My interest in politics has been focused on the health care issue the last few weeks. Its all anyone is talking or writing about but a reason I started this blog was to express frustration with what I hear. But on this topic it not just the answers I hear but the lack of questions being asked. Let me break my thoughts down. I want to start with some Presidential quotes. A few of these are pointed out by Arianna Huffington on Huffington Post.
1. Last week Obama negotiated with Drug Companies and they will continue to set the prices for prescription drugs. Here are some quotes from Obama on the campaign trail about this topic.
"Congress exempted medicare from being able to negotiate for the cheapest available price. And that was a profound mistake."
"We will break the stranglehold that a few big drug and insurance companies have on the health care market."
He has just repeated the mistake and broken a promise from the latter quote! But next there is a good quote from a campaign document.
"Barack Obama and Joe Biden will repeal the ban on direct negotiations with drug companies and use the resulting savings,which could be as high as $310 billion,to further invest in improving health care coverage and quality."
Obama is all about making election promises he can't follow through on.. If you are a liberal that disagrees go ask your fellow liberals who thought Gitmo might be shut down or the gays about the rights they've gained so far. I respect Arianna Huffington for standing up in her blog! The Huffington Post is a liberal blog site but she called the President out on the issue when she saw it instead of letting him coast and I respect that.
2. The atmosphere and mischaracterizations of these town hall debates. Many people have asked hard questions but some have been too rowdy. I can agree with that. But the democratic response has been disappointing. Nancy Pelosi has called them "unamerican" and many liberals have said this proves conservatives don't want debate. I find that an appalling statement! Remember the goal of the democrats was to vote on this before the break to avoid these debates! The House has passed Cap and Trade-a bill that will concern billions of dollars acknowledging they have not read it when they passed it! Why did they not debate that more? And they accuse others of not wanting debate! Where was this open debate about the stimulus bill/pork project that Obama needed signed immediately so it could sit on his desk for three days and take years to implement! The democrats don't want to debate this issue. When congress has agreed on a bill and takes it back to vote will there be a lot of debate? If past precedent applies they would have to read it first! The current administration has never debated issues and if my fellow "unamericans" had not voiced a loud disapproval this issue would already been voted on. But now these tactics of "voting before reading" have been exposed it will be tougher in the future.
3. How will it be payed for? There is one thing that has not been said I want to address. One possible plan would be to tax the private companies to pay for the public option. That does not work in competition. Imagine that tax is 5%. Two basketball teams are in "competition" and the game finishes at 100-95. Now tax the winning team(private industry) and give it to the losing team(public option). The score is now 100-95 and the other team wins!! That solution guarantees the eventual banktrupcy of the private sector! This is what Obama wants as he has stated clearly. The slow death of private insurance will be seen as an unintended consequence when it is clearly intended.
4. "The death panel" This phrase was coined in an op ed by Sarah Palin about a group of health care officials who will make decisions regarding the rationing of health care. This brings up a lot of questions for me....look at the panel put together for the GM hearings......
-It was run by a 30 year old venture capitalist with no experience in the automotive industry. I don't know how many people were there but only one had experience in the industry! Why should we believe it will be differently? Will the valuable,billable time of doctors be given up to sit on bureaucratic panels that will take much time. It will be Hospital Administrators who are most interested in the bottom line. If that is already true for medical industry why would vicious competition end it?
-Their decisions were politically motivated. There were numerous examples of Democratic donors holding onto dealerships that were far less profitable and sold fewer cars than other dealerships. Would the same be true for the death panel? I know that is a sick idea but it must be addressed. If two people are the same age with similar conditions paying the same health care will they really get the same treatment. Will celebrities be treated the same? How about those with political histories? Those are scary questions.
-Obama denies that his goal is end human life in order to save money but facts say differently. He wants end life counseling at a certain age. Is this to encourage people to use their last years wisely? To not give in to the temptation to not live dead when you are alive? He said at one town hall meeting at some point we might need to pass on operations and prescribe pain pills.
This is a thick blog and not the easiest of reads. I know I missed stuff and perhaps made mistakes but these things aren't being said. I would be curious for some dialogue on this issue if anyone has any thoughts or opinions. I think something will be passed eventually as Obama cannot risk a shutout on the issue. However to get something through he will have to water it down so much it will be hard to measure the impact and it won't be what he promised. Hard to measure the impact and not what he promised. This issue may define the Obama presidency after all.