Wednesday, August 12, 2009
And so it continues...
Alright, let's get something straight. I am not deaf. I hear, listen, and process what Obama and all of these Dems at the town hall meetings are saying about health care and their plans. Once again, it is not what they are saying, but the eventualities I think will come from their actions that disturbs me. And I am not alone on this.
For example, Obama has said numerous times that he will not take away private insurance and if you have coverage and you like it, then you can keep it. Well that's great, exactly what we all want to hear, right? Wrong. I'm not disagreeing with his statement. I'm disagreeing with what I and lots of other people perceive to be the start of a chain of events that will lead to the destruction of private insurance. How can private insurance compete with a government plan who can control costs? Better yet, why would a company opt to pay for health insurance for its employees when they could cut everyone loose and let them use the government plan that will be coming out of their taxes anyway? In my opinion, there is no incentive for companies to keep their current group plans that cost them millions of dollars each year when they could dump those and let their employees fend for themselves. So, I like the promise Obama is making, but I don't think he can keep it.
Secondly, there is all of this talk about the death panels. Obama and the Dems say that the medical advisory boards would be there only to evaluate and weigh cost vs. results ratios and their role isn't to prevent Grandma from getting the treatment she needs later in life. While I appreciate the analogy and the concern for my Grandmother (which is the example they continue to use I guess because it plays well in soundbites), I don't see how the result of a panel like that is going to do anything but result in denying elderly people from getting the care they need. I understand they are saying that is not their intention, but I think inevitably the plan is headed that direction regardless of their intentions. The reality is that it is not cost effective to give cancer treatment to an 80 year old person because they are nearing the end of their life anyway. I think most people would agree that when it comes to medical care for your friends and family, cost is not really what you're most concerned about. So regardless of their intentions, if you put into place a national medical advisory board, you have then built into place the infrastructure and the possibility for denial of care to anyone deemed not worthy of living. The insurance companies already do this to a certain degree, but this plan is talking about doing it on a much larger scale.
Thirdly, apparently Obama and the Dems have uncovered "huge" wasteful practices in Medicare that could save us 1.8 billion dollars. That's great. So why don't be go ahead and pass the Medicare reform bill on its own if everyone agrees that its going to save us money and not change any of the care given? Why do those savings have to be packaged with a larger more controversial plan as a carrot? It's a rhetorical question, you don't have to answer. The answer is politics. If Congress were really dedicated fully to our best interests and saving all of this wasted money then they would have separated this from the rest of the package and already passed it by now. Also, I love how in Obama's latest speeches he talks about all the things that could be done with a whopping 1.8 billion dollars over the next 10 years. This is all happening right after we just passed a second stimulus bill for 787 billion dollars. These numbers are making my head spin and unfortuntately I'm having a hard time taking him serious when he talks about how much money 1.8 billion is.
In summary, I like what they say, but I don't see how they can back it up. The proof is in the pudding. I stand by the opinion that government-run anything is inefficient, wasteful, and too beaurecratic to succeed. The proof lies in social security and Medicare. Our generation continues to pay into the system, but by the latest estimates, social security will run out by 2040 and Medicare will be bust by 2018. We absolutely cannot continue to spend money we do not have. We are financially killing our country. What health care needs is reform, not a completely new system.