I came across a press release put out today by the Republican Study Commission. It’s titled “10 Questions for the President on Health Care” and in it is a list of questions for President Obama on his plans to reform the healthcare system.
I expected them to dumb. That’s what the Goposaurs are best at these days. And they were, for the most, really dumb. What I didn’t expect was that they would compare the nation’s healthcare system to McDonalds, Major League Baseball and the neighborhood babysitter.
But they did.
The press release starts out like this:
In light of today’s collaboration between ABC News and the Obama administration on the topic of health care reform, there are a few questions we’d like the President to answer.
Here are the questions and some commentary from moi on each of them:
Question 1: During the debate on the so-called stimulus package, your estimates on future unemployment and economic recovery proved to be wildly off-base. Why should Americans now believe you that they will not be forced out of the private coverage they enjoy, as basic economics would dictate?
Wildly off-base? Nice try. The president’s team has been quite candid during the debate and also said if the stimulus didn’t have the desired impact, they’d change it so that it did. But the part I really don’t understand is how “basic economics” dictates that Americans will be “forced out of the private coverage they enjoy”. That simply makes no sense.
Companies will endeavor to remain competitive. In order to attract the best talent, they will offer the best healthcare coverage they can afford to provide to their employees. A public option will help to keep down costs and this will help businesses to provide good private insurance, not encourage them to discontinue it.
That’s a little something I like to call “basic economics”
Question 2: Despite your assertions that health care reform will save money, the reality is that plans proposed by Democrats would cost taxpayers between $1 trillion and $2 trillion. How does this save money and how will you pay for this?
This is a fair question but it’s ironic that you would ask it given that you put forth a plan of your own that has no numbers in it and no explanation of how it will be paid for. Pay attention. Go to his website. The information is there, you just have to pull your fingers out of your ears and quitting shouting “NO! NO!! NO!!!” as loudly as you can.
Question 3: If, as you claim, a government-run option is essential to maintaining honest competition in the health insurance market, why is it not also true that we need a government-run competitor in the fast food industry, neighborhood babysitting, or Major League Baseball?
Really? No, really. Really???!!! I’m almost without a response to inanity like this. Can it possibly be true that the Republicans don’t realize that we don’t have a National Fast Food Costs Crisis? Or a National Neighborhood Babysitter Costs Crisis? Or an effing Major League Baseball Costs Crisis? Do they think that affordable healthcare coverage for ALL Americans is as trivial and OPTIONAL as having a Big Mac or a Whopper or getting a babysitter for the night or going to a baseball game? REALLY???!!!
Question 4: Proponents of a government-run option, you included, claim that it will compete on a level playing field with private insurance providers. In that case, will your government-run plan operate under a for-profit model and be forced to pay all applicable state, federal, and local taxes?
First of all, the healthcare itself isn’t going to be run by the government. Everyone with two brain cells to bang together understands this. It’s the insurance that PAYS FOR the healthcare that will be government-run. And why on earth would a program run by the government be a profit-making venture? The idea here, in case you didn’t get the memo, is to LOWER healthcare costs, not make a buck off sick people. That, of course, is the business model of the health insurance companies the Republicans are referring to.
Question 5: How do you expect to meet the growing need for physicians and medical professionals if the government-run plan pays lower than market rates to physicians while forcing them to participate or lose a majority of their patients and their livelihood?
I’ll take this one, Mr. President. It’s easy. Keeping healthcare costs low doesn’t mean short-changing doctors. It means cutting out the profits that flow into the pockets of insurance company execs and their shareholders and using them to … wait for it … heal sick people. Crazy, isn’t it? Can’t imagine why nobody has thought of this before.
Question 6: If the government mandates that all Americans purchase health insurance, it must also define what qualifies as health insurance. Can you provide us your definition (with details please) and explain how this definition will not limit innovation and choice in health care?
I don’t know the answer to this one but I would suggest that nuanced descriptions/definitions of what constitutes “health insurance” are probably a bit further down the road. Right now we’re trying get past ridiculous roadblocks being put up by Republicans and some rather douchey Democrats and get the whole thing moved forward. Quit shouting “NO! NO!! NO!!!” and quit talking about “health care co-ops” and other disingenuous bullshit that thwarts progress and help reform health care for all Americans. We can quibble over the definitions later.
Question 7: According to the House Democrats’ plan, a family of four with an income of $88,200, four times the federal poverty level, would qualify for health insurance subsidies. In your view, is this a subsidy for low-income Americans or an effort to use taxpayers to put more health care under the purview of the federal government?
Dumb question, really dumb question, not worth an answer. Next?
(Actually, knowing our President, he’ll answer them with a quick “What do YOU think?” Heh.)
Question 8: The new Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research is charged with determining what treatments should be offered to patients. Do you believe that these personal medical decisions should be made by patients in consultation with their doctors, or by unaccountable bureaucrats?
The better question to ask in light of our current system is “Do you believe that these personal medical decisions should be made by patients in consultation with their doctors, or by
unaccountable bureaucrats non-medical insurance company employees who are given bonuses and other incentives to deny coverage whenever possible in an effort to maximize corporate profits?”
Question 9: Why are there no actively practicing physicians included in the membership of the Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research?
Probably because physicians with public health policy expertise are mostly not practicing medicine right now, they’re helping to shape public policy. That’s why they are experts. There are, however, nine M.D.s on the Council. Out of 15 members. That’s [multiply by 4 … carry the 2 … take the square root …] 60%!!!
Question 10: If the final reform proposal is controversial enough that it will not receive the necessary 60 votes in the Senate, Democrats have left open the possibility of using a procedural move to pass it with only 51 votes. Do you believe massive changes to such a vital area of American life should be pushed through in this manner with only 51 votes?
It only takes three words to answer this question:
Elections. Have. Consequences.
Deal with it. Just like we did when George W. Bush stole the election in 2000. And while you’re at it, would you please solve the National McDonalds Crisis? ‘Cause I’m hungry.
I’m just sayin’…