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Thursday, September 10, 2009

The average persons guide to Obama-Care and the ongoing debate

If you came away more confused after last evening's Barack Obama HealthCare sales pitch, well - you are not alone. Barack Obama spent most of America's valuable time attacking Republicans and talk show hosts over what he deemed the "spreading of misinformation". This in itself is a propaganda tactic that even Joseph Goebbels would be proud of - since most of the anarchy and confusion about Obama's plan seems to be a result of his constant change in position as he floats new trial balloons every day. The real facts about Obama-Care, or socialized medicine are readily available since the failed models that currently exist in Canada and Europe are readily available for analysis.
Let's go through some basic Q&A:
Q: Obama says, we won't lose our doctor if we go with his new plan. What about this?
A: We don't know if that's true whatsoever. But what we do know is that doctors participate in plans based on providers offered through your company's benefit plans, and if Obama's plan passes, many companies will no longer offer the planned health insurance benefits for which your doctor is aligned with.
Q: Why would companies no longer offer health insurance benefits to employees if Obama's plan passes?
A: It's going to be considerably cheaper for companies to pay an 8% tax or penalty to the Government run bureaucracy instead of offering you the costly benefit of health insurance. It gets the monkey off your company's back and the taxpayer is stuck with the bill. Think of how happy your company would be if didn't have to get involved in benefit administration, enrollment, etc. Nevermind, the cost savings.
Q: Obama says that only premium plans will be affected and there won't be any loss of benefits, is this true?
A: Obama is being disingenuous about this because he's using a very basic health insurance plan that have few options as a benchmark. Most Americans have good health insurance plans through their employers - dental, pharmacy, basic medical, and preventive care. Calling a plan a premium plan is puzzling rhetoric. I will bet anyone that the Government run plan won't be as generous as the private sector choice that you get through your company. Today, people actually choose to work for companies sometimes based on the Health Insurance options. This competition makes companies more competitive or attractive to candidates. That would disappear overnight if Obama's plan passes.
Q: What about Obama's claim about 78 million uninsured?
A: First of all, the numbers Obama uses change weekly. The numbers are all over the place and are being used to insight fear and trepidation. There are a lot of reasons why some people are uninsured. Many are students (but covered by parents), many are unemployed or between jobs, and many are simply not interested in paying for health insurance - these are mainly recent high school and college kids, that Obama's people are figuring in as "uninsured". Hell, I didn't want health insurance when I started my first job either. I wanted the cash. So the numbers game is a shell game at best. Let's not forget the illegal immigrants that are thrown in to create this figure.
Q: What about emergencies? If these people don't have health care are they turned away?
A: The United States mandates that no one can be turned away by a hospital for critical care. The taxpayers fit the bill for the uninsured, and that isn't likely to change. Of course, there is tremendous abuse in the system. Walk into any ER and you can see it first hand. I did when I worked at a hospital, and when I worked as an EMT.
Q: Why is Obama hell-bent on socialized medicine?
A: The answer goes much deeper into political philosophy understanding how Obama thinks.
Barack Obama is a die hard liberal who believes in the widespread expansion of Government on all levels. And he doesn't think much of capitalism. The driving force behind our economy is profit margins, competition, capitalism, etc, basic Adam Smith economics. Obama and his allies are no friends of the free market. By their own admission, their goal is to remake America, and since 1/6 of our economy is insurance related, that is a good place to start making changes to expand government. And its only the beginning.
Q: Wouldn't health insurance be more more efficient if the government ran it?
A: No. It wouldn't. Take for example, the Postal Service. Over the course of time, the Government has so mismanaged the postal service that it is now over 60 cents to send a basic letter. Just twenty years ago, it was half that cost. The letter still travels the same route, in the same bag, in the same vehicles, using the same envelopes, which use the same zip codes. Yet over twenty years, there is less efficiency at twice the cost.
Now think about any other Government run agency, from the Internal Revenue Service to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Happy with that service? Well most people aren't. Recently, cash for clunkers was a massive failure that cost the taxpayers millions.
Now take it a step further. Do you think getting an appointment with your primary care physician is hard now? What would happen if EVERYONE suddenly flooded the system because they "can". People dive on free stuff (and of course its not free, but that's another topic) and the lines will be like they are in other countries that have socialized medicine. Study England and Canada's healthcare system and talk to their residents before thinking how great an idea this is. Few fly to Canada for medical operations these days, do they?
Q: Didn't Obama say healthcare is a right?
A: Healthcare is NOT a right. Neither is food, property, transportation, beer, or anything else that is a commodity. Generally, rights are reserved for things like freedom of speech, press, assembly, etc. There is no right of material goods or services drawn up in the US Constitution. And thank God for that.
Q: Who would decide who gets what benefits in the case of aged or terminal care.
A: That would be someone who sits atop of the Government payroll in one of the new 56 bureaucracies. That is sort of a scary thought, isn't it?
Q: Obama says he's going to cut medicare but make up the costs through making efficiencies and cutting government waste and abuse.
A: No economist buys into this nonsense. Even people on the left turn and laugh into their sleeves. The fact is that if this were possible, it would have ordered back years ago. There is not 500 million is savings anywhere to be found anyway.
Q: Obama's plan is so great that even Congressman will give up their healthcare plans to be part of it, right?
A: No, this is such a great plan that Congress made themselves EXEMPT from having to participate in it. That alone speaks volumes.
Q: Where are the details of the plan?
A: Great question. The answer is that there are no specific details of the plan, nor has Congress worked out a way to cover the costs of the "plan". Yet there is a huge rush to pass "something" right away in order to show that we are "moving forward". Fooling with 1/6 of our economy like this without details is incredibly irresponsible way of doing business. Obama is interested in passing something right away because the more people learn everyday about socialized medicine, the fewer people support it.
Q: Don't you think something should be done? Premiums are up, costs are up, healthcare costs have skyrocketed? Isn't it ridiculous?
A: Absolutely, something should be done. But we are in a frantic state right now. Obama and his cohorts are yelling all or nothing. Conservatives are mounting a defense against socialism. The time for negotiation and reason or solving issues in a bipartisan matter has probably passed. When people attack each other with such vigor, its impossible for them to be rationale. Anger stories, tear-jerking stories, screaming from a podium, and putting stakes in the ground are just not helpful. Those taking advantage of our medical and legal system are praying nothing changes at all. Some make a killing on the misery of others. But little can be done when the battleground is laid out for Capitalism v Socialism. Pockets of agreements can't be found and no one will budge an inch. Perhaps too much is at state to budge an inch.
Q: Do you think something will pass?
A: It's hard to tell. I think the Democrats will probably get something passed but it won't address everything they want, but it will be enough for Republicans to use to campaign against. It's unlikely that the whole deal of socialized medicine would pass, the fragile economy cannot handle this kind of change quickly, and Democrats would be voted out in a landslide if they ever tried to ram through socialized medicine. The backlash would be tremendous. As it is, many of these Congresspeople will not be returning in the following term based on the anger of their constituents.
Q: What about the sad stories about people who can't get healthcare. Stories like the one's CBS runs every night in their end segment. Don't you care about them?
A: You know there will always be poor, homeless, sick, lame, and terminal people in the world. The Utopian concept that Government can solve all issues is false one. Trying isn't always best when the majority suffer to assist a minority population. If you care about your world, do your best to be YOUR best. This administration is miles for JFK's "As not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your Country." Now its about what can the Government can do for you. This is a huge shift in thinking. Oh and by the way, the media outlets like CBS to a tremendous disservice to the debate by tugging at American's heart strings every night by pushing for Obama's healthcare plan through fear mongering and sympathy. It's simple bias. They way you can tell is that there are never stories about people who like things they way they are, and their current healthcare choices. The media only presents one side, and that is the liberal side.
Q: How do we stop Obama and the Democrats from making a rash decision and voting something in just to vote something in?
A: Call your Congressman's office and tell them if they vote for socialized medicine that the opposition party (regardless of which one it is) will get your vote. Send letters, and attend Town Hall meetings. And tell your friends to do the same. Then have the courage to follow through if they fail you - meaning, vote them out.
Q: Why is Obama so forceful on this healthcare matter?
A: His reputation and legacy are on the line. Since he's become President nothing has gone right: he's increased the deficit, jobs have been lost and we are near double digit unemployment, spending has increased an unprecedented rate, and his stimulus plans have failed outright. The economy, the war, just about everything is a mess. Obama needs a win. If he loses this battle, he's pretty much done. He'll be a lame duck for the rest of his term.

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