This is from Obama’s press conference yesterday:
President Barack Obama on Tuesday squared off with the insurance lobby over industry charges that a government health plan he backs would dismantle the employer coverage Americans have relied on for a half-century and overtake the system….
“If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care … then why is it that the government, which they say can’t run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business?” Obama said in response to a question at a White House news conference.
“That’s not logical,” he scoffed, responding to an industry warning that government competition would destabilize the employer system that now covers more than 160 million people.
As usual when Obama has to respond to a serious criticism, he acts like a snarky left-wing blogger rather than a serious adult, throwing off a one-liner that seems to his die-hard supporters like a clever parody of Republican arguments but doesn’t stand up to even the most minimal of scrutiny.
Typically, it’s pointless to debate whether Obama is being astoundingly ignorant or deliberately mendacious; the point is that no sane person could defend his response. Daffyd offers a long list of screamingly obvious ways in which the private sector would be unable to compete with a government plan even though the government plan is inefficiently run, including the obvious-to-everyone-but-Obama fact that a profit-making enterprise has to make a profit, whereas a government agency or government-sponsored entity can afford to lose money pretty much indefinitely (Francis Cianfrocca points out to me that the proposed new healthcare GSE, which he refers to as the Consumer Health Management Corporation or “Charlie Mac,” would start with something on the order of $10 billion in capitalization, many multiples larger than the market cap of even large insurers, and with an endless credit line from Uncle Sam). There is even – you may know this, but presumably Obama does not – a whole body of antitrust law dedicated to preventing large companies in certain circumstances from driving competitors out of business by undercutting their prices to sell at a loss, then jacking prices up when the competition is dead and buried. Profit-making private entities don’t actually act like that very often, for obvious reasons: but governments can and do, at the taxpayer’s expense. As Phil Klein notes, one of the main arguments by supporters of the government plan is that it will use its vast size to obtain cost savings at the expense of health care providers (doctors, hospitals, drug companies, all of which are presumed to continue providing the same level of goods and services without regard to profit motive), cost savings that far smaller private insurers could not obtain. That’s an argument Obama himself has made repeatedly, yet he now professes ignorance of it. Because, of course, he retains at all times the confidence that nobody will ever call him on this sort of thing.
I put in that last bit of emphasis. The link with the 'screamingly obvious' list of ways is too good not to post explicitly:
- By jacking up taxes, administrative fees, and punishing profit on private insurance — but not government-run health care.
- By running the government health care at a loss, forcing taxpayers to pick up the difference.
- By regulating private insurers out of the market.
- By adding so much red tape to private insurance plans that medical-care approval takes too long.
- By extorting employers to dump their private plans in favor of the government plan, upon threat of fines, audits, and denial of necessary licenses.
- By forcing doctors to charge private insurance a premium, under threat of the feds cutting off or reducing Medicare payments if they don't.
- By seizing control of companies (surely the federal government would never do that!), dumping the private plan, and signing aboard the government plan.
- By enacting legislation giving unions veto power to block any private health-care plan.
- By removing a corporate CEO and installing an Obama crony in his place.
I'm guessing others could be found, too, but this is more than enough to cause people major concern. Obama is extremely smooth with the straw man argument, and this health care thing is no exception. If you find yourself watching the Obama worship tonight on ABC, pay attention to how it is portrayed. I will bet you any amount of money it will be along the lines of:
2. of course we all know there's a whole lot wrong
3. if we don't fix what's wrong, disaster will occur
4. since I'm the only one who thinks something is wrong and wants to fix it, my plan must be the right one
This is, of course, ridiculous. No one is saying that nothing is wrong with our health care system. NO ONE. But, we have a whole lotta people (backed up by historical and contemporary examples all over the world) that prove beyond doubt that Obama's plan is most certainly NOT the right plan to fix health care. In fact, the GOP has come out with yet another alternative plan that would place a lot more emphasis on the free market, which always brings down cost and drives up quality (emphasis mine):
Anti-Obamacare legislators have moved beyond criticizing and offered the Health Care Freedom Act as an alternative to nationalized health care. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) spoke out today to announce the plan and react to President Obama’s Wednesday press conference. Like Obama’s plan, Sen. DeMint’s bill also aims to get all Americans health care coverage. But the conservative alternative does so by encouraging free market competition and using existing funds. Price argued that Obama was wrong to say the public option won't impact people's private health coverage: With tax subsidies for the government-sponsored plan, many employers and insurance companies may find it difficult to stay competitive. Some companies may drop their coverage and dump their employees onto the government plan.
Under the DeMint-Price bill, those who are satisfied with their insurance company can maintain their current coverage. Those whose employers don’t offer insurance or aren’t satisfied with their current coverage qualify for a $5,000 certificate to seek insurance on their own, from any state. DeMint pointed to the cost and ineffectiveness of existing government health care programs like Medicaid and Medicare. His bill reallocates money from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (currently a “Treasury slush fund,” according to the Senator).
Opponents of the bill say that the $5,000 is not nearly enough to cover insurance costs for a family and individuals remain at-risk of being denied by the insurance companies. While the Health Care Freedom Act may not solve everything, it does at least show critics are offering positive alternatives to government-run universal health care.
I would tend to agree that $5,000 isn't enough, and I'd rather not use TARP money at all (just push it back toward the deficit, if you ask me), but opening up insurance across state lines is huge. That one provision alone will drive competition like never before. It's certainly a step in the right direction.
Sadly, Obama and his cronies at ABC are refusing to even make the pretense that there is any debate at all about this issue. If they were truly interested in solutions, bipartisanship, or whatever you want to call it, they wouldn't be locking out all opposing voices on the subject. It's the silencing of dissent that we've seen time and time again from Obama and the Left, and if it goes unchecked, it will literally cost this nation its entire health care system.
This battle is really heating up, and your voice needs to be heard. Call your Senators and Rep daily until the vote happens.
There's my two cents.