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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Comments on Obama Health Care Speech

Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: President Obama, promoted his national public health care option to the American Medical Association. He was selling his position to the American people that a government plan which would compete with private insurers is "not your enemy; it is your friend." Text of Obama's Health Care Speech.

Some initial responses indicate that President Obama is rather naive in thinking he can persuade everyone about everything including the sight of hand of moving a government health care plan forward as just another option equal to private health care plans. We already have examples of government health care for veterans, retired military, the elderly over 65 and mandated care for anyone entering an Hospital Emergency Room for anything they need. And how is this working? Not very efficiently.

Health care analyst Michael D. Tanner on Cato@Liberty: responded:
In his speech to the American Medical Association today, President Obama repeatedly denied that he supports “socialized medicine” or “government-run” health care.

But what is important is not the terminology, but under the proposal supported by the president, government would control more and more of our health care decisions. Government would compel Americans to purchase health insurance, controlling its content, how much we pay, and the relationships between insurers, doctors, and patients. Government bureaucrats would determine whether Americans receive certain medical services.

There may be no better salesman than Barack Obama, but his product is deeply flawed. The so-called “Public Option,” or government-run plan, that President Obama supports would slowly but inexorably lead to the destruction of the private insurance market and the imposition of a government-controlled single-payer system.

But the problems with Obamacare go well beyond the Public Option, which the AMA opposes. The mandates on businesses and individuals, taxpayer subsidies, insurance regulation, and government interference in private medical decisions pose serious threats to American businesses, taxpayers, and most importantly patients.

That’s bad medicine, no matter what you call it.
Dr. Timothy Johnson, ABC News Medical Editor had a few terse comments:
Obama kept speaking about keeping what you have if you like it. "If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what."
Comment: What's the "reform" about simply allowing you to keep your present plan as is?

Obama commented on two reforms that almost everyone agrees are necessary: electronic medical records and prevention.
Comment: He ignored the fact that there is no evidence that prevention long term saves money -- e.g., we may get so good at it that everyone lives to 90 and gets Alzheimer's.

Obama's big pitch that a "Health Insurance Exchange" will be like the program for federal employees where they can choose from a list of insurance plans approved by the government -- and immediately said that "one of these options needs to be a public option that will give people a broader range of choices and inject competition into the health care market."
Comment: This is the big sticking point with Republicans and something the AMA said last week they were opposed to. However, the AMA has tried to back away from that stance a little bit and today there was moderate applause for this idea. He also threw another bone to this audience by saying the annual process for setting payments for doctors -- the Sustainable Growth Rate -- needs to be reformed.
More comments will be available tomorrow as people have more time to mull over the speech. Today's news was distracted by the events in Iran as its citizens protesting their election results. Tomorrow will ring more detailed review and analysis. But in summary remember that this speech was by a president who in his first 100 days has pushed through programs which have created the largest national debt in history. He does not know a think about health care. It is therefore questionable to trust our health care to Obama plan which points towards nationalized health care.

Tags: AMA, American Medical Association, Barack Obama, doctors, health care, health care plan, nationalized health care To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 9:30 PM - Post Link


Anonymous Walker said...

With so much discussion and forced adoption of electronic medical records, no one is discussing how these systems are suppose to communicate. That is an entirely new layer of taxpayer costs being ignored. In addition to Healthacre Insurance Exchanges, there are also Healthcare Information Exchanges that are essentially Clearinghouses for exchanging medical record information. I can't wait to see how all these systems will someday communicate.

Anonymous Irene May said...

The Sustainable Growth Rate...the more I hear the word Sustainable..the more I hate it. None of the social programs are sustainable. They spend more than they take in, and therefore are not sustainable. I we all gave every cent we earned, these social give aways would not be sustainable, and we wouldn't stand for it either!

Anonymous John Eck said...

Bureacracies are never efficient and the worst of all is the Federal Governments. If we want to fix health care, make it competitive and also create jobs in the USA by enacting the FairTax Plan.

It should be noted that only approx. 20% of doctors belong to the very liberal AMA. Obama was basically talking to his friends. Yet the media will try to give the impression that the AMA is the voice of "all" doctors.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to laugh at all these people that say government should stay out of healthcare, or socialism. Are these people ready to say no to there medicare at retirement? Or there social security benifits that have been held by the government (although used like a bank and not replenished). These are both examples of Socialism. Show me a person that will forgo there medicare and I will show you a liar.

Blogger Bill Smith said...

Anonymous makes a point and a challenge but hides as anonymous which suggests that the comment may have been a canned comments being posted by a roving "paid" individual via the Democratic Party. Reference prior post:

Regardless, it is true that senors participate in social security and at age 65 in medicare. It is indeed a form of socialism that should never have existed and is projecting to become a total failure. Run by the government, it is going broke.

And once the program was in place, seniors are now forced to use this system created by the government and can be threatened with reduced care at any time.

The statement "Show me a person that will forgo there medicare and I will show you a liar" is quite mean spirited. Research of the uninsured shows that there is a segments of people who are eligible for medicare and will not file for it because they do not wish to have anything to do with the government.

Also, many people, military for example, have no option but government health care. Congress and the DOD determined the program. However, civilians working for DOD agencies are / were paid money and allowed to pursue their own health care options.

Once a person has been forced to pay into a system and has no other option offered, then the individuals cannot be criticized for using their only option. That is one of the problem with socialized programs -- no free choice! They take your money via payroll deductions, force you to pay taxes on that money prior to the deduction and then you just hope adequate medical services will be available when you reach 65. And it is now clear that the medicare may not be funded in the future and care may be reduced.

Taxpayers have been paying taxed premiums for a government run "ponzi scheme." There is no need to expand the "ponzi scheme" and to force everyone into a single-payer health care system.

Reform of some aspects of expanding access to private insurance programs -- Maybe. But expansion of a nationalized health care system and a single-payer system -- NO!


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