Wednesday, September 9, 2009

You Lie!

That was the emotional outburst of Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, immediately following the President's statement in his healthcare speech tonight, that illegals wouldn't be covered. Rep. Wilson apologized to the President for his incivility immediately following the speech.

I can sympathize with Rep. Wilson, though. It seemed the longer the speech went on, the more I wanted to scream the same thing at the TV screen.

But first, President Obama said a few things that I think all people CAN agree on.

-You shouldn't lose your coverage in the middle of being sick.
-Everyone should be able to get health insurance.
-Costs need to be controlled.

But back to the stretched truths/omissions/ lies.

"First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who 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. Let me repeat this: nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have."

I guess he forgot about how he proposed totally eliminating the Medicare Advantage program. Or the fact that the bill proposes taking $500 billion dollars from Medicare, supposedly without cutting benefits to seniors. RIGHT... Senior citizens aren't stupid. They know that you can't take big money off the table like that without cutting services. If there was that much "fraud and abuse" to be found in the nearly bankrupt Medicare system, the government would have found it by now.

Some of people's concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren't so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.

As Sarah Palin pointed out today in a Wall Street Journal editorial:

Now look at one way Mr. Obama wants to eliminate inefficiency and waste: He's asked Congress to create an Independent Medicare Advisory Council—an unelected, largely unaccountable group of experts charged with containing Medicare costs. In an interview with the New York Times in April, the president suggested that such a group, working outside of "normal political channels," should guide decisions regarding that "huge driver of cost . . . the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives . . . ."

While many don't want to call that a "death panel", what would you call a panel that is set up to save money by denying care to old people? This panel would be modeled after the UK's NICE committee, which has been blamed for people's premature deaths there.

There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false - the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.

This one is more than a bit disingenuous. While the bill denies coverage for illegals, it has absolutely no enforcement mechanism to keep them from signing up and getting covered. So yes, your tax dollars will cover illegal aliens.

And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up - under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.

The House would not pass an amendment that outright outlawed funding of abortion in the public option, and this group feels that it would be covered the way the law is written. I happen to think that they're right, and just want to get the law passed, then let one of the 53 new bureaucracies determine that abortion should be included. Then claim that they didn't know that would happen. RIGHT...

Here's what you need to know. First, I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits - either now or in the future. Period. And to prove that I'm serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don't materialize.

When has there ever been a federal program that didn't cost more than they said it would. And if more spending cuts are in the offing, I'd be very scared, grandma.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Promise them the world...

...but don't tell them how you're going to pay for it.

The other day when I was at that healthcare "rally" that the Obama people put on, I listened to Jeremy Byrd, the deputy director of Organizing for America (the continuation of what was previously Obama for America) give a speech about what President Obama views as the principles behind healthcare reform.

I was struck by everything that Mr. Byrd promised in that short segment. No pre-conditions, no canceling coverage, limits on co-pays, and yes, lower costs overall. And I'm left with the question:

How exactly are we going to pay for all that?

Medicare has been going broke for decades. If there was easy money (waste and fraud) to be found there, wouldn't they have gone after that to save Medicare? Where is all this money in Medicare going to come from if not from less care?

My parents used to tell me you don't get anything for nothing, and not to trust someone who promised you the world. "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

A little cartoon today over at Sharp Elbows StL sums this up nicely.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Democratic Health Care "Rally"-St. Louis, Aug. 30th, 2009

I received a "robocall" urging me to come out to this health care rally, so I went to see what it was all about. I'm rather tired about having my news filtered by media who are biased (one way or the other), so figured if I went in person I'd have a better idea of what was what. There were about 250-300 attendees there. Sharp Elbows has some insights from his attendance here.

The first thing that struck me about this gathering was that someone had put some money into this. There were lights, a stage, a soundsystem, and a professionally done up bus (make sure to listen to audio):

The second thing that struck me was how controlled the environment was. You had to sign a petition supporting Obamacare in order to get one of those stickers you see everyone wearing in the video, which served as your ticket for entrance. The area was blocked off by a row of cars and yellow "caution" tape. When I was wandering around inside before it started, I overheard a couple of union guys saying that since this event was on private property, they could easily expel anyone they pleased from the gathering.

I saw them confiscating hand made signs that people had brought in, and organizers handing out commercially made signs:

Though as these frames show, either they let SOME people keep their homemade signs, or they handed out their own "home made" signs to attendees:

And if you thought that the "public option" was off the table, I think Russ Carnahan (D., MO) thinks differently:

I saw no illegal activity at the rally. But what I did see was a very carefully controlled presentation, which leads me to some questions, as well as a prediction.

First, the prediction.

I predict that in a week or two we will see that bus in Washington, D.C. That bus will be shown on TV rolling up to the capital steps. Political workers (perhaps billed as "concerned citizens") will load a few wagons of these bogus petitions to the floor of Congress, as "proof" that the citizens of the U.S. support the Democratic healthcare plan. Members of Congress will say that they heard "a variety of views" at townhall meetings and rallies (not mentioning that all of the rallies were stacked with only their own people), and that the majority of people they heard wanted the Democratic plan. They might even be so bold as to trot out some video from these "rallies".

Now the questions:

I noticed that about 25% of the people there were wearing union paraphernalia (jackets, pins, etc.). Back in the 60's and 70's, union members and hippies (about 30-40% of the people there) couldn't stand each other. Union members already have better insurance than any of the rest of us. Why was one of their members leading a chant for "Public Option Now"? What's in it for the unions? Could it be (as one Democratic friend of mine suggests) that the unions see a large public health system as ripe for unionization?

Various speakers touted that under the Democratic plan, not only would there be no exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and no one could be dropped from plans, but also that there would be no plan limits on spending, and there would be limits on what you would have to spend out of pocket. Where do people think the money for such a plan would come from? And do people really think that a Democratic plan would have no rationing?

Even with spending all of this money on selling this plan, do the Democrats really expect the public to believe that the majority of people are behind shoving something through before the year is out?


Health care in this country DOES have a lot of problems. And certain elements of the Democratic plan (perhaps some sort of insurance reform) MIGHT be part of a solution. But the majority of what I've seen thus far from the Democrats leaves me with a lot of questions, and few answers as to specifics. And the scariest thing for me is the method that I've seen being used to push this on the public. A good plan would stand on its own, and not have to be sold to the public.