What Passes for Charity

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An act of charity is traditionally defined as generosity that would include donations to aid those in physical or financial distress. It is usually characterized by leniency in judging the acts of others, and forbearance when such others fail to act on a timely basis. It might be the benevolent feeling that wells up inside of us, especially toward those in desperate need or in societal disfavor. The Greco-Christian term Agape refers to an unconditional, even selfless love that, while sometimes seen as synonymous with charity, looks beyond any dysfunction to the highest and best interests of all.

The term welfare is generally understood as referring to the greatest good for a person, group, or organization. Etymologically the word was derived from the middle english phrase composed of the terms wel and fare while expressing the sentiment that others would fare well. It is in this sense that the Preamble to the United States Constitution includes the phrase “promote the general Welfare.”

Some would argue, and have argued, that the adoption of any social program constitutes “socialism.” By such an overly simplistic definition, if you carry a Social Security card, you are a card carrying socialist. Other people are simply perplexed asking: “Why would anyone want to kill Social Security and Medicare when we see payroll deductions, throughout our entire working lives, for these so-called entitlements?” After a little research, we are reminded that employers are required to make matching contributions of 6.2% for Social Security and 1.45% for Medicare. Upon further investigation, we learn that, for employees making $200k or more, employers have to kick in an additional .9% for Medicare.”

In light of these numbers, the motivations of those wanting to kill Social Security and MediCare are clear. Others, fearing a loss of choice while stressing the value and security of employer provided private insurance, should also acknowledge how quickly high seniority Walgreen’s employees lost theirs. In early 2019, Walgreens employees, many with almost a quarter century of service received a letter. It read, in part, as follows:

According to our records, you do not meet these requirements because you will be under age 64 and/or have less than 24 years of service as of March 31, 2019. Therefore, you will not be eligible for retiree healthcare benefits described above for yourself or your family members.”

Any elected representative, advancing the fiction that employer based health insurance is the answer, is either deliberately misleading their constituency or exhibiting a reckless indifference to the truth. It is fundamentally dishonest to claim that single payer will inevitability result in a reduction in the quality of care. There will undoubtedly be a market response to any single payer proposal, one that is likely to include numerous competing wrap-a-round plans from the private sector, similar to the current Medicare Supplement offerings.

The Internal Revenue Service treats donations to Nonprofit 501(c) 4 Social Welfare Organizations as charitable tax deductions. Such organizations are often referred to as Super PACs and, while some would deny they are actually Political Action Committees, Crossroads GPS qualifies as a Social Welfare Organization according to the IRS. On its website, Crossroads GPS consistently refers to the Affordable Care Act as ObamaCare precisely because anything associated with former president Obama is likely to be hated by the PAC’s supporters.

The CrossRoads GPS website asserts the following: “Obamacare has set in motion a government takeover of American health care. Among other things, the federal government will decide: what is and is not covered by insurance; where people must go to get their insurance; the prices insurers can charge for coverage; how doctors and hospitals should be organized for delivering services to patients; and what kind of care is “effective” and therefore should be paid for by insurance.”

Crossroads fails to show how any insurance industry run healthcare is better. They continue: “Inevitably, the federal government will set up large and unresponsive bureaucracies to make these decisions, which is already happening, and the decisions will be made for budgetary reasons, not based on the needs of patients. How can anyone believe the “budgetary” considerations behind a for-profit financial services business do not serve the shareholders first and foremost? 

CrossRoads also claimed: “There a better way forward on health care.” They said: “Once Obamacare is fully repealed, Congress can begin work on reforms. . . “ Begin work ??? Begin work ??? The Insurance Industry has thwarted every effort for meaningful reform since President Truman proposed a “universal” national health insurance program. Politicians wholly owned and operated by the health insurance industry defeated the universal health care package proposed in 1993 by assuring the public they would come up with their own plan. Where is it? We are still waiting! Where is it? They’ve had plenty of time to produce something. The fact is the financial services industry caters only to the indulgence of its shareholders. Politicians prostituting their offices for dark money contributions from the insurance industry have zero credibility on healthcare.

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