Timeshares at popular resort destinations sound great.
You are guaranteed reservations.
If the salesman does their job right they will convince you it will save you money.
But what they don’t give you in the sales pitch is what can turn a vision of paradise into hell.
You are stuck with the quality and levels of services of the firm that handles all the maintenance and operations of the timeshare.
If you find out being locked into a specific period and a specific location under rules dictated by the umbrella company isn’t working you can simply switch to another timeshare provider or revert back to booking your own vacation rooms without suffering financial loses and significant headaches.
Now consider the State of California entering the timeshare business but calling it single payer healthcare instead and making the promised outcome not only worse but trapping you forever.
They are guaranteeing you access to healthcare.
That’s good news if you have no or limited coverage but it’s also supposed to be great news if you do as single payer healthcare, just like timeshare, is being pitched as a way to control healthcare costs.
There’s the inference of costs being locked in so it won’t cost you more than you’re currently spending on your behalf or that an employer is.
There is also the pitch about quality of care, much like the siren song of having a timeshare at a destination hotspot.
Timeshare horror stories, however, pale to the potential the State of California has to channel Freddy Kruger on steroids. If you have faith that the government can deliver quality care with everything being top of the line and running smooth consider two words — “public housing.”
And if you think the government is a more effective and efficient alternative than the private sector when it comes to healthcare just Google some of the horror stories of patients left at the mercy of paper pushers at the Veterans Administration.
If neither one of those examples get you to look before you blindly leap as a voter at some point down the line because Sacramento will need the approval of voters to pulverize the constitutional limit on state government spending, spend a minute recapping the government’s track record as a bureaucracy and regulatory organization.
Sacramento is so far out of the loop of efficiency and cutting edge technology it’s computer systems are a joke, it dispersed by its own admission at least $17 billion in unemployment aid to those committing fraud over a six month period while failing to get checks in the hands of those that paid into the system and were in desperate financial straits, and acts in a manner that is more glacial than timely.
What could possibly go wrong with entrusting Sacramento to control your healthcare from cradle to grave?
First there’s the siren song of no more premiums, co-pays or deductibles.
It is made all that more enticing by assuring every Californian will be entitled to everything including dental, vision, hearing, and long-term care.
Those promises create a math question. If it already costs “x” amount of dollars for what we are paying collectively for premiums, covering deductibles, and co-pays for care we are already receiving how would it not cost significantly more to expand it plus run the money collected through a massive Sacramento bureaucracy that will be so large it will create a mad rush of developers to erect massive office buildings in the Capitol City.
Care, of course, will be rationed in many cases. That in itself is not bad unless are the one either needs — or a love one that does — specific procedures or medication. The assumption that anyone is going to run a healthcare system carte blanche until they drive the economy off the cliff are forgetting that unlike the federal government the state can’t willy nilly create more money. States can go bankruptcy just like individuals.
So how is Sacramento planning on funding what they estimate will be a new $400 billion annual expensive on top of an annual state budget of $286.4 billion?
They are going to tax you and me directly as well as indirectly through the price of goods and services that businesses provide.
Keep in mind the $400 billion annual cost is just a teaser to get you to sign on the dotted line. Sacramento politicians salivate when pursuing new baubles to appease constituents at the ballot box and essentially high ball promises and low ball costs. The $400 billion figure is not a real number. If you doubt that check out the history of any major state undertaking. The best example is high speed rail. It was supposed to cost $33 billion to build. It is now speeding toward the $100 billion mark.
Remember how we were supposed to be able to step on a train in San Francisco just five years from now and be in downtown Los Angeles in less than three hours? Remember how it was going to revolutionize intrastate travel and making everything green while the San Joaquin Valley would usher in a new era of prosperity? Remember how a one-way ticket would cost $90 for riding a train traveling in excess of 200 miles an hour? Remember how we were told the financial numbers of the business plan were so enticing that private sector investors would be tripping over each other to hand money to the state? Remember how well-thought out we were told the game plan was?
Given how they’ve spent billions so far and can’t even connect Fresno with Merced what kind of comfort level do you have with Sacramento taking over your healthcare and finding ways to fund it?
It starts with firms with 50 or more employees being slapped with a 1.25 percent payroll tax and ordered to collect a 1 percent payroll tax from their workers if you make more than $49,000 a year. That extra 1 percent means those that make more than $61,213 a year would pay an effective income tax of 11.5 percent a year. That should make you feel good as it is more than what millionaires pay in 49 states. The only state that millionaires pay less than an 11.5 percent effective income tax rate is New York.
There would also be a 0.5 percent progress surtax that starts with incomes over $149,505 and peaks at 2.5 percent at $2,484,121.
The top marginal tax in wage income would rise to 18.05 percent plus reach 15.8 percent on capital gains and other unearned income.
And let’s not forget the 2.3 percent excise tax on businesses with more than $2 million in revenue as opposed to profits.
That will be passed on to you and me as a lot of the impacted businesses would be low margin as $2 million sounds like a lot but it reflects a business grossing an average of $5,500 a day.
In short if you are happy with the high speed rail’s stratospheric costs, bait-and-switch tactics, and the fact it is far from being able to transport passengers from Fresno to Merced then you’ll love what Sacramento can do for healthcare with its single payer plan.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Ceres Courier or 209 Multimedia Corporation.