I was discussing the cost of a reasonable health care policy with some friends and family members recently and we concluded that an annual cost of $2,000 to $2,500 per person, meaning a range of $6,000 to $10,000 for a three- or four-member family, can pretty much cover whatever ails you.

If you are fortunate enough to have an employer who will share half or even more of that cost, you should take that into account before you complain about how tough things are at work.

In the ongoing debate over the federal government taking control of the nation's health care system - Oh yes! That is exactly what this is all about! - it has been noted repeatedly that the insurance industry is a big money maker. That is because on average most people who buy health care insurance take out less each year in medical payments than they put in through policy premium payments.

For instance, my family has payed out more than $75,000 in health care premiums in the last 15 years but we have used only a minuscule amount of that money in actual health care costs. Our last big hospital bill was 15 years ago when my youngest daughter was born. This even though we get regular physicals and on occasion have to make use of other medical facilities.

So the insurance industry has done well by us. In fact, the insurance industry does well by just about everyone who buys insurance. Actuaries run the numbers in their sleep and adjust the rates accordingly so they know exactly how much to charge each insured client to make sure they don't lose money on the transaction.

It also has been noted that 80 percent of the money spent on health care in the US goes to the elderly. That makes sense when you think about it because the elderly have more parts that wear out, it is more difficult for them to recover from injuries, and generally speaking they suffer from lower immunity so they are more susceptible to diseases.

Thus, if 90 percent of Americans - nearly 270 million and counting - are contributing an average of $2,000 annually to health insurance, but only 20 percent are incurring large expenditures, well, that's a lot of money in the bank.

But the Obama Administration wants to put an end to private insurance - Oh, yes it does! What do you think is going to happen when the government offers employers and individuals lower cost insurance policies?

The vast majority will switch over to the government program - which can be offered at much lower cost because every single American taxpayer is subsidizing it - just to save money. Meaning within a few years, the only program available will be the government program as private insurance companies fold.

Then, with the requirement that EVERYONE participate, under threat of fines or jail or both - if you don't know about this I suggest you do some serious research before you take a position - the US government will be the entity collecting the annual insurance premiums, from every single one of us.

If this b.s. law passes, which it probably will because the US Congress is peopled by unprincipled dolts and communist dupes, the current strategy is to have it go into effect in 2013. Supposedly this is so Obama can avoid the taxpayer backlash and it will be too late to unseat him as he enters his second term of dismantling the US Constitution.

By then, the US population will have grown enough so that even when you subtract the burgeoning illegal alien population, there will still be 300 million Americans who will be required to contribute at least $2,000 annually to support national health care. Please don't say "the children won't be required to pay." Their parents will. Corporations will. Somebody will. This plan is designed to make every single legal American cough up their share every year, one way or another.

If you do the math, you will find as I did, that this comes to $600 BILLION dollars each and every year that will be collected by the US Government just the way it now collects income tax, social security tax, and Medicare tax, along with a gazillion other taxes. $600 Billion in cold hard cash that will put dozens of insurance companies out of business, thousands of insurance industry workers out of work, and will succeed only in increasing the size of our bloated, inefficient, deaf, mindless federal bureaucracy.

And don't think for a minute that this bloated bureaucracy won't start looking for ways to "cut costs" even before the ink is dry on the documents creating it. If the elderly account for the biggest expenditures, then the elderly will be the first place the bureaucrats go to find savings.

First it will be easy and understandable procedures. A terminally ill 99-year-old who needs a heart replacement when cancer is the primary illness won't get that heart and few if any will complain because it makes sense. But when no one is looking the regulations will undergo review and revision and soon it will be hip and knee replacements beyond a certain age threshold, and then more of this and more of that. Pretty soon, we'll be killing our citizens faster than the communists, but no one will know because the dead will be old and what the hell, that's what old people do, isn't it?

And somewhere along the way Sarah Palin will be able to say, "I told you so," but she won't do it with any sense of satisfaction because this is one of those areas where she wants to be wrong and we'd all breathe easier if she was.

That's where we're heading. We can see it as clearly as a full moon on a cloudless night. Call it what you will, this will be a tax, it will end up in the general fund just like Social Security did, it will be bankrupt before it ever has a chance of being solvent, and it will be a tax!

If the government collects it, if it is mandatory, if you can be fined or jailed or both for not paying it, I don't care what they call it, a fee, a levy, even a premium. It is a TAX!

And we are going to be paying for it to the tune of $2,000 per year per person, at first, more later ... much more. But by then it will be too late. And among the first to be euthanized by this oh-so-efficient model of government in action will be the old fools in Congress who voted it in under the guise of social progress.

I don't know if it was Stalin or Lenin or even Tolstoy who coined the phrase, Useful Idiots. But it sure does fit.

600 Billion Dollars a year in new taxes, hidden under the heading of Health Care Reform, and "Useful Idiots" all over the country are buying into it like rubes at a sleazy carnival midway. Damn fools.