Part 1 of 3
By David A. Black, Sr.
In his speech to the joint houses of Congress on September 9, 2009, to stump for National Health Care Reform, the President compared our health care to that of other nations saying, “We are the only advanced democracy on Earth – the only wealthy nation – that allows such hardships for millions of its people.”
What President Obama failed to point out is, while other countries may provide medical coverage to all their citizens, many of their citizens come to the United States seeking the medical treatment they cannot obtain at home. What good is medical coverage, if you cannot obtain the necessary medical treatment?
Conservatives, Moderates, and Liberals are unifying against “Nation Health Care Reform” for the aforementioned reason and others, a few of which I will identify here.
The premise of the “crisis” false.
The President claimed that Health Care Reform is “central” to the future of our nation, and that Congresses failure to meet the challenge for the past six and a half decades has led us to the breaking point. This claim bolsters his statements, citing health care as a primary cause of the National Deficit. (Remember, Congress spending more money than is available is the cause of the deficit.)
While painting a grim picture of the future, due to the exploits of the “Greedy Health Care Industry”, the President resorted to “scare tactics” attempting to play to the emotions of the American People. The President argued that a large number of people are “one accident or illness away from bankruptcy”, that the cost of health insurance is unaffordable, and that Americans who are willing and able to purchase health insurance are routinely denied.
The President manipulated the facts when citing a 2006 census estimate, stating, “There are more than thirty million American citizens who cannot get coverage. In a two year period, one in every three Americans goes without health care coverage at some point”.
The claims, provided by the Census Bureau, assert that 15% of the U.S. population, or approximately 50 million people, were uninsured at one point during the calendar year 2006. Contrary to the President’s claim, the report did not identify this group as unable to obtain Health Care; nor did the report identify this group as uninsurable.
Furthermore, the President conveniently failed to point out a fact detailed in his book, Liberty and Tyranny, by conservative radio talk show host, Mark Levin; the 15%, to which the report refers, includes illegal immigrants, people between the ages of 18 – 35 who opted not to obtain health care, and yet another group that qualifies for medical coverage through Public Assistance and did not apply for it. When the truth is considered in the equation, we find less than 5%, of Americans unable to obtain health insurance; less than half of the number the President claims. To clarify the results, another detailed study would be necessary to determine why the effected people are without insurance.
I will be first to agree, every American citizen should be able to obtain minimum health coverage. However, with a population of over 300 million, the needs of less than 5% of the people, while meriting serious consideration, does not qualify as a “crisis”. Logically, this means approximately 95% of the population, or more than 285 million people, are happy with their current health care, or at least have coverage available.
To determine that “one in three Americans goes without health coverage at some point” President Obama simply doubled the numbers for dramatic impact. His statement assumes that if approximately 50 million people were not covered at some point in one year, then 100 million would be left uncovered in a two-year period, thereby camouflaging his claim of “one in three”.
Though the number of people experiencing periods of being uninsured would probably increase in the second year due to the rise in unemployment levels, the President chooses not to consider that a large number of the same people are counted a second time in the subsequent year. The President’s skewed approach of simply double the time period, equals double the effect, misleads the nation, using “fear tactics” to manipulate us into accepting Health Care Reform.
There is no true intention to cut costs.
The President said, “We spend one-and-a-half times more per person on health care than any other country, but we aren’t any healthier for it.” He goes on to admit that, “those of us with health insurance are also paying a hidden and growing tax for those without it – about $1000 per year pays for somebody else’s emergency room and charitable care”.
How much of what we are forced to pay, goes to providing care for the above-mentioned people? Remember, Federal Law prohibits refusal of treatment to any person, regardless of ability to pay. Other than using it as a talking point, how much wasteful spending is due to fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid systems? What steps have been proposed to identify and correct the rampant waste, fraud, and abuse in these programs?
How much of what we pay goes to wasteful costs due to excessive, bureaucratic red tape, unnecessary tests, and the exorbitant cost of malpractice insurance to protect Doctors from litigation, because the Government refuses to enact Tort Reform? Instead, the President is directing his Secretary of Health and Human Services to move forward with an initiative to set up “demonstration projects” on Tort Reform. If Tort Reform is a “good idea”, why not recommend that Congress legislate it?
How much more must Private insurers pay for the treatment of their Policy Holders, to offset the amounts left unpaid by the Government? The President failed to tell us that the Government only pays approximately 20% on the bills they receive for the treatment of those covered under Medicare and Medicaid; health care providers are expected to write off the remaining balances.
Additionally, what about the excessive, confusing, redundant paperwork, required by the Government, and insurance companies, as a means to provide excuses to deny payments for services? The Government practice of short paying bills and denying payment due to improperly negotiating the maze of “red tape” encourages fraud. Correct these issues first. We may be possible that the entire health care system is in need of Reform.
In trying to force compliance, the President’s proposal sets a “minimum cost of insurance coverage”. A minimum cost is the effect of the proposed tax penalty, of up to $1900, charged to those who do not purchase health care insurance, otherwise referred to as an “incentive”. Insurance companies will set that amount as a minimum rate.
Additionally, the tax penalty does nothing to correct the alleged problem; if health coverage is not purchased, and a person needs medical attention, under the President’s proposal, they would have the $1900 less to put toward their medical bills. The whole process of using tax penalties to force compliance is a “protection racket”, a tactic used by organized crime where damage is inflicted, then followed with an offer of protection for a fee. (I hear this was one of Al Capone’s favorite tactics of extortion. Wasn’t he from Chicago too? It must have something to do with the water.) If the President’s proposal were the “right thing”, he would not need “bully tactics”.
In conclusion, I agree that the current health care system calls for serious consideration. Therefore, the Federal Government should promote legislation that assists the several States in rectifying health care in their independent States, just as the President agrees to do regarding “Tort Reform”. Because he is a former Constitutional Professor, I would think this should have been President Obama’s first inclination.
Mr. President, you said, “These are the facts. Nobody disputes them.” You warned, “If you misrepresent what’s in the plan, we will call you out.”
Sorry, Mr. President, I am calling you out!
I reject your “undisputable facts”, and the logic demonstrated in manipulating statistics to coerce the nation into reconfiguring our nation’s health care system by falsely declaring a “Crisis”. Like a “snake oil peddler”, you have misrepresented the facts to sell America on your flawed, socialistic plan.
With all due respect, every President must earn the respect and trust of the nation. Mr. President, you are far from accomplishing this task. Now is a good time to start.
Part 2 of 3 part series: National Health Care & the Constitution