Thursday, April 05, 2007

Healthcare cutbacks

We need to raise TRICARE fees, because it's too expensive at the current cost levels. So, we'll cut spending at the Military Medical facilities, forcing them to shrink and cut services, and force more active military and retired military to go off-base, use their TRICARE more, and cost us even more in fees. Read it all here.

This is the logic used by the bean counters in the department of defense.

Folks, it's time for a decimation in the office of management and budget. A decimation isn't necessarily what you think. It is an extreme method of instilling discipline in an Army, or of punishing an Army for poor performance. It dates back to the Romans. A cohort selected for punishment by decimation was divided into groups of ten; each group cast lots , and the soldier on whom the lot fell was executed by his nine comrades, often by stoning or clubbing. The remaining soldiers were given rations of barley instead of wheat and forced to sleep outside of the Roman encampment.

Because the punishment fell by lot, all soldiers in the selected cohort were eligible for execution, regardless of rank or distinction. As a result, the threat of decimation inspired fear and resolve in the Roman Legions. However, because a decimation significantly reduced the troop strength of an army, it is believed that the punishment was rarely used.

I don't think we should kill 10% of the bean counters in the Pentagon. Instead, just beat/stone/club them almost to death, and then they can go through the current health care system, less use of the facilities they don't want to fund. For those, they have to use TRICARE-approved providers. At a time when we are at war, no, scratch that. Our military should have the best of three things: The best equipment money can buy, the best soldier training that can be provided, and the military medical community should be the very cutting edge of modern medicine, in both trauma and continued care. People should be exponentially more impressed with an intern at Walter Reed, or even Camp Swampy Aid Station, than the Chief of medicine at Johns Hopkins.

Budget goobs always wonder where we should cut costs or raise taxes in order to pay for it, so here's an option or two:
1. A head tax on every fighting age adult Male AND Female who has never served (either military or civil service) or is not married to a service member.
2. Immediate forgiveness of all school-related debt (Undergrad through PhD for the top 10% of each class at all medical schools--provided they do five years in the military hospitals), or, if they opt not to serve, a 25% APR on their student loans.
3. A gas tax if $0.25 per gallon for the duration of armed conflict
4. Immediately suspend all pay and allowances for all members of congress, the supreme court, and the POTUS. It seems you need a few million to run in the first place, so there aren't any
"Middle Americans" in the palace, house of lords or house of commons anyway. They had $$$$ before they got to DC, let them live off of their own dime. National service in Gummint should be a labor of love. To ensure they can feed their families, however, pay them the federal minimum wage for the # of hours they are actually in the office--and make them clock in and out.
5. Limit unemployment wages to six months for life. You can pay into it when you are working, and when your account is full, you don't need to pay more. When you aren't working, you can draw six month's pay. After that, not another dime until you get a job and put money back in the kitty.
6. Stop giving federal student aid to mediocre high school performers. If a kid is stupid in high school, odds are he'll still be stupid after wasting a couple years in college on the gummint's dime.
7. Pass a law stating that medical care must be rendered to any service member, and their family members, upon presentation of a valid ID card, at any medical facility, civilian or military, for free.
8. Stop paying for bridges that don't go anywhere.
9. Stop paying farmer to NOT grow food.
10. Stop paying welfare to people who won't submit to drug screening or continue having babies.
11. Use lottery subsidies. It's a tax on people who are bad at math, and investing the money in the elderly--as is the case in PA--is simply investing in a short-term fund with a very small chance of any appreciable return. (It seems elderly people die sooner than most other people.)
12. Legalize the sale of all forms of narcotics in duty-free areas. Although we can't tax it (duty-free) we can sell it at whatever rate we choose. If someone doesn't pass drug-screening upon trying to gain entrance to the US, ban them from coming in for 30 days (including US citizens.) I don't know what this would do to raise revenue, but I like the idea.
13. A fifty-cent surcharge to all dating-service phone calls, and a $1 surcharge to all American Idol type voter call in shows.
14. A $25 dollar tax on every person who says "Long time listener, first time caller" on a radio show.
15. A $50 tax for anyone who calls Dr. Laura for advice--not for the advice, but for being so stupid they need her to tell them what to do.
16. All federal medical research grants are only approved if they are conducted at military facilities by military doctors--you gots to be Green to get the Green.
17. A tax on anyone who sells corduroy to an obese woman. (Sorry, that's a tax on reducing global warming.)
18. Seize the personal assets of the kennedys, clintons, kerrys, and gores. No real revenue benefit here either, but c'mon.

--if I can come up with all that in 12 minutes, the beanie weenies on the pentagon, as well as the congress, should be able to figure something out.


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