"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt


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Monday, August 17, 2009

Obama's Dropping of Public Option is Simply a Balloon


I'm still struggling through the Senate HELP Bill, and will get up pt. 2 of my post soon. The Gateway aspect of the bill is complicated and tough to both understand and to envision the likely consequences. I'm still working on it, though.

In the mean time, Obama is reportedly backing away from the public option he wedded to the banner of health care reform. Via Philip Elliot at the AP: "President Barack Obama is willing to embrace insurance cooperatives over a government-run plan as the White House faces mounting opposition to its broad overhaul of the nation's health care system.

"Bowing to Republican pressure and offering political cover to fiscally conservative Democrats, Obama's administration signaled on Sunday that it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance. The shift leaves open a chance for compromise with Republicans that probably would enrage Obama's liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority.

"Officials from both political parties are looking for concessions while Congress is on an August recess. Facing tough audiences, lawmakers and the White House are looking for a way to cover the nation's almost 50 million uninsured while maintaining political standing."

Notice again the "50 million uninsured" number. Still reporting the lie... Once again a more accurate number of people who are not insured and do not qualify for existing government programs is between 16 and 8.2 million. Not 50 million.

This is neither a victory for opponents, nor a surrender from that administration. Obama's simply sending out feelers to see what he can get away with. Tied to a promise of health care reform, Obama needs to pass something with that label attached. All he is likely doing is weighing the votes gained in Congress with the backlash from the Left and seeing if it's politically feasible. Do not get your hopes up yet. Michelle Malkin covers this in further detail and with more links.

The public option in any form is a Trojan horse for single-payer health care. Private insurers cannot compete with an entity supported by tax dollars and not burdened with the need for profits. The poor quality of such health care and the deterioration of the system are both demonstrable inevitabilities. Yet, federal oversight of such co-ops would still create a federally mandated health-ration system. If an entity such as Health Benefits Advisory Committee (in the HR 3200 bill) or the Medical Advisory Council (in the Senate HELP Committee's bill) regulates coverage, we will have an inefficient, lobbying-for-benefits health care system. It will be worse then it is now and actual effective reform will be that much harder to bring about. It could also very well set the stage for an inclusion of a public option-- after over-regulation fails.

Canada is already talking about opening up their system to private insurers. From a Canadian Press article by Jennifer Graham: "The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country's health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.

"Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country - who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting - recognize that changes must be made.

"'We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize,' Doing said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"'We know that there must be change,' she said. 'We're all running flat out, we're all just trying to stay ahead of the immediate day-to-day demands.'

"The pitch for change at the conference is to start with a presentation from Dr. Robert Ouellet, the current president of the CMA, who has said there's a critical need to make Canada's health-care system patient-centred. He will present details from his fact-finding trip to Europe in January, where he met with health groups in England, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands and France.

"His thoughts on the issue are already clear. Ouellet has been saying since his return that 'a health-care revolution has passed us by,' that it's possible to make wait lists disappear while maintaining universal coverage and 'that competition should be welcomed, not feared.'

"In other words, Ouellet believes there could be a role for private health-care delivery within the public system."

Canada acknowledges that their system "is imploding." Maybe we need to get our heads of the sand, and look around the world without rose-tinted glasses.

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