I have a personal experience with this process. From 1989 to 1992, I lived in Jacksonville, Florida. In order to find significance to my life as a disabled person, I decided to use whatever skills I had in finding ideas that would be usefully to untangle the political knots that bound us at the time.
One such idea was the "Health Care Account", which is reflected in my article about "Family Centric Benefits". The original idea was to create a family account at bank of one's choosing that could receive direct deposits from any member of one's family, but whose funds could be used only to pay for medical insurance or other medical bills. The account would form the base for a means tested Universal Health Care system in which the family could be taken into account as a holistic entity, not each individual member as is the case at present. The funds from the account could roll over to the next year, to pay for any expenses in the future. A simple idea that could save millions of dollars in co-insurance payments, and that could provide coverage for all of the members of a family, regardless of where they worked, and for how many hours per week.
Well, when Rep. Newt Gingrich co-opted the idea and packaged it into his "Contract with America" con in 1994, he set up many of the political tragedies that we have to deal with today. To make sure that it never worked, they decided to kill it with a clause that the account would not roll over year to year, and worse yet, that it would be an individual account carried by the employer, where presumably they would be able to reap the benefits of any interest accruals. What they created was doomed to fail so completely that any further attempt to create a medical savings account would go down the tube by spinning it with "we already tried it, but it didn't work out".
Another idea I spoke about in person was the "Faith Based Initiative", which was promoted as originally planed, but which has been left to dry on the vine by the Bush administration. The idea is a reconciliation with the reality that faith is a leading principle of most effective social service NGO's and the constitutional separation between church and state. Indeed, it seems to me that the idea was used as a "bite" to some unscrupulous evangelical pastors who were salivating at the prospect of vasts sums of money that could be laundered into the right "book" by astute accountants. Those same pastors were the basis for the "Christian Right" movement, which usurped our constitution with the fraudulent election of 2000 and the second republican disgrace of 2004.
The lack of imagination from the republican right is well known. Also well known is the fact that they will act only to put money in the pockets of their patrons. This is a mercantilist party, one that is at the service of it's financial backers, unabashedly serving them vasts amounts of money, while at the same time washing their legislation in "good" and "right" principles. We must be aware of the political tactics of these people, and the way they use the media to spin their misdeeds as moral and conservative.
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Jun 4, 2007