Health Care Reform: The Dastardly Dishonest Debate
The White House is reportedly angry about a newly released video of then Senator Obama saying in 2007 that, “I happen to be a proponent of single-payer, universal health care plans” being used to create the “false impression” that Mr. Obama is…well….a proponent of single-payer, universal health care plans. They say that Obama’s words are being cherry-picked. So I assume that the White House will release the full video of his speech in which he will say that “I happen to be a proponent of single-payer, universal health care plans…psyche!” any day now.
Or perhaps it is possible that the White House is lying about Mr. Obama’s words being taken out of context. After all, during the course of this Obama-care debate, the White House, congressional Democrats, and their supporters seem willing to lie at every turn.
They say ‘the majority of people support Obama’s health care reform’, yet according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll 52% of Americans disapprove of it. President Obama says “I have pledged that I will not sign health insurance reform that adds even one dime to our deficit over the next decade. And I mean it!” However, the Congressional Budget Office says that most of the pending health care bills will add $1 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. And that mean that too.
For example, the reason why Medicare is in financial dire straits is not because of a reported $60 billion a year is wasted to fraud, a problem that is mentioned but goes unaddressed annually. No, the reason why Medicare is in financial dire straits is because of all those 100-year-olds trying to live to be 101, getting hip replacement surgeries, and the like. That’s the problem we have to address, at least according to our government. Personally I’d rather they go after the frauds, and leave grandma alone.
Another example of the deceit we are subjected to is the answer to the question, to paraphrase a recent townhaller, “Why can’t we wait? Why not give Congress (and the American people) as much time to debate, and perhaps even read the health-care bill before it becomes law, as it took you, President Obama, to pick out a dog?”
When asked a similar question at a press conference, Mr. Obama answered: “I'm rushed because I get letters every day from families that are being clobbered by health care costs. And they ask me, can you help? So I've got a middle-aged couple that will write me and they say, our daughter just found out she's got leukemia and if I don't do something soon we just either are going to go bankrupt or we're not going to be able to provide our daughter with the care that she needs.” A poignant and touching anecdote, except the bill won’t go into effect until 2013, even if it were signed today. Take a few weeks or months to write a good health-care reform bill and make it go into affect sooner, maybe?
Additionally, for example, one of the major arguments for an Obama-care public option is that it will exist only as an option for those needing health insurance, that it will not eliminate private insurance. This is contradicted in several ways:
One way is by the very words of those who support the public option. Mr. Obama himself has said in 2007, that his health care reform is only intended to be a Trojan Horse. Once introduced, he says, it will lead to a ‘transition period that will lead to the elimination of employer coverage in a decade out, or 15 years out, or 20 years out.” Others, such as Congressman Barney Frank have said similar things, that “The best way to get single payer — the only way — is to have a public option.”
The claim that they do not support a public option is also contradicted by logic. There are over 1,300 health insurance providers in the US. A public option is not being created to give us 1301 health insurance providers. What would be the point? It is obviously being created to be the dominant health care provider, and eventually the only health care provider; a status it will achieve by eliminating employer-sponsored private health care insurance.
It is in the bill! As reported in Investor’s Business Daily (IBD), “The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of "Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage," the "Limitation On New Enrollment" section of the bill clearly states: “Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year the legislation becomes law.” IBD translates this into plain English: “the bill itself will kill the market for private individual coverage by not letting any new policies be written after the public option becomes law.” How can private insurers survive if it cannot write new business?
Obama-care also will kill the private insurance market by being, as one insurance executive put it, ‘both the ref and the player in the game, which will be hard to compete against it’. Private insurers will have to turn a profit (villainous, I know). Many private insurers in fact are accountable to shareholders, who desire to see a return on their investment. The government will not have to turn a profit. Government in fact rarely displays any fiduciary responsibility towards its shareholders – us, the taxpayers. Obama-care will have to be at least somewhat funded however, and what better way to fund your product than by taxing the product of your competitor? Witness the recent debate over taxing the “Cadillac plans” of private health insurers.
And, if you think your private insurer could survive such a hostile market, and you can hold on to your employer-sponsored health insurer, ask yourself why would your employer continue to sponsor your health insurance? Employers are only penalized for not carrying employee insurance if they have more than $250,000 in payroll. Even those who are above this threshold might find it advantageous to pay the fine for not carrying employees rather than actually carrying the employees.
Clearly, it is not the goal of public option supporters to create competition in the health insurance market. If it were, they would not be unanimously against allowing us to buy insurance from all 50 states. Think about it. Say you need a loan, and your neighborhood banks will only offer you a loan at a 20% interest rate. If the rules for banking were the same as it is for buying health insurance, you’d have to accept the 20% loan. Luckily they are not, and you can go on the Internet and find a loan for maybe 5%. Unfortunately, we cannot do that when we buy health insurance. In that market, we are limited to what our state offers. As Senator Jim DeMint recently pointed out on Fox News Sunday, “NY citizens pay twice as much for insurance than as do their neighbors in Pennsylvania. Why not allow interstate competition?”
Interstate competition would allow New Yorkers to buy insurance at the Pennsylvania rate, which would in turn force New York insurance companies to lower their rate. Interstate competition would give increased access to the person used in Paul Klugman’s example, who, because of where he lives only has access to maybe one insurance company, access to every insurance company. And interstate competition would give the best insurers a large pool of insured, which would lower their risk and allow them to lower their rates. Again, why would anyone who truly wanted to increase affordability and access in the insurance market be against this?
At his July 23rd press conference, after being asked to describe the sacrifices Americans would have to make under his health care reform, President Obama responded like an infomercial spokesman selling a pill that allows you to eat Red Robin twice a day and still lose weight. The only sacrifice Americans would have to make under Obama-care, he says, is that, “They're going to have to give up paying for things that don't make them healthier.” Billy Mays would be proud. But Mr. Obama forgets to mention that they will also lose the ability to choose what is in their health plan, or to keep their existing plan, or to pick their own doctors. Oh, and most likely, Americans will have to pay higher taxes for this privilege.
One wonders if the public option is what is best for the American people, why don’t more of its supporters argue for it, and argue for it honestly. Why do they pretend that a public option is not the desired goal, and why pretend they desire to increase affordability and availability in the health insurance market? It is all about government control, as is most everything Liberals support. But since most Americans are not enthusiastic about accepting perhaps the biggest intrusion into their private lives since the draft, most Liberals are loath to publicly admit this.