The Reasoned Review

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Death Panels Redux

with 2 comments

Astoundingly, a snot-nosed university student recently forced President Obama to waver on his so-called “public option” approach to health care reform. Here is a replay of that exchange on The Daily Show, combined, of course with Jon Stewart’s sublime wit.

The “public option”, for those who haven’t closely followed the surreal coverage of the health-care debate, entails an affordable publicly-owned insurance package to compete with private insurers. In this way, its supporters argue, universal coverage can be achieved, and the exorbitant costs we now suffer can hopefully be reduced. If insurers are suddenly forced to compete with a non-for-profit venture, they would have to revise their own prices and coverage accordingly. President Obama previously expressed vociferous support for such a plan, but has recently wavered, expressing the sentiment that a publicly-owned insurance scheme was not critical to his reform agenda.

The blogs, of course, went wild. Their responses fell within the typical left-right spectrum – the left-leaning blogs bemoaning this latest treachery from their onetime leader, the right-leaning ones (particularly Ygleasis), arguing that a public option is totally unnecessary, and that President Obama was right to jettison it.

For myself, I admit I would be happy if health care were affordable, and this implies a reduction of costs which have by now left the realm of reality. Anyone who has visited a hospital and taken a look at the itemized list of charges on the bill should need no further persuasion. Whether this is done with a “public option” or not seems largely immaterial (though I admit it would seem easier under a public option scheme).

As Katha Politt rightly points out in her Nation article linked above, without a serious plan to reduce such villainous costs, subsidizing American health care will amount to little more than a bailout for the health insurance industry. Indeed, given the obsequious manner with which President Obama addressed the AMA, and the insurance industry dollars that funded his campaign, there can be no surprise that he seeks to secure their profits.


Written by pavanvan

August 19, 2009 at 1:23 pm

2 Responses

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  1. All obama will do is outsource anyways. Just think about the all the lobbyists flocking to Washington DC because of obama’s reckless over-spending of $2 TRILLION in just 6 months, which alone is increasing the National Debt by 20%.

    Politicians take people’s money and reward the large corporations, in this case companies in the health care industry, since they have the money to more effectively lobby politicians. In the end smaller businesses will be hurt.

    Politicians will only reward companies that will be in their best political interest. Honestly, when can you really trust politicians since they are basically professional liars, and being president just means you are the best liar of the time. Why not just give the money directly from the people to the companies and take politicians in government out of the equation?

    obama is going to recklessly spend TRILLIONS of tax payers’ money just to give insurance to about 25% of those who do not have it. Over 50% of people’s income go towards taxes, just imagine how many more people will afford health care insurance if their income is almost doubled because of dramatic tax cuts.

    Competition is what is needed. It lowers prices of products and services, along with developing new innovations. All of which will benefit consumers. You need to remember that monopolistic tendencies can also apply to government.

    The reason why the cost of insurance is high is because politicians in government mandate insurance companies to increase their premiums to pay for ridiculous things. In addition, politicians put up regulations so that Americans are not allowed to get insurance from another state and use the coverage in their own state. This reduces competition making it more expensive for people to get insurance. On top of that medical professionals are not allowed to freely practice their profession in any US state without taking a long and tedious licensing process. This again increases the cost of medical insurance.

    In the end, the problem with most economic issues is too much government intervention of the economy by politicians, who will only tend to do things for political self interest. Just like how obama nationalized GM to pander to its unions. Politicians can barely run government, yet people think they can run a multi-national auto manufacturing company?

    The solution is SMALLER government, LESS spending, and LOWER taxes.


    August 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm

  2. I agree with much of what you just said, but we have to acknowledge the fact that corporations behave very poorly when left to their own devices.

    The solution, I think, is not “smaller government” (as conservative rhetoricians generally use the phrase). I would settle for more effective government.

    In particular, I truly believe our government must be divorced of corporate interest, and politicians must be answerable to someone other than their campaign donors.

    It is a paradox that the champions of “small government” are also in favor of “privatization”. In effect, these ideas have shown themselves mutually exclusive of one another. “Privatization” actually implies more government spending, on expensive contractors not accountable to the taxpayer. As you rightly say, the list of companies lining up for the printed $2 Trillion is long and getting longer.

    For dramatic evidence of this effect, view the soaring budget deficit of President Bush, who was for “smaller government” and as well as privatization.

    So while I agree the US government engages in more than its share of graft, I think the potential for ill effects of such are less than that of corporate graft (the effects of which we currently witness).

    What I would most like is honest government, genuinely in the interest of the (so-called) people. Unfortunately this cannot happen under a campaign finance system which forces candidates to hew to corporate interests in order to get elected.

    If both parties draw their funds from the same source, then they aren’t two parties at all.


    August 19, 2009 at 5:55 pm

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