Dear Leader wrote an op-ed in this Sunday's New York Times on health care reform. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/16/opinion/16obama.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1 As usual, he nails the great rhetoric, but fails on the facts. Let's break it down, shall we?
The first whopper is, yet again, the number of uninsured. He uses the number 47 million Americans for this piece. Let's break it down. First of all, the real number of uninsured Americans is roughly 35 million. So how does he come up with the number 47? Well, that includes the roughly 10 million illegal immigrants that are living in the country today. Due to their illegal status, they a) do not count as Americans and b) should not be eligible for national healthcare. Aside from about 8 million legitimately uninsured, the rest of the 47 million number is made up of people who can afford insurance but opt out (the 'invincibles', usually between 18-34 yrs old who are in great health and feel insurance is an unneccesary expense), people who are eligible for governement healthcare but choose not to enroll for various reasons. So, basically, this healthcare overhaul is for about 3% of Americans. Oh, and 10 million illegals.http://fyiblog.wordpress.com/2007/07/16/about-those-45-million-uninsured-americans/
He states that the reform will bring skyrocketing costs under control. How, exactly, when the cheapest proposal so far is over $1 trillion? He also states that the reform will bring down senior's prescription drug prices. He's right on this one, sort of. According to the leaked emails on the White House's secret deal with PhRMA, seniors will save a whopping 2% on their drugs. But, when you combine that with another portion of the deal which keeps some Part B drugs from moving to Part D, where they would be much, much cheaper, that 2% savings pretty much disappears. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/13/internal-memo-confirms-bi_n_258285.html
He discusses having insurance that is portable and will stay with you no matter if you change jobs, lose your job, or move out of state. I'm all for that, for sure. It would increase competition and thus, true to free-market principles, would reduce costs. However, I think that goal would be easier to achieve with reglation, not by creating a cumbersome public option that will eventually drive the private sector out of business.
I also agree with the need for Medicare/Medicaid overhaul. The first order of business? Removing illegals from the rolls. After that, streamlining through regulation, using the technological assets at our fingertips to make both entitlements leaner and more efficient should definitely be undertaken. But not by creating a whole new entitlement. Fix what is broken, don't create a new mess.
I think he's right, too, that the insurance companies discriminating due to pre-existing conditions is bad, bad, bad. But, again, the clear answer for this is regulation, not creating a new bureaucracy.
He says that "Almost everyone knows that we must start holding insurance companies accountable and give Americans a greater sense of stability and security when it comes to their health care." Absolutely, Mr. President. And that is done through regulation, not by governement takeover of (another) entire industry.
He also remarks "But for all the scare tactics out there, what’s truly scary — truly risky — is the prospect of doing nothing." Interesting. According to a new Rasmussen poll, 54% of Americans believe that passing NO reform is better than the current Congressional offering. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/august_2009/54_say_passing_no_healthcare_reform_better_than_passing_congressional_plan
He then states: "If we maintain the status quo, we will continue to see 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance every day." Um, how many of those Americans have lost their insurance due to losing their jobs because of the 9.4% unemployment rate we have enjoyed under his watch?
He also maintains that this is not a political debate. What? Are you kidding? Truly, that doesn't even deserve an answer, it's so snort-worthy.
I suppose it wasn't a political decision to ignore the desperate need for tort reform? If you look at this chart, you will see that he has 43 million reasons to ignore tort reform: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_2k22z8vH128/SntzGdyGOBI/AAAAAAAAGjI/JL-65mp79kk/s1600-h/lawyers.jpg
In closing, most of the things he said needed to be done in this article can be done with regulation. So why isn't that what we're discussing? Why are they trying to force a whole new entitlement program on us? Simple.
Power and control.
It is the foot in the door. As Lenin once said, "Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state." Taking over the health care industry would firmly put the federal government in control of 1/6th of our economy. Add that to their takeover of the car industry, the banking industry and their grab at the energy industry, and there is a very scary picture emerging.
Mr. Obama is a very persuasive man, until one looks at the facts. Then his straw man arguments fall apart.
In my opinion, this op-ed is nothing BUT straw men.