every state and around the world.” Up until the federal government decided to mess with our healthcare system, not that it didn’t need changes to be made, medical treatment in American was, without doubt, the best anywhere in the world. As they have done to the Veterans Administration, I am afraid the same fate will be afforded by our beloved federal government to healthcare for the rest of America unless we stop them.
It is ironic that three days ago I received a great email from a friend in Kansas that describes the situation better than anyone could explain to the average passer-by. It is okay . . . you can be excused for laughing because if we can look at the situation in our country today without finding humor, we will all surely go nuts:
Only weeks after leaving office on January 20, 2017, former President Barack
Obama discovered a leak under his sink, so he called Troy the Plumber to
come out and fix it.
Troy drove to President Obama’s new house, which is located in a very
exclusive, gated community near Chicago, where all the residents have a net
income of way more than $250,000 per year.
Troy arrived and took his tools into the house. He was led to the guest
bathroom that contained the leaky pipe under the sink. Troy assessed the
problem and told Obama that it was an easy repair & that will take less than
10 minutes. Obama asked Troy how much it will cost. Troy checked his rate
chart and said, “$9,500.”
“What?! $9,500?!” Obama asked, stunned, “But you said it’s an easy repair.
Michelle will whip me if I pay a plumber that much!”
Troy said, “Yes, but what I do is charge those who make more than $250,000
per year a much higher amount so I can fix the plumbing of poorer people for
free. This has always been my philosophy. As a matter of fact, I lobbied
the Democrat Congress, who passed this philosophy into law. Now all
plumbers must do business this way. It’s known as the ‘Affordable Plumbing
Act of 2014’. I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it.”
In spite of that, Obama told Troy there’s no way he’s paying that much for a
small plumbing repair, so Troy left. Obama spent the next hour flipping
through the phone book calling for another plumber, but he found that all
other plumbing businesses in the area have gone out of business. Not
wanting to pay Troy’s price, Obama does nothing and the leak goes
un-repaired for several more days. A week later the leak is so bad
President Obama has had to put a bucket under the sink.
Michelle is not happy as she had Oprah and guests arriving the next morning.
The bucket filled up quickly and had to be emptied every hour, and there was
a risk the room will flood, so Obama called Troy and pleaded with him to
Troy went back to Obama’s house, looked at the leaky pipe, checked his new
rate chart and said, “Let’s see, this will now cost you $21,000.”
Obama quickly fired back, “What? A few days ago you told me it would cost
Troy explained, “Well, because of the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act,’ a lot of
wealthier people are learning how to maintain and take care of their own
plumbing, so there are fewer payers in the plumbing exchanges. As a result,
the price I have to charge wealthy people like you keeps rising. Not only
that, but for some reason the demand for plumbing work by those who get it
for free has skyrocketed! There’s a long waiting list of those who need
repairs, but the amount we get doesn’t cover our costs, especially paperwork
and record-keeping. This unfortunately has put a lot of my fellow plumbers
out of business, they’re not being replaced, and nobody is going into the
plumbing business because they know they can’t make any money at it. I’m
hurting too, all thanks to greedy rich people like you who won’t pay their
‘fair share’. On the other hand, why didn’t you buy plumbing insurance last
December? If you had bought plumbing insurance available under the
‘Affordable Plumbing Act,’ all this would have been covered by your policy.”
“You mean I wouldn’t have to pay anything to have you fix my plumbing
problem?” asks Obama.
“Well, not exactly,” replied Troy. “You would have had to buy the insurance
before the deadline, which has passed now. And, because you’re rich, you
would have had to pay $34,000 in premiums, which would have given you a
‘silver’ plan, and then, since this would have been your first repair, you
would have to pay up to the $21,000 deductible, and anything over that would
have a $7,500 co-pay, and then there’s the mandatory maintenance program,
which is covered up to 17.5%, so there are some costs involved. Nothing is
“WHAT?!” exclaimed Obama. “Why so much for a puny sink leak?!”
With a bland look, Troy replied, “Well, paperwork, mostly, like I said. And
the internal cost of the program itself. You don’t think a program of this
complexity and scope can run itself, do you? Besides, there are millions of
folks with lower incomes than you, even many in the ‘middle class’, who
qualify for subsidies that people like you must support. That’s why they
call it the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act’! Only people who don’t make much
money can afford it. If you want affordable plumbing, you’ll have to give
away most of what you have accumulated and cut your and Michelle’s income by
about 90%. Then you can qualify to GET your ‘Fair Share’ instead of GIVING
“But who would pass a crazy act like the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act’?!”
exclaimed the exasperated Obama.
After a sigh, Troy replied, “Congress … because they didn’t read it.”
That my friends is the reason we must all get off the couch and get to the polls to vote for the changes the country needs. It is time we clean house in Washington so our kids and grand-kids are not left with the mess we leave behind.