The results are in and the polls were right. The Republicans now have control of the Senate, a larger majority in the House, and more Governors. This was to be expected when the majority of the pickups were in Southern states with over 70% of the votes cast being cast by whites with a Black Democratic President in office.
Will these "White Voters" change their party and their votes when there is no longer a Black Democratic President? Will these "White Voters" change their party and their votes when the Republican Party acts against their interest? Will these "Old White Voters" who die in the near future be replaced by a different thinking "New Old White Voter"? Will the Non-white voter vote in greater numbers in the next mid-term election?
There are hundreds of additional questions this Old White Texas Democrat asked himself last night. The only answer I came up with was: IN TIME A CHANGE WILL COME IN TEXAS. Being 67yrs old, however, I also realised that unless someone in Texas can step forward and cause these things to happen, they won't happen on their own in my state in my lifetime. I know who I think this might be. The one thing I did know was that it wasn't going to be Wendy Davis.
With so much being discussed about the mess in the rollout of Obamacare, I have been spending some time reflecting on my experiences with the health insurance market from a 22 year old healthy young married man with no children to a 66 year old man with a prior heart attack now on Medicare. What a ride this has been. I will briefly out line to you this 44 year experience.
I got married as a senior in college and for the first time in my life became uncovered because I had become married. I was able to buy a very cheap plan for both my wife and I through the University which required all of our treatment at the college hospital and clinic. If I had had a car wreck on the way home and had to be taken to a different hospital, I would have been uninsured. This coverage continued until I graduated from law school in 1973 at the age of 25. My wife delivered our first child at the University hospital for very little expense to me. Following this I went to work as an Assistant District Attorney and received insurance through the State of Texas at no expense to me and at a very reasonable premium for my wife and child (it seemed like a lot to me at the time, but in retrospect it was reasonable.)
At age 30, I left the State employment and went into private practice where I remain today. I bought a policy for myself, my wife, and now two children at a reasonable rate. The only exception in our policy was my left knee because of an old football injury. If I had had any problem from that old injury it would not have been covered. It was our only preexisting condition. The premium was around $300/month which seemed very high to me at the time. The next 5 years was when I discovered insurance pools and how it affected my family and I. The insurance premium kept going up every year. In about 5years it had increased to about $650/month for my family. I talked to my agent and he said it was time to move to a new pool since I didn't have any preexisting condition. In other words, I hadn't cost my insurance company a dime during these 5yrs. He moved me into a different pool and my premiums dropped back down to about about $400/month. Again this premium started increasing every year. At age 39 I added my 3rd child to the policy. At age 40 my premium had risen to abou$700/month so I went to my agent again. He couldn't move me out of the pool because I now had high blood pressure and my oldest son had some other medical problems which had caused him to be in the hospital for about 3 days. Our family now had preexisting conditions.
Every year I watched my premiums go up and up despite me increasing my deductible to keep the rise under some type of control. By the time I had my Heart attack at age 57, I was paying $1,500/month with a $5,000 deductible for just myself, my wife and my youngest son. My other 2 children had obtained their own insurance. The first thing the hospital asked from my wife was a $5,000 check. After 10 days in the hospital after bypass surgery, my share of the bills excluding the deductible was around $20,000. The policy was a 80/20 co-pay with a maximum, but there were a lot of charges not covered.
With the loss of income, these charges, and the loss of that much from my savings along with college for the kids I was having a hard time paying the monthly premiums of my policy which kept going up and up. My wife had to take a job at the county paying just $10.00 per hour which she hated for the insurance. Hers was free and mine only cost $380/month. My wife and I now have gone on Medicare, With Medicare parts A,B,&D and Supplemental coverage our total cost now is $500/month for us both and my wife was able to tell her stupid boss "Take this job and shove it."
In retrospect, the best and cheapest insurance we had was when I worked for the State, my wife worked for the county or Medicare. All provided by a governmental agency. My wife knew first hand what it meant to be a health insurance slave.
My life would have been very different if Obamacare would have existed during these 44 years. I firmly believe that the experiences of a young 22 year old couple today will be very different in the next 44 years. Many times I wonder what I would have done if I had had a preexisting condition when I wanted to go into private practice. I don't thing I could have done it. So many people were tied to their employment because of preexisting conditions.
Since I turn 65 on December 19, 2012 I have started my Medicare coverage on December 1, 2012. I have been covered by health insurance through my wife's employer for about $400 per month. My premiums for Medicare parts A, B, D, and F cost about $340 per month. My copays for my medication increases under Medicare, but I have no copay for doctor and hospital visits. I would have taken the option for this medical coverage 10 years ago at age 55 if it had been available. I was the highest risk age group of my prior insurance pool and am now the lowest risk age pool of the Medicare pool. It seems to me that the best way to address the problem with Medicare is not to increase the age a person is elgible to take out Medicare insurance through Medicare, but to decrease the age to 55. This would add 10 additionl years of lower risk age groups to the pool. It would also decrease the higher risk age group of private insurance from private insurance pools making insurance coverage prior to Medicare less expensive. My Medicare parts D & F are covered under a private insurance company. Since there were many different companies trying to get my business, it must be profitable. If persons 10 years younger then me are added to the Medicare pools then this also should be cheaper.
Since Medicare part B also charges a premium, it appears to me that the only non premium based coverage I now have is Medicare part A. This appears to be free. It seems to cover 80% of all hospital stays and appears to be the only part covered by our Medicare taxes instead of premiums, and must therefore be the part of Medicare causing the problem. Adding those aged 55-65 to this pool would increase the cost, so additional funds would need to be raised to cover these additional people. In my opinion this is the problem that our Representative should be addressing, not raising the age. Finding this answer would be a win/win for both Medicare and private insurance companies in my opinion. Since Obamacare kicks in in full force in 2014, we have another program to work with to solve this problem.
Of course the cheapest way to go would be Medicare for all, but we may have to get there 10 years at a time instead of all at once.
Every election I watch as Rasmussen and Gallup post polls favorable to Republicans and every election I watch them revise their polls right before election day so they can claim they are accurate. I didn't see how Gallup could do that this year because of how far off they have been, but they did. They showed a 4point shift for Obama this weekend. No other polls have show any or very little shift. Gallup just wants to claim they are accurate when they have been off by 4-5 points the entire election. Rasmussen just moved theirs 2pts to a tie showing a 2pt shift for Obama. I knew they would do this and have been telling all my Republican friends to look for this shift. I just got a call from one of them saying he had just noticed the shift and wanted to give me the opportunity to say "I told you so." So I did. It's really looking good right now. My prediction is Obama by 2pts nationally with 294 electorial votes and 54 Senate seats. I don't know about the house, but my gut tells me we will still have a Republican house by 10-20 members.
I am now over my anger enough to write on my blog my reaction to Wednesday's debate. My anger wasn't at President Obama or his performance. My anger was at MSNBC and the post debate Spinners. I wasn't real excited by President Obama's performance, but I didn't see anything that hurt him. He didn't give the Republicans a single line they can play on ads the next 5 weeks. No gaffs. I was almost giddy when Romney fired Bigbird with a grin on his face and then jumped up and down with excitement when he said he would repeal Obamacare, but magically keep coverage for pre-existing conditions. Romney's remarks weren't accidential gaffs, they were pre-prepared by a stupid campaign. I expected that when the debate ended, the msnbc commentators would go to work on all the material they were just handed on a silver platter. Instead, they saw the gaffs and lies, but didn't attack. Instead they attacked Obama for not attacking. With friends like that Obama doesn't need any enemies.
I couldn't sleep Wednesday night thinking of all the missed opportunites of the Spinners. I can't blame the campaign spinners for missing the Golden opportunities handed them. It is very hard to play offense when your friends are forcing you to play defense. I blame everyone, and I mean everyone, on msnbc. Here is just one example of what they could have done:
As soon as the debate ended they should have had Maddows or Mathews come up on the sceen with a big smile on his or face face talking about possibly the biggest gaff in the history of Presidential debates. This person would have talked about how kids go to kindergarden knowing their letters, their numbers, and their shapes because of the best teacher in the country, Bigbird. Then they could have shown Romney with that big grin on his face firing this teacher so he could give tax cuts to the wealthy. Then they could have shown the clip of Romney saying he likes to fire people. The Obama spinners would have taken their clues from msnbc and went to work doing their job. There are 100s of attacks they could have made, but didn't. I wondered whether they saw the same things I saw, but then both Maddows and Mathews started listing all the responses Obama could have made. They saw the gaffs, but were upset beause Obama didn't attack. I got so mad at them at that point, I was screaming at my TV. Nobody can do everything. Even Obama needs help from his friends and they abondoned him Wednesday night.
Newspaprers after a debate always watch all the cable channels to determine their headlines and their articles. We will never know how many headlines would have been changed to "Romney Fires Bigbird" from the "Romney Wins" headlines appearing in just about every paper, and I blame the msnbc commentators for this.
I'm glad Ann Romney wasn't hurt when her plane filled with smoke. Good old Mitt just had to show his lack of any common sense with his now much joked about statement on the incident:
When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.
Someone needs to play the above video to Romney. I think it would be the easiest way to explain what happens when the cabin of a plane loses pressure at 30,000 feet.
Usually campaigns wait until right before the first presidential debate to spring their most damaging attack on their opponent. The reason is that the first debate is the last chance to put an opponent down for the count before the election. Since the debate questions almost always focus on the issues in the news at the time of the debates, each campaign tries to define the tone of the debate. Since the Romney video was released this week instead of October 1, I have to assume that the October suprise is going to be a bombshell. Of couse I might be wrong and Mother Jones might just be releasing the video on their schedule rather then coordination with the Obama campaign. I do,however, have a theory and thought I would throw out this theory for speculation. I will be looking for daily news leaks during the next week to see if it is proceeding toward my theory's proposed October Suprise or not.
Theory: The Obama campaign somehow has direct proof that Romney paid no income taxes for at least one year. Under their plan they had Reid make his statement that a source had confided in him that Romney paid no taxes. This is denied by Romney. They release a video where Romney makes damaging comments about people who pay no income taxes. Romney doubles down on his comment and makes the "nontaxpayor" a issue of the election. Right before the debate it is shown(through a very legal and believable means) that Romney himself is one of these "nontaxpayors." It would be a knockout blow. If the story turns to Obama abusing his office to obtain Romney's tax returns, however, it would destroy Obama. How Obama would have trustworthy information about Romney's tax returns that was obtained legally is the one unanswered question in my theory.
Looking at news: Today 9/18/2012 Reid says on Senate floor that Romney might be one of the 47% he is condemning because he might not have paid taxes and demands Romney to release his tax returns. My thought is that the plan might be to just revive the debate that Romney release his tax returns for the debate to assure the question is asked. If so then the Romney video was released 1 week too early in my opinion.
I will be adding comments to this post as the days pass so check back for any updates. If anyone sees any news that supports or counters my theory please post. We'll know the answer by October 2nd at the latest.