Wednesday, September 9, 2009

21 Not So Little Lies About "ObamaCare"

21 Not So Little Lies About "ObamaCare"

Wednesday, September 09, 2009 RME KRNL – Town Hall Blog

First, let's be clear, there is as yet no one, single ObamaCare "plan" for us to consider or discuss. Instead, there is HR 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, the bill narrowly passed by the House of Representatives; there is another version, The Affordable Health Choices Act, reported out of the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee; and there are at least three other versions of some kind of health care and/or health insurance reform legislation, in various stages of development, discussion, debate and deliberation currently being circulated around the Congress.

So, what you have heard referred to as "ObamaCare" (or health care reform, subsequently changed by Team Obama to health insurance reform and maybe by now "Teddy KennedyCare") by the president who says we are in still another emergency and must once again hurry up and act, by most (but not all, by a long shot) Democrats who support it, by Republicans who almost unanimously object to it, and by angry town hallers who have heaped questions about it on their hapless, and sometimes hypocritical and hubristic, congressional representatives (at least the 1/3 who deigned to even meet with their constituents during the August congressional recess) is, at this point, some general themes and claims of what Obama and the Democrat Congress say should or should not be included.

(Maybe -- hopefully -- Obama will put a finer point on exactly what he thinks it should consist of (as he should have done when debate about it first started) when he addresses the specially convened for that purpose and TV prime-time (again) Joint Session of Congress on this Wednesday evening, September 9th.)

But, while we await that, yet another "historic" address by the Silver Tongued One, let's look at some of those claims and themes.

1. Cutting $500 billion from Medicare will not hurt care or cut benefits for seniors.
This claim by Democrats, in addition to being another socialist redistributionist example of robbing Peter to pay Paul, just flies in the face of logic. How can you take that much money from a system which works pretty well but which almost everyone says is already going broke, which is already covering more and more seniors daily, and say that will not result in less money to provide benefits to more seniors, which of course must diminish the amount and quality of care provided to all who are in the program? That is, unless the Democrats have just figured out how to squeeze water from rocks and they're just not telling the rest of us.

2. Spending $1 to $1.6 trillion -- maybe even $2 trillion -- will save money.
How many of you, in gong over your own personal or family checkbooks or running your own small businesses, actually save money by spending money? The closest you can come to that, in running your business, for example, is to make a capital investment (spend) on new equipment, technologies, etc., which will increase your production capacity and therefore enhance your bottom line (saving you money by "paying for itself" over time). Otherwise, you're like my significant other, who will tell me with glee how much she "saved" by shopping a 60% sale at which she bought some stuff she didn't really need -- but it was such a good price! -- and who fails (more likely just flat refuses) to see my point when I tell her how she could have saved 100%.

3. Spending $1 to $1.6 trillion -- maybe even $2 trillion -- will not increase the deficit.
I'm sorry, but at heart I'm just a simple Southern boy with a non-Ivy League education and, to me, debt is debt, whether you call it something fancier sounding, like a deficit, or not. To my somewhat unsophisticated view, deficit is just another way of saying longer term, and usually much larger -- and with Obama and this Congress, scary larger -- debt. And you don't reduce debt by spending still more, especially when the debt on the debt (the interest) is a pretty big debt all on its own. And if any of you Democrats know how to spend that much and not increase the deficit, I wish you would help me to pay down my credit card balance 'cause it seems to me that the more I charge on it, the more the credit card company tells me I'm in debt to them.

4. If you like your plan, you can keep it.
Except that within a few years of any Democrat version of ObamaCare being in effect, every insurance plan design for everyone will be dictated by the federal government design requirements, so you may not want to keep any of the plans which are available by then.

5. You can buy any insurance plan from any insurer you want.
Except that you can only buy the government designed, government approved plans. That's like saying you can buy any car you want, but the auto manufacturers all have the same designs and models and can only build and sell those models.

6. This is not a government takeover of the health care sector.
Uh-huh, like firing GM's CEO and giving more than half interest in the bankrupted company to the union which ran it into the ground in the first place was not a takeover, or refusing to let banks which were ready to repay their government loans get out from under government control by repaying them was not sustaining a takeover, i.e., exerting control. Sure. You betcha.

7. There will not be any rationing.
Let's see, our health care system is too expensive and is "broken," we need to take action for a massive overhaul immediately, we need to add 47 million uninsured and underinsured people to the system, no one has talked about how many more doctors and nurses will be needed because of that increase in people covered, much less how we're going to produce those additional doctors and nurses at all, or by when, much less in a timely manner, and there won't be any need to ration health care? Hello? Hmmm, more people added to the rolls and provided health care, plus not adding more doctors or nurses to provide that health care, equals providing more with either less or at least the same resources -- which means rationing. Or, let's put it this way, you and two other people are trekking across the desert and each of you has a half canteen of water. What do you do to ensure you have enough water to last until you get to the next oasis? Right, you ration the resources you have among all those who need it.

8. Campaign promises were explicitly made by the president that he would not cut any deals with “the drug companies.”
Yet he did exactly that in closed door, back room deals in return for Big Pharma spending millions in ads to prop up the sagging ObamaCare "plan" over the summer.

9. Abortion is not a covered benefit.
Democrats say this, despite the fact that the Democratic House pro-life leaders admit that it covers abortion, more than 20 Democrats have told their leadership in writing that they will not vote for any bill that covers abortion, and Republican amendments specifically prohibiting abortion being a covered benefit have been summarily dismissed and denied by Democrat congressional leadership. If, as claimed, it's not intended to be a covered benefit anyway, why not add an amendment specifically saying so?

10. Seniors will not be steered in the direction of dying to save money.
But most of the public knows that the most expense in health care is in the last six months of life, logically making seniors think Obama’s promises sound hollow because, as it turns out, and not surprisingly, they do not want the government making the decision about when that last six months starts, much less made by some cost-saving bureaucrat deciding who should start that last six months by deciding who does or does not get needed health care. So, no "death panels" per se, folks. Just a distant, federal government bureaucracy which will "cost-manage" to the same result.

11. The president is against a single payer system and ending employer provided health care.
So, all those videos of the president saying that he is for a single payer system and for ending employer provided health care, both as a candidate and as president are -- what? Just “misleading”?

12. Your employer may decide to put you in a government designed plan.
Because, that way, your employer will be taxed less than it costs to give you your insurance. Your employer will save money by putting you in the government-run Health Information Exchange -- but then you may be effectively "locked in" and can never leave!

13. The legislation's purpose is to insure the uninsured and accomplish “insurance reform.”
So what openly started out as the massively needed massive overhaul of our entire "broken" health CARE system later changed to only health INSURANCE reform and is just to ensure that the uninsured are insured and to only ensure "insurance reform" now? Uhhhhh-huh. What's that Will Shakespeare once said? Oh, yeah. "A federal government control power grab by any other name would smell as sweet." Or something like that.

14. President Obama promised no mandates in his health plan.
But current versions have an individual mandate (which requires you to get health insurance whether you want it or not) and an employer mandate (which requires your employer to provide you coverage whether he or she wants to or not, or whether you would rather get more pay instead).

15. Families earning less than $250,000 will not see their taxes increase.
But if you don't buy health insurance and you earn more than $19,000 a year, you will be taxed 2.5 percent of your total income. And the no tax increase pledge for families earning $250,000 or less does not apply, of course, to ObamaCare.

16. There won't be any waiting lines.
First, there are waiting lines now. Go to almost any hospital ER, especially on a weekend, and see how quickly you are seen, unless you are bleeding all over the floor or have severe chest pains. But an additional 47 million will be added to the “free” health care system (which more people will use more "freely" because, you know, it's "free"), yet you won't find yourself waiting to see a doctor? Oh, please!

17. Obama says you can keep your own physician.
However, if a physician opts not to sign on to a government-run option and the government-run plan is what you're stuck with, you will lose your doctor. It's as simple as that. And recent polls show that a majority of doctors say they will not accept government plan patients.

18. There is no specific language in any of the current bills specifically prohibiting covering illegal immigrants.Yet the president keeps talking about providing coverage for the 47 million uninsured, a figure which, although grossly inaccurate in and of itself, for one thing because it includes about 10 million LEGAL immigrants here on visas, etc., does also include millions of ILLEGAL immigrants. Again, similar to Republican amendments specifically prohibiting abortion coverage, amendments specifically excluding illegal immigrants and offered by Republicans have been steadfastly rebuffed by the Democrat congressional leadership. Some Democrats flatly deny that ObamaCare will cover illegal immigrants but, if that is really so, why not put expressly prohibitive language in the legislation saying so?

19. Those who oppose Obama’s reform belong to the Republican "Party of No," are for the status quo, favor various special interest groups, and don't have anything else to offer.
However, Republicans have put forward at least FOUR major, much cheaper, less intrusive and less complicated proposals to lower the cost of health care, only to be actively ignored by the Democrat leadership, including President Obama, and by the so-called national “news” media.

20. Congressional Democrats will have the same option to use ObamaCare that their constituents will have.
This is just disingenuous, which is a nice word for not telling the whole truth. Some variation of this response is normally given by Democrat representatives when confronted at town hall meetings by angry constituents wanting to know that if what their Democrat representatives are proposing with ObamaCare is so good and necessary, will those same representatives commit to changing to ObamaCare from the cadillac, five-star health plan they now have, usually the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) [which is a system of "managed competition" through which employee health benefits are provided to full-time permanent civilian employees and qualified retirees of the US Government and under which the employer (that would be the US government, with the use of your tax dollars) pays an amount equal to 72 percent of the average plan premium for self-only or family coverage (not to exceed 75 percent of the premium for the selected plan), and the employee (that would be the member of Congress) pays the rest, i.e., 25 to 28 percent]. Not bad, huh? But that response purposefully begs the question anyway. Of course, a member of Congress could select ObamaCare, in whatever form, if any at all, that it finally takes. But that's far different from committing to doing that, instead of keeping the gold-plated, mostly government funded plan you already have and can even keep after you retire -- and which is not even available to most of your constituents (plus continuing to receive the highest annual salary you received, for life).

21. Tort reform and consumer-patients being able to "shop" for health care insurance across state lines would do more, and more quickly, than anything else to lower health care and health insurance costs.
But, while being able to shop for health insurance like we can now do for other types of insurance may make it into even some Democrat versions of the health care/insurance reform legislation, it's highly doubtful tort reform to reduce frivolous or exorbitant doctor and/or hospital medical malpractice law suits will. As Democrat Howard Dean, former DNC Chairman, recently admitted at a town hall meeting: "When you're trying to change so much about something, you're going to make enemies and you have to be careful about how many enemies you make, or you won't get anything done, and the trial lawyers are a (special interest) group which Democrats just don't want to take on." Or words to that effect.

Well, Howie, you finally said something for a change that I think was not only completely honest but with which I totally agree -- trial lawyers are a mainstay constituency of the Democrat Party which no Democrats want to "take on" -- not even to help all those un- and under-insured folks suffering along with our "broken" health care system out there.

It's a shame, really. Democrats, maybe even with a little "bipartisan" help (and therefore political "cover") from Republicans, could do so much to help so many if they just really meant what they said, instead of actually trying to do something totally different. It's just that Democrats want to use healthscare for a huge government power grab more than they really want to do anything else.

The car that is our health care/insurance system is the best in the world but is too expensive to run now and does need some fine tuning. But the Democrats want to either completely overhaul it or throw it on the junk heap and replace it with a whole new model which may but probably won't work any better, or maybe not as well. That's like getting a small hole in your best-fittin' blue jeans and just throwing them away and getting a new pair, instead of neatly just patching that hole. Wasteful, rash and foolish.

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