Well the news of the day has to be healthcare. President Obama’s speech tried to highlight several of the questions that Americans across the nation have been asking their elected officials – many getting the non-answer responses that I received from all my representatives (Sen. Schumer, Sen. Gillibrand, Rep. Hinchey).
But what do you make of the speech? Did it answer any questions? Did it put out polispeak of facts? Will Health Care Reform be a good thing, and will anyone in Congress actually read the Bill?
A lot of good questions. And for some of the answers I went over to Politifact.
Will you have to change your health insurance if the Reform Bill is passed?
The key word is “have”. Will it need to be a mandatory change, no.
“Obama’s statement from the speech is more carefully phrased than his earlier statement. In his speech, he said that if you are “already have health insurance through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.” That is true, there is nothing in the plan that proactively forces these kinds of changes..”
But that being said, how likely is it that millions will be forced to change due to employers dropping coverage? Given that we are in a recession, that employers use revenues to pay for employee healthcare instead of going to other costs or profits, and that healthcare is a headache in general I think the answer is obvious.
Employers will opt-out. Not all of them, not all at once. But if an employer has the choice to give the headache and cost to the Government, why not take it? Which is why some estimate up to 114 million could be affected by this Reform.
Will illegal aliens benefit from the Health Care Reform?
“When we look at all of this evidence, it seems that health reform leaves in place the status quo on illegal immigration, and certainly does not provide any new benefits particularly for illegal immigrants.”
So while the Health Care Reform will not stop illegal aliens from paying to get the same coverage as anyone else, it doesn’t provide new benefits. That’s by the exact wording of the Bill as it stands now. What changes may happen, or how things are actually enforced is entirely a different question.
But it brings up a side note. As has been stated constantly by Democrats and the White House, 47 million are claimed to be uninsured. The key words often used with this figure are “Americans” and “can’t get”. Which is a lie.
There are not 47 million Americans without health insurance because they can’t afford it. There are some 6.8 – 10 million illegal aliens that are included in that figure. They don’t count, and if they don’t like it they can always go back to their own countries. Also there are another roughly 5 – 7 million Americans that choose not to take health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, or any other program that is available. The reasons are various, but again they don’t fit the explicit and implied battlecry that the 47 million figure is meant to imply. Of course that is why President Obama quoted 30 million, and the White House is going forward with that number as well.
Back to the issue at hand.
How about the question of whether or not the Health Care Reform will add to the deficit?
A hard question to answer. Especially at a $1.5 trillion pricetag. Given that the cost of the proposed reform is more than all the taxes gathered by the IRS in 1 year (roughly $1.3 trillion used for everything the Government does), this is not the answer. At least without raising taxes on everyone.
The Health Care Reform currently does point to Medicaid as a source for some of the fund. Cutting funds from that will help fund this. But still leaves a shortfall that is unanswered. Plus this option may not survive public scrutiny, or older American voters.
But even if the Bill does end up being passed, and even if it is deficit-neutral at inception it has problems. Just look at the other “minor” and neutral-costing” programs the Government passed previously. They include Medicare and Medicaid, whose costs have skyrocketed 100’s of percent (if not 1000’s) from initial projections.
But if that was too far into the past I suggest another program I was talking with a friend about today.
“It’s just simple. The Government could not run a $1 billion Cash for Clunkers program. It was supposed to be a month or 2 long, and only had to work with some 200,000 car dealers across the nation (I’m guessing and I bet I’m over-estimating). It wound up costing $3 billion, that’s up 300% from the original estimates, and over 50% of the car dealers still have not been paid months into the program. Now imagine the Government handling 114 million people all at once.”
Well is the Health Care Reform bipartisan? Are the best ideas (or just ideas) from both sides of the political isle being used and considered? That would give us the best options right?
Again it’s a case of what you call “bipartisan” or “ideas”.
“The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions adopted 159 amendments offered by Republicans, but only two of them were significant or controversial enough to merit roll call votes. One of those two affected the manufacture of biologics medication and another required members of Congress and congressional staff to enroll in the government-run option.”
By the way, the requirement for Congress to have the exact same Health Care plan as the public was nearly voted out by Democrats on the Committee. It is also not expected to make it to the final Bill.
Well at least the Reform will save money by making sure people get preventative care, right?
Well at least, if there is a public option, there will be lower costs for health care insurance?
Well not according to the CBO. But going beyond that, there is a far more simple way to lower costs – competition. Yes I know that President Obama said that Government competition will lower costs. Except he is not including the cost of the new Agency of the Government that will be created and run to do this.
More obviously, and I think effective, the simple way to get competition is to open up insurance competition. Right now some 1300 insurance companies operate across the country. To my knowledge not one is national. Meaning that you cannot buy a cheaper but similar (or even better) plan available in say Tennesse if you live in New York. Hell, you can’t buy a more expensive and worse plan from Washington State if you live in California – even if you wanted to. Because there is no NATIONAL competition.
Why is this not an option? Ask President Obama, and your elected officials. But don’t hold your breath for an answer (see Senator Chuck Schumer’s response).
I can go on and on. Simply put, President Obama made what I think was the 30th speech advocating the Health Care Reform. And for the 30th time there was no significant answer to vital questions, nor specific proposals, or even concrete assurances of anything.