Our not-so-esteemed President gave a press conference last night about his aspirations for reforming the health care system. He’s apparently encountering more opposition than he expected — well deserved opposition I might add — and felt the need to address all us little people in middle America to tell us why it’s such a high priority. He’s getting some push-back — well deserved push-back I might add — on his insistence that it needs to be passed through both houses of Congress before the August recess.
Well hold on there, bucko.
The case he laid out, very unconvincingly, is that the root cause of the economic crisis is the umpteeen million people who are without health insurance:
… even before this crisis hit, we had an economy that was creating a good deal of wealth for those folks at the very top, but not a lot of good-paying jobs for the rest of America. It’s an economy that simply wasn’t ready to compete in the 21st century, one where we’ve been slow to invest in clean-energy technologies that have created new jobs and industries in other countries; where we’ve watched our graduation rates lag behind too much of the world; and where we spend much more on health care than any other nation but aren’t any healthier for it. And that’s why I’ve said that even as we rescue this economy from a full-blown crisis, we must rebuild it stronger than before.
And health-insurance reform is central to that effort.
Oh, please. The same old leftist rhetoric about the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor, who get poorer every day. “It’s just not fair!” And what a pack of lies; we spend more on health care than any other nation but we aren’t any healthier for it? Baloney. Americans live longer and have more access to better health care than any other society on the face of the planet, but for him and the Democrats in the House and Senate, the whole nation is going to hell in a handbasket without the federal government jumping in and taking control of the entire health care system in America.
What drives me crazy is that he lied through his teeth last night, and nobody in the mainstream press is calling him on it. In the past he’s said on a number of occasions that if you have health insurance and you like your current coverage, you can keep it. Then last week the content of the bill that’s in the House got out, showing that if you change jobs or your employer decides to stop providing group health insurance, or even if the coverage changes, you’ll be mandated by law to buy into the single-payer system he’s trying to ramrod through. But then in last night’s opening comments, he phrased things a little differently, trying to make it sound like what he said before, but not so far from the truth;
If you have health insurance, the reform we’re proposing will provide you with more security and more stability.
It will keep government out of health care decisions, giving you the option to keep your insurance if you’re happy with it. It’ll prevent insurance companies from dropping your coverage if you get too sick. It will give you the security of knowing that if you lose your job, if you move, or if you change your job, you’ll still be able to have coverage.
So now it sounds the same as what he’s said before, using similar terms, but adding others to change the meaning completely. How’s that for ‘honesty’ and ‘transparency’.
Then later, when answering a question from a reporter, he said the following, which totally contradicts what he said earlier about keeping insurance that you’ve already got;
I want to cover everybody. Now, the truth is that unless you have a — what’s called a single-payer system, in which everybody’s automatically covered, then you’re probably not going to reach every single individual, because there’s always going to be somebody out there who thinks they’re indestructible and doesn’t want to get health care, doesn’t bother getting health care, and then, unfortunately, when they get hit by a bus, end up in the emergency room and the rest of us have to pay for it…
… So the plan that has been — that I’ve put forward and that — what we’re seeing in Congress would cover, the estimates are, at least 97 to 98 percent of Americans. There might still be people left out there who, even though there’s an individual mandate, even though they are required to purchase health insurance, might still not get it, or despite a lot of subsidies, are still in such dire straits that it’s still hard for them to afford it…
So the plan is to get everybody on the single-payer system. And not just get them on it, mandate it. Oh and of course, you’d charge them for it.
But the biggest deception in the whole thing is how the thing is going to be funded. He talked about how costs are going up and coverage is going down and thousands of people are losing their health coverage every day and 47 million people have no coverage at all… But a recurring theme was that he’ll be able to pay for it through creating and enforcing new efficiencies in the system and using technology in new ways to eliminate duplicated services… I call BS on that. Since when has anything overseen by the federal government been described (accurately) as efficient? There is just no way that you’re going to keep providing the same level of care to more people and have it cost the same or less than it does now. But that’s what he’s saying he can do. And I say he’s full of it.
The only way he’s going to be able to pull that off is if the ‘efficiencies’ he’s talking about involve rationing care and allowing his proposed “Health Advisory Boards” to dole out treatment only to those the board deems worthy. Let’s say you’re in your late 60′s and you’re diagnosed with cancer. Your doctor runs your paperwork through the Health Advisory Board and they look at your life history and your family history, taking note that you’ve lived a full life, and that people in your family don’t typically live beyond their 70′s. Is it really a wise expenditure of precious health care resources to attack your cancer aggressively if it’s only going to extend your life a few more years, when you’re sure to die from something else? Think of all the children that could be helped with that money!
And what of people like Sarah Palin who find out early in a pregnancy that their child has Down’s Syndrome or a heart condition or some other malady that will likely require extended medical care throughout life. “Wouldn’t it just be easier to abort now? What kind of quality of life would you be giving your child?” Of course, that abortion would only be a proposed option at first, but how long until that Health Advisory Board is granted the power to mandate that abortion? It’d only be a matter of time.
The thing is, I don’t believe most people see the need for the wholesale overhaul of the health care system as it’s being proposed by Obama and the Democrat leadership in the House & Senate. Sure, there are shortfalls in the system, but it’s nowhere near as bad as they say it is. And the cure they propose would surely be worse than the disease; that has been shown to be fact, and not just partisan propaganda. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says that the proposed health care reform will raise costs and increase the deficit by $240 billion in the first ten years.
As I see it, there are two primary problems with the health care system in this country and its rising costs; that people who are insured are insulated from the actual cost of their care, and doctors spend too much time in CYA mode, making sure they don’t get sued. People pay $x for their health insurance plus their deductible and co-payment for office visits, so it matters little to them if they visit the doctor once a year or 30 times a year. If their kid has the sniffles, off they go to the doctor where the doctor runs several tests to rule out one dread disease or another, and before you know it, diagnosing Junior’s sniffles just cost $500 or more. But mom’s insurance covers it, and she’s out her $15 office visit co-payment plus maybe a percentage of the total for her deductible, but it’s far less than the $500. But if mom had to pay for all that herself, she might think twice about going to the office, and see if Junior gets over it on his own. And if there were some meaningful tort reform, the doctors could spend a little more time using the common sense that God gave them instead of ordering superfluous tests and expensive drugs to treat common maladies that the human body is perfectly capable of surviving with no medical intervention.
No, I don’t think that President Obama can pull this off. I don’t think he garners enough of the respect of the House & Senate Democrats and their leadership to get everything he wants in this bill, nor to even get it passed. And the push to get it passed by August is just ridiculous. He hasn’t even read or apparently been briefed on the current bill — he’s admitted as much himself — nor have many of those who are voting on it. Our senior Senator from South Dakota has already said he plans to vote for it; has he read it? I would bet a pile of money he has not, and he really doesn’t care what kind of fallout he gets from signing it either, because he’s got five years left of his term, and chances are he’ll retire after that.
If I’m wrong and this travesty of a bill does pass and become our new way of doing health care in the US, we will have change a-plenty, but not the kind of change any of us want.