Obama’s Op-Ed on Health Care
President Obama, seeing that he is taking a beating in the polls, and that health care is starting to founder took to the pages of the New York Times to lay out the case for health care reform. I think he did a rather bad job of it. He could have done it with far, far fewer words, IMO. Anyhow, lets take a look at what he wrote,
These are people like Lori Hitchcock, whom I met in New Hampshire last week. Lori is currently self-employed and trying to start a business, but because she has hepatitis C, she cannot find an insurance company that will cover her.
I hate it when politicians do this. This is something politicians do all the time, put a face on the issue. One can argue it is to show the issue impacts people’s lives. Well no kidding. Most of what the government does impacts people’s lives. So I find this explanation weak. What I think it is, is an appeal to emotions. “Don’t pass my legislation and you are going to make people like Lori Hitchcock suffer.” I find it rather dishonest since it skirts the actual issues with reforming health care and instead is an attempt to get people to make a decision based on emotion instead.
However, there is a second bit of dissembling here as well. Of course Lori Hitchcock can’t get insurance, she has a pre-existing condition. Insurance cannot and was never designed to cover pre-existing conditions. Its like saying, I can’t cut down a tree with a spoon therefore we need national legislation so that we can cut down trees with spoons. Really? Are you just dishonest or stupid? James laid out the reasoning by looking at car insurance. If you get into a wreck then buy insurance the insurance company is not going to cover your “pre-existing” wreck of a car. Why? The accident already happened, there is no question of “if you get into an accident” you were already in one. Same thing here.
Now maybe we should figure out a way to cover pre-existing conditions, but is insurance really the right vehicle for doing that? Maybe there is some other policy we could put in place to deal with it, or not. But to say insurance companies are being bad in this case is just irresponsible and dishonest pablum. The insurance companies are looking out for their shareholders and possibly even their workers. That is not bad, that is being a good corporation.
I hear more and more stories like these every single day, and it is why we are acting so urgently to pass health-insurance reform this year. I don’t have to explain to the nearly 46 million Americans who don’t have health insurance how important this is. But it’s just as important for Americans who do have health insurance.
Wait one minute. Not all of those 46 million are people with pre-existing conditions. Some of that 46 million are people who have elected not to have health care. Some don’t even need it. Some do. To throw them all in and pretend like it is due to the vile depredations of health insurance companies is like blaming ADM for starvation in Africa.
First, if you don’t have health insurance, you will have a choice of high-quality, affordable coverage for yourself and your family — coverage that will stay with you whether you move, change your job or lose your job.
I’d love to see the mechanism for this. For example, suppose I like my current employer provide insurance, but I lose my job and my coverage. Then what? What if the public option or whatever takes it place doesn’t offer the coverage I had? What then?
In places like France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland they have choice and health care that will follow them. However, there is no public option, and no employer provided health care. In France health care is provided by non-profit health insurance funds, and in the Netherlands and Switzerland via competing health insurance companies.
Second, reform will finally bring skyrocketing health care costs under control, which will mean real savings for families, businesses and our government. We’ll cut hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and inefficiency in federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid and in unwarranted subsidies to insurance companies that do nothing to improve care and everything to improve their profits.
As I noted earlier, if there are billions and billions to be saved in Medicare and Medicaid, then start there. Hard to argue with clamping down on waste, fraud, and abuse, and I bet the Republicans would get behind it as well. But instead we have to have this massive pile of crap legislation that is hundreds and hundreds of pages long that nobody can read by themselves and who knows what is in there.
Second, this is just not in line with what the non-partisan CBO says about much of the legislation currently out there. The view is that the current legislation will add to costs and any savings are small or years down the road which we can’t wait for. In short, this paragraph is just…well its just downright misleading.
Third, by making Medicare more efficient, we’ll be able to ensure that more tax dollars go directly to caring for seniors instead of enriching insurance companies.
And here Obama reveals what he is really on about. Not controlling costs or the rate of growth in costs, but in throwing out the goodies to the voters. If the issue is saving money and controlling costs and moving towards providing the best quality health care that is sustainable…why spend any savings on the elderly? This is where the bulk of our costs are already. Spending even more here is just simply astoundingly wrong.
This will not only help provide today’s seniors with the benefits they’ve been promised; it will also ensure the long-term health of Medicare for tomorrow’s seniors.
So…we spend more today so we can keep spending more tomorrow? Is that the argument?
And our reforms will also reduce the amount our seniors pay for their prescription drugs.
Look, more free stuff for seniors.
Lastly, reform will provide every American with some basic consumer protections that will finally hold insurance companies accountable. A 2007 national survey actually shows that insurance companies discriminated against more than 12 million Americans in the previous three years because they had a pre-existing illness or condition.
Yes, yes we get it already Mr. President those insurance companies are evil and their executives are agents of Satan. Never mind that by separating out those who have pre-existing conditions insurance companies are doing precisely what they are supposed to be doing: providing insurance for those who are healthy in the event of becoming unhealthy. I don’t doubt there are insurance companies that engage in bad behavior such as trying to deny valid claims, but dealing with pre-existing conditions is not one of them.
In the coming weeks, the cynics and the naysayers will continue to exploit fear and concerns for political gain. But for all the scare tactics out there, what’s truly scary — truly risky — is the prospect of doing nothing.
No, what is truly scary is making an already unsustainable and dysfunctional system even worse. We are looking at spending considerably more money than we currently are and any saving that reform provides President Obama is promising to spend on seniors.
Premiums will continue to skyrocket. Our deficit will continue to grow. And insurance companies will continue to profit by discriminating against sick people.
Aside from the last part, none of this will likely change under the reform plans President Obama endorses. In fact, the last part will likely result in an increase in premiums and maybe even the deficit.
In the end, this isn’t about politics.
I love it when someone tells a bald faced lie. Of course this is about politics. It was one of his big promises during the campaign. If it isn’t about politics then why campaign on it. I’d also offer this suggestion, when you are trying to sell the public on something, try not to close with such an obvious lie.