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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Obama’s Health Care Speech: A Common Sense Rebuttal

Obama’s Health Care Speech: A Common Sense Rebuttal

by Dallas Jenkins

My posts on this site have been and usually will be about film-making as a Christian and conservative in Hollywood, but because President Obama’s speech the other night was more about theatre and performance than actual policy (speeches have zero to do with the crafting of legislation, which is done in war rooms by politicians who care nothing about rhetoric), I figured I would chime in.


Here are a few of the President’s statements with a response:

“If companies don’t do right by their workers and offer them insurance…”

This comment drives me insane. Why is offering health benefits “doing right,” but not offering them “doing wrong?” Isn’t the fact that the company even hired them in the first place “doing them right?” Employees know what they’re getting when they get a job, and if they demand health coverage as part of their employment, they can go work for someone else if their boss doesn’t offer it to them. Purchasing health coverage for your employees is extraordinarily expensive; sometimes simply hiring the person is all an employee can afford.

And, by the way, offering health care to employees wasn’t always the norm. But eventually it became part of a job offer–”Instead of paying you $60,000 and you paying $10K a year for your health coverage, I’ll pay you $50,000 a year and give you health coverage, and then you won’t be taxed for that $10K.” It’s a privilege, a bonus, a cool thing…it’s not a RIGHT, and not offering it isn’t necessarily “doing wrong.”

“We will require everyone to get health insurance, just like many states force you to have auto insurance.”

Wow. He has big stones to say something like this. For one thing, the reason you’re forced to have auto insurance is to cover OTHERS, not yourself. You’re driving a big dangerous machine, and if you injure someone with it, you better have a way to guarantee payment. For another, auto insurance can be purchased across state lines, so you have true competition. Finally, and most importantly, you’re not forced to drive a car! So if you don’t own a car, you don’t have to get auto insurance!

What a horrible metaphor.

One other thing about forcing people to have health insurance; this, like forcing insurance companies to cover all this preventative stuff, and forcing people to participate in it, is such a nanny state – big brother mentality. Sure, it’s smart for people to be more preventative, but do we want government forcing it on us? Is this freedom? What’s next? Forcing people to work out three times a week and banning sugar? They’re already banning the sale of trans-fats in California and New York and are trying to legally force restaurants to put calorie information on the friggin’ menu.

Forcing people to purchase health insurance is lunacy (not to mention possibly unconstitutional), especially considering one of his reasons–”because when someone goes to the emergency room without insurance, we all have to pay for it.” Why is that? Why can’t they get billed? Why shouldn’t they be expected to pay for the cost of being treated? And if they literally can’t afford it because they never got insurance (low cost, high-deductible insurance that covers only big emergencies, like with auto insurance), there are charities/churches/private groups. And if those are unable, then there are extreme and rare cases in which the state can provide a safety net (like with welfare). But that should be the last resort, not policy.

“According to the Congressional Budget Office, only 5% of Americans will sign up for the public option.”

Nice little stat there, except he left out two things: One, only 15% of Americans don’t have insurance anyway (notice how he lowered the number of uninsured in this speech from 45 million to “over 30 million,” because he realized that the 45 million figure included illegal immigrants?), so a better way to say it would have been, “one in three uninsured will sign up for the government option. Two, the Congressional Budget Office he quoted is the same group saying his plan will operate at a deficit, which he denies. So why does he trust the CBO for the stat above?

“Public universities don’t hurt private colleges, so public insurance won’t hurt private insurance” (paraphrase).

Hmm. Well, that’s partly true, except the difference is that there are thousands of different public universities to choose from, which means they compete with each other, whereas President Obama’s proposing one government plan. Also, most public universities are state run and funded, not nationally run and funded. And again…NO ONE’S FORCING ANYONE TO GO TO COLLEGE, whereas President Obama wants to force you to have insurance, so again, it’s a crappy metaphor.

“You shouldn’t be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition.”

Then why ever get insurance in the first place? Oh, never mind, he’s going to force you to do it. Forgot that part.

“It will be against the law for an insurance company to drop you just because you get sick.”

It already is. Let me repeat that. It already is. As long as you make timely payments, it’s against the law for an insurance company to simply drop you because you got sick.

To close, President Obama has been making some very interesting statements about Medicare. I’ve been attacking Medicare in health care debates for awhile. I’ve used it as an example of a poorly run government program that should scare us from wanting government to have a bigger role (along with FEMA, DMV, post office, etc.). And my liberal friends usually respond by defending Medicare, pointing out its high approval ratings and efficiency. Well, I appreciated President Obama tonight acknowledging that Medicare is a problem, because he said that one of the biggest ways the government option would be paid for is with the elimination of waste and fraud in Medicare.

Get that?

We’re going to pay for this new big government program by eliminating all the mess and mistakes from the other one. Yes, the other program has wasted HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, enough to nearly pay for this new program, but trust me…we’ll do this one better.

President Obama said something similar about the post office, another government program we on the right attack. He said, “Government competition hasn’t hurt FedEx and UPS; in fact, it’s the post office that usually has the problems.” Um…so this is supposed to give us confidence in your new government program?

Not all President Obama said was bad. And of course, the beginnings and ends of his speeches are always great, and I’m guessing support for him and the plan will go up in the next week based on this speech. But most likely it’ll return to earth in a couple weeks, and we’ll be back where we started.

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