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SPOTLIGHT
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Funding defies logic

Published on -10/12/2013, 1:58 PM

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"We have to pass the (health care) bill so you can find out what is in it." -- Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., March 9, 2010

This quote came from one of the leaders of our country, but please don't take this advice. When you buy a house, car, business, etc., please read or get an explanation for each and every page you're signing.

In essence, Pelosi is saying, "Trust us, we know what's good for you." And at the date of the composition of this article, the government is shut down.

Addressing this subject has been a challenge because it is ever-changing and could very well change before the first of the year. The fact is, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, and it's going to happen. No matter how much discussion goes on in the coffee shop -- or on Capitol Hill, for that matter -- Obamacare is here to stay (at least until 2017).

The question then becomes, "How will it be funded?" Some politicians have called it a no-win situation. It is. Either Republicans go along with Obamacare and allow it to be funded by adding another trillion dollars to our national debt, or they end up losing their jobs, because the finger is being pointed directly at them for the government shutdown. And then the government succeeds in taking over yet another part of our lives, after failing miserably at every other attempt.

And who is the real loser? You as a taxpayer are the loser.

For a moment, imagine your own financial situation: Try plugging in the government's philosophy into your own planning, in essence, spending money you don't have. The big difference is you would be held accountable for your actions, but the decision-makers in Washington are not.

If we could draw an analogy from how the new health care law will be implemented with the application of a life insurance policy, let's see how it would work. If we could wait until we were uninsurable, because of a recent terminal diagnosis of cancer, for instance, and then purchase as much life insurance coverage as we possibly could afford, wouldn't that be a good way to secure coverage? Unfortunately, if everyone was going down this same path, it wouldn't be long before all life insurance companies were bankrupt, as claims would add up in a hurry.

This is the reason life insurance companies have an underwriting process -- a selection strategy that denies coverage to people who are very sick, rates coverage to folks who have minor health problems, and rewards people who are healthy, non-smoking individuals. If this underwriting process is thrown out, we have absolute chaos in the life insurance industry.

Coupled with the lack of responsibility to pay their bills, it is no surprise we find this continuing chaos with the U.S. government on the health insurance issue. It cannot and will not work. Businesses already are cutting the hours of their employees to ward off the responsibilities of insuring everyone. Only time will tell the multitude of other issues that will emerge from this health care decision.

And yes, there is always the story of the individual who had a disease and was never able to secure coverage. These are unfortunate circumstances. Yet, we don't have a filter system to help these individuals without opening health insurance up to everyone else on the planet. This was obvious while our president was campaigning and did not differentiate between the folks who have paid into the Social Security system through many years of working, and the people who haven't worked a day in their lives, labeling both groups as "Entitled."

This is a time when everyone should be evaluating their own financial situation. This does not just mean what your portfolio looks like, but also what strategies are being implemented to keep dollars in your own pocket and not given away for reckless spending by the U.S. government. (e.g. Roth vs. traditional IRA).

Or we can take Nancy's advice and just sign up and see what happens? We live in scary times.

By the way, how is the unemployment rate in the U.S. going now that 800,000 federal employees are out of work?

Tim Schumacher represents Strategic Financial Partners in Hays. tschumacher@htk.com

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