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I'm Just Sayin': October 1 was an interesting day

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DuWayne Paul - Echo Press Columnist

As I write this column on Tuesday, October 1, I pause to contemplate what a day it has been. You might be anticipating me writing about the government shutdown (it really is a government “slowdown” and not a shutdown), but I will get to that in a bit.

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Today, I am officially on Medicare. First of all, I never thought I would live this long. Some of the things I’ve done over the years could have easily ended my time here. Be that as it may, I am completely astounded at how efficient our government has been in my case. Three years ago, when I was eligible for Social Security, I signed up online and the checks began appearing in my back account. It was easy and efficient.

At the time, the government also notified me that when I turned 65 I would automatically be enrolled in Medicare and I did not have to apply or contact them. What? It couldn’t be that easy! Well, it was. Two months ago I received my Medicare card in the mail and today I am officially a government entitlement recipient in two programs. For a libertarian conservative like me, that is a hard thing to grasp. But, I paid in so I can take out.

Additionally, for anyone on Medicare, you are qualified for Medicare Supplemental insurance from a variety of insurance companies. The plans provide a variety in coverage, and I must say, seem quite reasonable in price. Again, it was easy to sign up, you can’t be refused, and every year you have the opportunity to try something else if you like. So, all this got me to thinking (As my wife says, “That can be dangerous.”).

With the Medicare program and the supplemental insurance programs, things seem to work well and are coordinated well by the health care professionals. It is easy to understand, easy to enroll, you can’t be refused, and it is priced fairly. So, if we have a system like this already in place, why did we need a 2,400-page Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the resulting 10,000-plus pages of regulations that have been spawned as a result of it? It seems like we could have taken the system already in place, tweak it a bit for younger people and those who may not be able to afford it (like Medicaid for example) and have a system that would not have caused so much heartache and political division in the country. Well, the answer to that question is easy; that would be too logical!

We can’t have something that makes perfect sense! We need something that grows government and makes it more intrusive in our lives (ObamaCare). But, it looks like we’re stuck with it and only history will show how much it will affect our economy and future quality of life in the U.S.

Now for the other “big event” today, the so-called government shutdown. Hmm … debts are being paid, the military is funded, Social Security and Medicare are funded, TSA is on the job, health inspectors are out in force as usual, etc. Is there some inconvenience? Of course. Is it security and life threatening? Of course not. The government programs that are affected are mostly the “discretionary” spending programs. We’re all doing just fine. It’s Washington, D.C. that is beside itself because the money might be cut off.

Is it a bad thing to tighten up the money to government? I think not. I’m just sayin’.

• • •

DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.

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