Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Blogging, Ethics, History, Politics, health care reform — Rick Moran @ 11:25 am

Greg Sargent touting President Obama’s speech in Philly as he tries to “close the sale” on health care reform:

One striking thing about the speech Obama just gave at the big health care rally in Pennsylvania is how many times he stressed that if reform passes, voters will begin enjoying the benefits this year.

Though he didn’t say it directly, it’s an obvious effort to put some spine in wavering Congressional Dems by urging them to understand that they’ll have something to run on this year if they vote for reform. Here’s the key part:

Within the first year of signing health care reform, thousands of uninsured Americans with preexisting conditions would suddenly be able to purchase health insurance for the very first time in their lives.

This year, insurance companies will be banned forever from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions.

This year, they will be banned from dropping your coverage when you get sick. And they will no longer able to arbitrarily and massively hike your premiums. Those practices will end.

If this reform becomes law, all the new insurance plans will be required to offer free preventive care to customers starting this year. Free checkups so we can catch preventable diseases.

Starting this year, there will be no more lifetime restricive annual limits on the amount of care you can receive from your insurance companies…

It would change fast: Insurance companies would finally be held accountable to the American people

Before examining the reality, let’s look at the rhetoric. Is it true that those with pre-existing conditions will be able to purchase health insurance “for the very first time in their lives?” Only if the condition existed for their entire lives or came upon them in adolescence before they had the ability to buy insurance. In fact, most pre-existing conditions occur after someone enters adulthood which means the idea that they never had the opportunity to purchase insurance is a crock.

And how about that “free” preventive care? And you wonder why we’re running a $1.4 trillion deficit? Of course, there is nothing “free” about nationalizing insurance or ordering insurance companies to offer a specific coverage. The bottom line is that those who don’t use the health care system will be paying for those who do. I predict this crazy idea hitting the auto insurance industry soon, where those with multiple drunk driving convictions demand the same rate of insurance and coverage as a teetotaler.

It would be more accurate to say that the preventive care coverage is mandated as part of the insurance plan that companies must offer. It is hardly “free” since we’re all paying for it. In short, the customer is paying for preventive care whether he wants to or not. We get a lot of this already from state insurance boards who demand insurance companies cover many procedures the overwhelming majority of policy holders will never use.

But what is the reality of all those goodies we are going to get the first year of Obamacare? An interesting development occurs when sick people pay exactly the same amount for insurance as healthy people; “insurance” is no longer insurance and becomes a government entitlement whose management and cost is farmed out to private industry.

For some reason, insurance companies have an aversion to going bankrupt. Don’t ask me why. They must be old fashioned or something to believe that they aren’t in business to get Democrats re-elected but rather to make a little money for their shareholders. Since that won’t be possible even in the first year under Obamacare, look for insurance companies to be screaming for rate increases in everybody’s premiums which will cause enough heart attacks in customers that Obama will be forced to activate the Death Panels 3 years early just to handle drain on health care resources.

This entire debate has taken a topsy-turvy turn. I’ve got history on my side when I say what Matt Welch says here:

The Senate promised more than $300 billion in such cuts. Furthermore, the CBO scores bills in 10-year windows. So the Senate delayed more than 99 percent of the reform package’s spending until 2014, thus allowing the decade of 2010–2019 to clock in under the magic $1 trillion number. Add to all that chicanery the fact that every major health care entitlement expansion in U.S. history has vastly exceeded initial cost projections, and you have ample reasons for why Americans believed, by a margin of more than 3 to 1, that health care reform would exacerbate rather than improve the deficit.

It should be up to the proponents of health care reform to prove that their schemes will not meet the fate of past entitlements - every single one of them - that exceeded spending projections by laughable margins.

And when I say laughable, I mean real loony toons, cross-eyed Mary, monkey wanking, impossibly incorrect margins:

Congress has a long history of dramatically underestimating Medicare costs. “At its start, in 1966, Medicare cost $3 billion,” wrote Steven Hayward and Erik Peterson in a 1993 Reason article. “The House Ways and Means Committee estimated that Medicare would cost only about $12 billion by 1990 (a figure that included an allowance for inflation). This was supposedly a ‘conservative’ estimate. But in 1990 Medicare actually cost $107 billion.”

Why, I say to reform advocates with as much sincerity and passion as I can muster, should things be different this time? What evidence do you have that history won’t repeat itself and we will be embarking on an insane fiscal course that will lead to the actual ruin of the United States? The burden of proof, as I said is on you. History has taken the measure of other entitlements and shown projections of costs to be ludicrous and silly.

With Democrats poised to prevent their labor allies from paying a tax for their gold plated health care plans, their extraordinary nebulous disingenuousness on “waste and fraud” savings to be found in Medicare, and the non-existent “doc fix” that is supposed to save $500 billion over 10 years - how in God’s name can you stand in front of the American people and make a case that this reform bill won’t add to an already out of sight deficit?

You can’t, which means you are either deluding yourselves or Obama and the Democrats are lying outright.

Welch thinks its the latter:

Obama’s dishonesty, by contrast, seems to spring from a different place. As a man who has spent most of his career wowing people with his words and very little of it converting those words into deeds, he has an activist’s gap between rhetoric and reality and a radio broadcaster’s promiscuous carelessness with cutting rhetorical corners. Sure, it’s not technically true that the administration’s day-one lobbying reforms served “to get rid of the influence of…special interests,” as he claimed in a January radio address (to the contrary: federal lobbying in 2009 set an all-time record), but it’s easy to imagine that the president feels his combination of tighter employment restrictions for ex-lobbyists and stricter disclosure requirements for current ones is, in the context of the Manichean fight between “the people” and “special interests,” good enough for government work. The perfect shouldn’t be the enemy of the good, and the critics who complain are just opportunistic literalists grasping for any club to beat back the march of progress. No need to give them an inch.

But there’s a less charitable explanation too. During the president’s nonstop gabfests before, during, and after the State of the Union speech, he kept repeating the fiction that the medical industry’s “special interests” were significantly to blame for scotching his health care legislation. In fact, the administration and Congress negotiated with those interests every step of the way, receiving crucial buy-in and millions in campaign contributions. Pro-reform lobbyists outspent anti-reform lobbyists on advertising by a factor of 5 to 1. There’s a three-letter word for blaming the defeat of his bill on health care lobbyists, and it rhymes with pie.

In his speech yesterday, Obama picked a familiar target; insurance companies who he thinks the government should hold accountable to their customers:

President Obama struck a populist tone, setting up the health insurance industry as his main target.

“We can’t have a system that works better for the insurance companies than it does for the American people,” he said.

Citing big rate increases for buyers of individual insurance policies in some states — 40 percent, 60 percent, even 100 percent — Mr. Obama sought to focus attention on provisions in the legislation that he said would protect consumers from the worst excesses of insurers, give people more choice among insurance policies, insure most people who do not have coverage, and put downward pressure on health care costs.

Boiling down his proposal to a few sentences, Mr. Obama asked, “How many people would like a proposal that holds insurance companies more accountable? How many people would like to give Americans the same insurance choices that members of Congress get? And how many would like a proposal that brings down costs for everyone?

Obama missed his calling. He should have been an insurance company Customer Service Rep.

Holding insurance companies more accountable might make people feel better when Obama sticks it to them but how does it improve the situation if it drives them out of the business of insuring all but the wealthy in 5 years? Also, the idea that Joe Blow will get the same health care coverage as a Member of Congress is snicker-worthy. If that were true, Members of Congress would be opting in, not passing laws to exclude themselves from the plan. And only a real Pollyanna - or the village idiot - believes that this reform package will “bring costs down for everyone.”

I would like to give Democrats the benefit of the doubt and say that they are actually kidding themselves about what reform will actually do when the rubber meets the road and the plan is being enacted. But I can’t. They know there are horrendous, unsolvable problems, with this bill. They know their cost cutting provisions are bullsh*t. They know it will substantially increase the deficit. They know it will mean less health care for most of us. They know it will mean less innovation in the pharma, bio tech, and other industries. They know it won’t put any downward pressure on the costs of health care. And they know that this massive thrust to control an unbelievable 1/6 of the economy - never before seen in peacetime - is beyond a riverboat gamble that it will work and enters the realm of a wing and a prayer.

They can’t actually believe what they are saying about it, can they? Of course not.

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